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JSUCamel
08-22-2008, 11:11 PM
http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/davis_10423___article.html/gay_students.html


....wtf.

Davian93
08-22-2008, 11:16 PM
Personally if I were a student there, I'd be pissed at the ACLU for bankrupting the school...on the "outing" sure it was wrong in theory but is that confidential information? She told him she was gay and he told her parents. He's not a psychologist or a doctor, he's a principal...its not like there's a confidentiality agreement there.. The rest of what he did with the suspensions and all is complete BS though...and he was punished for it.

Davian93
08-22-2008, 11:20 PM
Irony: The district there will likely have to raise taxes to pay for that huge payment...and hurt small town people during already rough times...hope that was worth it SuperMom!

Ozymandias
08-22-2008, 11:20 PM
I will never understand Christians. How people can believe themselves to be tolerant, family oriented people while supporting a guy who goes around abusing and demeaning children because of their belief system totally defies imagination.

Nero had the right idea.

Though I think the mother made an excellent point, which the ACLU should use in these cases. Whether or not they agree with it, homosexuality, diversity, and non-Christians (otherwise known as decent people) do exist in the world, and whatever small-town intolerance these people harbor, it won't change that, and its very much to the benefit of their children if they learn to coexist with such people. No one is forcing them to like gays, or be gay, or accept a black person into their congregation. But its just a reality that their kids are gonna have to deal with this stuff.

Nazbaque
08-23-2008, 12:08 AM
I'm seriously starting to doubt there re any real believers in any religion. I mean people just take the basic idea of all mighty god or gods and then just add their own opinions and pretend that everything they do is justified.

Take Christians and their gay oppression. They go on and on about how the Bible says: yada yada... when one of the basic foundation of the faith is to love god above all else and other human beings like yourself. Another basic foundation the Ten Comandmets (sp? don't really know these in english) Thou shall not kill, which basically is the short version of do not harm others in any way physically or mentally.

Myself I like to follow Tolkien's wisdom: Some who live deserve to die and some who die would have deserved to live. If you can't give life to the dead, don't kill others, no matter how much they deserve it.

Frenzy
08-23-2008, 12:57 AM
yeah, cuz just cuz yer poor yer allowed to break the law....

RogueSavior
08-23-2008, 02:43 AM
I thought it was 'just cuz yer rich yer allowed to break the law' out there in California, Frenzy...

Terez
08-23-2008, 03:07 AM
Irony: The district there will likely have to raise taxes to pay for that huge payment...and hurt small town people during already rough times...hope that was worth it SuperMom!
Are you serious? How can you blame the mom and not the principal?

GonzoTheGreat
08-23-2008, 05:32 AM
Women are evil. Haven't you figured that one out, yet?

irerancincpkc
08-23-2008, 06:29 AM
The principal is a jerk. That about covers it...

GonzoTheGreat
08-23-2008, 06:37 AM
Well, it overlooks that he's not the only one in that part of the world.

Verin Mathwin
08-23-2008, 08:16 AM
[QUOTE=Ozymandias

Nero had the right idea.

.[/QUOTE]


Ozy... If you don't like Christians that's fine. But to say that it is the right idea to kill us all? Seriously? I mean yeah there are some pretty idiotic, self-righteous, hateful 'Christians', but to say you should kill us is overdoing it a little bit. You are making a huge generalization not all Christians are like that. And I would even venture to say that the Christians that are like that are either just very confused or not really Christians at all. Also, it is not like there aren't non-Christians who do the same kind of idiotic things just in different contexts.

GonzoTheGreat
08-23-2008, 08:57 AM
And I would even venture to say that the Christians that are like that are either just very confused or not really Christians at all.I wonder, could someone explain to me why you're picking on the Scotsmen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_scotsman)? It seems to me that Christians would be a far better example, since they come up in this context far more often.

Brita
08-23-2008, 10:49 AM
Nero had the right idea.


Nice. :rolleyes:

Davian93
08-23-2008, 10:52 AM
Are you serious? How can you blame the mom and not the principal?

I'm not taking sides Terez...I'm just pointing out some irony...The principal is definitely wrong.

John Snow
08-23-2008, 01:23 PM
sorry, but that's true....
but something I think we're missing (*prepares to stir the pot even more, while adding a couple of logs to the fire*) is that the school board, principal, etc justified their actions religiously. Thereby stating that they are running the public school as a religious institution.

Verin Mathwin
08-23-2008, 02:34 PM
I see your point Gonzo. But I in my defense I gave an either/ or and did not simply use that fallacy Either these people are very confused about what Christianity means Or they are not Christians.

So, yeah part of what I said falls into the True Scotsman fallacy.

Growing up in a Christian church and school I know many, many Christians that are completely against homosexuals and such... They are very "Holier than thou". They pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to follow (those that are convenient for them, or make them look/feel better around there Christian peers) But there are some Christians in my experience who sincerely do love people and would find this just as wrong as all the non-Christians on this board.

So my point to Ozy was don't be so quick to crucify all Christians... isn't he being just as close minded and hateful as those Christians that he wants to kill?

Realnow
08-23-2008, 03:33 PM
Maybe religion is against homosexuality because logically in terms of reproduction its incorrect?

Of course I have no beef with gay people, I have many friends who are lesbian or bisexual or gay. BUT maybe human society really just has always had built up defense mechanisms against what is essentially a possible path to extinction.

JSUCamel
08-23-2008, 05:21 PM
Of course I have no beef with gay people, I have many friends who are lesbian or bisexual or gay. BUT maybe human society really just has always had built up defense mechanisms against what is essentially a possible path to extinction.

I read an article about that topic recently, about "healthy behavior" for a society. For instance, a society that practices cannibalism and traditionally eats the firstborn child won't last long. It's not a healthy society.

A society where duels are commonplace, where only the physically strong survive isn't going to be a healthy society in the modern world, once they come up against a smarter foe.

Stuff like that.

I think that homophobia definitely has instinctual roots within the human psyche -- it DOES inhibit procreation rates. But I think a huge part of homophobia is fear of hte unknown.

I'm not gay, and I have a hard time imagining myself being in love with another guy or having sexual relations with another guy. So I can certainly see how homosexuality can make men uncomfortable. I just don't understand it.

Having said that, I have no problem with gays. I have many friends that are gay, and I even helped set up one of my gay professors with another gay guy that I know. They've been together for four years now.

On the other hand, I have fingers.

I mean, on the other hand, I've been in situations where gays have made me very uncomfortable. At the same time, I've also been in uncomfortable situations with straight men and/or straight women.

Anyway, I think it's definitely got an instinctual root within the human mind and also from fear of the unknown.

The point of this article, however, isn't what they believe. We all have freedom of religion, but rather what Prof. Snow said: the school officials based their actions on their religious beliefs rather than school policy, which is crossing the line, unprofessional and wrong.

Yuri33
08-23-2008, 10:25 PM
Maybe religion is against homosexuality because logically in terms of reproduction its incorrect?
...
BUT maybe human society really just has always had built up defense mechanisms against what is essentially a possible path to extinction.

This is a vast oversimplification.

Plenty of animal populations thrive on what could essentially be labeled rape. Maybe we should be encouraging that.

On the other hand, overpopulation is a serious problem in many parts of the world, so maybe we should be promoting homosexuality.

Religion is not a simple exercise of logic. In fact, religion purports certain illogical concepts, and calls on people to use faith\belief in these concepts despite certain logical fallacies.

Ozymandias
08-24-2008, 12:33 AM
I see your point Gonzo. But I in my defense I gave an either/ or and did not simply use that fallacy Either these people are very confused about what Christianity means Or they are not Christians.

So, yeah part of what I said falls into the True Scotsman fallacy.

Growing up in a Christian church and school I know many, many Christians that are completely against homosexuals and such... They are very "Holier than thou". They pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to follow (those that are convenient for them, or make them look/feel better around there Christian peers) But there are some Christians in my experience who sincerely do love people and would find this just as wrong as all the non-Christians on this board.

So my point to Ozy was don't be so quick to crucify all Christians... isn't he being just as close minded and hateful as those Christians that he wants to kill?

No, Verin, I don't consider myself quite so closeminded. You see, I have nothing wrong with individual Christians. I know and like plenty of them. But I've said before that as a whole, Christians have not done one good thing for this world in 2000 years. The world would be a happier, nicer, better place if we had never heard of the group. Throughout history, Christians have been in the vanguard of intolerance, cruelty, genocide, stupidity, murder, arrogance, and every other adjective with a negative connotation you could name.

You can't say these people aren't Christians, because this is what most people who strongly identify as Christian believe! More likely is that you, and other decent people in this world, just aren't Christians at all. Nero did have the right idea, because lets be honest; as a group, Christians are assholes. There are some who aren't, but for the most part, they would be classified as "not Christian".

This type of intolerance and blind hatred is not unusual; we can all admit this is standard fare for your average self-identified religious Christian. There are exceptions, of course, but most "Christians" who believe in tolerance and other nice, humane things, probably wouldn't identify themselves as Christians as strongly as these jackasses in Florida do.

Individual people may be tolerant, or good, but as a religion, as a group, Christianity has NEVER done anything so noble. They've killed and slaughtered and discriminated against anyone they could find in the name of their "god". When can you tell me an example of a Christ doing something for the good of the world, of having a positive impact? Half the world's problems today can be traced back to this Christian desire to remake the globe in their image.

And I would never want to "kill" a Christian, per se. I wouldn't stoop to their deplorable level. I would rather turn back the clock 2000 odd years and throw the disciples in jail. Where they belong, for all the effects their teachings have had on the world.

And by the way... nice pun about "crucifying" all Christians.

JSUCamel
08-24-2008, 12:50 AM
http://www.inaneblabbering.com/comic/cartoons/cartoon00078/cartoon.gif

Frenzy
08-24-2008, 01:17 AM
No, it's just cuz yer rich the law doesn't apply to you. there's a difference.



~hands puppy a dinglehopper to adjust his sarcasm radar with~

Nazbaque
08-24-2008, 01:27 AM
You know a guy once came up to me and asked me out. It was extreamly uncomfortable at that very moment and for days after I was thinking things like "do I look like ... it" and "Am I sending out some kind of vibe". Now I am actually quite flattered and I think that since women can't tell who is gay and who is not and I certainly can't tell if a woman is straight or gay, then probably it was an honest mistake.

The point is that I can relate to homophobia. The core of it is fear of oneself. The disgust on the idea of another man touching you is based on the thought "What if I liked it?" Of course in part blame goes to pretty much everything that claims homosexuality is wrong and disgusting. Part of the fear is that if you are not straight you will lose your friends and possibly your family will reject you and the whole God will hate you is certainly no help. In the end you are subconciously ashemed of your fear and hate those who prooved themselves braver than you and thus the cycle feeds on itself as your children fear that you would reject them if they show any tolerance of homosexuals not to mention if they feel they belong to "the other camp". They are afraid and we should show them the pity they deserve.

ShadowbaneX
08-24-2008, 01:40 AM
that's a fairly strong opinion there Ozy, and, as someone who believes that religion is, at best, an outdated attempt to explain one's surroundings, even I think you might have gone a step too far there.

Granted, I do agree with some of it, most of the medieval commandmants of the Church didn't exactly help the world, but Roman Catholicism, and by extention, Christianity as a whole, did have a few bright spots...no human sacrifice being the top of the list. By it's evolution with the Lutheran Protestant movement, it evolved and also does have a fairly large backbone for some of our modern laws...the problem here is that thinking that religion is the law.

In theory, religion is sound. It's a set of rules or guidelines that people should follow. The problem is when people adopt the rules as absolute and look to them, and the Bible as an extension, as the sole source of their behaviour, completely skipping the use of their own brains.

This case is a perfect example of it: the firm Bible-thumping, "God-fearing", (I hate this term by the way) religious-right was so sure that their holy book was the be-all-and-end-all of morality that the principal went on a crusade or a witch hunt (hummm, there may or may not be a metaphore there) and started violating his students' rights. One of the school board members, a supporter of the principal, was so sure that they were on solid moral ground, that he was taken aback by the 'scathing rebuke' of the judge's closing statements.

You take any religion, analyze it, and use your brain and there isn't a problem. It's only when you've got unthinking zealots using it as a basis for hatred and intollerence that religion becomes a problem.

So, yes, Chrisitans, in unthinking mobs, rabidly following the millenia old teachings of a book of tales has lead to some problems...then again, it's also had some positive effects. Go back 2000 years and get rid of the disciples? No, I don't think so, then again, if I had the chance, I wouldn't remove Hitler if I had the chance either. Not that I'm anti-semetic, it's just that removing one man doesn't solve all the problems that Germany and Europe were undergoing in the early 20th century...just as removing Christianity from the past 2 millenia wouldn't solve the world's problems either.

Terez
08-24-2008, 01:59 AM
You take any religion, analyze it, and use your brain and there isn't a problem. It's only when you've got unthinking zealots using it as a basis for hatred and intollerence that religion becomes a problem. The problem with religion is that it generally requires you to believe in something for which there is no evidence. This doesn't encourage a truly logical analysis because a truly logical analysis would invoke Occam's Razor and do away with religion altogether. Another problem with religion is that, by its nature, that belief in something for which there is no evidence is a very important belief, which doesn't exactly encourage questioning that belief.

I'm not saying that there aren't any religious people whose beliefs aren't malignant. Just that religion, in and of itself, doesn't encourage rational thought.

ShadowbaneX
08-24-2008, 02:23 AM
you're missing the point Terez, and preaching to the choir (hey! irony!), I don't care much for religion, remember, but I'm also not saying that they all need to be wiped out (let alone retroactively).

Look at what I wrote again. Nowhere in there does it state that you need to be religious to look at them. Look at the simplified, destilled version of Christianity the 10 commandments. Don't kill, don't steal, don't rape, be nice to your parents, don't worship the icons*, etc, etc.

Also, I happen to know for a fact that there are members of this board that are religious and I consider them my friends and I wouldn't even remotely suggest that they turn off their brains when it comes to their worship, just as my high school physics teacher didn't, nor do my religious friends. Hell, one of that last group introduced me to the idea that no one makes more anti-religious/christian/roman catholics, then the roman catholics themselves.

*the in this case, is ignoring this rule. Now, by and large it's taken to mean don't worship idols, but if you really think about it, it should mean any and all physical and some not-so-physical, representations of the religion. In this case, it's the bible itself. What these people are essentially doing is worshiping the bible and not the religion. They're obeying a book for crying out loud, not the teachings and the supposed supreme being that passed them along to mankind. They're doing what the Bible says, "homosexuality is wrong" as opposed to the teachings of the religion, "love everyone" "don't hurt your neighbour", etc.

My appologies in advance, as I can see how I might offend a few with these comments, but I think that Americans are sorta vulnerable to thism what with the pledging alliegence to your flag and laws against burning it. It's a bunch of thread woven together...it cannot accept a pledge or care if you set it on fire. It's what you feel inside, your personal honour and values that count, not a bunch of coloured threads or (to return to the whole religion thing) a book.

Terez
08-24-2008, 03:18 AM
you're missing the point Terez, and preaching to the choir I'm not preaching to anyone, actually, and you apparently missed this bit:

I'm not saying that there aren't any religious people whose beliefs aren't malignant. Just that religion, in and of itself, doesn't encourage rational thought. I never said religious people weren't capable of rational thought. I only said that religion, in and of itself, doesn't encourage rational thought.

Ozymandias
08-24-2008, 03:25 AM
Roman Catholicism, and by extention, Christianity as a whole, did have a few bright spots...no human sacrifice being the top of the list.

And you see no problem with this being the first (and perhaps only) example you could come up with? Firstly, you must be joking. The very founder of the damned religion was a human sacrifice! What the fuck do you think a martyr is? Could it be... someone whose life is sacrificed to God for the good of the general population? Whoa, you know... that sounds a WHOLE lot like human sacrifice!! Whoda thunk it? And lets not forget that this; that not having human sacrifice isn't a GOOD thing, its merely the absence of a BAD thing. If you think that killing all the supporters of human sacrifice is a moral way to end the practice, you have a skewed worldview. But as I said, if religious practice X is evil, just because you have practice Y doesn't mean your doing good.

So, yes, Chrisitans, in unthinking mobs, rabidly following the millenia old teachings of a book of tales has lead to some problems...then again, it's also had some positive effects. Go back 2000 years and get rid of the disciples? No, I don't think so, then again, if I had the chance, I wouldn't remove Hitler if I had the chance either. Not that I'm anti-semetic, it's just that removing one man doesn't solve all the problems that Germany and Europe were undergoing in the early 20th century...just as removing Christianity from the past 2 millenia wouldn't solve the world's problems either.

You haven't named that positive effect, yet. I would go back and remove Hitler, in a second. Societies have peaceably resolved problems before. With an anti-Hitler, someone who used their considerable genius for good purposes rather than evil, the situation might have been more constructively resolved.

Its difficult at best to say we know what would happen if you changed history. But in all seriousness... how could the world be any worse without Christianity? its done nothing positive. It didn't bring about unity, or economic well being, or a significant curtailment of violence.

GonzoTheGreat
08-24-2008, 06:45 AM
no human sacrifice being the top of the list.
Witches were burned, but they were not formally sacrificed, so they don't count?
Heretics were burned (or killed in another way), but they were not formally sacrificed, so they don't count?
Muslims and Jews were massacred in Jerusalem "for the glory of God", but it was not called a sacrifice, so it doesn't count?

It seems to me that it was mainly the words that changed.

John Snow
08-24-2008, 10:40 AM
Ok, here's a thought experiment for all of you, regardless of your viewpoint on Christianity - imagine the Western world and its history if the dominant religion had been something like buddhism or tao. (or go read The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson).

Second, on reproduction and homosexuality - there was recently a fascinating study showing that female siblings of gay men and of gay men's mothers tend to reproduce at a higher rate than the general population, and also tend to pass the tendency for homosexuality along to their offspring. Thereby ensuring that gay guys will not vanish. Unfortunately the authors haven't looked at lesbians (yet), but I bet it'll be something similar.

StrangePackage
08-24-2008, 11:21 AM
The principal is still a dick.

Sinistrum
08-24-2008, 11:50 AM
But I've said before that as a whole, Christians have not done one good thing for this world in 2000 years. The world would be a happier, nicer, better place if we had never heard of the group. Throughout history, Christians have been in the vanguard of intolerance, cruelty, genocide, stupidity, murder, arrogance, and every other adjective with a negative connotation you could name.

Sorry Oz, but you're confusing a symptom with the disease itself. Lets say someone grants your wish and all of Christianity is wiped out for all of history. Do you honestly think the legacy of brutality associated with Christianity would go away with it? If you do, you need to be introduced to a concept called humanity. Christianity is just an excuse for horrid behavior. Get rid of it, and it won't eliminate that horrid behavior. People will just find a new excuse.

As for the original topic of the thread, Snow is dead on. The principle made his decision from a religious stand point but was acting in the capacity of a government official. The words Constitutional violation come to mind to describe his acts.

Ozymandias
08-24-2008, 04:48 PM
Sorry Oz, but you're confusing a symptom with the disease itself. Lets say someone grants your wish and all of Christianity is wiped out for all of history. Do you honestly think the legacy of brutality associated with Christianity would go away with it? If you do, you need to be introduced to a concept called humanity. Christianity is just an excuse for horrid behavior. Get rid of it, and it won't eliminate that horrid behavior. People will just find a new excuse.

Christianity provides a cover for evil people to hide behind. As do many religions, of course, but Christianity is pretty bad. Historically, they're the most intolerant group of people ever. You look at Islam, at other world religions, and you see at least a history of partial successes or not total failures.

So my answer is yes. I think that Christianity has had a negative effect and amplified the inner demons of people. It didn't give birth to evil, but its done more than anything else to channel it along against certain people. Yeah, the mob mentality which leads Christians to single out those not like them is a human quality, not a Christian one, but its undeniable that Christianity has given a particularly vindictive fervor to witch hunts through the ages (both real and figurative).

Christianity is one of the few groups I can think of, maybe the only one, that has persisted on a widespread scale throughout history with such destructive and violent tendancies. You think of nations, or religions, or cults, or whatever, and none of them rival the passionate fervor Christians had and have for killing, maiming, and outing those that disagree with them.

So, Regis, my final answer is yeah, I think the world would be a better place without Christianity. Not as in "it wouldn't have been worse" which seems to be the only justification offered for Christianity, but it actively would have been a nicer place to live in. Just because the religion isn't the root cause doesn't mean it isn't an unsightly blemish on human history. If I have smallpox, its not like I look at my nasty boils and think "we'll, you know, these aren't the root cause of the problem so I'll just let them be." The symptoms of a problem shouldn't be tolerated merely because they're not the source of the issue. We shouldn't allow this principle to continue discriminating and abusing his students because its just human nature to go after people different from ourselves. Listen to yourself!

Who knows, without centuries of religious intolerance clamping down on intellectual thought, we might be living in space by now! Space, dammit!

Sinistrum
08-24-2008, 06:08 PM
Sorry Oz, you're just flat wrong. There is nothing special about Christianity that brings out the inner evil of humanity any better than any other religion, political affiliation or philosophical belief. How do I know this? Take a look at the history of genocide in the 20th century. With relatively few exceptions they were all conducted by atheistic regimes (Stalinist Russia, China's Cultural Revolution, the Killing Fields of Cambodia) or groups that had absolutely no affiliation with religion what so ever (Rwanda's Interahamwe, the Young Turks in the Ottoman Empire, the Nazis, the Japanese Military in Nanking and other Chinese cities). You take religion away and people are still just as fucked up as the were with it. So no Oz, Christianity is no worse than any other form of belief.

Davian93
08-24-2008, 07:18 PM
~reads Ozy's post~

Just a bit of slightly unfair statements on Christians...just a tad insulting.

Ozymandias
08-24-2008, 07:19 PM
Sorry Oz, you're just flat wrong. There is nothing special about Christianity that brings out the inner evil of humanity any better than any other religion, political affiliation or philosophical belief. How do I know this? Take a look at the history of genocide in the 20th century. With relatively few exceptions they were all conducted by atheistic regimes (Stalinist Russia, China's Cultural Revolution, the Killing Fields of Cambodia) or groups that had absolutely no affiliation with religion what so ever (Rwanda's Interahamwe, the Young Turks in the Ottoman Empire, the Nazis, the Japanese Military in Nanking and other Chinese cities). You take religion away and people are still just as fucked up as the were with it. So no Oz, Christianity is no worse than any other form of belief.

You've chosen isolated incidents. As I said, human nature is violent and base. Christianity didn't create that. But as an institution, Christianity has survived long enough and attracted enough followers to be considered more evil than Stalinist Russia or the Rape of Nanking. These are relatively short, isolated overflows of human violence. Christianity has been channeling that violence against those it considers outsiders for 1500 years. Thats a history of evil Stalin or Pol Pot or whoever your despot is can't hope to emulate.

And aside from that, there is a difference between people being violent for political or economic gain, and people being intolerant merely because they think they should be. Arabs don't dislike Jews because of their religion, they dislike them because they feel Israel is an invading colony of a West they don't agree with. Stalin jailed and killed people because he wanted a more secure regime, not because he thought those people inherently deserved to die.

A Christian believes gays are an affront against God because they're different, not because Christians stand to gain from one more unbeliever burning in hell. Its an institutionalized hatred with no gain and no motive other than intolerance and spite.

I'm not going to sit here and say Christianity is unique in being hateful. Its just the evillest group in a long line of evil institutions. If you had to pick the very worst group of people in history, they would be Christians, because of a long standing love of violent death for anyone who doesn't agree with them. Including each other. God forbid I'm a 16th century man who wants to read and interpret the Bible on his own... oh wait, God does forbid. Time for me to die.

Christians have killed and slaughtered in the name of their genocidal god and have never once given back in a significant way. I'm fairly well versed in Western history and I can't think of a single example of Christians, as a group, doing a kind act for non-Christians. Thats a pretty poor resume.

Look at Buddhism. When was the last genocide in the name of Buddhism?

Davian93
08-24-2008, 07:22 PM
Ozy...are you trying to start a flamewar? Lots of horrible things have been done by non-Christians...The Holocaust was committed by an athiest...as was Stalin's purges. Christianity has done alot to help people too...but you will ignore all that I take it.

Ozymandias
08-24-2008, 07:28 PM
Christianity has done alot to help people too...but you will ignore all that I take it.

I'm looking for an institutional example of Christianity doing something TRULY helpful. I know there are millions of kind, caring, good Christians. But institutional policy is that gays burn in Hell, Heaven is for whites only, and if your not a Bible-beating, god-fearing Christian you better get your suntan lotion on, because your burning in a fiery Hell for a long time.

Last night, walking down the street, I was screamed at by a group of streetcorner preachers. I wear a star of david, and it was randomly out over my shirt, and they physically stopped me in the street to scream at me. I told them I was a Jew for Jesus and moved on.

And I understand your going to say those are a bunch of crazies, but they aren't. Those are real Christians. Thats the ideal of what a Christian is. Someone who goes out to harangue those who disagree with him. After that, you merely become less of a good Christian, if you decide to be more tolerant.

Davian93
08-24-2008, 07:31 PM
I think the key you're missing is that Christianity isn't an institution. Lots of people will call themselves Christian and do horrible things.

I don't have any response whatsoever for the Whites only comment...as I don't where that's coming from.

I will say that there are alot of bad "Christians" and alot of people that say they are Christians taht aren't. Its very hard and at the same time very easy to be a Christian.

Ozymandias
08-24-2008, 07:45 PM
I think the key you're missing is that Christianity isn't an institution. Lots of people will call themselves Christian and do horrible things.

Of course Christianity is an institution. You can't identify yourself with a historically active social community, but then distance yourself from the responsibilities that community has taken upon itself. If your any kind of Christian at all, you believe in the basic tenet that there is a God, he'll reward you if your good, and that reward is getting in to Heaven. Which means that you need to BE a Christian to get there.

Your stance is the illegal immigration of religion. You can't expect to identify as Christian, reap the rewards of being Christian, and find comfort and camraderie with other Christians based on that commonality, without also acknowledging that your a member of an institution. Christianity if nothing if NOT an institution. Its a bunch of disparate people with disparate interests, bound together by a single common thread. Can you think of a better definition for a social institution than that?

And this particular one has been cruel and intolerant for 99% of its history. By saying, "I'm a Christian", you take some small part of the blame for the things Christianity has done. Its incredibly irresponsible to distance yourself from that.

I don't have any response whatsoever for the Whites only comment...as I don't where that's coming from..

It was a comment on the exclusive and intolerant nature of Christianity, more than a racial comment. Jews, Muslims, atheists... we're all barred from Heaven for no other reason than that we aren't Christians.

I will say that there are alot of bad "Christians" and alot of people that say they are Christians taht aren't. Its very hard and at the same time very easy to be a Christian.

No, its very easy to be a Christian. By expressing a belief in the basic tenets of Christianity, you become one. By saying "I'm Christian", you become one. And that means you accept the legacy that has been passed down to you. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Hating gays, deciding to force women to accede to your beliefs based on some religious ideal (im talking bout abortion), thats the mantle of being a Christian. This is what most of the truly faithful believe. If you don't believe in that kind of stuff, your not really a Christian, not the other way around. Institutional policy says "gays are bad. abortion is bad. condoms are bad". Therefore, if you think condoms are pretty swank, then your not a Christian. Your a non-believer who shares many of the same basic principles, but in the end is not a member of the institution.

Davian93
08-24-2008, 07:58 PM
Ozy one of us is displaying alot of hatred here and it isn't me. I'm not gonna even debate it with you. You're too blinded by your hatred to be rational about it.

Sinistrum
08-24-2008, 08:49 PM
Isolated incidents my ass. All of those "isolated incidents" span a full century. And in that century roughly 17.6 million people were killed in those so called isolated incidents.

http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/

And that's not even counting what went on in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban being overthrown, or the what is going on in Darfur and Kashmir provinces, where btw, the vast majority of victims are Christian. How many people has Christianity killed in the last century Oz? I guarantee you the significantly less than 17.6 million.

As for a broader historical perspective, Christianity's crimes still pale in comparison to people like Ghengis Khan, Attila the Hun, Saladin, and Alexander the Great. You know what they all have in common? Yeah, that's right, they aren't Christian.

And aside from that, there is a difference between people being violent for political or economic gain, and people being intolerant merely because they think they should be.

Different how? Either way, people still end up dead, no matter the reason. I'm pretty sure dead people see no distinction between those who kill for political power or those who kill for religious reasons.

Look at Buddhism. When was the last genocide in the name of Buddhism?

It may not be a genocide but they sure are involved in one of the nastiest armed conflicts currently going on in the world and are doing more than their fair share of slaughtering.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinhalese_people

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lankan_Civil_War

we might be living in space by now! Space, dammit!

Except it wasn't Christianity's fault that it didn't happen sooner. It was the Romans, the pagan, polytheistic, Romans, btw, who burned the Great Library of Alexandria. It was actually a group of Christians that preserved the knowledge that the Roman Empire kept around after it was destroyed by the Huns and mitigated to a great degree the damage done by the Dark Ages.

http://www.amazon.com/Irish-Saved-Civilization-Hinges-History/dp/0385418493

Verin Mathwin
08-24-2008, 09:59 PM
Ozy... the whole "crucify" us pun. Was not a pun. You said Nero had the right idea and that is what he did to Christians he crucified them and set fire to them and killed them in other different ways. So in saying that Nero had the right idea you were in fact saying that was what should happen to Christians now.

And I just want to say that I am horribly and sincerely sorry for it seems like you have had some really bad experiences with Christians, and for that I am sorry.

ShadowbaneX
08-24-2008, 10:10 PM
Firstly, Jesus wasn't a human sacrifice. He was executed. He wasn't sacrificed to any particular Roman God to make the rains comes, the fields to grow, the sea voyage to be easy, or whatever. He was a rabble rouser and he was turned over to the Romans and executed. Simple as that. It was those that came after and turned it into a sacrifice to purge the sins from man's soul or whatever you want to call it.

You want a positive benefit, well, I'll be one of the first to agree that there aren't many, but Rome was the central power in Europe for a damned long time. They're responsible for keeping what disperate elements there were together and semi-functional for quite a while. Also, you can lay a number of key events in history to the benefit of the church, events that had they not happened, the world would be unfathomly altered. I can randomly start with 1066 and the Norman conquering of Anglo-Saxon England. William the Conquerer was a very religious individual, going to far to collect a great number of holy relics, and by and large, had a good deal of religion influencing him.

From there we lead down a path that spans to the rise of the English Empire, which had a slight impact on the shaping of the western world. The fact of the matter is that without Roman Catholicism none of us, and I mean about the 6+ billion people currently alive, would be here today. The course of history would be so massively changed, that only in some of the remotest locations on the planet, would be uneffected by the removal of Roman Catholicism.

And I wouldn't touch Hitler. He was a nutter, and once things were going did more to help the allies then hurt them. He's the one that attacked Russia, he's the one that decided to have the throw down at Stalingrad, he's the one that went after the Kaukasus Oil fields. He's the one that formed up the German military forces as a group of rivals fighting for his favour and making them less effective. He's the one that created his own armed bodyguard and prevent resources from getting to the Whermarcht. He set up the conditions which allowed for the allies to win.

Oh, and before you being, the Holocaust, while it happened on Hitler's approval, wasn't his idea. He might have exploited the Anti-semetic feelings, but they were already there. The whole 'answer to the jewish' question contained a mariad of possible answers including the possibility of exiling the lot of them to madagascar. It was only once the war started to go badly and they no longer had their options that they went for the death camps.

Also, before you bring in the idea that taking out Hitler would have prevented the war entirely, that's wrong as well. The problems were still all over the place in Germany and still would have existed if Hitler gave up the politics and became an artist. Furthermore, if you take out the fascists, then you risk the possibility of the entire country going communist, if not eventually stalinist and then you've got to deal with the possibility of a red europe. So Hitler, as horrible as it was, the likelihood is that someone much, much worse comes along. Samething applies to catholiscism. Yeah, it's not great, but just taking it out the root doesn't automatically mean that the world turns into a utopia. In all likelihood it means that none of us exists, and what ends up in our place is something worse...then again, I'm something of a cynic, so that might be tainting my world view.

Birgitte
08-25-2008, 12:08 AM
Spreading Christianity has been a common excuse for atrocities. No one denies that. But, really, it was just that: an excuse. Atrocities would have happened anyway. The people who used it as an excuse would still have been there. Do you honestly believe that they couldn't have found another one? You can't rationally blame a religion for being twisted and used for the purposes of evil persons. Vlad the Impaler used Christianity as an excuse to shove big sticks up Muslim's asses. He did it because he was a sick son of a bitch, not because he belonged to the Christian Church. He got away with it because people excepted his excuse. Understandably, no one was willing to be the next one on the stake. The Crusades started because the Pope wanted to gain more political power. He wanted to control the Byzantines, so he sent them aid when they were being invaded. The invaders were Muslim, so he took that as an excuse to start a holy war, a war to spread his political power even farther. Someone who knows more about history could tell you more.

That isn't really the point. Those are just examples. It isn't the institutions fault that it's been twisted and it isn't the fault of the people who truly believe in it. Taking away the religion doesn't change the people who use it. Locking up the disciples would accomplish exactly nothing. Crucifying everyone who belongs to the religion they started, metaphorically or literally, is meaningless.

Of course, you aren't really talking about the people who really believe in it. You're talking about the people who use it as an excuse to belittle and attack people who disagree with them. Do you honestly believe that those people wouldn't do the same things they're doing now had they never read the Bible? Because I find that idea to be frankly ludicrous. As Sinistrum said. It's called humanity.


That being said. Yes, I do believe that that woman did the right thing. This country has laws against discrimination. Every citizen has the freedom to express themselves. David Davis broke those laws and tried to take away those rights in his position as a public administrator. He shouldn't get away with it simply because the people who agree with him are poor. Other students may suffer for it, but there are 82 students in Grades 1-12 in Ponce de Leon, Florida (http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/educLevel.php?locIndex=8859) and 21 cities within 25 miles (http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/localProx.php?local=8859&locTGroup=Communities&dist=25&distLbl=miles&searchStr=&parseMethod=&sec=0). It can't be that hard to get those students taken care of.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-25-2008, 08:48 AM
*the in this case, is ignoring this rule. Now, by and large it's taken to mean don't worship idols, but if you really think about it, it should mean any and all physical and some not-so-physical, representations of the religion. In this case, it's the bible itself. What these people are essentially doing is worshiping the bible and not the religion. They're obeying a book for crying out loud, not the teachings and the supposed supreme being that passed them along to mankind. They're doing what the Bible says, "homosexuality is wrong" as opposed to the teachings of the religion, "love everyone" "don't hurt your neighbour", etc.

Thank you.

And Ozy, your prejudice is showing.

The Immortal One
08-25-2008, 09:37 AM
BUT maybe human society really just has always had built up defense mechanisms against what is essentially a possible path to extinction.

This may be an old reason for hating and fearing homosexuals but really, with 6.684 billion or so people in the world (according to Wikipedia), even if four out of every five people decided to be gay the human race still wouldn't become extinct (barring armageddon-type natural disasters) for millenia.



we might be living in space by now! Space, dammit!
WOW!! Really!?!



As for the current arguement:
The problem with religion is that it generally requires you to believe in something for which there is no evidence.
I partly disagree; I think that the problem is "Religion". I really have no problem with belief itself; with *knowing* that their is a divine hand guiding us; but when that belief is surrounded and overwhelmed by a set of rules telling us how to live it crosses a line.

This is the reason why the law changes with the times to suit society' needs and beliefs - but religious commandments are so much harder to change.



How many people has Christianity killed in the last century Oz? I guarantee you the significantly less than 17.6 million.
Oz's point there is that they are each seperate incidents, each for a different cause, and each lasting only for a short period. Whereas Christianity has been around so long that there are (at least) several such incidents attributed to it.

Even if the Crusades back in the 1200's only killed a few hundred thousand or perhaps one or two million you have to take into account that the entire world population was only 350-400 million, compared to today's 6 billion.


However, on this issue I agree with Sinistrum, doing away with Christianity will just make people with 'evil' intentions find other excuses. Of course, that's not to say getting rid of organised religion is a bad thing.




On a totally unrelated issue,
"David Davis is a fine man and good principal
What sort of idiot names their child David when their surname is Davis, don't these people consider how much kids get hassled at school for their names.



Finally on the original topic; I have to agree with almost all of you: the principal is an idiot. But also, what did the girl expect telling the principal? Surely she knew the opinions of her community on such an issue.

Also, I don't see how they can sue the school itself. The principal who did this did so in defiance of the school's policy and has been punished for it - sure sue the ex-principal, but not the school.

StrangePackage
08-25-2008, 09:50 AM
We dicker and debate. The principal is still a cock-knock.

John Snow
08-25-2008, 10:02 AM
Ozy...are you trying to start a flamewar? Lots of horrible things have been done by non-Christians...The Holocaust was committed by an athiest...as was Stalin's purges. Christianity has done alot to help people too...but you will ignore all that I take it.

Hitler was not an atheist. Not positive about Stalin but I think you're right there.

Realnow
08-25-2008, 10:32 AM
This may be an old reason for hating and fearing homosexuals but really, with 6.684 billion or so people in the world (according to Wikipedia), even if four out of every five people decided to be gay the human race still wouldn't become extinct (barring armageddon-type natural disasters) for millenia.


Not a reason so much as a instinctual aspect of the collective unconcious, as in: not something you would think about, but that you would inherently feel without knowing. And if 4/5 people became gay you don't think that would seriously mess society up? Again, I simply bring up this point and it doesn't represent my beliefs.



And Ozymandias:

You sicken me with your hatred and prejudice, and you show that its not one religion that is full of corruption and hate but ANY person. EVERY religion has good people and bad people following it.

You have displayed a total lack of comprehension of Christianity in general and even religion in and of itself.

I am a Christian and I don't hate gays and make women follow my beliefs, nor do most Christians I know. You are sensationalizing and generalizing Chritianity in a most embarassing way. I can't believe you actually think you can label millions of people based on their religion, but you clearly know very little about it.

No, its very easy to be a Christian. By expressing a belief in the basic tenets of Christianity, you become one. By saying "I'm Christian", you become one. And that means you accept the legacy that has been passed down to you. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Hating gays, deciding to force women to accede to your beliefs based on some religious ideal (im talking bout abortion), thats the mantle of being a Christian. This is what most of the truly faithful believe. If you don't believe in that kind of stuff, your not really a Christian, not the other way around. Institutional policy says "gays are bad. abortion is bad. condoms are bad". Therefore, if you think condoms are pretty swank, then your not a Christian. Your a non-believer who shares many of the same basic principles, but in the end is not a member of the institution.

Who are you to decide what makes someone a certain religion? Seriously what the fuck is wrong with you? This makes no sense at all and is insulting to your intelligence to even say it. Religion and faith are what you make them, not what a bible fucking tells you.

And get the god damn Catholic church (no abortion, no gays, no condoms) and Christianity straight you ignorant fool. The institution of the Church and Christianity are like apples and oranges. Read a book before you speak.

GonzoTheGreat
08-25-2008, 11:02 AM
You sicken me with your hatred and prejudice, and you show that its not one religion that is full of corruption and hate but ANY person. EVERY religion has good people and bad people following it.

The problem is that if they use the religion 'right', then the bad people can get a very significant number of good people to go along with them. That's a lot harder to do with atheism, since there are no common things apart from "there are no gods" which atheists share. And quite a lot of people see the logical hole in "there are no gods, therefor we have to kill all people who paint their toenails green".

Davian93
08-25-2008, 11:30 AM
Hitler was not an atheist. Not positive about Stalin but I think you're right there.

Umm...yeah he was...as was Stalin....they both believed in nothing but themselves.

John Snow
08-25-2008, 11:37 AM
Umm...yeah he was...as was Stalin....they both believed in nothing but themselves.

Check your facts before telling me I'm wrong. Chew on this, mate - Wikipedia on Adolf Hitler's religious beliefs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler%27s_religious_beliefs)

Granted, he's not a Lutheran or even a Methodist, but he's no atheist......

on edit:
and to my surprise, you're wrong about Stalin as well...Joseph Stalin Religious beliefs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin#Religious_beliefs)

Davian93
08-25-2008, 02:24 PM
On Hitler: There is less controversy about other statements. Joseph Goebbels notes in a diary entry in 1939: "The Führer is deeply religious, but deeply anti-Christian. He regards Christianity as a symptom of decay." Albert Speer reports a similar statement: “You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good?

Doesn't sound Christian to me...maybe not athiest in the purest sense of the word but def. not Christian...he did exploit the already present anti-semitism in Germany but not out of any deep founded catholicism.

On Stalin: Stalin's beliefs are complicated and sometimes contradictory. He received his education at the Theological Seminary at Tbilisi, where his mother sent him to become a priest, but he became a closet atheist.[75]

He only reopened the churches to fool the peasantry into thinking WWII was a religious war...not out of any beliefs of his own.

Hitler might have had some twisted beliefs but definitely not Stalin.

Birgitte
08-25-2008, 04:07 PM
We dicker and debate. The principal is still a cock-knock.


Indeed, he is.

Ishara
08-25-2008, 06:42 PM
To bring the discussion back on point, that principal violated the trust of his position at that school. If a student entrusts an authority figure with a confidence that doesn't endager themselves or others then that authority should have been honoured.

I'm talking about actually harming too - not just moral harm. Examples: abuse, suicide-risk, drugs etc.

Brita
08-25-2008, 09:51 PM
I took a couple days break from the board after Ozy's initial comments- they were too harsh and frankly, hurtful.

I just finished reading the thread- and want to say thank you to the non-christians for posting rebuttals against Ozy's comments. I was so afraid no one would say anything because it is very "un-chic" to defend christianity. And it would just end up being the christians on the board trying our best to fend off unfair accusations, and everyone else would look the other way. But people came in with the voice of reason, and I am sincerely relieved.

ShadowbaneX
08-25-2008, 10:26 PM
I'm a student of history and one thing you have to say about Christianity it has literally sculpted this world. If it were to be erased the planet would likely change 90% and that remaining part would likely be undisturbed parts of the planet and remote areas of China.

I saw that Ozy post that without Christianity we might be living in space by now and I know that he's dead wrong on that because you take out Christanity and none of us, NONE, are still here. It would be a completely different earth, with a completely different population that would be here and not 'us'.

Birgitte
08-25-2008, 10:37 PM
I don't know if I agree that it would be that different, SBX. There's no way to tell obviously, but I really think that for the most part, people are people and what religion they are doesn't change that. It's the culture and genetics that makes people who they are, IMO. Religion is part of that culture, but it isn't the entirety. I think that a lot of those Christians who inspired people to change the course of history (for better or worse) would still be almost exactly the same had Christianity never taken hold. There's no real way to tell that I know of, but I disagree on how much religion really shapes people's minds and how much is just people using religion to justify ideas they already have ingrained in themselves. For example, we all believe that murder is wrong. We don't need God to tell us.

Terez
08-25-2008, 11:41 PM
What else can really be used to justify this level of homophobia, though? If religion went away right now, how could any sane person justify it? The attempt to prove that homosexuality is dangerous to society through any empirical means has been pathetic. I realize that not all Christians, Jews, and Muslims are homophobic, but the Old Testament, New Testament, and Koran all say straight out that homosexuality is evil. There might not be many people here that believe that (I'm pretty sure 4A does) but Theoryland isn't exactly a sample population of the world. Lots of people believe it, and I don't believe that anywhere near as many would if their holy books didn't proclaim it.

John Snow
08-26-2008, 12:03 AM
the excellent book, speculative alternative history fiction, "Years of Rice and Salt", by Kim Stanley Robinson - tackles exactly this topic - what would the world look like if Europe was wiped out by the Black Death.

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 12:15 AM
Like I said it's all about fear of oneself fear of losing friends and family because they won't aproove (This aplies to both sexual orientations because it is about being labled as gay as well as actually being one). Religion is a powerful force in this but people are also so ready to believe it that they'll take any excuse to justify their fear. If religion goes away, they'd just go with "the only way to make babies is heterosexual so homosexuality will destroy us"

Terez
08-26-2008, 12:37 AM
Like I said it's all about fear of oneself fear of losing friends and family because they won't aproove (This aplies to both sexual orientations because it is about being labled as gay as well as actually being one). Religion is a powerful force in this but people are also so ready to believe it that they'll take any excuse to justify their fear. If religion goes away, they'd just go with "the only way to make babies is heterosexual so homosexuality will destroy us"
That last is a clearly fallacious argument, easily proven to be worthless (as has already been done in this thread). And those socialized feelings of discomfort are really nothing in comparison to the belief that your hatred is justified by the Almighty God.

In other words, those icky feelings don't do anything to justify the hatred. It's religion that pretends to justify it. It's that justified hatred that perpetuates the socialized icky feelings.

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 12:46 AM
Terez, I am explaining the root of the fear itself. If there wasn't any cause for it, there would be no need to justify it. So unless you solve the cause of the fear you will go no where as ppl will just seek another justification. Religion has a great deal to do with spreading the fear but it is not the original cause in the indivitual level.

Terez
08-26-2008, 12:59 AM
Terez, I am explaining the root of the fear itself. I understand the root of the fear.
If there wasn't any cause for it, there would be no need to justify it. I understand that too - but I think that religion is what makes it a "fear" rather than a something a simple discomfort or uninterest.
So unless you solve the cause of the fear you will go no where as ppl will just seek another justification. They won't find it, though. Rational people can be convinced of their justification by religion, because of the nature of religion. It's been an authority for thousands of years. Simple discomforts aren't good enough reasons for human rights violations on such as massive scale. Without religion, where would people truly find that justification?

Religion has a great deal to do with spreading the fear but it is not the original cause in the indivitual level. I never said it was the original cause. We know little enough about "original causes" in general, and it's pretty irrelevant. Religion is undeniably the main reason for the perpetuation of homophobia today.

So, it makes straight guys uncomfortable when there's a gay guy around. Especially when a gay guy hits on them. omg! How is it different (or as bad, even) as the feeling a woman gets when a much older guy tries to pick her up in a bar?

This sort of inane discomfort doesn't justify the appalling treatment of homosexuals still seen today (especially in my country). Religion is what "justifies" it. Religion is the only real reason why laws still exist that treat homosexuals like sub-humans. If religion went away today, the problem wouldn't go away immediately because of socialization, but it wouldn't last for long, because no other "justification" even pretends to stand up to scrutiny.

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 01:23 AM
Religion has a great deal to do with spreading the fear but it is not the original cause in the indivitual level.
Religion is not the reason for the fear. Every homophobic indivitual has a personal cause for this fear. Religion is only the justification.

So, it makes straight guys uncomfortable when there's a gay guy around. Especially when a gay guy hits on them. omg! How is it different (or as bad, even) as the feeling a woman gets when a much older guy tries to pick her up in a bar?
You are comparing homophobia to the oh so tragic dark side of being an attractive woman? Well the basic difference is that the woman understands why the old guy is trying to pick her up while the man doesn't understand why the gay man is asking him out. Human beings fear what they don't understand thus the different result.

ShadowbaneX
08-26-2008, 01:36 AM
some people are homophobic, but I don't believe that all religious types are. If you're absolutely 110% proof positive that you are right, well, as they say, the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and I'm sure that this principal had good intentions when he took his actions.

The belief that the bible is right is what also fules the laughable attempts to prove it an abboration. I'm reminded of a physics experiment conducted in the late 19th century attempting to find aether (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_(classical_element)). The two scientists, Albert Michelson and Edward Morley conducted some experiments to find it. Their theories were sound, their equipment was flawless, but they couldn't detect the aether.

What answer did they take away from this experiment? It wasn't that there was no aether, it was that they were somehow wrong, and that there was a problem with their theories or their equipment.

They were so 100% convinced that aether existed, that they refused to believe that analytical evidence right in front of them.

These overly religious are so convinced that they're right, they ignore what's right in front of them in attempting to locate, find or prove something which isn't there.

Oh, and B, think about it this way: 2,000 years of history moving differently. 2,000 years of different battles. 2,000 years of different alliances and enemies, different agreements, different everything.

Say France rises to power, or Spain, or the Holy Roman Empire does die and instead expands. England no longer establishes their Empire. North America, rather then winding up as a British Colony goes to some other nation. Perhaps, things change even more.

Who says that without Christianity Roman Civilization even collapses? Say the Roman Empire continues, and eventually they discover the new world? Or perhaps it collapses and it's the Chinese or the Japanese that discover the Americas.

The way the western world develops is on the English Empire gaining majority control over north america. If they don't and things go differently, say taxes aren't that bad, and the there isn't the American War of Independance. Who's to say that even England would have had enough sway in Europe to even secure their 13 original colonies? Either way the US never exists, neither does Canada.

Without England rising to power, everything shifts, and Christianity has had a huge impact on Europe and England. Without Rome as the center of power, controling and directing things throughout a good portion of history Europe could have evolved completely differently, and if Europe changes, so do the Americas and with looking at the past century or so, so does the rest of the world.

No, the impact of Christianity has touched pretty much the entire planet, and it's going changes the world drastically.

tworiverswoman
08-26-2008, 01:54 AM
the man doesn't understand why the gay man is asking him out. Human beings fear what they don't understand thus the different result. I'm of the belief that in 50-100 years, no one will really understand what the fuss was all about. We are socialized to have that gut level reaction to homosexuals that still affects most people of my generation, and many "sheltered" individuals of any generation. It's still a cultural issue, but the reactions to homosexuality have altered dramatically in the last 40 years, and in another 60, they will have altered even further.

It's a little like Women Suffragettes. I've seen any number of funny movies that prominently feature some woman who is "marching for the cause" and made to look a little silly -- from Mary Poppins to The Great Race, and many, many more. But when the struggle was new and harsh, there wasn't a lot of humor felt by the parties involved.

For example, we all believe that murder is wrong. We don't need God to tell us. Except that Allah has apparently told some people that it's perfectly ok to kill a wide variety of people, from women who "stray" to those who "collaborate with the enemy."

Terez
08-26-2008, 02:18 AM
Religion is not the reason for the fear. Every homophobic indivitual has a personal cause for this fear. Religion is only the justification. Which is what I have been saying all along. You're trying to posit that religion has nothing to do with the persistence of homophobia, that it would persist even without religion. While it's true that individuals will still be homophobic for some time to come, it's ridiculous to deny that religion is the main perpetuating factor in homophobia. Ever heard of the Bible Belt?

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i111/Terez27/800px-Samesex_marriage_in_USAsvg.png

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i111/Terez27/Picture1-9.png

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 02:54 AM
Ever heard of free will? I'm telling you religion is just conviniently there to offer justification. The cause of the fear would still be there and another justification would be found, if religion were removed. It doesn't even have to be rational. And bible belt or not where is your proof there aren't people there who justify their fear with something else than religion? How do you know the people who justify the fear with religion don't have all these other independent arguments to boost up the justification. And for your information I live in Finland, which one of the least religious countries and there's a lot of homophobia around.

Terez
08-26-2008, 03:02 AM
You keep saying that justification would be found, but you're wrong. There is no justification for it. There will always be some wackos out there, but without religion, we would not have such a huge proportion of the population bent on treating homosexuals like sub-humans, because there is nothing logical about it. Yes, religion is "only the justification", but it's the only thing that passes for justification well enough to sway so many people. No matter how much homophobia there is in Finland, same sex unions are recognized there. That's a huge difference from places where religion is prominent.

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 04:00 AM
The point is that the fear isn't rational. Most fears aren't. Even with rational fears people rarely act rationally about them. Take fear of hights you might fall and die completely rational to be afraid, but don't you think the way the refuse to go closer than 15 feet to an edge is over reacting. Fear does this to people. Justification is only an excuse not to be ashemed about it but without it the fear is still there. Now without justification some people would get over their fears and about an equal number of people would be broken by it.

GonzoTheGreat
08-26-2008, 04:11 AM
Eh? What's with the "Foreign same-sex marriages recognized"?

Does that mean that some US states do not recognise Dutch marriages? Are they aware that this is supposed to be a reciprocal thing, so that the Netherlands shouldn't recognise (for example) any Texan marriage either?
This would mean that if a couple with children from Texas visited the Netherlands (or another country with same-sex marriage) and the woman died, then the man would not be recognised as the father. The children would be temporarily placed in an orphanage or something like that, and years of legal hassle would be needed to settle this thing.

Of course, the Netherlands is not as petty as that. But it does seem that a lot of American states are taking enormous risks with the well being of their own citizens. And they are making their own foreign policy, in direct contrast to the US Constitution, on top of that.
Of course, dumping on the Constitution isn't considered a problem anymore, so that part is probably not all that important.

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 04:20 AM
POWER TO THE FOREIGNERS!!!

Gilshalos Sedai
08-26-2008, 08:08 AM
Actually, that map is inaccurate for Texas, Terez. Sinistrum or Bryan can help me out, but the recent amendment they (I didn't vote for the fucking thing) passed banned same sex marriage. I don't recall it outlawing civil unions.

http://austin.about.com/od/governmentcityservices/f/txmarriageamend.htm

That's the text of the amendment. Problem is, section 1 and section 2 contradict each other, but that's not why I voted against it.

Davian93
08-26-2008, 08:39 AM
Having lived in a state WITH gay marriage...I can't say that society collapsed because of it. As if I care if a gay couple has a piece a paper on the wall just like a straight couple...I could care less about gay marriage.

Ishara
08-26-2008, 09:02 AM
A couple of thoughts, most unrelated:

First, while I would say that only 1-3 active members of this board are what I would call outright homophobes who spout hateful things about gays/ lesbians without a second thought, I would also say that a large percentage of this board is not actually accepting of homosexuality as a "valid" lifestyle. Hurtful comments are made by people that I respect (that claim to be a-okay with the whole "thing") about homosexuals all the time. Stuff like, "not in my home" or "not with my kid" or "it's unnatural" etc. We have several gay members on this board and it hurts me to see the kind of thoughtless comments we throw out there in this respect.

Secondly, if Christianity never took off, I'm pretty certain we'd be more technologically advanced than we are now SBX. I'm looking at the Eastern tradition of scientific advancement (i.e. gunpowder, among other things) and the Islamic/ Jewish tradition of medicine and science prior to (and during some of) the Crusades. Historically, the Arabs were the best of the best when it came to poetry, literature, science, medicine, astrology etc, with the Jews not that far behind in medicine. They lived in harmony (albeit taxing the hell out of the Christians and Jews). It was the Christians who expelled the scholars from Europe following the ascension of Ferdinand and Isabella. To put it very simply, that event (the expulsion of Arabs and Jews from Spain) brought Europe into an intellectual dark age.

Davian93
08-26-2008, 09:39 AM
That's not telling the whole story Ishara....both those eastern traditions also became very very conservative after around the 12th century for Muslims and the 16th century for Japan and China...it was Western influence which forced all 3 cultures into the modern world. Rome begot Constantinople begot Baghdad (before the Mongols) begot Italy (Rennaissance)for intellectural thought in the West.

Uno
08-26-2008, 09:53 AM
It was the Christians who expelled the scholars from Europe following the ascension of Ferdinand and Isabella. To put it very simply, that event (the expulsion of Arabs and Jews from Spain) brought Europe into an intellectual dark age.

So you're saying that as the great flowering of Western European intellectual thought now known as the Renaissance was reaching its zenith, Europe was simultaneously plunged into an intellectual "dark age"? That's a pretty strange argument.

In general, you guys are romanticizing the pre-Christian past. Consider pagan Roman antiquity, where the favourite past time of the good citizens of the empire was watching people being eaten alive by lions, where infanticide was an acceptable mode of dealing with unwanted children, and where the pater familias actually wielded power over life and death of the members of the family. A human life was worth very little to the Ancients, and it's certainly true that Christianity introduced a new humanitarian impulse to that society. There's a reason, after all, why women, slaves, and other disadvantaged groups were the most eager converts during the first centuries A.D.

Consider also, for instance, that by the High Middle Ages, Western Europe was possibly the only large region on the entire globe where domestic chattel slavery was actually a thing of the past. While that development is not entirely due to religious reasons, it can hardly be doubted that the Church, by insisting that masters treat Christian slaves as fellow human beings, seriously undermined slaveholder authority, and thus slavery itself. It's true that Christians were (obviously) open to enslaving non-Christians abroad, but the practical disappearance of slavery from most of Christian Europe is nevertheless a significant development in world history.

A number of scholars have furthermore made a pretty interesting argument for the link between Christianity and modern political freedom. Central to Christian thinking is the doctrine of the two spheres, that is, that religious and secular authority are not the same thing. What that means, of course, is that there are limits to the power of the state over the realm of thought, which ultimately may have led to notion of freedom of thought so cherished by people today.

Hell, constitutional government itself has been attributed to the Medieval Church. Papal autocracy, after all, is a relatively recent trend in Church history, and the idea that a council of representatives from the various parts of Christianity was the highest authority within the Church certainly bears a strong resemblance to modern ideas of representative government, although I'm personally rather skeptical of that particular argument.

Most obviously, modern humanitarian thinking is directly rooted in the Christian heritage. Help the poor, empathize with those that suffer--these are pretty standard (though not uniquely) Christian ideas. And while it's easy to point to the atrocities committed by the Catholic Church and its adherents, it's also way too easy to forget that during most of European history, the Church has been the major supplier of charitable services to the suffering, running hospitals, dispensing alms to the poor, and so forth. Indeed, people who condemn the atrocities committed by Christians in the past are in many ways the direct heirs to the humanitarian tradition developed under the auspicies of European Christianity.

Along that line of thinking, European notions of international law and proper international behaviour also have their root in Christian thought. The Medieval Church conducted a long-standing campaign for the establishment of peace within Christianity, generally working to keep Christians from fighting each other, and specifically championing the idea of limited or civilized warfare, which directly leads to the modern notion that civilians are not legitimate military targets.

Somewhat disturbingly, the Church's peace movement was a contributing factor to the Crusades, as channeling the aggressive energies of European nobles outward, against the infidels, was an obvious way of promoting the cause of peace at home. Much the same may be said of Christianity's treatment of non-Christians in general. But drawing a stark line between insiders and outsiders is a strategy common to many societies, not a uniquely Christian or European phenomenon.

Terez
08-26-2008, 10:04 AM
Actually, that map is inaccurate for Texas, Terez. Sinistrum or Bryan can help me out, but the recent amendment they (I didn't vote for the fucking thing) passed banned same sex marriage. I don't recall it outlawing civil unions.

http://austin.about.com/od/governmentcityservices/f/txmarriageamend.htm

That's the text of the amendment. Problem is, section 1 and section 2 contradict each other, but that's not why I voted against it. There are probably sodomy laws on the books. ;)

Hmmm, wait...didn't that go to SCOTUS?

Davian93
08-26-2008, 10:14 AM
Uno's a doctor so that add extra weight to his side of the argument...

GonzoTheGreat
08-26-2008, 10:18 AM
http://austin.about.com/od/governmentcityservices/f/txmarriageamend.htm

That's the text of the amendment. Problem is, section 1 and section 2 contradict each other, but that's not why I voted against it.
What's the contradiction, Gil?

It seems to say quite plainly that hospital visitation, property, and the entitlement to proceeds of life insurance policies are no longer part of marriage at all. If you want to have any of that in Texas, then you'll have to arrange it yourself (and hope you've done it properly, so that it holds up in court).

But the Amendment says quite clearly that those things can be arranged separate from marriage, that nothing which resembles marriage but isn't that will be acknowledged, and thus that marriage cannot include those things because then it would have to be impossible to arrange those things separately.
Now it is only a matter of time until a life insurance company refuses to pay out, and then we'll see how happy the people of Texas are with the Demolition Of Marriage Act.
Stuff like, "not in my home" or "not with my kid" or "it's unnatural" etc.Does it count if my objection stems from "I have a kid? Where did that come from?"

Ishara
08-26-2008, 10:22 AM
In general, you guys are romanticizing the pre-Christian past. I accept that...

Terez
08-26-2008, 10:22 AM
There's a reason, after all, why women, slaves, and other disadvantaged groups were the most eager converts during the first centuries A.D.
Yeah, and there's also a reason why the overly religious were the last to admit that slavery was wrong - they used the Bible to justify slavery (because there are Old Testament laws that deal with slaves).

A number of scholars have furthermore made a pretty interesting argument for the link between Christianity and modern political freedom. Central to Christian thinking is the doctrine of the two spheres, that is, that religious and secular authority are not the same thing.
"Central to Christian thinking"? Isn't that a blanket statement? lol...the only thing I can think of to support it is the whole "give unto Caesar" verse. Some Christians over the years have taken that seriously; others haven't.

And I'd say that the ideas about representative government clearly predate Christianity...as do humanitarian thoughts...

Realnow
08-26-2008, 11:36 AM
The problem is that if they use the religion 'right', then the bad people can get a very significant number of good people to go along with them. That's a lot harder to do with atheism, since there are no common things apart from "there are no gods" which atheists share. And quite a lot of people see the logical hole in "there are no gods, therefor we have to kill all people who paint their toenails green".

But then isn't that just the person using the religion for immoral reasons? Thats like blaming the gun for killing somebody.

GonzoTheGreat
08-26-2008, 11:43 AM
Not quite. It is blaming the gun for being a force multiplier. If the killer-to-be had merely tried throwing the bullet, then it would have been unlikely to be lethal, but with a gun it is.

In the same way, if some rabid XYZ hater tries on his own to massacre 500 (suspected) XYZ practitioners, he isn't likely to achieve anything much. But if he says "God hates XYZ" and manages to convince enough people, then atrocities can happen.

Crispin's Crispian
08-26-2008, 11:50 AM
Not quite. It is blaming the gun for being a force multiplier. If the killer-to-be had merely tried throwing the bullet, then it would have been unlikely to be lethal, but with a gun it is.

In the same way, if some rabid XYZ hater tries on his own to massacre 500 (suspected) XYZ practitioners, he isn't likely to achieve anything much. But if he says "God hates XYZ" and manages to convince enough people, then atrocities can happen.
But atrocities can happen either way. It's still a case of a person misusing the religion to commit the atrocity. Is there any way to justify such atrocities using the New Testament? Similarly, can you find general messages or themes in the New Testament that would discourage or prohibit such action? If the answer to the former is no, and to the latter is yes, then clearly a person committing atrocities is not following the religion.

GonzoTheGreat
08-26-2008, 11:59 AM
Read some of the things Martin Luther said about Jews (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_their_Lies), and then tell me: do you think he based that entirely on the Old Testament?

Or, alternatively, ask Fred Phelps what God's opinion on gay people is, and whether or not Phelps is following the instructions given in the NT.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-26-2008, 12:00 PM
The problem y'all are forgetting is that the Bible was written down by and EDITED by humans. "Divinely inspired" or not, it was messed around with the un-"Divinely inspired" to make it say certain things.


I'll bet that old joke is right, the original translation said, "celebrate."

Sinistrum
08-26-2008, 12:02 PM
It is blaming the gun for being a force multiplier.

It is still that individual person's choice to use force, regardless of the tools available to him to implement that choice. Does Christianity's existence make it easier for morons to excuse their abhorrent behavior? Sure. But if you take it away Christianity, the morons will not stop being morons. They'll just move on to the next convenient excuse to justify their stupidity. I profer into evidence the example of the Eugenics movement in which pseudo-science was used as justification for many of the types of discrimination that Christianity is being associated with in this thread. Christianity doesn't generate or dissiminate this type of behavior. It merely serves as a convenient, though unnecessary, rationalization for it. Man never has and never will need an excuse to be cruel to his fellow man.

Terez
08-26-2008, 12:02 PM
The problem y'all are forgetting is that the Bible was written down by and EDITED by humans.
Who says we forgot that? The problem here is that so many millions (if not billions) of people think it was all divinely inspired.

Davian93
08-26-2008, 12:05 PM
Who says we forgot that? The problem here is that so many millions (if not billions) of people think it was all divinely inspired.

Well it was.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-26-2008, 12:06 PM
It was divinely inspired, but then Man got his paws on it and fucked it up beyond what God had intended, because, omnipotence aside, He did give us free will to screw up as we wish.


Those people have also never read it, they've only regurgitated what a pastor said.


I need to stop watching Carnivale... all I keep thinking about in this thread is Father Justin.

Ishara
08-26-2008, 12:47 PM
So if what we have before was divinely inspired, then what about all the supposedly heretical books that weren't included with the current version of the bible? I mean, it was MEN at the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople that decided what was holy and what wasn't - men are fallable.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-26-2008, 12:53 PM
It was divinely inspired, but then Man got his paws on it and fucked it up beyond what God had intended, because, omnipotence aside, He did give us free will to screw up as we wish.


Hey, Ishara... thanks for reading and playing along. ;)

Davian93
08-26-2008, 12:54 PM
Key sign of a bad church: Pastor never uses the words "Now if you would open your bible to Matthew [or any book], or if you use the one from the church its on page..."

That doesn't happen just quietly get up and leave...there's no point staying.

men are fallable.

As opposed to women who are perfect...:rolleyes:

Gilshalos Sedai
08-26-2008, 12:59 PM
Yeah, ours puts it up on a screen, tells us where to find it in the pew Bibles AND reads it to us. Its an imperfect book, but it's all we've got and you do have to read it and think about it for yourself.

Davian93
08-26-2008, 01:06 PM
Yeah, ours puts it up on a screen, tells us where to find it in the pew Bibles AND reads it to us. Its an imperfect book, but it's all we've got and you do have to read it and think about it for yourself.

Best pastor I've ever met is Lon Solomon of McLean Bible Church in N. Virginia...the guy could probably recite the entire bible and explain the historical context of it but he still gives you page number, provides bibles (which are free if someone wants to keep it) and challenges you to doublecheck him every time he quotes it. He's the anti-Joel Osteen.

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 01:19 PM
So if what we have before was divinely inspired, then what about all the supposedly heretical books that weren't included with the current version of the bible? I mean, it was MEN at the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople that decided what was holy and what wasn't - men are fallable.
So everything in the Bible was put there so these high officials could have a few guys' nights out? Those guys must have faced such abuse at home to be that desperate. Explains how it ended up so oppressive of women though.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-26-2008, 01:21 PM
I was using Man in the general sense in my post, but yes, it was MEN who decided what went into the book.



So everything in the Bible was put there so these high officials could have a few guys' nights out? Those guys must have faced such abuse at home to be that desperate. Explains how it ended up so oppressive of women tough.

There are reasons I'd like to have a discussion with St. Paul.

ShadowbaneX
08-26-2008, 01:25 PM
That's not telling the whole story Ishara....both those eastern traditions also became very very conservative after around the 12th century for Muslims and the 16th century for Japan and China...it was Western influence which forced all 3 cultures into the modern world. Rome begot Constantinople begot Baghdad (before the Mongols) begot Italy (Rennaissance)for intellectural thought in the West.

It could probably be argued that without Christianity there'd be no Muslims, as they both monotheastic religions and iirc, it was partially based on the success of Christianity that Muhammad went with his ideas on religion. The Japanese closed themselves up because of Christian missionaries trying to convert the whole bloody lot of them, and they didn't take too kindly to the idea, although they really did like the idea of crucifying people...they never would have thought of that method of execution on their own. I never did take a course on Ancient Chinese history, so I only have a passing familiarity with it.

The US did force Japan into the modern era...actually, they forced themselves out of their isolation, but it was the Japanese that brought themselves into modern times and rather quickly I might add. Further, they're still Japan, and not a western nation.

I'm not really sure that the Muslims have fully modernized, what with their laws about stoning and some other similar ideas they still have like pater familias as Uno suggested (I seem to recall an article posting on here a while back where a man and his sons beat his daughter to death for falling in love with a British soldier and not really being punished for it...sounds rather similar). Some of them have studied at western institutions, but modernized isn't exactly what I'd call it.

China has modernized, and they did use a western idea, but that's communism, and they still cling to many of their old ways.

But, yeah, as Uno pointed out, it's not entirely sure that eastern cultures would have advanced things any further then we would have.

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 01:25 PM
So don't mess with us. One of our screw ups wrought havoc on humanity for 2000 years. We just might go ahead and screw up something else.

ShadowbaneX
08-26-2008, 01:32 PM
The problem y'all are forgetting is that the Bible was written down by and EDITED by humans. "Divinely inspired" or not, it was messed around with the un-"Divinely inspired" to make it say certain things.


It's possible that it was originally divinly inspired, but that was still 2 millenia ago (more in the case of the Torah and the Jewish holy texts) and if some being did light a bush on fire or sent an Archangel down, he trying to help mankind as they were however long ago.

I'd say we've got a little ways since then, and much like you discard the more basic lessons you learn as a toddler, I think we might have moved a little beyond some of the teachings of the bible. Granted, you still learned some good stuff as a toddler, don't steal, share, golden rule, etc, and the same is true with religion, don't kill, don't rape, so on and so forth, but let's be honest, the bible is out of date.

Humankind has grown since the days and while the bible has grown to some extent, we've far outpaced it. That doesn't mean it's not entirely wrong, but why should we be doing the equivalent of singing our ABC's and simple arithmatic out of the bible, when we've moved far beyond those lessons?

Nazbaque
08-26-2008, 01:37 PM
It could probably be argued that without Christianity there'd be no Muslims, as they both monotheastic religions and iirc, it was partially based on the success of Christianity that Muhammad went with his ideas on religion.
Ummm you know the Jews are quite a bit older and there would definitely be no Christians without the Jews. Logically I'd say it's more likely that Muhammed got his inspiration from the Jews rather than Christians.

I agree with rest of what you said though.

ShadowbaneX
08-26-2008, 01:48 PM
Ummm you know the Jews are quite a bit older and there would definitely be no Christians without the Jews. Logically I'd say it's more likely that Muhammed got his inspiration from the Jews rather than Christians.

I agree with rest of what you said though.
Yes, I do know that Judaism is older, and that Muslim religious doctrine more closely follows the Jewish then the Christian, but my theory more or less comes from the success of Christianity. It is specifically stated in Muslim doctrine that they respect the 'people of the book', both Christians and Jews, until they manage to find their way to the Islamic view.

If Muhammad didn't like the Christians or some of their views, he likely would have just said that the Christians were wrong, and go with the Jewish idea. The fact that he uses Christian dogma/mythology as part of the Islamic, says that he at least considers the Christian ideals important and, as they say, nothing breeds success like success.


The success of Christianity taking over the whole of Europe, having a strong influence in parts of the middle-east (Constantinople) and not to mention the Orthodox Christian religions in parts of Asia (Russia, etc), well, when you've got that much influence, it's kinda hard to ignore. If it was only the Jewish religion around, and they were still under the thumb of the Roman Gods, Muhammad might have had a few other ideas.

Realnow
08-26-2008, 01:50 PM
Not quite. It is blaming the gun for being a force multiplier. If the killer-to-be had merely tried throwing the bullet, then it would have been unlikely to be lethal, but with a gun it is.

In the same way, if some rabid XYZ hater tries on his own to massacre 500 (suspected) XYZ practitioners, he isn't likely to achieve anything much. But if he says "God hates XYZ" and manages to convince enough people, then atrocities can happen.

But if you didn't have a gun you would find some other weapon, not give up after throwing the bullet.

I don't get how you can say this is the work of Chritianity. Its the work of people using ANY religion or belief system (patriotism, revenge, compassion) in order to manipulate the masses to achieve their goals.

Just because religion is highly effective and easy to manipulate (consisting of largely invisible forces that can't be quantified, IE God) doesn't make it evil. I think we can agree that people who truly follow Christianity as its intended generally do not commit atrocities. When people are foolish and arrogant and misplace beliefs thats different.

And at least Chritianity doesn't advocate the bombing of other people in *modern* times (lets stop talking about the crusades 600 years ago and move on to something relevant).

Not only that, but freaking every religion is pretty much the same when you get down to the meat of it. Especially Judaism, Chritianity, and Islam which are basically all worshipping the same god. Jews drop half the bible (and jesus as son of god), Muslims add a bunch and also drop the J man, other wise they are ALL christian.

JSUCamel
08-26-2008, 02:35 PM
For a good alternate history story about how the world would change if Columbus had discovered America in a different fashion, check out Orson Scott Card's "Pastwatch: Redemption: Christopher Columbus". Excellent, excellent book.

Davian93
08-26-2008, 02:36 PM
For a good alternate history story about how the world would change if Columbus had discovered America in a different fashion, check out Orson Scott Card's "Pastwatch: Redemption: Christopher Columbus". Excellent, excellent book.

I 2nd that recommendation...very well done by Card.

Uno
08-26-2008, 03:46 PM
Yeah, and there's also a reason why the overly religious were the last to admit that slavery was wrong - they used the Bible to justify slavery (because there are Old Testament laws that deal with slaves).


"Central to Christian thinking"? Isn't that a blanket statement? lol...the only thing I can think of to support it is the whole "give unto Caesar" verse. Some Christians over the years have taken that seriously; others haven't.

And I'd say that the ideas about representative government clearly predate Christianity...as do humanitarian thoughts...

First, the overtly religious were also among the first seriously to question African slavery in the Americas. The Quakers were pioneers here, of course, but the Methodists and other Awakening groups did much the same in the late 18th century, and Abolitionists, both in Britain and in the United States, were generally very pious people.

And if you don't know that the doctrine of the separate spheres is central to Christian thought (at least as far as Western Christianity is concerned), you just don't know Christian thinking very well. St. Augustin, the great Church Father, made a clear formulation to the effect that the Sword (secular authority) should be separate from the faith, and later theologians and church leaders have followed in his footsteps. Even Martin Luther, who was quite open to close cooperation between Lutherans and the state, to the extent that he ultimately sanctioned state churches, drew a clear distinction between the realm of conscience and the realm of governmental authority.

Terez
08-26-2008, 04:30 PM
And if you don't know that the doctrine of the separate spheres is central to Christian thought (at least as far as Western Christianity is concerned), you just don't know Christian thinking very well. I know quite a bit about it, but it doesn't really represent how all Christians think, or have thought in the past, which, if you'll re-read my post, was exactly what I said in the first place. It's a blanket statement, and a misnomer, to call it "Christian Thinking" as if it represents the beliefs of all Christians, or some sort of central doctrine (which we all know doesn't exist). And the support I was talking about was (obviously) support that could be found in the Bible, not among the opinions of saints and scholars.

Uno
08-26-2008, 04:55 PM
I know quite a bit about it, but it doesn't really represent how all Christians think, or have thought in the past, which, if you'll re-read my post, was exactly what I said in the first place. It's a blanket statement, and a misnomer, to call it "Christian Thinking" as if it represents the beliefs of all Christians, or some sort of central doctrine (which we all know doesn't exist). And the support I was talking about was (obviously) support that could be found in the Bible, not among the opinions of saints and scholars.

But that has absolutely nothing to do with my argument, to which you were responding. I was addressing historical developments, and here the opinions of the educated classes are what matter, as it was these people who shaped the institutional structures of church and state, and the ideologies underpinning these organizations. The development of this learned version of Christianity is well-documented in the historical record, and a lot of it goes back to St. Augustine. Even at the time of the Reformation, the most severe disruption of Western Christianity, you'd hardly find many prominent thinkers disagreeing with the early Church Fathers, as they were all drawing on the same intellectual religious tradition.

Narrowly focusing on what the Bible says is at any rate to misunderstand historical Christianity. It was only with the Protestant reformers that sola scriptura became part of the theological vocabulary. Before then, all learned Christians would agree on the importance of the voluminous exegical tradition going back to the Church Fathers to understanding what their religion was all about.

Crispin's Crispian
08-26-2008, 05:02 PM
Read some of the things Martin Luther said about Jews (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_their_Lies), and then tell me: do you think he based that entirely on the Old Testament?

Or, alternatively, ask Fred Phelps what God's opinion on gay people is, and whether or not Phelps is following the instructions given in the NT.
I must not be following you, Gonzo, because you seem to be making my point for me.

Terez
08-26-2008, 05:41 PM
But that has absolutely nothing to do with my argument, to which you were responding. Sure it does - it's a misnomer no matter what you're arguing. I addressed it because of the lines of what I've been arguing - it's not exactly helpful for my argument to pretend that the "Christian thinking" that you're talking about in any way represents the Christian thinking of today that perpetuates such idiocy as the rampant homophobia in the US. It might not have much to do with what you're arguing, but that's the clarification I was trying to make (which I still think should have been clear all along).

I've been reading a lot of St. Augustine lately. I find it amusing that he was so convinced that his love of music was sinful (he thought of it in much the same way repressed religious folks think of sex). I also find early interpretations of certain Bible verses about music to be amusing. Instrumental music wasn't allowed in churches, at least by the time of Origen of Alexandria (early 3rd century); the philosophy was that plainchant (which we have from at least the 5th century, but there's little reason to believe that's not what they used before) was the only means appropriate for worship. But there are some verses in the psalms (which were, of course, the central texts used for plainchant) about making joyful noises with harps and cymbals and whatnot. So, as is still done so often today, they explained it all away with a metaphor. :D

But in this case, the Church Fathers' ideas went out the door with the onset of the Renaissance, rather than the Reformation, as is evident from the rules for music laid down at the Council of Trent.

Terez
08-26-2008, 05:46 PM
But atrocities can happen either way. It's still a case of a person misusing the religion to commit the atrocity. Is there any way to justify such atrocities using the New Testament? Similarly, can you find general messages or themes in the New Testament that would discourage or prohibit such action? If the answer to the former is no, and to the latter is yes, then clearly a person committing atrocities is not following the religion.Read some of the things Martin Luther said about Jews (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_their_Lies), and then tell me: do you think he based that entirely on the Old Testament?

Or, alternatively, ask Fred Phelps what God's opinion on gay people is, and whether or not Phelps is following the instructions given in the NT.I must not be following you, Gonzo, because you seem to be making my point for me. I think the distinction that he was making is that the answer to the former question is "yes", rather than the "no" that you seemed to assume. Martin Luther's justification for hatred of the Jews came from the fact that they killed Jesus (New Testament). Phelps' opinion on homosexuality is clearly supported by the writings of Paul (New Testament), who said that homosexuals are worthy of death.

Uno
08-26-2008, 05:53 PM
Sure it does - it's a misnomer no matter what you're arguing. I addressed it because of the lines of what I've been arguing - it's not exactly helpful for my argument to pretend that the "Christian thinking" that you're talking about in any way represents the Christian thinking of today that perpetuates such idiocy as the rampant homophobia in the US. It might not have much to do with what you're arguing, but that's the clarification I was trying to make (which I still think should have been clear all along).

I've been reading a lot of St. Augustine lately. I find it amusing that he was so convinced that his love of music was sinful (he thought of it in much the same way repressed religious folks think of sex). I also find early interpretations of certain Bible verses about music to be amusing. Instrumental music wasn't allowed in churches, at least by the time of Origen of Alexandria (early 3rd century); the philosophy was that plainchant (which we have from at least the 5th century, but there's little reason to believe that's not what they used before) was the only means appropriate for worship. But there are some verses in the psalms (which were, of course, the central texts used for plainchant) about making joyful noises with harps and cymbals and whatnot. So, as is still done so often today, they explained it all away with a metaphor. :D

But in this case, the Church Fathers' ideas went out the door with the onset of the Renaissance, rather than the Reformation, as is evident from the rules for music laid down at the Council of Trent.

I don't see how it's a misnomer. It's like saying "Communist thought," "liberal thought," or any number of "thoughts." I'm talking about an intellectual tradition, and there clearly is a Christian intellectual tradition going back very far. It doesn't necessarily mean that all Christians agree on everything, any more than all Communists do. But most Communists do, of course, agree on some basic concepts, as do most Christians. At any rate, obsessing over a single phrase hardly advances the debate.

St. Augustine, of course, is still a central part of Catholic theology, and his influence continues to be felt also in the other branches of mainstream Western Christianity, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and so forth.

Terez
08-26-2008, 05:57 PM
At any rate, obsessing over a single phrase hardly advances the debate.
Too true - I think we've both made our points clear.

St. Augustine, of course, is still a central part of Catholic theology, and his influence continues to be felt also in the other branches of mainstream Western Christianity, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and so forth.
Yes, there are even some Protestant denominations today that don't use music in church at all. :D And then there are weirdos like Uno who don't even like music...

Uno
08-26-2008, 06:25 PM
Well, you know, thinking in terms of sexual identity is a pretty new thing. Until, oh, the late 19th to early 20th century, there were just people committing sexual acts, which they should or should not be doing. That there are people who are innately predisposed to do those things would be alien to all but the most modern thinkers. If you asked a seventeenth-century man what he thought of "sodomy," he would likely say that it was a sin, but I think he would see it as a sin anyone was capable of committing if he did not restrain his sexuality.

Sexual "deviancy," in other words, was not the result of people predisposed to be "deviants"; it was a consequence of people not exercising proper restraint in their sexual behaviour. Unconventional sexuality was a symptom and a cause of a breakdown in social order, and would therefore presumably be accompanied by other dangerous acts, such as criminality, witchcraft, heresy, or even political dissent. Sexual dissenters were assumed to be dissenters in other ways, and political and social non-conformists were conversely often suspected of practicing "abnormal" sexuality.

Hell, people still think along those lines. I've noticed that there's often a lot of interest in Hitler's sexuality, and until very recently, it was a bit of a trend to argue that he was gay. Hitler (I think this line of thinking goes) was such a deviant man in every other respect, that he had to be a practioner of sexual "perversions." I'm not an expert on Hitler studies, but I've got the sneaking suspicion that those who chase Hitler the Homosexual reveal more about their own attitudes toward gay people than they do about the German dictator.

Thus, to St. Paul, and to most people in far later eras, there were no homosexuals or heterosexuals. All people were assumed to have varying degrees of sexual urges, and they were all expected to restrain those urges in an appropriate manner. Those that didn't were just especially sinful or bad people.

Terez
08-26-2008, 10:17 PM
Thus, to St. Paul, and to most people in far later eras, there were no homosexuals or heterosexuals. All people were assumed to have varying degrees of sexual urges, and they were all expected to restrain those urges in an appropriate manner. Those that didn't were just especially sinful or bad people.
I don't think it was portrayed as just one of many sexual "perversions" in the Bible, though. You could say it was no different than adultery, but adultery was never described as "unnatural", or an "abomination".

Uno
08-26-2008, 11:08 PM
Possibly, but the Bible as a whole is far more preoccupied with condemning adultery that with homosexual relations. Adultery is arguably far more socially disruptive in societies where marriage is the cornerstone of the societal order, which would, in fact, be most. At any rate, it's a bit up and down with how much Christian authorities have feared homosexual relations over the centuries. Sometimes it's been a bit of an obsession, sometimes not so much.

One of my colleagues mentioned to me that an 11th century French bishop was censured for his love affair with a man, but not because of the affair itself. Rather, what concerned his superiors was his practice of giving his lover lucrative income from church property. Of course, many scholars have argued that the Medieval people in general had a more relaxed attitude to sexuality than did their successors in later centuries. I'm not exactly sure what to make of that argument, though. There seems to be some basis for it, but the evidence is often purely literary, and therefore problematic.

I don't think it was portrayed as just one of many sexual "perversions" in the Bible, though. You could say it was no different than adultery, but adultery was never described as "unnatural", or an "abomination".

Terez
08-26-2008, 11:31 PM
Possibly, but the Bible as a whole is far more preoccupied with condemning adultery that with homosexual relations. Adultery is arguably far more socially disruptive in societies where marriage is the cornerstone of the societal order, which would, in fact, be most. I know what you're saying about adultery being more disruptive to society, but I'd say it was probably mostly because the percentage of the population that is homosexual has, so far as I can tell, always been small (less than 10%), so adultery is a much more common "problem". And at the same time, homosexuality has just as much potential to be "disruptive" when producing progeny is a cornerstone of societal order. :)

Uno
08-26-2008, 11:40 PM
Yeah, but in a male-dominated society, sleeping with a woman other than your wife might mean violating a man's property right in/control over her sexuality. Depending a bit on the society in question, as well as on the status of the woman, the paramour might be violating the rights of her husband, her father, her brothers, or any number of male relations. Additionally, there's always the chance of having illegitimate children, who may very well become a burden to the community at large, as the mother will often have problems supporting them on her own. Homosexual relations, on the other hand, poses neither of these risks.

Birgitte
08-26-2008, 11:59 PM
Oh, and B, think about it this way: 2,000 years of history moving differently. 2,000 years of different battles. 2,000 years of different alliances and enemies, different agreements, different everything.

SBX, my point was that I doubt it would move that differently. The people involved in those events were Christian, but I don't think it would have quite that much influence on whether their life came to exist or not. It could in some cases, but I think that for the most part, it would still be the same people who would do practically the same things, whether commanded by God or not. I think you're missing my point. You're giving me hypotheticals, but not really addressing why you're convinced that they would be more likely without Christianity. That's what I'd like to know. I don't think they would be, simply because I think religion pretty much just justifies what people do already.

Except that Allah has apparently told some people that it's perfectly ok to kill a wide variety of people, from women who "stray" to those who "collaborate with the enemy."

And Tru, that is ridiculous. Do you think that Christians were the only people in the world to twist their religion? In fact, it may have been easier for them, since quite a few years after its conception, their holy book was strictly oral (I'm not sure exactly how many, but it wasn't officially copied down until after Muhammad's death and then it was editted by a corrupt official looking to gain religious authority). I may only have this second hand, but nowhere in the Koran does it say that Allah condones murder. Allah hasn't actually declared women inferior, either. Muhammad certainly didn't. His first wife was a wealthy businesswoman and he preached the equality of all before God (granted, that everyone was equally bad in the eyes of God). Your words are just as prejudiced as Ozy's earlier and just as unfounded. I went to school with a lot of Muslims. Christians were a serious minority in my German class and my best friend is Muslim. Islam has good followers and evil followers, just like every other religion.

Especially Judaism, Chritianity, and Islam which are basically all worshipping the same god. Jews drop half the bible (and jesus as son of god), Muslims add a bunch and also drop the J man, other wise they are ALL christian.

Actually, no, they aren't. The definition of Christian is one who believes Jesus Christ is humanity's Lord and Savior. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have the same God (as in The Father), but Jews and Muslims can't be called Christian.

Terez
08-27-2008, 03:30 AM
The definition of Christian is one who believes Jesus Christ is humanity's Lord and Savior. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have the same God (as in The Father), but Jews and Muslims can't be called Christian.
Yah, it would be more accurate (if still not accurate) to say they're all Jews. :D

Terez
08-27-2008, 03:44 AM
Yeah, but in a male-dominated society, sleeping with a woman other than your wife might mean violating a man's property right in/control over her sexuality. Depending a bit on the society in question, as well as on the status of the woman, the paramour might be violating the rights of her husband, her father, her brothers, or any number of male relations. Additionally, there's always the chance of having illegitimate children, who may very well become a burden to the community at large, as the mother will often have problems supporting them on her own. Homosexual relations, on the other hand, poses neither of these risks.
Hmm...
4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.



6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,



7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.



8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

How does that compute?

GonzoTheGreat
08-27-2008, 04:18 AM
But if you didn't have a gun you would find some other weapon, not give up after throwing the bullet.
Quite true, but finding such a weapon may not be easy. To remind you of what it is that I was comparing it to: it is not easy to find common ground amongst atheists, apart from their disbelief. And getting people to do something merely on the basis that they all think some idea is bonkers is rather difficult.
It is a lot easier to unite people who actually do share a belief in something. Especially if, as has been referred to by other posters, those people have a habit of accepting what they're told about those beliefs by their pastors/priests/preachers/mullahs.

I don't get how you can say this is the work of Chritianity. Its the work of people using ANY religion or belief system (patriotism, revenge, compassion) in order to manipulate the masses to achieve their goals.
Once again you're right. So I am not at all shy about aiming this same criticism at other religions, and I've argued against patriotism on this board more often than some posters liked.

Just because religion is highly effective and easy to manipulate (consisting of largely invisible forces that can't be quantified, IE God) doesn't make it evil.
It does make it extremely prone to abuse. And because those invisible forces that can't be quantified have a distressing tendency not to protest against anything that's done in their name, it is basically impossible to distinguish between use and abuse anyway.
I think we can agree that people who truly follow Christianity as its intended generally do not commit atrocities. When people are foolish and arrogant and misplace beliefs thats different.
I'm not quite sure it is correct, but for the sake of this discussion I am willing to grant you the first. But the problem is that the majority of people fall into the second category far more than the first, so that the net result still isn't positive.

And at least Chritianity doesn't advocate the bombing of other people in *modern* times (lets stop talking about the crusades 600 years ago and move on to something relevant).
Like the shelling of Sarajevo by Christian Serbs, the bombing of South Ossetia by Christian Georgians or the bombing of Georgia by Christian Russians?
Or were you referring to the current Crusade (http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/0919/p12s2-woeu.html)?

Not only that, but freaking every religion is pretty much the same when you get down to the meat of it. Especially Judaism, Chritianity, and Islam which are basically all worshipping the same god. Jews drop half the bible (and jesus as son of god), Muslims add a bunch and also drop the J man, other wise they are ALL christian.Yep. they're all just Jews, most of them heretical ones. The only main point of disagreement they have is which ones are the heretics.

I must not be following you, Gonzo, because you seem to be making my point for me.Perhaps we do agree. I tried to make clear that lots of Christians had found plenty of reasons in the NT to start persecuting others. Other people have found reasons in the NT to disapprove of such atrocities, but there is no evidence to suggest that cruelty and the NT are incompatible.

Yah, it would be more accurate (if still not accurate) to say they're all Jews.I've argued that quite often. I still haven't figured out who on average is most annoyed by it: the Jews, Christians or Muslims. Of course, I haven't encountered many Muslims in these discussions, so there my statistics are rather spotty.

tworiverswoman
08-27-2008, 04:49 AM
Your words are just as prejudiced as Ozy's earlier and just as unfounded. I'm sorry my sarcasm didn't make it through. I am aware that the ones who perform these "honor killings" are straying from the "generally held belief" of the vast majority of the members of the Muslim community -- my point was actually that they BELIEVE that this is the "right thing to do" -- for whatever reason, but virtually all that I've heard of have been named as religious zealots. I can't begin to guess how it is that people can get such widely variant life instructions from the same book, whichever book is in question.

I simply found your statement, "we all believe that murder is wrong" (assuming that "all" meant, "all the people in the world") to be rather funny, considering how many people are murdered every day.

I am neither theist nor atheist -- I don't claim to know how the universe was put together. What I do believe, and it's purely a personal viewpoint, is that the likelihood of the anthropomorphic god that was taught me as a child is ... minimal. The Bible, the Quran, all the holy books that come from our distant past are the creations of human beings. They make fascinating reading, from an anthropological and historical viewpoint, but...

I've found better "moral instructions" in any number of fantasy novels which contain details about such ideas.

Uno
08-27-2008, 07:42 AM
Hmm...


How does that compute?


How does what compute? The two angels, or whatever they were, were Lot's guests, and therefore protected by right of hospitality. He's got to protect them, as the gods were generally big on guest right in the ancient Mediterranean world. I think that's fairly obvious. Of course, it's up to Lot to decide whether or not he should let his daughters be raped. Since he's such a just man, he would rather give up his daughters than let harm befall his guests.

I don't know if people at the time thought male-on-male rape was worse than male-on-female, but it would make sense if they did. After all, in a highly male-dominated culture, women are supposed to be sexually dominated by men, whereas a man dominated by another man is practically reduced to the status of woman. Even the Greeks, who were quite open to various forms of homoeroticism thought a man who allowed himself to be sodomized (ha!) by another man was dishonoured, and no kind of man at all.

Crispin's Crispian
08-27-2008, 10:54 AM
I think the distinction that he was making is that the answer to the former question is "yes", rather than the "no" that you seemed to assume. Martin Luther's justification for hatred of the Jews came from the fact that they killed Jesus (New Testament). Phelps' opinion on homosexuality is clearly supported by the writings of Paul (New Testament), who said that homosexuals are worthy of death.
I don't think Martin Luther's opinions are really supportable with the Bible, though. You can't argue that he successfully justified himself.

Homosexuality is a bit of a different issue, as Uno as noted. I still don't think anyone can truly justify atrocities against homosexuals in the light of Jesus's revision of religious justice. Paul may have said they were worthy of death, but would Jesus have recommended killing them?

Ishara
08-27-2008, 11:14 AM
Humankind has grown since the days and while the bible has grown to some extent, we've far outpaced it. That doesn't mean it's not entirely wrong, but why should we be doing the equivalent of singing our ABC's and simple arithmatic out of the bible, when we've moved far beyond those lessons? SBX, I couldn't disagree more.

Human kind, despite many opportunities to learn from its' mistakes has continued to prove that it doesn't know how to play nice. If we still can't get the basics of "thou shalt not kill" (and I'm speaking from a non-religious pov here, this is just common sense) right, then how can we be expected to move on from that until we do?

GonzoTheGreat
08-27-2008, 11:17 AM
I don't think Martin Luther's opinions are really supportable with the Bible, though. You can't argue that he successfully justified himself.
Perhaps not, but I do think it can be argued that he succesfully supported his opinions by using his status as an authority on the Bible. Logically speaking he may have been wrong, but that did not stop people from following his suggestions.

Homosexuality is a bit of a different issue, as Uno as noted. I still don't think anyone can truly justify atrocities against homosexuals in the light of Jesus's revision of religious justice. Paul may have said they were worthy of death, but would Jesus have recommended killing them?What did Jesus have to do with it? I thought that the NT was all about Paul's opinions? :D

Davian93
08-27-2008, 11:17 AM
The lessons given in the Bible still hold true today because people haven't changed...the only thing different between us and 1st century individuals is more advance technology.

Crispin's Crispian
08-27-2008, 12:32 PM
Perhaps not, but I do think it can be argued that he succesfully supported his opinions by using his status as an authority on the Bible. Logically speaking he may have been wrong, but that did not stop people from following his suggestions.

What did Jesus have to do with it? I thought that the NT was all about Paul's opinions? :D
Well, there's that. I'm not an expert on the Bible, but it sure seems like too much is made of Paul compared to what was actually written about Jesus.

As for Martin Luther, his success has nothing to do with whether he was consistent with his own Bible. And people are stupid...I thought we'd established that long ago. ;)

Crispin's Crispian
08-27-2008, 12:32 PM
The lessons given in the Bible still hold true today because people haven't changed...the only thing different between us and 1st century individuals is more advance technology.
Which lessons, exactly?

Gilshalos Sedai
08-27-2008, 12:33 PM
I certainly hope there's more of a difference, Dav. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to read or write, or work outside our house.

Davian93
08-27-2008, 12:57 PM
Which lessons, exactly?

The ones based off of human nature...

ShadowbaneX
08-27-2008, 01:05 PM
SBX, I couldn't disagree more.

Human kind, despite many opportunities to learn from its' mistakes has continued to prove that it doesn't know how to play nice. If we still can't get the basics of "thou shalt not kill" (and I'm speaking from a non-religious pov here, this is just common sense) right, then how can we be expected to move on from that until we do?
In some cases we have moved on, in some cases we haven't...in still other cases it's holding onto religion that holds us back. We understand the universe much better now then we did back then.

For instance we can look at a drought and see that no, it's not god's wrath because two men or two women are having carnal knowledge of each other, it's because of global environmental weather patterns. That comet streaking across the sky isn't a herald of the armaggeddon, it's a hunk of ice and stone that comes by every 70 years. That new huge star blossoming in the sky isn't because little Tommy touches himself at night, it's a star the went supernova millions of years ago and is just now getting here and so on.

The fact that we've learned that alot of dogma that thought to be a bane to man's existance (ie homosexuality, eating pork, eating meat on friday's, women having a place in society, and all that other trivial non-sense) is untrue is a sign of our advancement. We're no longer superstitious primitives trying to blindly groping around for an explaination for the sun the moon and the stars; the wind, the rain and the sky; the birds, the bees and why and why some humans prefer sheep; we know better, a little bit better, but still better, but yet some of those attempts at explaining our existance are still followed because it's mandated in some book centuries, if not millenia, out of date.

Yes, the basics of religion can be a good thing, don't kill, don't steal, don't rape, but tied up with that is so many other things which hold us back: gay's are the devil, non-believers must be converted, women should stay at home and raise the kids, "every sperm is sacred/every sperm is great/if sperm is wasted/god gets most irate", and so on.

Yes, there are some good lessons in there, but they've been so diluted with centuries of incompitence and religious politics that I think it's time for a rewrite.

ShadowbaneX
08-27-2008, 01:06 PM
happy 1,000th post (again) Gil!

The Immortal One
08-27-2008, 01:08 PM
The lessons given in the Bible still hold true today because people haven't changed...the only thing different between us and 1st century individuals is more advance technology.

Human kind, despite many opportunities to learn from its' mistakes has continued to prove that it doesn't know how to play nice. If we still can't get the basics of "thou shalt not kill" (and I'm speaking from a non-religious pov here, this is just common sense) right, then how can we be expected to move on from that until we do?
I disagree with you both.

MOST people have 'learned to play nice' - the problem is that those people who don't play nice tend to rope other people into their nastiness, often using religion and what the bible says as a soapbox.

I more agree with ShadowbaneX; there are many lessons in the bible (and other ancient holy books) which provide good moral direction; we just have to use our own judgement and logic to determine which lessons to keep and which to update or replace altogether - "our own judgement" being the whole problem.

Birgitte
08-27-2008, 01:12 PM
I'm sorry my sarcasm didn't make it through. I am aware that the ones who perform these "honor killings" are straying from the "generally held belief" of the vast majority of the members of the Muslim community -- my point was actually that they BELIEVE that this is the "right thing to do" -- for whatever reason, but virtually all that I've heard of have been named as religious zealots. I can't begin to guess how it is that people can get such widely variant life instructions from the same book, whichever book is in question.

I simply found your statement, "we all believe that murder is wrong" (assuming that "all" meant, "all the people in the world") to be rather funny, considering how many people are murdered every day.


Eh, it was the end of a very long day yesterday. Long, irritating, tiring day. (The story of Birgitte's No-Good Very Bad Day is due for publication in September 09. Look for it in bookstores near you!) Though it still comes across weird since you brought the "Muslim" extremists up in a thread about Christianity. Geez, we're picking on the "Christian" killers here! (the quotes are to indicate that they aren't really following their particular prophet/savior)

And we do all know murder is wrong. Some things can be wronger, though (like letting oneself be murdered). And some people know they're doing wrong and either don't care or relish the sensation. Maybe the severely mentally handicapped don't know its wrong. I don't buy it, though. This is probably a different thread, if anyone wants to really continue it.

Brita
08-27-2008, 01:27 PM
Like the shelling of Sarajevo by Christian Serbs, the bombing of South Ossetia by Christian Georgians or the bombing of Georgia by Christian Russians?


Just a quick note- the Serbs, Georgians and Russians aren't bombing in the name of their religion, they are bombing over land rights. So it's not really a true comparison to those waging Holy War on all infidels.

As for the current Crusade- well that is one of the wonderful legacies Bush will leave with us. :rolleyes:

Davian93
08-27-2008, 01:27 PM
happy 1,000th post (again) Gil!

~hangs head~

No on noticed Dav's 1000th post.

~sniff~

Brita
08-27-2008, 01:28 PM
Happy 1,157th post Dav!!!!!

:D :D :D

ShadowbaneX
08-27-2008, 01:29 PM
http://www.thebricktestament.com/

ShadowbaneX
08-27-2008, 01:31 PM
Sorry, Dave, I was yesterday...didn't even turn my computer on until after midnight.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-27-2008, 02:06 PM
Wow. 1,000, eh? Didn't even know I'd hit over 900.

GonzoTheGreat
08-28-2008, 04:40 AM
That new huge star blossoming in the sky isn't because little Tommy touches himself at night, it's a star the went supernova millions of years ago and is just now getting here and so on.Nitpick: a star that went supernova more than a million light years away wouldn't be all that impressive to most people. It could be visible, and if it was I would definitely watch it, but the really impressive supernovae happen in our own galaxy, which means that they're less than 100,000 light years away, and hence occurred less than 100,000 years ago.
Just a quick note- the Serbs, Georgians and Russians aren't bombing in the name of their religion, they are bombing over land rights. So it's not really a true comparison to those waging Holy War on all infidels.
True, but on the other hand: they're definitely fighting along religious lines. There is not all that much difference between Serbs and Kroats. They basically speak the same language, with at most slightly different dialects. The main difference by far is that the Kroats are Roman Catholic, while the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox. And, of course, then there is Bosnia, where there were three parties: Serbs (EO), Kroats (RCC) and Muslims.

Ishara
08-28-2008, 07:25 AM
Well when you look at it that way SBX...fine. :p I was referring to the basic tenets of don't hurt others, not so much the other more specific stuff like gay rights etc.

The general principles of the bible certainly have never been restricted to, or attributed solely to Christianity. In a community of over 2 people, generally it's been unwise to kill for anything other then self-defence. Similarly, it's just not good for the community, be it small or large, to steal.

And yet.

You can't convince me that while shit like Darfur is happening, that we as a human race, have learned anything.

Realnow
08-28-2008, 12:52 PM
Yes, the basics of religion can be a good thing, don't kill, don't steal, don't rape, but tied up with that is so many other things which hold us back: gay's are the devil, non-believers must be converted, women should stay at home and raise the kids, "every sperm is sacred/every sperm is great/if sperm is wasted/god gets most irate", and so on.

Yes, there are some good lessons in there, but they've been so diluted with centuries of incompitence and religious politics that I think it's time for a rewrite.

You realize that the vast majority of people aren't practicing a literal intrepretation like that though? As in there are Catholic schools with 1/6 girls pregnant, gay Christians, no Christian I know has EVER tried converting somebody, etc. Why are you guys implying that religion is really like this in a modern society? There is a vast difference between extremists and normal practicioners of a religion.

Religion is like a lot of things, for example recreational drugs or alchohol. In moderation and taken wisely they are fine. But when you OD thats something different. In the end its up to people themselves to make choices, and an inanimate and incorporeal thing like religion can't be held responsible.

True, but on the other hand: they're definitely fighting along religious lines. There is not all that much difference between Serbs and Kroats. They basically speak the same language, with at most slightly different dialects. The main difference by far is that the Kroats are Roman Catholic, while the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox. And, of course, then there is Bosnia, where there were three parties: Serbs (EO), Kroats (RCC) and Muslims.

I think the Middle East and Baltics are pretty much embroiled in war due to culture as much as religion. They are raised in a hateful and bitter world; religion is only a focal point of their anger. Generations are subjected to death and destruction, and what better justification (personally, or in general) for genocide and war then religion?

When your training your kids to want to kill, you can't just expect them to do it because you say so. Motivation is key, and religion can be manipulated to motivate almost anything. Not saying that this is a conspiracy or anything, but the collective subconcious of these people is bringing this about.

ShadowbaneX
08-28-2008, 01:33 PM
Well when you look at it that way SBX...fine. :p I was referring to the basic tenets of don't hurt others, not so much the other more specific stuff like gay rights etc.

The general principles of the bible certainly have never been restricted to, or attributed solely to Christianity. In a community of over 2 people, generally it's been unwise to kill for anything other then self-defence. Similarly, it's just not good for the community, be it small or large, to steal.

And yet.

You can't convince me that while shit like Darfur is happening, that we as a human race, have learned anything.

The basic tenets of Christianity. As I pointed out before, worshiping the Bible is something completely different than worshping God. Somewhere around the second commandment it warns about worshiping idols, and putting too much, well, faith, into something that may once have been divinely inspiried, but has been in the hands of mankind for over 2000 years, isn't exactly to be fully trusted. It's a splitting hairs when coming down to the difference between the bible and the religion, but then the bible is supposed to be lessons, stories & morals, examples of how the faith is supposed to be lived, not examples to be directly copied.

And those baisc tenets are stuff that just about anyone with a few brain cells and some common sense can figure out, unfortunately, when people start letting the religion doing their thinking for them, they stop using those brain cells and common sense goes right out the window.

As for the middle east, that's a prime example of what I'm talking about. The Islamic extremists, those who let their religion do their thinking for them, the types who see their daughters in love with a christian soldier and beat them to death and then try to kill their wife for daring to speak out against it, those are the ones that have to let go of some of their religion and start using their brains. If Iraq, Iran, Afganistan and a bunch of those other countries over there were a little less religious, did more thinking with their own brain cells and stopped listening to their clerics, it might not be as big a problem as it actually is.

ShadowbaneX
08-28-2008, 01:43 PM
You realize that the vast majority of people aren't practicing a literal intrepretation like that though? As in there are Catholic schools with 1/6 girls pregnant, gay Christians, no Christian I know has EVER tried converting somebody, etc. Why are you guys implying that religion is really like this in a modern society? There is a vast difference between extremists and normal practicioners of a religion.

Yes, we do realise this. We're mainly just talking about those extremists, because of the squeaky wheel phenomina. The rest of the religious types, the types that go about quietly and don't go about trying to force their beliefs on others, leave us alone and we don't give a damn about them. Those we hear about, those that need some grease though, like the principal mentioned in the article, those are the problem cases and the most in a firm need of pulling their collective heads out of their damned holy books and generally just lighten up and start using their brains again.

Terez
08-28-2008, 04:06 PM
Yeah, no one cares about Christians unless they're doing something ridiculous like what the principal did, or making amendments to state constitutions to oppress people, or trying to make war on science...

Gilshalos Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:18 PM
Yeah, no one cares about Christians unless they're doing something ridiculous like what the principal did, or making amendments to state constitutions to oppress people, or trying to make war on science...


What are you trying say, Terez? You want us gone whether we're quiet or not?

Terez
08-28-2008, 04:22 PM
Not sure how you got that out of what I said. Oh wait...yes, I am sure how you got that out of what I said...

Gilshalos Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:30 PM
Just trying to figure out what you were trying to say.

Cary Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:31 PM
Too bad we live in a society where we'd rather hear about the bad, so we can be outraged and shocked and pat ourselves on the back since we are better than that.

Then the news might actually report on the good things religious and social groups and individuals accomplish, more often.

Our society could then be buoyed by the good, instead of near drowning from the negativity reported on a daily basis. I dont' think things are that far out of balance, but our world portrays that it is.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:33 PM
Because bad news sells papers, dear.

Cary Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:35 PM
Yeah, no one cares about Christians unless they're doing something ridiculous like what the principal did, or making amendments to state constitutions to oppress people, or trying to make war on science...

I believe this is just another way of saying the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Cary Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:37 PM
Because bad news sells papers, dear.


That's what I just said:

Too bad we live in a society where we'd rather hear about the bad, so we can be outraged and shocked and pat ourselves on the back since we are better than that.

I'm well aware of why, I think it's a shame.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:39 PM
LOL, Good! Then we agree!


(Sorry, over reading everything, not feeling well, will be going home soon and I promise to leave TL alone for the night -- like I always do. ;) )

Cary Sedai
08-28-2008, 04:45 PM
:p

ShadowbaneX
08-28-2008, 05:07 PM
I believe this is just another way of saying the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
hey! that's what I said! you mean Terez is merely repeating me?

Cary Sedai
08-28-2008, 05:10 PM
hey! that's what I said! you mean Terez is merely repeating me?

Not merely...she used lots more words! :p I might get hit for this... but isn't repetition a form of flattery? :D

~ducks and runs~

Terez
08-28-2008, 05:14 PM
I didn't merely repeat you - I agreed with you, in my own words. ;)

Crispin's Crispian
08-28-2008, 06:14 PM
I didn't merely repeat you - I agreed with you, in my own words. ;)

Yeah. What she said. ^^

Ozymandias
08-28-2008, 10:23 PM
I may only have this second hand, but nowhere in the Koran does it say that Allah condones murder.


Actually, this is only on the surface true. Neither the Koran nor the Hadiths say that murder is condoned, but orthodox Islamic tradition does condone murder. Many Muslim scholars through the ages have made it perfectly clear that the Koran can be interpreted to mean that those who do not practice Islam are basically fair game for war, which equates to murder.

ShadowbaneX
08-28-2008, 11:05 PM
so the Koran, like the Bible, has been manipulated throughout the centuries for the gain of others. Power corrupts and religon is a form of power.

This is why I saw that religion and state should never, ever mix.

Seeker
08-29-2008, 12:38 AM
What else can really be used to justify this level of homophobia, though?

A couple years ago, I would have asked the same question. Then I realized something: the psychos don't need a justification.

Principal man, there, didn't pick on that girl because he's religious. He just wants a target, plane and simple. Forty years ago, he'd have been picking on blacks. Forty years from now, maybe it'll be neo-hippies. Today it's gays. The target doesn't matter.

He just wants to lash out at someone.

Terez
08-29-2008, 12:42 AM
A couple years ago, I would have asked the same question. Then I realized something: the psychos don't need a justification.
Of course they don't. But society does, in general. How can we pretend to be civilized when we allow this "justification" for oppression? Cases like this principal may be fairly isolated, but the oppression is widespread. The amendment to my state constitution to redefine marriage was passed 86-14%.

Seeker
08-29-2008, 12:58 AM
Of course they don't. But society does, in general. How can we pretend to be civilized when we allow this "justification" for oppression? Cases like this principal may be fairly isolated, but the oppression is widespread. The amendment to my state constitution to redefine marriage was passed 86-14%.


Hmm, well, that's an interesting thought. It may take some time to give you a well planned and intellectually honest answer.

How can we pretend to be civilized when we allow this "justification" for oppression?

Well, for one, this argument seems to be based on the idea that removing the justification for oppression removes the oppression itself. Since, we're in agreement that oppressors don't need a justification, I'm not sure that's true.

But, that being said, I have to conclude that removing the justification will at least make oppression harder to accomplish as you don't have the general public working as enablers. So removal of justification for oppression should make overall cases of oppression go DOWN if not disappear.

So, yes, I'm for removal of the justification. But here's a more subtle question. Does attacking the ethics of the religion necessitate attacking its metaphysics?

To be more plain, do you have to remove belief in Christ to remove belief in homophobia. The existence of gay-friendly Christians would seem to prove that we don't. So therefore, would it not be more socially beneficial to focus our efforts on getting Christians to break away from that one socially harmful aspect of their religion?

Seeker
08-29-2008, 01:08 AM
This just occurred to me.

Even if you removed the bible as a justification for homophobia, homophobes would just invent a new one. Just about anything can be an excuse to a fanatic. Their ability to justify their misdeeds is limited only by the human imagination.

While correct in principle, Terez, I think you're trying to make a rational appeal to what is essentially an emotional issue. Trying to change how these people think won't get it done. You have to change how they FEEL.

They lash out cuz they want to be hurtful and use religion as a vehicle for this, but if religion wasn't around, they'd still lash out because that desire to be cruel is still there. It's the desire you have to take away.

Terez
08-29-2008, 01:12 AM
How can we pretend to be civilized when we allow this "justification" for oppression?Well, for one, this argument seems to be based on the idea that removing the justification for oppression removes the oppression itself.
Nope, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying that the oppression exists, and that the justification for it is, by and large, religion. So, the fact that the oppression exists means that we (especially the US), as a society, allow that justification.

So, yes, I'm for removal of the justification. But here's a more subtle question. Does attacking the ethics of the religion necessitate attacking its metaphysics?
No. Each merits attack by its own problems. The challenge to the ethics is important for debates like this one; the challenge to the metaphysics is more important to debates on evolution, etc. However, the two issues are related by the fact that they share the same source, so it makes little difference in the end.

Terez
08-29-2008, 01:16 AM
Even if you removed the bible as a justification for homophobia, homophobes would just invent a new one. Just about anything can be an excuse to a fanatic. Their ability to justify their misdeeds is limited only by the human imagination.
You're still missing the point. The fact that religion pretends to be a justification for homophobia is the only reason why it's so difficult to make progress here.

They lash out cuz they want to be hurtful and use religion as a vehicle for this, but if religion wasn't around, they'd still lash out because that desire to be cruel is still there. It's the desire you have to take away.
I don't buy that, because most people believe that they are ethical, good people (not cruel at all!), and in this case, people can take the cruelty to extremes without ever coming face-to-face with their cruelty because it hides behind the justification of their religion. People keep saying that they would just find a different excuse, but no one's come up with any other excuse that stands up to scrutiny.

Seeker
08-29-2008, 01:32 AM
Nope, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying that the oppression exists, and that the justification for it is, by and large, religion

Now, THIS, I must take issue with.

My father, who works for an automotive company, reviewed a documentary on some of China's employment practises. In one section, he saw a stamping press, which stamped certain panels on a car's body.

Four men would load the piece of plastic onto the platform. Then they would jump out of the way. The stamp would drop down. They'd rush in, seize the stamped part and rush out, while a new team brought in a new part to be stamped.

The interval between the first time the stamp drops and the next time it drops is about twenty seconds. It's automated. They do not push buttons. The team has twenty seconds to rush in, take their part and get out.

If they are too slow, someone dies.
Someone litterally gets crushed.

This is how bad this one company's manufacturing is.

My father has no where near my level of moral crusading tendencies, but when he saw this, he was so apalled he asked, "Why does anyone do business with these people?"

The response? "It's cheaper."

People can invent any reason they want to justify anything they want. This ought to be one of Goodkind's Wizard's Rules.

I don't buy that, because most people believe t
hat they are ethical, good people (not cruel at all!)

No, this is the flaw of believing that other people intuitively think the way you do. I submit to you, that it is far more likely that most people don't consider the question of ethics.

Society teaches them to bury that instinct. See above example.

I'm sure many would tell you they're good people, if asked, but it's an autmomatic response.

YOU care about ethics, Terez. Most humans are lumps, neither moral nor immoral and perfectly willing to blow with the breeze.

tworiverswoman
08-29-2008, 01:56 AM
Most humans are lumps, neither moral nor immoral and perfectly willing to blow with the breeze.I am taking issue with this remark because it's coming from your gut feeling. You can't produce a shred of evidence for it.

I'm not saying that all people do the kind of self scrutiny that YOU do, Seeker -- but Terez is correct -- most people believe they are good, decent people. Most people also know they aren't perfect -- and use that lack of perfection to brush aside what they see as small flaws.

And now I'll admit that I'm arguing based solely on my gut level belief that most people (when confronted with a new and dubious situation, at least), DO pause for at least a quick, "should I be doing this?"

If anyone has ever done any quantitative studies in this regard, I'd be fairly surprised.

Most homophobes were raised in an environment that perpetuated it. The generations that bracket mine are not nearly as comfortable with homosexuality as the current generation, though I submit to you that we have taken pretty massive strides in the last 40 years.

When Terez argues that, without Religion, the people who hate and fear gays would have no "commonly accepted precept" (my words, not hers) that their gut-level reaction was good and proper -- she's probably right. As for the argument that they'd just find another justification in some other set of "commonly accepted precepts" -- well, maybe. And MAYBE, just maybe, homosexuality wouldn't have been demonized for the last (who knows how many?) years.

If you can point to a line in a book and say "God/Allah/Yaweh/Zeus says this action is a sin and must be punished" then you've found all the justification you need. But what about people who look at that line in dismay because it's talking about THEM and they can't figure out how to deal with the contradiction? I think there may be a few people like that here at TL, though they are pretty quiet about it.

Anyway -- I'm rambling. Stopping here.

Terez
08-29-2008, 02:05 AM
People can invent any reason they want to justify anything they want. This ought to be one of Goodkind's Wizard's Rules. Sure, but there has to be something strong enough to perpetuate society's acceptance. In the case you described, the "something strong enough" is the need for affordable vehicles, and also the need for jobs. It's similar to the reason why we do business with companies that outsource to other countries and pay ridiculously low wages. There's nothing comparable in the case of the oppression of gays.

No, this is the flaw of believing that other people intuitively think the way you do. Hardly. It's obvious that most people believe that they are good people.

Society teaches them to bury that instinct. This is true to an extent, because we have to compete for resources, and we have a tendency to bury the instinct at least somewhat (the degree varies from person to person) when it comes to providing for ourselves and our own. This doesn't apply to the oppression of gays, though.

GonzoTheGreat
08-29-2008, 03:42 AM
I think the Middle East and Baltics are pretty much embroiled in war due to culture as much as religion.
You're American, aren't you? If so, I have to say that your sense of geography is quite good. You're off by only about a thousand miles, confusing the Baltics with the Balkans. :p

When your training your kids to want to kill, you can't just expect them to do it because you say so. Motivation is key, and religion can be manipulated to motivate almost anything. Not saying that this is a conspiracy or anything, but the collective subconcious of these people is bringing this about.And it is precisely that motivating force which bothers me about religion. It can be used to provide motivation for anything at all, and generally is too.
Our society could then be buoyed by the good, instead of near drowning from the negativity reported on a daily basis.That's the kind of news the Pravda reported in the old Soviet Union. Highlighting the good that was done by the Communist Party and sweeping the bad under the carpet.
Didn't seem to work out as well as you hope, though. I applaud your intentions, but hope they aren't seriously tried because I do not think it will work out any better next time.
A couple years ago, I would have asked the same question. Then I realized something: the psychos don't need a justification.

Principal man, there, didn't pick on that girl because he's religious. He just wants a target, plane and simple. Forty years ago, he'd have been picking on blacks. Forty years from now, maybe it'll be neo-hippies. Today it's gays. The target doesn't matter.

He just wants to lash out at someone.
You are quite likely right. But the principal wasn't alone. Most of the people in that area actually agreed with him.
If he had been picking on blacks now in the way that would have worked 40 years ago, then those people would have been horrified, they would have been yelling for his resignation. But instead he chose a victim that is considered sinful, and all the people nodded and said "praise the Lord". That is a direct result of the unifying power of religion: it unifies all the people against a schoolgirl who is a bit different.
Even if you removed the bible as a justification for homophobia, homophobes would just invent a new one. Just about anything can be an excuse to a fanatic. Their ability to justify their misdeeds is limited only by the human imagination.However, such a new justification isn't automatically guaranteed to convince the ones that went along because they accepted the authority of the Bible.
I do not believe that the vast majority of people are incurable homophobes. But if they're given a justification they accept, then most will go along with that. Remove that justification, and far fewer will go along with a new attack.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-29-2008, 07:45 AM
All right, let's try a new example. Women.

For 2000 years an entire gender was blamed for mankind's homegrown evil and misery because our progenitor ate a fricken apple.

The Corinthians letters Paul wrote were used to oppress women. Up to and including regulating how long our hair could be, keeping our heads covered and not inheriting property. Were any of these things actually told to us by Jesus himself? Nope. They were Paulist and Paul's interpretation of "meekness."

It took a very long time for me to forgive God for allowing this oppression based on a manipulation by the Roman Catholic church of the original works to suppress the matriarchal societies of ancient Western Europe. But then, He did give us free will.

Religion was used as an excuse to oppress 50% of the population for 2000 years. It's not used, for the most part, anymore (cults in West Texas notwithstanding). However the verses are still there, the religion is still there. Women got tired of being abused, mistreated, and ignored, and a few strong women decided that they'd rather be condemned than to let themselves and their sisters and daughters continue to be second class citizens. And frankly, I agree with them. I'd rather burn in hell than worship a God who hated me because HE created me to be a woman.

Thanks to the suffrage movement, I don't have to be a second class citizen. And hopefully, 20 years or less from now, homosexuals will be accepted as well and no longer relegated to second class citizenship based on a bloody Bible passage. Because I think we'll get over that whole biology thing long before the Religious Right does their prejudice.

I refuse to take the Bible literally since in doing so, I'd have to acknowledge that God condemned me from birth. In which case, why bother being religious?

Brita
08-29-2008, 09:36 AM
The pastor that performed my marriage just published a book called 95 More for the Door (http://www.buy.com/prod/95-more-for-the-door/q/loc/106/207678866.html). 95 Biblical principles that point to complete equality of women in Christianity. In fact, he says one one the most crippling issues for the church is that women have not been able to use their talents and gifts to their full potential for all these years.

I just started reading it- it is very good and you would probably get a lot out of it. He explains Paul's words and how they have been misinterpreted, even from what Paul himself was trying to say. He uses a lot of historical context and specific translational meaning from the original language the passages were written in.

Check it out.

Davian93
08-29-2008, 09:37 AM
All right, let's try a new example. Women.

For 2000 years an entire gender was blamed for mankind's homegrown evil and misery because our progenitor ate a fricken apple.

The Corinthians letters Paul wrote were used to oppress women. Up to and including regulating how long our hair could be, keeping our heads covered and not inheriting property. Were any of these things actually told to us by Jesus himself? Nope. They were Paulist and Paul's interpretation of "meekness."

It took a very long time for me to forgive God for allowing this oppression based on a manipulation by the Roman Catholic church of the original works to suppress the matriarchal societies of ancient Western Europe. But then, He did give us free will.

Religion was used as an excuse to oppress 50% of the population for 2000 years. It's not used, for the most part, anymore (cults in West Texas notwithstanding). However the verses are still there, the religion is still there. Women got tired of being abused, mistreated, and ignored, and a few strong women decided that they'd rather be condemned than to let themselves and their sisters and daughters continue to be second class citizens. And frankly, I agree with them. I'd rather burn in hell than worship a God who hated me because HE created me to be a woman.

Thanks to the suffrage movement, I don't have to be a second class citizen. And hopefully, 20 years or less from now, homosexuals will be accepted as well and no longer relegated to second class citizenship based on a bloody Bible passage. Because I think we'll get over that whole biology thing long before the Religious Right does their prejudice.

I refuse to take the Bible literally since in doing so, I'd have to acknowledge that God condemned me from birth. In which case, why bother being religious?


She's a Witch!!!

Realnow
08-29-2008, 10:30 AM
You're American, aren't you? If so, I have to say that your sense of geography is quite good. You're off by only about a thousand miles, confusing the Baltics with the Balkans. :p

Nope Canadian, good try though. And forgive me for the slip up..I type thousands of words all day at work and my mind isn't perfect. I think its pretty clear I mean Balkans :rolleyes:

And it is precisely that motivating force which bothers me about religion. It can be used to provide motivation for anything at all, and generally is too.

Ok well I hate that people are motivated by money (moreso than religion in the modern world). People get jobs and work etc all for money! Lets BAN money, shall we? Greed causes so many problems and inequalities in society, so why not just do away with it?

Everything you mentioned could be attributed to money as well as religion. However, both things have intrinsically good values that we rely on and it is asinine to consider that we need to get rid of them or something like that

You are quite likely right. But the principal wasn't alone. Most of the people in that area actually agreed with him.
If he had been picking on blacks now in the way that would have worked 40 years ago, then those people would have been horrified, they would have been yelling for his resignation. But instead he chose a victim that is considered sinful, and all the people nodded and said "praise the Lord". That is a direct result of the unifying power of religion: it unifies all the people against a schoolgirl who is a bit different.

I don't get your point here..your saying that 40 years ago those people would have been horrified about discrimination on blacks? Are you serious? Pretty sure that most of them would have agreed with him moreso than they did now about the girl.

However, such a new justification isn't automatically guaranteed to convince the ones that went along because they accepted the authority of the Bible.
I do not believe that the vast majority of people are incurable homophobes. But if they're given a justification they accept, then most will go along with that. Remove that justification, and far fewer will go along with a new attack.

Firstly you can't seriously be saying that the Bible should be removed or something from society? Not even going to bother responding to that notion..utterly foolish. But if your saying people wouldn't be homophobes without religion I really don't even understand that. 90% of the homophobes I have encountered weren't even religious. Your argument has no foundation at all statistically.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-29-2008, 10:34 AM
The pastor that performed my marriage just published a book called 95 More for the Door. 95 Biblical principles that point to complete equality of women in Christianity. In fact, he says one one the most crippling issues for the church is that women have not been able to use their talents and gifts to their full potential for all these years.


Interesting, Brita. I'll have to look for it at B & N.

Sinistrum
08-29-2008, 11:06 AM
Round and round and round we go, where it stops, nobody knows. Let me go ahead and wrap this debate up for everyone. There is nothing you can say or argue that will convince people like Terez, Ozy and Gonzo that religion isn't the root of all evil, including homophoebia. It is just that simple, so you might as well stop trying.

Cary Sedai
08-29-2008, 11:26 AM
That's the kind of news the Pravda reported in the old Soviet Union. Highlighting the good that was done by the Communist Party and sweeping the bad under the carpet.
Didn't seem to work out as well as you hope, though. I applaud your intentions, but hope they aren't seriously tried because I do not think it will work out any better next time.

I most certainly do not mean that only the good should be reported. There is a balance between good and bad, plus all that gray in between. I would like our news to reflect this more honestly. But since honesty is out of style and money is in, it won't happen.

Religion is not the root of all evil. Humanity is the root of all evil. Since we are the only animals on this planet that know the difference between good and evil,(or even judge things to be good or evil) and we have free will, then obviously (at least to me) it's our choice, it comes from within us.

Sorry for being rude to those who believe the devil makes you do evil things. We have free will, so we are making the choices. Also sorry for those who think God makes you do good things, again that's our choice.

ShadowbaneX
08-29-2008, 12:29 PM
Firstly you can't seriously be saying that the Bible should be removed or something from society? Not even going to bother responding to that notion..utterly foolish. But if your saying people wouldn't be homophobes without religion I really don't even understand that. 90% of the homophobes I have encountered weren't even religious. Your argument has no foundation at all statistically.

I wouldn't mind seeing it go away. Remember, the Bible is not the Religion. As Gil pointed out it's been used to argue for a great many things over the years. It's an example guide. It shows examples of how the religion's dogma should be played out, not direct rules on how to live. Actually, I might go so far as to say that if you're living your life according to the Bible, you're not living your life as a Christian.

As Gil pointed out, for a damned long time it was used to repress women, mostly because the Pope and the Cardinals wanted to subjegate the Matriarchal societies, like Scotland, although there's probably a few other reasons why they did it as well.

As for not liking Gays, well, to an extent, that did counteracts one of the commandments to breed like rabbits, but let's not forget that the Church and it's monastic orders were 'safe havens' for homosexuals for centuries.

Throw the Bible out of society? I've heard worse ideas, but more likely it's time for a New New Testament. Go and reedit the Bible and toss out some of the more hateful contradictory tales and fables, and put in some more of the lovey-dovey stuff and I think it'll be good.

Davian93
08-29-2008, 12:33 PM
I'm beginning to remember why we used to have 100 post limits on threads.

GonzoTheGreat
08-29-2008, 03:11 PM
Once again Sinistrum has managed to rather seriously misunderstand me.

I do not think that religion is the root of all evil.
However, I do think that it is the most effective way of getting good people to do evil.
In the case of homophobia: I do not think that anywhere near a majority of people is afflicted with that naturally. But religion is one of the major factors which turns people who would ordinarily say "I'm not gay, so it is none of my business" into active bigots.
Firstly you can't seriously be saying that the Bible should be removed or something from society?
I think that it would be an improvement if everyone became atheists. I most definitely do not think that it would be good if an attempt were made to enforce atheism.

What I want is both freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
Freedom of religion means that anyone can choose his or her religion (or do without, of course).
Freedom from religion means that no one will be bothered by anyone else's religion.

Now, I admit that that "not bothered" is open to interpretation, and will be a subject for discussion quite often. But I do think that the principal, who reasoned "homosexuality is against my religion, so I will abuse my power and knowledge to harass this girl" is wrong. I also think that the people who reasoned "we share the principals religion, so we approve of his harassment of an underage girl" are wrong. And I think that if religion wasn't seen as something that can be forced on others, then it wouldn't be used in such a way as often as it is.

ShadowbaneX
08-29-2008, 03:18 PM
I'm beginning to remember why we used to have 100 post limits on threads.
nah, that was because it was all displayed and took forever to load.

Seeker
08-29-2008, 05:55 PM
I am taking issue with this remark because it's coming from your gut feeling. You can't produce a shred of evidence for it.

I think I have to concede that point. I was going to argue that if people were more moral, would the world have all these problems, but that would be ad hoc.

I think I could make a more convincing argument, but it would necessitate a whole new thread. The moral condition of humankind in general is irrelevant to this discussion. We’re talking strictly about the mentality of one man: Principal Davis.

If you want evidence, I’ll make a logical and psychological appeal to demonstrate that this man would have been just as destructive had he been an atheist; and that his homophobic qualities stem from internal

1) The existence of gay-friendly Christians prove that Christianity is not a sufficient cause for homophobic behaviour.

2) The existence of homophobic atheists prove that Christianity is not a necessary condition for homophobic behaviour.

3) From the article’s account, Davis displays a persistent pattern of being unable to moderate his own actions.

The friends donned gay pride T-shirts and rainbow-colored clothing when they found out how Davis had treated her, and he questioned many of them about their sexuality and association with gay students. Some were suspended.

Speaking as an educator, I know of no school district that practises suspension on the grounds of a student’s sexuality or his associations; and I cannot fathom a school district – not even the most conservative among them – that would do so. Suspension is like incarceration: it can only be applied in response to infractions to a specific set of rules.

The fact that Davis suspended students based on their sexuality or their belief on gay rights demonstrates that this man has no understanding of the limits of his authority.

"He went so far as to lift the shirts of female students to insure the letters 'GP' or the words 'Gay Pride' were not written on their bodies."

The fact that Davis went to such extremes to uncover two letters which would have been invisible to the public anyway – under the girls’ shirts – demonstrates clear obsessive tendencies. Furthermore, his willingness to commit, what is essentially sexual assault, shows that Davis is inept at practising restraint.

These are persistent character flaws, endemic to this man. There may be deeply homophobic educators out there, and these homophobias may be religiously motivated, but we don’t hear about these people because they have the sense enough not to exceed their mandates. They’re sane, if ignorant.

Davis, was either socialized terribly or simply has a severe chemical imbalance. His actions are fanatical. A man who displays this level of pathological behaviour would be equally screwed up no matter what religion he ascribed to – if any.

Therefore making this about religion is pointless.

From his actions and the context I have provided you, I HAVE to conclude that Davis felt some kind of supposedly “righteously motivated” DESIRE to hurt these people. And since his attacks seemed mostly directed at females, there’s probably an element of misogyny as well.

Marie Curie 7
08-30-2008, 01:16 AM
One of the things that I found disturbing about the story was this:

When a high school senior told her principal that students were taunting her for being a lesbian, he told her homosexuality is wrong, outed her to her parents and ordered her to stay away from children.

So, this principal outed the girl to her parents. Now, if she hadn't already come out to her parents, I imagine that might have been because she felt that they would have a problem with it. And unfortunately, that's probably the case. From the court ruling (http://www.nwfdailynews.com/attachments/k4layh-smoakopinion.pdf):

Testimony at trial revealed that Jane's father threatened to kick Jane out of the house upon learning of his daughter's sexual orientation.
So, I hope this girl is able to get the support she needs elsewhere.

Ozymandias
08-30-2008, 02:07 AM
This just occurred to me.

Even if you removed the bible as a justification for homophobia, homophobes would just invent a new one. Just about anything can be an excuse to a fanatic. Their ability to justify their misdeeds is limited only by the human imagination.


Well, did it ever occur to you that thats absolutely not true? Before the advent of religion, homosexuality was an accepted part of the social order. Ancient Greeks and Romans practiced it on a wide scale. There were male temple prostitutes in the ancient Levant. It was frowned upon, as all things different are, but not pursued with the kind of vitriolic hatred it is today until... wait for it, CHRISTIANITY!!!!

Its amazing how no one has yet come up with a decent justification for Christianity. Even when trying to say they didn't do something bad, it tends to be wrong.

And Sini, I have nothing against religion in general. I think that on the whole it could, and often does, serve a noble and moral purpose in binding communities together and imparting common values. I just think that Christianity has bound its members together through violence and bigotry, and the values it espouses in practice are overwhelmingly negative. And frankly, no one here has shown an example of why this isn't the case.

Terez
08-30-2008, 04:33 AM
Well, did it ever occur to you that thats absolutely not true? Before the advent of religion, homosexuality was an accepted part of the social order. Ancient Greeks and Romans practiced it on a wide scale....
Did you mean to say "before the advent of Christianity"? :p

Ozymandias
08-30-2008, 10:41 AM
Did you mean to say "before the advent of Christianity"? :p

thank you, terez. thats quite what i meant to say. Perhaps I should have said, "in non-monotheistic societies, homosexuality was an accepted part of the social order".

Since the Jews weren't too hot on it either. Josiah deals with them too, as well as several other quasi-legendary Early Iron Age Judean monarchs

Davian93
08-30-2008, 11:06 AM
I'm sure that there were a few non-monotheistic cultures that frowned on the process Ozy. Even Romans and Greeks thought it was disgraceful to be a, ahem "bottom" in such a relationship.

Seeker
08-30-2008, 02:35 PM
Well, did it ever occur to you that thats absolutely not true? Before the advent of religion, homosexuality was an accepted part of the social order. Ancient Greeks and Romans practiced it on a wide scale. There were male temple prostitutes in the ancient Levant. It was frowned upon, as all things different are, but not pursued with the kind of vitriolic hatred it is today until... wait for it, CHRISTIANITY!!!!

Claiming that homophobia would not exist were it not for Christianity is ad hoc. You can't tell what the world would have been like had Christianity never existed. It's quite possible - and not unlikely - that homophobia would have arisen from an entirely different source. After all, something made the early Christians dislike homosexuality in the first place.

We are living in a society - to our great misfortune - where homophobia already exists and has been engrained for generations. How it got there, at this point, is irrelevant. Predjudice is an emotional thing. Even if you show it has no rational justification it still won't go away. People with that level of hatred don't need justifications. When asked about the reasons by someone who shares their view, they will just invent a justification.

Or they blame. Like you're doing. "I'm prejudiced because... because... because... the Chrisians deserve it! That's why!"

And Sini, I have nothing against religion in general. I think that on the whole it could, and often does, serve a noble and moral purpose in binding communities together and imparting common values. I just think that Christianity has bound its members together through violence and bigotry, and the values it espouses in practice are overwhelmingly negative. And frankly, no one here has shown an example of why this isn't the case.

No.
Certain societies throughout history bind their members together through violence and biggotry. Medieval Europe - where Christianity flourished - was a particularly violent place.

Is it the religion that infected the society or is it the society that infected the religion?

The overall point, Ozy, is that whenever you go "that group, there. They're the root of all evil," regardless of what group you're doing it to, you're becoming another source of violence and biggotry.

Personally, I'm not prejudiced: I hate all humans equally and long for the day that a meteor wipes us out. :)

Sinistrum
08-30-2008, 03:28 PM
I hate all humans equally and long for the day that a meteor wipes us out.

You think we'll last that long? :p

Terez
08-30-2008, 06:37 PM
Even if you show it has no rational justification it still won't go away.
The laws in the states where Christianity is not so dominant prove you wrong.

Ozymandias
08-30-2008, 09:38 PM
Claiming that homophobia would not exist were it not for Christianity is ad hoc. You can't tell what the world would have been like had Christianity never existed. It's quite possible - and not unlikely - that homophobia would have arisen from an entirely different source. After all, something made the early Christians dislike homosexuality in the first place.

Seeker- Wrong. Homophobia is a Christian conceit. It started with Christians. Looking down on homosexuals has existed for a really long time, yes. It wasn't until the advent of Christianity that gays were pursued with an active hatred, and the idea came about them to eliminate homosexuality merely because it was "wrong". Find me a pre-Christian society which hounded homosexuals in the same way Christian communities do. Whats that? You can't? Right, because your defending a morally bankrupt philosophy.

Your right, something made them dislike it in the first place. All Christian thought has some root in the social mores of the time. But like other Christian ideals, their "religion" acted as a force multiplier (great term, whoever brought that up). Nothing in the common thought at the time made Christians hate gays the way they did. The religion, however, is a conduit of bigotry and hatred, and therefore homosexuals become people to be actively hated and cast out, not just a group to be passively disliked.

We are living in a society - to our great misfortune - where homophobia already exists and has been engrained for generations. How it got there, at this point, is irrelevant. Predjudice is an emotional thing. Even if you show it has no rational justification it still won't go away. People with that level of hatred don't need justifications. When asked about the reasons by someone who shares their view, they will just invent a justification.

Or they blame. Like you're doing. "I'm prejudiced because... because... because... the Chrisians deserve it! That's why!"

And how did we get to that level of hatred? If your answer is "Christians" then you win a gold star. Once again, I challenge you to come up with a plausible alternative explanation that explains why intolerance seems to have gone on the rise as Christianity has spread.

I'm prejudiced for reasons I think are good and valid. I don't blame Christians for the existence of bigots, but I think Christianity as a philosophy has greatly expanded both the number of bigots in the world and the intensity with which they pursue that intolerance. You can feel free to disagree with that, but I've spent 2 weeks asking people to show me a few redeeming features of Christian practices. I've gotten no response.

So as long as we're all pretending to be rational beings, you tell me who's wrong. The guy who's explaining through example why he believes a religion is wrong-minded, or the defenders of said religion who merely have the knee-jerk reaction of calling ME small-minded and prejudiced. Wow.... sounds like what I'm describing, at all?



No.
Certain societies throughout history bind their members together through violence and biggotry. Medieval Europe - where Christianity flourished - was a particularly violent place.

Is it the religion that infected the society or is it the society that infected the religion?

I think we can safely say its a combination of both, but that the majority of the blame lies in the religion. Jews in Medieval Europe didn't display the violent, bigoted tendancies of Christians. Nor did Muslims. They were actually quite tolerant. And in today's world, a rather more civilized place, Christians are STILL bigots, STILL choose to resolve conflicts through violence, and are still totally intolerant of other groups they disapprove of. The common thread here isn't the violent society, buddy. Its Christianity.

The overall point, Ozy, is that whenever you go "that group, there. They're the root of all evil," regardless of what group you're doing it to, you're becoming another source of violence and biggotry.

Alright, firstly, don't put words in my mouth. I do not and will not ever say that Christians are the root of all evil; that exists in humanity indepedently of any thought process or philosophy. I merely think Christianity is a religion that brings out that inner darkness and lets people justify hating and hurting others to an extent that other religions, political affiliations, or moral groupings just don't go to. And historically, I think that idea is borne out; that Christians have been the most violent and intolerant people for the longest stretch of unbroken time.

So far, the defense has been "no, your wrong, evil existed". How about giving me an example of a few good things Christians have done? And I don't mean you carrying your UNICEF box around on Halloween. What is the positive moral paradigm shift Christianity has brought about?

Seeker
08-31-2008, 01:07 AM
Ozy....

I have something of a reputation on this board for being a particularly angry poster. As such, I - an athiest - am stifling the urge to leap to the defense of any Christians here. Many of these Christians will likely remember times when I got in THEIR faces about gays or Muslems.

So...
I'm not going to give you a tongue-lashing, despite the fact that you deserve it. And I'm not going to go on a rant about how utterly stupid it is to come to a public forum, where people who think differently than you frequent, and make that level of hate speech. It was wrong when others did it to gays and it's wrong when you do it to Christians. (Ok, fine, I went on a mini-rant, sue me).

What I am going to say is this: you just proved my point.

I could argue with you further, but why bother? Prejudice is an emotional thing. Nothing I've said to you has been knee-jerk. What I've given you is a rational assessment of the fact that you can't predict what history would have been like without Christianity.

I will answer this for you.

So far, the defense has been "no, your wrong, evil existed". How about giving me an example of a few good things Christians have done? And I don't mean you carrying your UNICEF box around on Halloween. What is the positive moral paradigm shift Christianity has brought about?

That's the point. No one has answered that question because the question is unanswerable. We don't know because Christianity has existed for too long, in too many places, under too many denominations to predict what the world would have been like without it. We can't tell you if, on the whole, it's been more helpful or harmful to humankind.

Here's the question for you? Why the need to classify Christianity as good or bad? It's a belief system. It exists. I personally think there's a lot of holes in it. But that's a rational assessment not a moral one.

SOME beliefs are bad.
Racism
Sexism
Homophobia.

SOME are good.
Charity.
Clean Living.
Self Reliance.

But Christianity is an entire SYSTEM of beliefs that mixes all of the above, and more, in varying proportions. Most of us here - the non-Christians anyway - aren't telling you Christianity is good.

We actually didn't judge it at all. It's just there.

Now hurting Christians just because they're Christians is bad.

Why do you so fiercely feel the need to? Why is this so personal for you?

Birgitte
08-31-2008, 01:13 AM
Well, for starters, there are over 370,00 Christian Charities. I dug for awhile and found 57 non-religiously affiliated charities (http://techskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/12/atheist-charities.html). Christians are guilted into being charitable by Jesus's message of showing kindness to your fellow man. And the organization of a religion provides an easy stable point to build a charity from. Charities have to be organized, they need members and they need money. It's much easier to get them started when you have an existing organization to draw from. And did you miss SBX's whole deal about where Western Society would be without Christians? It's somewhere abouts page four or five. You seem to think that the religion makes the people, so you ought to pay more attention to it. I didn't, but I don't agree.

I think we can safely say its a combination of both, but that the majority of the blame lies in the religion. Jews in Medieval Europe didn't display the violent, bigoted tendancies of Christians. Nor did Muslims. They were actually quite tolerant.

Muslims have spent most of their time throughout history fighting amongst themselves. There've been people fighting over who should lead them since the day after Muhammad died. Not to mention that the Black Plague lasted over two decades longer in the Middle East because when it first started, even though they had hospitals and the scientifically minded had figured out that quarantines were a good idea, the religious leaders declared hospitals and quarantines blasphemous because God had decided people should die horribly. Doctors were charged with blasphemy and given a death sentence. Can you call that anything other than bigoted violence? And the Jews haven't been in a position of political power for almost 2000 years. They didn't have the opportunity that political authority provides for bigots to be violent. There's no telling what Jews would or wouldn't have done. We simply can't know about them.

My point is that you can't really prove that Christianity causes people to be bigoted and evil (correct me if that isn't what you're implying, but that's what I'm getting) any more than I can really prove that it isn't. So stating without a doubt that the world would be better off if Christians didn't exist is doesn't actually make any kind of rational sense. It's up in the air, and, based on the observations of the rest of humanity, it doesn't seem likely that its Christianity's fault.

It's my point of view that religion is an enabler that can go both ways. It gives an easy justification for just about everything you can think of, good or bad. It can give people hope when they have no rational reason to expect anything to help and it can give people a sense of self-righteousness that lets them ignore the pain they're causing others.


Edit: I forgot about Israel. How? Don't ask me... Maybe I'm just tired. But anyway, Israel may or may not decide to nuke Iran just because they don't like their religion, so I don't think Jews really get to claim universal tolerance, either.

Sinistrum
08-31-2008, 01:28 AM
It was wrong when others did it to gays and it's wrong when you do it to Christians.

And here in lies the most salient point made in this entire "discussion" if you can even call it that any more. Ozy, your hatred, and bigotry toward Christianity as well as your stated desire to wipe Christians out is proving B, Seeker, SBX and my point better than anything we could ever argue. You are obviously not a Christian and yet you are still irrationally prejudiced and wish to act out on that prejudice with violence. You've proved your own argument wrong just by looking in the mirror. Case closed.

Seeker
08-31-2008, 01:32 AM
As usual, B, I must bow to your eloquence.

I'm just gonna NOT post anymore.

You've made me obselete.

Seeker
08-31-2008, 02:10 AM
Moreover, I should note that ANYTHING that brings me and Sini onto the same side MUST be extreme.

Althought it is fairly comforting to know we're both wise enough to unite in the face of a greater evil. Yes, Ozy, at the moment, that's you.

GonzoTheGreat
08-31-2008, 09:03 AM
Ozymandias, as some on this board know, I am not really a fan of Christianity. However, I do think that you're giving it far too much honor now.
While Christianity is undoubtedly good at justifying atrocious behaviour, other religions can be similarly abused. We are just a bit less familiar with them, so that they seem cleaner.

Some examples:
Hinduism is (and was, even more) an important factor in keeping the caste system alive.
The Aztecs were so succesful because their religion demanded almost constant wars. They needed human sacrifices, and the 'best' way of getting candidates was taking prisoners in war. So when their supply ran short, they started a new war.
The Viking religion demanded human sacrifices for some occasions too. And they too had a (far less elaborate) caste system backed up by their religion.

Seeker
08-31-2008, 12:41 PM
I think Sini has the right of it. I think we should stop debating with Ozy. Remember, prejudice is an emotional thing. It doesn't matter how thoughtful our replies are, they won't sway him.

I think, instead, all we succeed in doing is provoking him, and that will just entrench him deeper in the hatred.

I know because I've been where he is.

Ozy, I'd like to say that we'd be here for you if you wanted to talk. You'd probably just find it patronizing. So please, try to understand the intent is only to help. If you wanna get something off your chest, there are people who will listen. I'm one of them.

And I'm just going to leave it at that.

Terez
08-31-2008, 05:49 PM
Ozy's probably just bitter cause he got circumcised as a baby or something.

And Seeker, you do come off as being extremely patronizing and condescending. I'm not sure who you do it for, but it's obviously not Ozy...

Seeker
08-31-2008, 06:53 PM
Anytime you offer to help someone who's just been dressed down, you're going to sound patronizing.

Guess the way I see it is, I can either try to be there for him or I can just condemn him. Having been in his position at one point myself, I can't really justify doing the latter.

So, I figure I had to at least OFFER to talk about it. (Cuz just walking away after I dressed him down would be tantamount to condemning the man). He doesn't have to take me up on it.

************
Also, not saying he needs my support.
Just that it's there if he wants it.
I'm sure he'll get through it all one way or another.

Terez
08-31-2008, 09:11 PM
Anytime you offer to help someone who's just been dressed down, you're going to sound patronizing.
Nah - that's what PM is for. ;)

Davian93
08-31-2008, 09:12 PM
I hate you all equally. ;)


































Just kidding...I pretty much like everyone on this board...well other than Cholly who was just a loser.

tanaww
08-31-2008, 09:12 PM
Nah - that's what PM is for. ;)

Well, I'm glad someone finally found a use for him!

tworiverswoman
08-31-2008, 09:14 PM
Actually, I'm convinced that Cholly was "performance art."

NO ONE can be that consistently a real schmuck.

Davian93
08-31-2008, 09:15 PM
Actually, I'm convinced that Cholly was "performance art."

NO ONE can be that consistently a real schmuck.


Oh Most Definitely...;)

That's the nice part about this board is that everyone essentially plays nice even when they disagree with each other.

tworiverswoman
08-31-2008, 09:17 PM
That's the nice part about this board is that everyone essentially plays nice even when they disagree with each other.If I were Terez I'd have a handy link to the black thread from 2003...

Davian93
08-31-2008, 09:20 PM
If I were Terez I'd have a handy link to the black thread from 2003...

Well, I didn't say always...there are some pretty bad arguments.

Ozymandias
09-01-2008, 07:50 AM
I think Sini has the right of it. I think we should stop debating with Ozy. Remember, prejudice is an emotional thing. It doesn't matter how thoughtful our replies are, they won't sway him.

I think, instead, all we succeed in doing is provoking him, and that will just entrench him deeper in the hatred.

I know because I've been where he is.

Ozy, I'd like to say that we'd be here for you if you wanted to talk. You'd probably just find it patronizing. So please, try to understand the intent is only to help. If you wanna get something off your chest, there are people who will listen. I'm one of them.

And I'm just going to leave it at that.

The gracious offer is noted. Sadly, I had a beautifull constructed response to several points, and tried to post it after disconnecting my ethernet cable, and... well, one more work of blog art lost to the whims of the trackless internet wilderness.

I'll try to recreate it briefly, and since I can see this is going nowhere anyways, with a minimum of combativeness.

I'm not a bigot, and I'm not prejudiced. Or no more than the average human being. Which is to say... very prejudiced, in some things. I do, however, think that calling this an "unanswerable" question, as Seeker has attempted to do, is wrong. Things in this world are good or bad. There are many, many shades of gray, of course, but in the end, nothing is neutral. Ken Lay was probably a good guy in some ways, but what he did at Enron will forever taint him as evil. Henry Dunant was probably a jerk a few times in his life, but devoting himself to founding the Red Cross has given him the label of a great guy. Nothing comes in absolutes, despite RJ's protestations to the contrary. Even someone like Hitler wasn't pure bad (just overwhelmingly so!).

My point about Christianity isn't that its the root of all evil, or that its never done a good thing. That clearly isn't the case. History is written throughout with the good deeds done by Christians, both for themselves and others. I don't think all Christians should be killed. You'll never hear me espouse any of those things. Not seriously.

I do think, however, that weighing it on something resembling a just scale is possible. We don't need to respect anything just because it exists and is believed by billions of people. Billions of people can be wrong. In fact, its possible they are, as the opportunities to discriminate and be intolerant in a institutionally-supported manner are very attractive, which is what I mean when I say Christianity is a conduit through which people express negative emotions.

Of course it isn't possible to determine the course of history without Christianity, but that doesn't mean we can't try. There are plenty of societies that existed alongside Christianity, and since people are people the world over, its not much a stretch to look at the trajectories of those societies and see how Christianity compares. As I said... look at the Middle East, or Eastern Europe, in Medieval times compared to Christian Europe. An infinitely more cultured and healthier place to live; tolerance was greater, religion didn't stifle all attempts at learned thought, just all around a healthier society. This isn't opinion, this is fact.

In fact, you can make a definite argument that the only thing which allowed the West, and Europe, to come to its current position of global cultural supremacy was the very fact that it effectively abandoned everything but the rhetoric of Christianity during the Enlightenment. When the rise of a civilization can be traced to a corresponding decline in the power of its religious institutions, well... just look at the name "Enlightenment". Even Christians themselves seem to have had some idea of the bigoted, intolerant, draconian system they had been toiling under. Some of the greatest minds of that era rejected Christianity; NOT, mind you, God or his existence, but the very social and moral fabric which Christianity had erected around that idea. Not that this was the entire reason, of course, but its a telling comment on the state of institutional religion and its dubious history in Europe that escape from its strictures was viewed as becoming enlightened, even by its own members. I mean, if you don't believe the Christian tendency towards virulent, violent anti-Semitism wasn't a huge motivator in Adolf Hitler's moral development (or degeneration, perhaps), then your completely naive.

So, Seeker, I'm not looking for some metaphysical justification for Jesus being the messiah, or whether the Pope should be a rabbit, or whether Christianity isn't really just paganism in another guise (a pet theory of mine). I'm looking for some concrete facts about why Christianity has done significantly more good for the world than harm. I've spent a long time showing you the dozens of examples of small-minded hatred executed on a large, bloody scale. Ukraine in the Middle Ages to the desire to construct Muslims as "evil" in todays world are a few examples of the large-scale atrocities committed, or bigotry incited, in the name of Jesus Christ. And I haven't heard any evidence to support the other side. So please... don't tell me its "unanswerable." Its a system of faith, so of course you don't need to justify yourself or your belief to me; thats the entire reason for the problems, of course, but its your choice. But don't give me that ultimate cop out and tell me its not our place to judge. It IS our place to judge. We're the ultimate arbiters of what is good and bad, and we should be making rational choices on what we believe (or at least to a point), not just consigning everything that can't be proven to the purgatory of "personal belief, leave it alone." We judge the KKK, we judged Hitler... why not judge Christianity? Not that its in the same league as the others, necessarily, but it won't kill to examine the negatives as supposed to JUST the good things.

So no, I'm not prejudiced. I just think a certain amount of critical analysis can be applied to everything. Not to be immodest, but I know a lot about history on a really broad timeline, and maybe that gives me a greater knowledge than your average practicing Christian about the history of their belief system. My overall point being that as a Christian, your responsible for the historical legacy your moral ancestors left for you. And saying "I refuse to consider the question (of whether Christianity is bad)," is culturally irresponsible.

But as I said, this conversation is going nowhere; you've refused to consider, and probably would come out with a different position anyways, and I think I'm right. We're not gonna come to a conclusion. And by the way, you CAN condemn me! Please. If you think I'm wrong, or completely off my rocker, then YES, goddamit, tell me that. Fucking chew me out. Don't wimp out on the criticism, thats exactly what I think is wrong with the whole mindset, refusing to judge! I wouldn't hold to a position like this if I wasn't ready to take some heat for it, I know its very unorthodox.

As a parting note... what is worse? Slavery in the antebellum South (US South, that is), or being a factory worker in mid-19th century America? Same kind of question... forces you to look past a socially required moral position and examine the facts. I'm interested to hear all your positions.

Brita
09-01-2008, 10:09 AM
Ozy- this well thought out and fairly phrased post is not what you started out with. You might want to go back and read your first couple of posts. Especially the Nero comments.

Nero had the right idea.

Nero did have the right idea, because lets be honest; as a group, Christians are assholes. There are some who aren't, but for the most part, they would be classified as "not Christian".

That is like me saying Hitler had the right idea. People have been thrown is jail for saying that. Do you actually know what Nero did to Christians?

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired

So you started this discussion with very hurtful words. I know you aren't condoning Nero's atrocities, but a little tact and consideration would be nice. Nero was a monster by the end of his reign, and just because it happened 2000 years ago doesn't make it any less inflammatory to say he had the right idea. If anyone praised Hitler on this board, there would have been all sorts of hell to pay- endorsing Nero is no different.

Verin Mathwin
09-01-2008, 05:03 PM
Ozy, thanks for explaining yourself. It is much appreciated!
But, as Brita said the Nero comments were a little harsh, it's all good though. All people say things jokingly (or at least in their own minds it seems to be a joke) that are taken completely wrong. So, try and use some less hateful jokes and that would be awesome. Again, though, thanks for explaining

Ozymandias
09-01-2008, 11:00 PM
That is like me saying Hitler had the right idea. People have been thrown is jail for saying that. Do you actually know what Nero did to Christians?



I've read all my posts. They say what they're supposed to. How you interpret them is none of my business. Nero wanted to eliminate Christianity. I think, had he succeeded, he would have done the world a large favor. He was brutal in his methods, of course, but no more so than with any other group of divisive subversive groups.

Once again, you let your religious beliefs influence fact. The truth of the matter is, many if not most modern historians question our surviving accounts of Nero's reign. A great deal of evidence points to the fact that he was actually a pretty good emperor, who thought Christians were divisive subversives. Which may very well have been true, but you can hardly consider his actions as particularly vindictive if he's punishing people advocating treason (which, effectively, they were). He has been effectively villainised by Christian writers and sympathizers, writing years after the fact.

Do I think Nero was a good person? No. But the monster he's made out to be, and the tale you swallow bait and tackle, Brita, deserves to be re-examined as supposed to accepted blindly. Which is precisely my point about Christianity as a whole.

If you were to tell me Hitler had the right idea, I would consider it and get back to you. It depends on how you look at it. If his goal is to build a powerful state and community, then yeah... he did have the right idea. Victimize the group that centuries of religious (Christian, I'll point out) thought had already as good as condemned in the minds of the public, and cast them out in order to bring the rest of the community closer together. I think on the whole, Hitler was a terrible person who did terrible things, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't look at his actions in rebuilding German pride and national spirit and say that it was a good thing. The direction in which he directed that energy was bad, but the act of creating it was good, even if the methods weren't.

I'm just asking you all to think for yourselves, examine the evidence, don't just have some knee jerk reaction to every slightly unorthodox statement that comes your way. If you refuse to consider alternatives, which most of you have decided is the right course, than your just as closeminded as that principal. Just because you choose not to act on that close-mindedness doesn't mean it isn't the sort of mentality that breeds bigotry and hate in less responsible people.

Matoyak
09-01-2008, 11:47 PM
Is there an ignore feature on these vBulletin boards? There are on most web forums...I can't seem to find a "friends and foes" section on the User CP...

Never thought I'd have to ask that on Theoryland...

EDIT: Nevermind, I missed it because my internet didn't load the page properly (damn noScript add-on...considering getting rid of that one and just sticking with adblock plus)

ShadowbaneX
09-02-2008, 12:00 AM
I said it before and I'll say it again, I for one think that things are better because of the rise of Christianity, but there's no way to tell. My reactions are not knee jerk reactions, but the reasoning of someone that has more then the average knowledge of world history. Granted, my knowledge is far from complete, and mostly biased towards modern history, but I still have some knowledge of ancient history.

I'm not even all that fond of religion when you get down do it. I'm of the opinion that if there is a divine entity flitting around the universe, it's got alot better things to do then decide who wins the next local sporting event, who gets a new job, or losses their current one, or whatever.

Despite all my problems with religion in general (and not just Christianity) despite only having a undergrad degree in history, I still cannot agree with your statements.

Yes, the squeaky wheels of Christianity do create problems, but then again the squeaky wheels in any society create problems. Completely eliminating Christianity wouldn't solve all the worlds problems, and it might well make many more.

Roman society could have evolved out of human sacrifice and the legalization of the slave trade, but it might not have. Christian Medieval Europe had it's patre familias, but then so did the Romans, actually, they had it even further due to slavery.

At least with Christianity we've got a moral background that most people are familiar with that teaches love, patience, being nice, etc. Yes, alot of people don't follow it, but it's much better then the, the Gods are fickle and give them fruit, grains, meat and, if necessary, people to appease them, or ruin shall fall down upon you.

Just because you define Christianity as being the primary source of the modern worlds troubles doesn't mean that removing them will solve all the world's ills. Dozens of worse options present themselves when you look back through history as to what might have become the dominant empire.

If all my education has taught me one thing, it is that there is no one simple answer that will solve all the ills. Taking out Christianty might, might solve some of the problems that you see, but it could just as easily make two or three or even ten times more.

Once again, I'm not knee-jerking, I'm not irrationally standing up for something I believe in, quite the opposite as I don't like religion. I simply think that the way history has turned out isn't really all that bad. I mean a few idiots out there protesting and hating gays is rather small compared to the possibility of slavery still existing, or humans being sacrificed to appease some mythicial gods, or any number of other things.

As for Hitler...he rebuilt a nation based on lies, half-truths, propaganda and hate. For all he accomplished, he destroyed at least ten times as much and seriously screwed up an entire generation of his own nation's youth, slaughter generations of others (gypsies, gays/lesbians, diabetics, others with birth defects or genetic diseases, communists in addition to all the jewish people he persecuted) and wasted tremendous resources for seemingly little benefit...and as horrible as it is to say, if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be typing this right now.

Necessity is the mother of invention and war is the mother of necessity. Without world war two and all the technological advancements, we'd be decades further back in terms of technology. There'd be no internet, no global communications, possibly not even space travel as rocket engines were one of the things that was invented during the war. Nuclear power is another asset that was tapped during world war 2.

What Hitler was responsible for is horrible, but without him, we wouldn't be where we are now. What has happened in the name of Christianity is horrible, but without it, we wouldn't be where we are now. And just as if we might not be better off if Hitler hadn't come around, we probably wouldn't be any better of if Christianity had been eliminated before it got a chance to alter the world.

You're asking people to consider the evidence, well, I ask you to do the same. Really think about all the facets of Christianity. How it has effected all the lives of billions of people for the past two millenia. Now take that out of the world. Try to fill that yawning, gapping hole in history with something, anything else...imagine a European world that develops entirely Roman, or Norse, or Persian, or something else. Extend that to the 'New World', ie North and South America. Imagine a Persian North America, or a pagan one. Switch things around and go with a Chinese America, or even say that the Aztecs rise here and they rule the Americas and then move on to dominate the world.

Can you honestly say that any of those other societies with their religions of sacrifice and slavery (and possibly many other concepts that I don't know of) would be any better then what's currently available. Ok, sure, perhaps they might be a little kinder to gays and lesbians, but what if they instead have accepted pedophelia? Or perhaps thought that women were little better then animals?

There are far too many different paths the world could have taken. As things are, our world is imperfect, but I'll take it over the infinate number of disasters that could have befallen the world over the past several millenia.

Terez
09-02-2008, 12:04 AM
That is like me saying Hitler had the right idea.
Godwin'd!

Oh, wait...that happened in post #25...

tworiverswoman
09-02-2008, 12:20 AM
I can't help it... I keep falling over in fits of hysterical laughter at the concept of Seeker ... SEEKER -- being labelled a "knee-jerk defender of Christianity..."

Oh... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAAAHHAHHAAA

Terez
09-02-2008, 12:59 AM
He's a knee-jerk something, that's for sure...

Seeker
09-02-2008, 01:16 AM
We don't need to respect anything just because it exists and is believed by billions of people. Billions of people can be wrong.

Very true.

Some of the greatest minds of [the Renaissance] rejected Christianity; NOT, mind you, God or his existence, but the very social and moral fabric which Christianity had erected around that idea.

And with cause.

I'm looking for some concrete facts about why Christianity has done significantly more good for the world than harm.

You've asked me for that several times. I don't have such facts. I'm sorry. I can find nothing to support the assertion that Christianity has done more good than harm. BUT, I also can't find anything to support the assertion that Christianity has done more harm than good.

Most of your arguments hinge on a very personal interpretation of history.

I agree with most of your principles. Try to recall, I used to BE you. (Metaphorically speaking). You're right, we shouldn't balk at analyzing Christianity just because it's taboo. We should recognize the difference between what is true and what we're socialized to believe.

And we should be able to stand by our arguments full force. For your honesty, at least, I commend you.

Now..

I HAVE analyzed a lot of religions. And truthfully, nothing in those analyses leads me to conclusions like yours.

Christianity - as it is practised by people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell - is a socially destructive force. Men like that are scum.

But how about Christianity as it is practised by Gil, or Verin Mathwin or... (guys help me out here, I don't know you all that well).

I know that Gil has written some very interesting fiction.

I know that Mat (Verin) is a very good friend of someone who I hold especially dear (Birgitte).

Christianity is a BIG religion. Today, there are hundreds of versions of it: including a Universalist Church right outside the building, in which I went to Teacher's College, that flies a rainbow gay pride flag.

Then you factor in all the versions that existed across history. It's too big. I can't judge ALL of them with the same lens. The flaws which condemned some of them don't apply to all of them. The Grand Dragon of the KKK was a Christian. So was Mother Teresa.

But none of this was the point.
I entered this thread to demonstrate that Principal Davis had deeply routed character flaws, probably bordering on a kind of neurosis. I've done that.

You've got me in an argument about the moral validity of the entire Christian religion. I'm sorry, I'm sure that it's not perfectly neutral. I'm sure that if someone could compute the entire chronology of the human race, he would see whether Christianity did more good or more harm.

But I lack the ability to make that computation.
I must conclude "insufficient data."

Ozymandias
09-02-2008, 01:46 AM
I said it before and I'll say it again, I for one think that things are better because of the rise of Christianity, but there's no way to tell. My reactions are not knee jerk reactions, but the reasoning of someone that has more then the average knowledge of world history. Granted, my knowledge is far from complete, and mostly biased towards modern history, but I still have some knowledge of ancient history.

Always nice to meet a fellow enthusiast. I personally find dead cultures more interesting. I'm kinda like a modern day Balthamel (*gasp* could I be Balthamel reborn!?! ;) ).

Despite all my problems with religion in general (and not just Christianity) despite only having a undergrad degree in history, I still cannot agree with your statements.

My overarching statement is that you should question what you believe, not that Christianity is bad. That was my personal conclusion, but obviously I'd be a poor advocate of breaking mental blocks if I refused to accept an alternate conclusion.

Roman society could have evolved out of human sacrifice and the legalization of the slave trade, but it might not have. Christian Medieval Europe had it's patre familias, but then so did the Romans, actually, they had it even further due to slavery.

Time to clear up another factual misconception, I see. Christians DID have slavery. I mean, aside from the obvious examples in the New World, Arabs rowed galleons in the Mediterannean and Teuton missionaries (well, knights) in the Baltic States employed them as well.

And as I've said before, its not much of a stretch to argue that Christians practiced human sacrifice in all but name. Thats what a martyr is. Someone who dies for the good of the community. And thats basically another way of saying human sacrifice.

At least with Christianity we've got a moral background that most people are familiar with that teaches love, patience, being nice, etc. Yes, alot of people don't follow it, but it's much better then the, the Gods are fickle and give them fruit, grains, meat and, if necessary, people to appease them, or ruin shall fall down upon you.

The religion teaches one thing, but its adherents have long practiced quite another. And what precisely is wrong with sacrificing to a God/s? This is another Christian bias; there is nothing inherently wrong with that practice. No offense intended, but this is a perfect example of Christian bias. Perhaps monotheistic bias is a more appropriate term. What, precisely, is so evil and wrong with the practice of sacrifice that it springs so immediately to your mind as a worse alternative to Christian worship practices?

Sacrifice is an excellent method of communal bonding which was practiced in dozens of ancient societies. Athenian democracy was built around sacrifice. So was ancient Rome. Quite frankly, I don't see why this is such a huge issue that you actually bring it up as a negative alternative to sitting in a church for 6 hours on Sunday (or however long your supposed to sit) in terms of worship.

Just because you define Christianity as being the primary source of the modern worlds troubles doesn't mean that removing them will solve all the world's ills. Dozens of worse options present themselves when you look back through history as to what might have become the dominant empire.

Firstly, I do NOT think Christianity is the root of all evil, and I wish to God you would all stop quoting that as my belief. I've acknolwedged a dozen times that Christianity is not the cause of evil; people are the cause of evil. I just find Christianity, like many other beliefs, to be a conduit which allows people to express that hatred and cruelty in an institutionally supported manner they wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.

And furthermore, of course its not the worst option in history. If your best defense is "other things were worse" then your on shaky footing. Christianity isn't even close to the worst alternative there could have been. But that doesn't make it good. There have been tons of worse people than, say... Joe Stalin, for example, but that doesn't mean he's a good person.

If all my education has taught me one thing, it is that there is no one simple answer that will solve all the ills. Taking out Christianty might, might solve some of the problems that you see, but it could just as easily make two or three or even ten times more.

Firstly, removing Christianity will not REMOVE any of the world's problems (well, except anti-Semitism, which is a purely Christian conceit). As I said, Christianity is not the cause. Very rarely are beliefs the cause of problems, and in fact its quite indicative that Christianity is directly responsible for the religiously-supported hatred of a certain group. However, removing Christianity would, in my opinion, make less severe a number of the terrible hatreds we have in this world.

Once again, I'm not knee-jerking, I'm not irrationally standing up for something I believe in, quite the opposite as I don't like religion. I simply think that the way history has turned out isn't really all that bad. I mean a few idiots out there protesting and hating gays is rather small compared to the possibility of slavery still existing, or humans being sacrificed to appease some mythicial gods, or any number of other things.

Once again. Slavery was eradicated in SPITE of Christianity, not because of it. Christianity was the primary excuse for the existence of slavery (in Christian areas). You can't possibly tell me that Christian belief led to the downfall of slavery in Western countries. As I said, as men distanced themselves from Christian thought as the basis for their philosophies, the world became a much more objectively moral place.

What Hitler was responsible for is horrible, but without him, we wouldn't be where we are now. What has happened in the name of Christianity is horrible, but without it, we wouldn't be where we are now. And just as if we might not be better off if Hitler hadn't come around, we probably wouldn't be any better of if Christianity had been eliminated before it got a chance to alter the world.

Or, we could go back further and say a millenium of Christian persecution of non-Orthodox thought kept scientific advancement at a snail's crawl. Who knows what we would have achieved had great mind's like Galileo or Erasmus not been constrained by the moral strictures of the Church? This is truly entering the realm of speculation, which is why I won't do it.

You're asking people to consider the evidence, well, I ask you to do the same. Really think about all the facets of Christianity. How it has effected all the lives of billions of people for the past two millenia. Now take that out of the world. Try to fill that yawning, gapping hole in history with something, anything else...imagine a European world that develops entirely Roman, or Norse, or Persian, or something else. Extend that to the 'New World', ie North and South America. Imagine a Persian North America, or a pagan one. Switch things around and go with a Chinese America, or even say that the Aztecs rise here and they rule the Americas and then move on to dominate the world.

Can you honestly say that any of those other societies with their religions of sacrifice and slavery (and possibly many other concepts that I don't know of) would be any better then what's currently available. Ok, sure, perhaps they might be a little kinder to gays and lesbians, but what if they instead have accepted pedophelia? Or perhaps thought that women were little better then animals?

There are far too many different paths the world could have taken. As things are, our world is imperfect, but I'll take it over the infinate number of disasters that could have befallen the world over the past several millenia.

Let me reiterate something. Christians ALSO think women are little better than animals. Or are supposed to. If you haven't noticed, there are plenty of bishops who like to touch little boys. I'm not proposing a game of "what if". Its pure speculation. I'm asking for someone to name me some widespread, institutional acts of goodwill to balance out the millenia of intolerance. I'm not working on what would have happened otherwise, I'm working on what DID happen.

And I once again wish to make this point. Our modern morality developed in SPITE of Christianity, not because of it. It wasn't with the advent of Christianity that slavery and pedophilia and gender discrimination ended; it was the Enlightenment. And do you know what that period was? It was a time when people moved away from basing their decisions on Christian thought and decided to think and act for themselves. Precisely what I'm saying YOU should do.

All I've heard are defenses that compare modern morality to that of centuries ago... as if modern morality didn't exist precisely because we decided to abandon Christian morality and think for ourselves.

Look at what most people who think for themselves consider moral. No slavery, no discrimination based on race, gender, or ethnicity; keeping our hands of little children and not killing other people during a bad storm. Just to name a few. Every single one of those things (except perhaps the last) was something that was tacitly or verbally condoned by Christian thought. It was only when people realized how ridiculous that thought was that the Church was forced to change. As it is, its still shaking some of those nasty beliefs, as evidenced by this principal.

Seeker
09-02-2008, 02:46 AM
Let's be clear on something.

The definition of Christian

After a little research, I think the only valid way to define "Christian" is this. A Christian believes in three basic things.

1) There is an all powerful god that created the universe.

2) Jesus of Nazareth is the god's directly conceived son.

3) The death of Jesus Christ provided the opportunity for human redemption.


These are the necessary and sufficient conditions for being a Christian. To be a Christian, one must believe all three of the above. Anyone who believes all three of the above is a Christian.

ANY OTHER CONDITION IS SUPERFLUOUS.

Why?

Because no two denominations will agree on what other conditions should exist. And if we were to humor any one of those denominations, we'd be committing the no true Scotsman fallacy.

So, Ozy, any condition you place on what Christians should or shouldn't believe - outside of the above three - is not applicable.

GonzoTheGreat
09-02-2008, 03:31 AM
These are the necessary and sufficient conditions for being a Christian. To be a Christian, one must believe all three of the above. Anyone who believes all three of the above is a Christian.

To be honest, I am not sure that's true. For example, this would classify the ones that believed the Gospel of Judas as "not Christians". But then, what were they? Not really ordinary Jews, I would say. Even stronger: I don't think they were Jews any more* than (other) Christians are.

I am not sure, but I think that the GoJ agreed with your item 1. I don't think it agreed with item 2. And it totally and completely ignored the death of Jesus, so item 3 seems entirely out.

* Yeah, I know, I do think that Christians are a variety of Jews. For the purpose of this thread, I will put them into distinct categories, and then see where the Judassians (?) would fit.

Ozymandias
09-02-2008, 06:57 AM
Let's be clear on something.

The definition of Christian

After a little research, I think the only valid way to define "Christian" is this. A Christian believes in three basic things.

1) There is an all powerful god that created the universe.

2) Jesus of Nazareth is the god's directly conceived son.

3) The death of Jesus Christ provided the opportunity for human redemption.


These are the necessary and sufficient conditions for being a Christian. To be a Christian, one must believe all three of the above. Anyone who believes all three of the above is a Christian.

ANY OTHER CONDITION IS SUPERFLUOUS.

Why?

Because no two denominations will agree on what other conditions should exist. And if we were to humor any one of those denominations, we'd be committing the no true Scotsman fallacy.

So, Ozy, any condition you place on what Christians should or shouldn't believe - outside of the above three - is not applicable.

Every denomination of Christian believes in the Bible as the word of God. And technically, Catholics are the only "true" Christians, and the other splinter groups believe a different theology, so they're not Christian. But thats nitpicking.

In theory, a Christian should believe everything the Bible says, at the bare minimum. In other words, a Christian condemns Jews, homosexuals, and (basically) women. If you don't, your not a Christian. This isn't open to debate. A good Jew accepts the word of the Old Testament. A good Christian accepts the word of the New Testament. A good Muslim accepts to word of the Koran. Screw believing in a single god, or Jesus as the son of Christ. Those are important, but only side-notes.

A religion is built on the moral code that binds its members together and gives a thread of continuity to disparate elements that otherwise wouldn't have anything in common. The moral code for Christians is the New Testament, and thats not even remotely open to debate. The more literally you accept the Bible, the better of a Christian you are. This is the word passed down by the Pope, and (to my knowledge) the vast majority of Protestant pastors of all denominations.

Without that code of conduct, Christians wouldn't be Christians, they'd be a bunch of crazies running around in the desert still. If those three things were all Christianity was about, it would have died out within days of starting (no offense, thats just the truth). Your knowledge of religion in general is sorely lacking, Seeker, if you honestly believe that those three things are all that is required to name yourself a Christian.

Hell, I'm a bad Jew, because I don't believe any of the Deuteronomistic History. I don't keep kosher. Hell, I don't even KNOW half the religious laws I violate. I'm a terrible Jew to the point of not really even being one. Jews may be unique in being the only religion that discriminates in the level of orthodoxy of its members. Thats all tangential, the point being that its not enough to call yourself a Christian to be one.

Think of it in this example. If I move to some new town, I'm not a real member of the community if I decide to sit on the village green. I need to pay taxes, settle down, involve myself to a minimal degree in the activities of the town; shop in the stores, drive the streets, what have you. Same with religion. You need to obey the laws, go to church, socialize with the members. I'm sorry to any of you out there who are Christians and will be offended by this, but your not a good Christian if your not disliking gays and Jews, and repressing women. Just like I'm not a good Jew because I don't keep kosher and do bad things.

Ozymandias
09-02-2008, 06:59 AM
* Yeah, I know, I do think that Christians are a variety of Jews. For the purpose of this thread, I will put them into distinct categories, and then see where the Judassians (?) would fit.

Judeans would be the term for the population of the ancient country, Jewish people or Jews (or Hebrews) would be the appropriate modern day plural, I think.

Christ-killers works, too ;).

GonzoTheGreat
09-02-2008, 07:18 AM
But I do not intend to refer to a people, or a race, or whatever you want to call it. I only mean the terms here in a religious sense. Thus, an Eskimo* who has converted to Judaism is a Jew in this sense, but an atheist descendant of a line of Jews stretching back to Moses is not.

I admit that things usually get confused because people mix up categories and use them as though they are interchangeable, but I prefer# to avoid that.

* All right, Inuit.

# All right, sometimes I deliberately confuse things. But in this case, I definitely do not want to do that. I don't think it is necessary here, anyway.

Ivhon
09-02-2008, 07:30 AM
Every denomination of Christian believes in the Bible as the word of God. And technically, Catholics are the only "true" Christians, and the other splinter groups believe a different theology, so they're not Christian. But thats nitpicking.

In theory, a Christian should believe everything the Bible says, at the bare minimum. In other words, a Christian condemns Jews, homosexuals, and (basically) women. If you don't, your not a Christian. This isn't open to debate. A good Jew accepts the word of the Old Testament. A good Christian accepts the word of the New Testament. A good Muslim accepts to word of the Koran. Screw believing in a single god, or Jesus as the son of Christ. Those are important, but only side-notes.

A religion is built on the moral code that binds its members together and gives a thread of continuity to disparate elements that otherwise wouldn't have anything in common. The moral code for Christians is the New Testament, and thats not even remotely open to debate. The more literally you accept the Bible, the better of a Christian you are. This is the word passed down by the Pope, and (to my knowledge) the vast majority of Protestant pastors of all denominations.

Without that code of conduct, Christians wouldn't be Christians, they'd be a bunch of crazies running around in the desert still. If those three things were all Christianity was about, it would have died out within days of starting (no offense, thats just the truth). Your knowledge of religion in general is sorely lacking, Seeker, if you honestly believe that those three things are all that is required to name yourself a Christian.

Hell, I'm a bad Jew, because I don't believe any of the Deuteronomistic History. I don't keep kosher. Hell, I don't even KNOW half the religious laws I violate. I'm a terrible Jew to the point of not really even being one. Jews may be unique in being the only religion that discriminates in the level of orthodoxy of its members. Thats all tangential, the point being that its not enough to call yourself a Christian to be one.

Think of it in this example. If I move to some new town, I'm not a real member of the community if I decide to sit on the village green. I need to pay taxes, settle down, involve myself to a minimal degree in the activities of the town; shop in the stores, drive the streets, what have you. Same with religion. You need to obey the laws, go to church, socialize with the members. I'm sorry to any of you out there who are Christians and will be offended by this, but your not a good Christian if your not disliking gays and Jews, and repressing women. Just like I'm not a good Jew because I don't keep kosher and do bad things.


Im weighing in very late. And while I do believe that Christian influence on history - both in the world and in my own country - is far more negative than positive, I am going to nitpick a lot of stuff here.

There are major denominations of Christianity that openly embrace women, minorities and homosexuals to the point of ordaining them as ministers, bishops and archbishops Specifically the Episcopal Church, although Im sure there are others. The Episcopal, or Anglican, Church is certainly not a post-modern hippy startup sect, either. Seeker's definition of a Christian is basically correct. The Bible can be used to support inclusion, love, acceptance and tolerance just as easily as it can be corrupted into a tool of hate. Unfortunately, the Christian Right has been more effective in spreading the message of hate than the Christian Left (or Christian Moderate, really :) ) has been in spreading the message of Love. I have hope, though, especially after having talked to some of the folks on this very board.

Technically, the Orthodox church has every bit as much claim as being the "original" church as the Catholic Church does - although both are hideously removed from the early church. The Catholics just did a better spin job.

Verin Mathwin
09-02-2008, 07:55 AM
Ozy... no Bible that I have read has said that women are little better than animals, nor has any Bible that I have read (basically) condemned women. At least in the New Testament. And even in the Old Testament women were not condemned (By God at least)

Davian93
09-02-2008, 08:04 AM
Ozy, if you've never really studied or even read the Bible (particularly the new testament) please stop bashing those that follow its teachings. Its getting really old at this point.

Seeker
09-02-2008, 10:01 AM
I am not sure, but I think that the GoJ agreed with your item 1. I don't think it agreed with item 2. And it totally and completely ignored the death of Jesus, so item 3 seems entirely out.

If they fail to meet even one of those three, they are not Christian. Each one is a nessecary condition. Achieving all three is a sufficient condition. So there's your answer. Those who believed in the Gospel of Judas were not Christian.

Every denomination of Christian believes in the Bible as the word of God. And technically, Catholics are the only "true" Christians, and the other splinter groups believe a different theology, so they're not Christian. But thats nitpicking.

In theory, a Christian should believe everything the Bible says, at the bare minimum. In other words, a Christian condemns Jews, homosexuals, and (basically) women. If you don't, your not a Christian. This isn't open to debate. A good Jew accepts the word of the Old Testament. A good Christian accepts the word of the New Testament. A good Muslim accepts to word of the Koran. Screw believing in a single god, or Jesus as the son of Christ. Those are important, but only side-notes.

So, that church that performs biblical sermons, hands out communinon, sings hymns, sponsors Christian charities, and yet welcomes gays is not Christian. Please... Now who's picking on the Scotsman. Christianity has been edited, amended, trimmed, added to, and translated so many times, you can't decide which is the valid version.

Even the Catholics were not the original Christians. Catholocism came about around 400 years after Jesus. And technically (ex-Roman-Catholic, here) Catholics take the bible as allegory. When the Pope countermands something it says -as he did in regards to women's rights - they listen to HIM.

Thats all tangential, the point being that its not enough to call yourself a Christian to be one.

Of course not.

You have to BELIEVE all three of:
1) There is an all powerful god who created the universe.
2) Jesus of Nazareth was its directly conceived son.
3) The death of Jesus allowed for human redemption.

Ozy, you're too smart for this. I KNOW you better than you think. You've walked down a line of reasoning in this thread, going one step further with every post. On the way, you've received scorn to the point of alienating even the non-religious posters. You've gone far into the extreme.

And now you're clinging to arguments that have even the most tenuous amount of truth in them because to come back from that extreme position would be to admit defeat. It's not about finding truth anymore; it's about doing anything to avoid admitting that you were wrong to say the things you've said in this thread.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-02-2008, 11:09 AM
Ozy, and I don't say this lightly, I'm praying for whatever wound you've received at a Christian's hands to be healed. May God bless you.

Brita
09-02-2008, 12:57 PM
Do I think Nero was a good person? No. But the monster he's made out to be, and the tale you swallow bait and tackle, Brita, deserves to be re-examined as supposed to accepted blindly. Which is precisely my point about Christianity as a whole.

The problem here, Ozy, is that you automatically reject any information coming from Christians or people you see as "sympathizers" (interesting term). You have the blinders on just as much as you accuse Christians of the same.

You say I am blindly accepting Christianity, swallowing bait and tackle. I'll just remind you that you don't know me, or really know what I think about Christianity. I found your words offensive, I wasn't the only one, and non-Christains (aka people you will actually listen to because you will just discount anything a Christain says as brainwashing) have also raised protest. Just because there is debate about Nero's actual atrocities doesn't make it less hurtful or offensive. There are theories both ways- and evidence for both sides. Perhaps it may be important enough that friends of yours may be hurt by those words.

I question the standard fare fed to me by the church regularly. I hold beliefs that are not widely accepted, and challenge my pastor all the time (luckily he takes it gracefully). My family is not so graceful. Your posts indicate you have already judged me because I am Christian- and have decided I don't think about what I believe. You don't know me, so please don't presume you do.

Sinistrum
09-02-2008, 01:05 PM
Guys I thought I already covered this ground. There is NOTHING, no matter how logical or factual, that you can say that will change the minds of people like Oz. He believes what he believes and no information can change that, which is kind of ironic given one of the criticisms he has levied against Christianity. You are all better of just stopping this.

Ivhon
09-02-2008, 01:14 PM
but its so fun to argue.

Seriously. What kind of lawyer are you? :p

Sinistrum
09-02-2008, 01:28 PM
One that knows a hangin judge when he sees one ;)

ShadowbaneX
09-02-2008, 01:50 PM
You seem a little...contradictory then, Ozy as you certainly started off by saying that you wanted to eliminate Christians, now you're pretty much agreeing with us when we say that people are bad and whatever happens to be en-vogue at the time is the cause of the problem...and I thought SDog was supposed to be the chamelon.

You do have some valid points, yes, Christianity was corrupted to use to validiate slavery, subjugation of women and delayed scientific process, but those were corruptions of the religion, much as currently the religious right is using it to create hate against homosexuals.

IIRC, the very early works of Christianity had no such destinction that said that women were inferior. It was only when the patriarcal societies, like Rome, got a hold of it and started to twist it, did it become misogynistic, and the same could probably be said for slavery as well. As to the notion of sacrificing for the gods vs sitting in a church listening to sermons, well, there's fanatics on both sides, crazies that will take it to extremes, so pick your poison.

What it ultimately comes down to though is that it doesn't matter if it's Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Bhuddism, Atheism, Rastafarianism, Pastafarianism, Sun Worshiping, Stone Masonry, the Illuminati or whatever. There are bad people out there and they will take whatever they can get their hands on and twist it and corrupt it to serve their needs. Just because our society evolved with Christianity as a major force, means that it was twisted for whatever reason. Had we evolved with something else, some other belief structure, then it would have corrupted.

Ivhon
09-02-2008, 01:52 PM
IIRC, the very early works of Christianity had no such destinction that said that women were inferior. It was only when the patriarcal societies, like Rome, got a hold of it and started to twist it, did it become misogynistic, and the same could probably be said for slavery as well. As to the notion of sacrificing for the gods vs sitting in a church listening to sermons, well, there's fanatics on both sides, crazies that will take it to extremes, so pick your poison.



Women in the early church had prominent and very close to equal roles as the men did. I believe that it was "St." Augustine that cemented the idea that women are the source of all evil.

Seeker
09-02-2008, 02:57 PM
Guys I thought I already covered this ground. There is NOTHING, no matter how logical or factual, that you can say that will change the minds of people like Oz. He believes what he believes and no information can change that, which is kind of ironic given one of the criticisms he has levied against Christianity. You are all better of just stopping this.

Not necessarily. His last few posts are getting progressively less hostile. With me, at least, he seems to want to talk about things. (Sorry, Oz, not trying to sound like I'm talking over your head. I tend to view this place like a crowded room where I"m speaking to everyone reading the thread at once and sometimes to ONE of them specifically)

Give it time, Sini.

Terez
09-02-2008, 08:16 PM
Women in the early church had prominent and very close to equal roles as the men did. I believe that it was "St." Augustine that cemented the idea that women are the source of all evil.
Well, he used Paul's teachings to do it. St. Augustine had issues with lust, so it was probably a repression issue...

Ozymandias
09-02-2008, 08:41 PM
[QUOTE=Brita]The problem here, Ozy, is that you automatically reject any information coming from Christians or people you see as "sympathizers" (interesting term). You have the blinders on just as much as you accuse Christians of the same.
QUOTE]

Of course I don't. If I blindly rejected all Christian history as wrong, I would think Nero was a great guy. I accept a Christian view on history, but take the unavoidable stance that any history coming from a religious perspective has gained an automatic bias that, say, someone like Herodotus does not have. He has other biases, of course, but religious ones tend to be the most profound. That goes for all religions.

To SBX - I started off by saying that I thought the world would be a better place if Christianity had never been in it. I hold to that. I have held the entire time to the basic thought that people, NOT Christianity, are bad. Christianity is bad insofar as it facilitates people in letting their inner demons out. The term I like is institutionally supported (and encouraged, even) intolerance.

I think that many other beliefs, you might say the AVERAGE belief system, is not so keen on villainizing others in order to bring a community together. Now this is a bit extreme, to my mind, but compare Hitler with basic Christian principles throughout history. Hitler says "we're the best people on earth, racially superior. Lets kill Jews, gays, blacks, and gypsies and build our community around hating them and believing in our own superiority."

The Church has historically said, "we're Gods chosen people on earth. Despise and cast out in methodical fashion Jews, gays, non-Whites, and other groups not us and build our community around believing we go to Heaven and no one else does."

Now obviously Hitler was a TON worse than Christianity. But historically, those are both basic principles the two groups subscribed to. It really does make you think. In the end, the methods are the same. Look at the Albigensians in the (12th??) Century, or Ukraine in the 13th. The anti-Semitic pogroms in Ukraine are, its estimated, the most effective case of genocide in history. Some historians say there was a 95% mortality rate among Ukrainian Jews. Thats beyond belief.

Sini - As of this moment, I haven't heard ANYTHING logical or factual that would justify calling Christianity "good". Go back through. Can you find something? This has been precisely my point all along. Your defenses have been "well, its not as bad as some schools of thought or belief," or, "people are bad, don't blame Chrsitianity for that," and even, "we can't prove the world would be worse, so we have to assume it was better off this way." There is nothing logical in those defenses, your asking for a blind acceptance of faith that the world is a better place without any evidence to support it. Obviously you'll never find anything definitive, just as I can't for my point, but you should still be able to recommend me examples. So why SHOULD I have changed my opinion? Because your offended? Well, no offense, but that isn't a reasonable excuse for me to change my mind. SHOW me why I'm wrong instead of just saying it, and maybe you'll get somewhere. If there is an example of the Pope ordering blankets for Native Americans (not the smallpox variety) and asking nothing in return, tell me. I promise you, I will change my stance, at least a little. But as of yet, all I've had thrown at me are hurt feelings and coondemnations and offers to pray for me (appreciated, but as a Jew, I'm consigned to the fires of Hell anyways, remember?). Why in Gods name should that make me do anything EXCEPT dig in my heels?

And Brita - I haven't judged you for being a Christian. You continually misrepresent everything I say (specifically you, in fact). I'm sure your a wonderful person, and from the limited form of contact I've had with you, that seems to be true. Your religion means nothing to me, in terms of my judging of you as a person. I can criticize your faith for being a hypocritical way for people to hate and feel good about themselves, and not think that YOU are such a person. And I don't. So don't all work yourselves into a lather, and concoct some ridiculous, irrational dislike, merely because you think you should be. I haven't made this personal on any level and its a little disturbing that you all seem to take it so personally. Historically, Christianity is exactly what I've described. In terms of canon, it IS encouraged to hate groups that aren't Christian. Some, at least. If that doesn't appeal to you, well, the worst I've said about you is that your not Christian at all, which is clearly a compliment, coming from me! (unless your a rapist, in which case... fie on you).

Once again, this isn't me criticizing your personal beliefs. Its me criticizing the overarching communal principles an ideal Christian has subscribed to in the past. I don't blame you for your social and cultural heritage, I don't think the Biblical idea of the sins of the father being visited to the tenth generation or whatever are true. I just think that the community you subscribe to is one that has done a great deal of wrong, more than it has done good, and that it is a legacy you shouldn't blindly disregard or ignore. In 100 years, Christian kindnesses may balance out my current judgement. Perhaps accepting the great deal of damage you've done (ostensibly, in my opinion, of course) to the world will be incentive to change. I don't know. I just think its wrong to be a member of a social/religious community and refuse to acknowledge the overall corruption of its history that your heir to.

ShadowbaneX
09-02-2008, 08:51 PM
and I've stated since the beginning that you're probably wrong, that the world most likely would not be better off if Christianity was removed.

And here in your third paragraph you show it. You specifically mentioned that the Church says, or the Church believes. This is one of the reasons why Martin Luther raised his ruckus is that the Church has grown corrupt and away from the teachings of the religion. Yes, the Roman Catholic Church, the institution of men built upon the religion has caused harm, the religion itself has not. The Church is/was a position of power, and like all power, it can be corrupted. Eliminate Christianity and something else would have risen in it's place and it would have been corrupted just the same. It would have had it's intolerences as well, it's own racial or religious purges.

Actually, if you look at Europe specifically, you've got a bunch of countries, many of which loathed each other for centuries, that still managed not to wipe each other out. Why? Probably because they were all Christian.

And if you want to find some really successful racial purges go look at China. They're even more successful in several areas and there's no Christianity to blame there.

Ozymandias
09-02-2008, 09:04 PM
and I've stated since the beginning that you're probably wrong, that the world most likely would not be better off if Christianity was removed.

And here in your third paragraph you show it. You specifically mentioned that the Church says, or the Church believes. This is one of the reasons why Martin Luther raised his ruckus is that the Church has grown corrupt and away from the teachings of the religion. Yes, the Roman Catholic Church, the institution of men built upon the religion has caused harm, the religion itself has not. The Church is/was a position of power, and like all power, it can be corrupted. Eliminate Christianity and something else would have risen in it's place and it would have been corrupted just the same. It would have had it's intolerences as well, it's own racial or religious purges.

Actually, if you look at Europe specifically, you've got a bunch of countries, many of which loathed each other for centuries, that still managed not to wipe each other out. Why? Probably because they were all Christian.

And if you want to find some really successful racial purges go look at China. They're even more successful in several areas and there's no Christianity to blame there.

Of course other countries and beliefs do terrible things. No one is denying that, least of all me. I just think Christianity has done MORE bad than the average belief systm.

Secondly, the reason Europeans don't fight isn't because of religion. For a long time it was BECAUSE of religion. Holy days and all that held no sway. Thats not the right example to use here, when some of the most bitter and violent massacres and battles occured between Christians.

And lets establish something right now. A religion isn't purely its canon, or purely the actions of its followers. Christianity says "love thy neighbor" and "hate they neighbor if he's gay." One good, the other bad. But Christians have consistently ignored the first and followed the second. The true measure of any belief or social/communal system is in a mix of what it preaches and what it does. Christianity preaches lots of good things, but on the whole, tends to follow the violent ones. This is true.

Its useless to come defending it saying "look at what the religion says" when the actions of its followers clearly contradict that. Just like the men of Aridhol, who shouted "in the name of the Light" while their deeds abandoned the Light (yeah... I'm starting another reread and am on EotW... that time of year, don't judge).

So its useless to tell me the corruption of the Church is a betrayal of Christian principles, when its the overall actions of the community that define what their principles truly are. If 100 people say "we love Muslims," but spend every waking moment hunting them down and killing them, no one is convinced by their stated intent. Actions speak louder than words, though words do count a little. And Christian actions have consistently trended towards the more violent and intolerant judgements of the Bible, rather than been more inclined to follow the tolerant path. This is an unavoidable conclusion; I think you would have to conclude that most Church-going Christians, people who regularly partake in the communal structures and events provided for them, are against homosexuality. The majority, at least. And they only love their neighbors as long as their neighbor is a White Christian family, and not a bunch of Mexicans or Jews or blacks or gays.

ShadowbaneX
09-02-2008, 09:20 PM
I'm sure the millions of non-White Christians, ie mexican, spanish, portugese, african, african-american, russian/slavic (orthodox is still christian), persian, etc. would disagree with you.

Christianity isn't white and to assume that only whites are Christian is a major, major misconception on your part.

Terez
09-02-2008, 09:23 PM
Ahhh, straw men...

Brita
09-02-2008, 09:52 PM
Ozy- I don't dislike you. I tried very hard to be fair and just state that the Nero comments were hurtful. That's actually all I was trying to say- nothing about you personally or even about your general views on how Christianity shaped the world. One comment=hurt. Period. I'm not saying anymore on the topic because it is just an exercise in frustration. I'm taking Sini's advice and leaving this thread alone.

And Dav- I should have listened to that little piece of advice you gave me when I first got here about religious discussions, but I guess I had to learn the hard way.

ShadowbaneX
09-02-2008, 09:53 PM
And Dav- I should have listened to that little piece of advice you gave me when I first got here about religious discussions, but I guess I had to learn the hard way.

Hell, this conversation was down right civil compared to most Religion topics...the only reason why I'm involved.

Be thankful though that it wasn't about Gun Control. Dear god, those were flame wars!:eek: