Friday, 29 July 2011

When Dominionists Try to Control Media


I've recently found a charming (tongue firmly in cheek) little blog called GetReligion. It is supposed to be a blog where discussions of journalism and religion stories happen where the authors discuss how to make the stories more balanced. There's a recent article about the cross to be placehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifd at ground zero where we find out that the article isn't as good as it could be because there are no mention of atheists that don't want a lawsuit to block the cross. Apparently, the article lacked because it didn't paint atheists in a negative enough light.

The next article they published showed us how articles that report on the gay marriage victory in NY are flawed unless they include people who are upset by this because they are acting on their deep, religious principles.

In short, it's a religious apologetics site that whinges that there's not enough pro-Xian and anti-everyone else stuff published in certain news reports. At least that's what I surmised from reading and commenting. It doesn't take a genius to scan through their articles and start to see the hints they leave. Gays = bad. Atheists = bad. Not enough mention of Xianity in a positive light = bad. Story supportive of Xianity = good. Etc. My comments were also routinely edited and/or outright deleted for not being sufficiently focused on journalism, while other comments not at all related were approved - so long as they supported the Xian stance. When called out on it, they started to make accusations of bigotry against journalists, which is funny since I never uttered a word against journalism or journalists (In fact, if they had to delete my comments for not being about journalism, how can I then be accused to posting bigoted rants against journalism/journalists?) I figured they were the run of the mill clueless gobshites that one meets all over the web. But, of course, it actually goes deeper than that.

I had linked to my blog on my comments, and wouldn't you know it, one reader hopped over here to post an excellent link that shows this blog for what it really is (HT to Jay in the comments). It turns out that GetReligion is a front for Xian Reconstructionists AKA Dominionists. These radicals want to make the Bible into our law book with such draconian measures as death for such "crimes" as homosexuality. In short, they are theocrats that want nothing more than to turn the US into a theocracy with their version of Xianity being the rule of law. And, this GetReligion blog seems to be a front for them.

Yet, the GetReligion group tries their best to proclaim that they are merely interested in journalism and they try to advocate in measured tones. This is nothing short of rank dishonesty on their part. And, what does it tell you when the advocates of Xian theocracy feel they have to lie about their motives? Well, for one it says that even they probably recognize the ridiculousness of their aims and that they can't hope to actually gain converts without deceit. It also points out the contradictory nature of a group that would seek to install Biblical law -thou shall not bear false witness - by doing just that, bearing false witness. It also shows that to them, the ends justify the means. Their vitriolic hatred of others (gays, atheists, etc) burns so hot and bright that they will do whatever they can in order to strike out at those others, no matter what it takes and no matter how dishonest and underhanded they have to be. What makes someone hate their fellow humans so much? Oh yeah, I remember - it's fundamentalist religion.

85 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can see by your blog, and your tirades on Get Religion, that you're like most modern atheists who don't really sweat facts. Get Religion is very simple. Feel free to say one or the other side is right, or establish your own POV while discussing the journalism issues. But refrain from calling people names (like bigot) and making accusations about people. You seemed to have a tough time with that, as you continued to insist your truth was the only truth and anyone who didn't see it your way was an evil bigot. Hence, the removal of your posts. Remember, it's pretty simple.

GCT said...

Actually, bring some facts, please do. The facts are that GetReligion receives funding from a well-known source, one that advocates turning the US into a Xian nation under Biblical law with death for homosexuals. It's a fact.

Oh, but you're one of the moderators over there aren't you? Well, you aren't able to remove posts here, so how well will you fare I wonder? You actually now have to defend yourself and can't rely on censorship.

Stop lying about GetReligion. It's obvious that the authors have a Xian bias, are financed by extremist Xians, and don't give a hoot about balance, tolerance, or any of the other buzzwords you guys like to throw out. The examples I gave speak well enough. Hell, it's even on your "Why We're Here" page. The guy who started the blog (is this you tmatt?) got all bent out of shape because a couple wasn't identified as Xians. And, it goes on from there, as the linked article points out as well as my own post.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really are a modern atheist, aren't you. First, Get Religion is a blog founded by journalists who examine how religion is covered in the media. Most are Christians, though not all are. Contributors come and go, with people from various views being represented. Different posts tend to carry the weight of the viewpoints of that particular contributor, that much is true. But they usually are open about their own opinions.

Generally, all they ask is that the comments stick to discussing how the topic in question was handled. Oh, there is some room to inject an opinion here and there, and many have learned how to do that while making sure to mention the journalism angle.

But the policies are clear: Do not - NOT - come and insult people, call names, make accusations, or label people one way or another, or your comment will be pulled. They have done that across the board with folks on all sides of the debates.

Since you insisted on coming back time and again, calling all Christians evil bigots after being told not to, and then accusing various contributors of motives and agendas without proof beyond your own opinions, they pulled your posts that violated this policy (though not all of your posts if you notice).

And no, I'm not a contributor. Just one smart enough to see why your comments kept being pulled.

Anonymous said...

Your comments and blog are hate-filled and leave me feeling depressed for the human race. In the end we both will die someday. If your view of life is correct then our consciousness will be extinguished forever and we'll simply stop existing for all time. If this is true, I wonder why you must spend your life publishing anger and hate. None of it will matter once you're gone. Nobody will remember you and you won't remember them, either. You will not make a difference in this life.

Jac said...

"None of it will matter once you're gone. Nobody will remember you and you won't remember them, either. You will not make a difference in this life."

I find that statement a bit ridiculous. Of course what one does with their life makes a difference, in the course of their own lives, and in regards to others'.

Atheist is not synonymous with nihilist. One can be an atheist and find purpose, meaning, and pleasure in life. One doesn't have to approach living with the attitude, "Well, this will all end someday, so why bother trying to make an impact, or doing anything at all?"

Obviously the moderator has made a difference in life. His own and yours as well, otherwise you wouldn't be engaged in this debate with him. I've personally appreciated his articles and been gratified (and edified) by reading the debates in the comments section. That is impact.

He might not be remembered beyond his grandchildren after he dies, but unless the moderator is a complete hermit, then he will be remembered by friends and family after his death. That is also impact. And that would be good enough for me.

I find the idea of living one's life (one's ONLY life) futility attempting to earn salvation in a non-existent afterlife much more depressing.

Anonymous said...

Jac,

It's not so much edification that draws me as it's stunned disbelief. I can't speak for the other person, but that's why I stopped by. I came by after watching the whole ugly thing play out over at Get Religion. Time and again GCT was told to stop accusing people and labeling people, and time and again he refused to listen. When he didn't do those things (and sometimes when he did but still had a post that nonetheless dealt with at least some of the journalism topics), his comments were allowed, as you can go to the site and see. But when he continued to call those who disagreed with him bigots, it's not hard to see why journalists, professors, and professionals trying to maintain a blog dedicated to discussing coverage of religion in the media might have some issues, don't you think? And again, it's worth noting they didn't delete all his comments, only the ones that violated their policies.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of, I'll assume my last comment was just caught up in the spam world, and wasn't actually deleted.

Tigerboy said...

It's funny that a blog about "journalism" would choose to censor comments. That issue would seem to have been covered in "Free Press 101."

Although, it's hardly a surprise. This is what religion does. It silences dissent.

People who silence dissent are not credible journalists. Ask Rupert Murdoch.

GCT said...

"Wow, you really are a modern atheist, aren't you. First, Get Religion is a blog founded by journalists who examine how religion is covered in the media."

First, read the expose I posted above. That lie has already been dealt with.

"But they usually are open about their own opinions."

Wrong as has already been shown.

"Generally, all they ask is that the comments stick to discussing how the topic in question was handled."

Wrong again, as I pointed out.

"But the policies are clear: Do not - NOT - come and insult people, call names, make accusations, or label people one way or another, or your comment will be pulled."

Wrong again, you guys were pulling comments that had no name calling, etc. And, I don't apologize for calling out bigotry where I see it. You guys are bigots, plain and simple.

"Since you insisted on coming back time and again, calling all Christians evil bigots after being told not to..."

No, I called you and the people portrayed in the articles that you applauded bigots. I don't think all Xians are bigots, just the ones that show themselves to be so. But, hey, thanks again for showing that you have no reading comprehension or are being dishonest.

"And no, I'm not a contributor."

How could you have known what I wrote in my moderated comments unless you had the power to moderate?

"Your comments and blog are hate-filled and leave me feeling depressed for the human race."

As opposed to the anti-gay, anti-atheist, anti-Muslim, etc. blog that you are a part of?

"In the end we both will die someday. If your view of life is correct then our consciousness will be extinguished forever and we'll simply stop existing for all time. If this is true, I wonder why you must spend your life publishing anger and hate."

Wow, more bigotry wrapped up in Pascal's Wager. That's a double whammy you know - bad argumentation coupled with bigoted assertions.

"You will not make a difference in this life."

If I get even one person to see behind the facade of your little Dominionist propaganda machine, then I will have made a difference. Thanks for playing, but again, you're out of your league when you can't delete comments.

GCT said...

"It's not so much edification that draws me as it's stunned disbelief."

Yes, I'm stunned that Dominionists would be so dishonest and underhanded too. Wait, no I'm not.

"I came by after watching the whole ugly thing play out over at Get Religion."

The ugly thing being the bigoted blog that is a front for Dominionists, right?

"Time and again GCT was told to stop accusing people and labeling people, and time and again he refused to listen."

Time and again I pointed out their biases, their unfair application of the rules, and their obvious bigotry. Yes, I'll cop to that.

"But when he continued to call those who disagreed with him bigots, it's not hard to see why journalists, professors, and professionals trying to maintain a blog dedicated to discussing coverage of religion in the media might have some issues, don't you think?"

Ah, no. Disagreement doesn't make one a bigot. Seeking to deny equal rights to gays makes one a bigot. Seeking to demonize atheists makes one a bigot. You can try and sugar coat your side all you want, but that dog won't hunt. Read the link I posted, it's full of fun facts and dissections of your pitiful little front for Dominionism. Oh yeah, advocating for the death penalty for gays is pretty bigoted too...to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Well, heh, I'm not a contributor. Whatever you think. How did I see your deleted comments? Easy. Because when you first post them they are up for a bit before they are deleted. So I got to watch as you continued to launch accusations and insults at people of faith and those who don't conform to your way of thinking, only to have the moderators stop by and explain time and again why they were doing it.

Oh, and it takes no effort to charge people with bigotry if, as seems apparent, you define bigot as anyone who doesn't conform to your beliefs and think the way you think.

Anonymous said...

If you are allowed to say that religious people are all bigots, I am allowed to say that all atheists don't believe in an afterlife. No matter how much you try to convince yourself that you'll "make a difference," believe me, you won't. People have believed in God/gods since the dawn of mankind. People have also NOT believed in God/gods since the dawn of mankind. If you believe in making evidence-based decisions, then the evidence is overwhelmingly against you trying to "make a difference." Even if you eradicate religion from all the earth, a new religion will inevitably spring up. This is not nihilism, it's just sanity. When you die, none of this will matter. It will be as if none of this ever existed. You believe religious people are bigoted, racist, stupid, and dangerous. If you honestly believe that eradicating religion will somehow change human nature, then you are hopeless. You are the ones focused on changing people around you, which is the same complaint you have against the religious. You are the one who sows hatred and negativity. I am sad for mankind.

Tigerboy said...

Pointing out bigotry is not the same as name-calling. Not at all.

You would have been free to disagree, to point out why your position is not bigoted, but then, that discussion was censored . . . the comments were redacted.

Nice journalistic ethics! You want to make a statement about the press, but you don't even have the backbone to answer dissenting, critical comments!! So foolish!

You see, real journalists understand that my pointing out GetReligion's *foolish* censorship policy is ABSOLUTELY VALID criticism. This is not an ad hominem attack. This has nothing to do with *name-calling*.

It is totally relevant and apropos. Just like GCT's charge of bigotry. It's called a dissenting opinion, Elmer Fudd! (THAT was name-calling. See the difference?)

But, you guys wouldn't have a clue about that. You just censor and redact what you don't like!

Foolish. Dishonest. Unethical.

Writing a blog about the media, yet, BLIND to the most basic of journalistic integrity. Nice.

GCT said...

"So I got to watch as you continued to launch accusations and insults at people of faith and those who don't conform to your way of thinking, only to have the moderators stop by and explain time and again why they were doing it."

If that were true, then you should fess up. What I complained was that many people were commenting on things that had nothing to do with journalism and that their comments were kept because they expressed sentiments that the moderators liked.

And, if you aren't a contributor, why are you defending them? Is it because you agree with their ideas of Dominionism and death to homosexuals?

"Oh, and it takes no effort to charge people with bigotry if, as seems apparent, you define bigot as anyone who doesn't conform to your beliefs and think the way you think."

This is right after I just got done explaining it to you. You simply want to paint me in a negative light without actually listening. Typical fundy. I do not define bigot that way. If you want to know why I called certain people bigots, I've already explained it to you. But, that would require reading, right?

"If you are allowed to say that religious people are all bigots, I am allowed to say that all atheists don't believe in an afterlife."

Again, I never said that. You make yourself sound really stupid the more you continue to say stupid things.

"No matter how much you try to convince yourself that you'll "make a difference," believe me, you won't."

No offense, but I really can't see myself taking life advice from you.

"People have believed in God/gods since the dawn of mankind."

That's not a good reason to continue to do so. People have also fought with each other over that timespan. Would you also advocate for more wars and aggression (not just against gays that is since you seem to support killing gays)?

"If you believe in making evidence-based decisions, then the evidence is overwhelmingly against you trying to "make a difference.""

O'Rly? First off, it depends on how one defines make a difference. Secondly, the number of non-believers is growing, so it seems that someone (probably the collective effort) IS making a difference. Oh, but that would be using the physical evidence at hand.

"Even if you eradicate religion from all the earth, a new religion will inevitably spring up."

Maybe, maybe not. My vision of "eradication" is one where people see how silly religions are and rationally discard them (not thru force as the people you support would force all others into Xianity if they had their way).

"This is not nihilism, it's just sanity."

So, it's sane to believe in religion and be part of the problem....wait, what?

"You believe religious people are bigoted, racist, stupid, and dangerous."

I believe that some are...like you, for instance.

"If you honestly believe that eradicating religion will somehow change human nature, then you are hopeless."

Wrong order.

"You are the one who sows hatred and negativity."

How so? By asking people to use reason instead of blind obedience, which only serves to create divisiveness? Gore Vidal noted once that more blood has been shed in Jesus' name than any other figure in history. Think about that. Yet, advocating that people step away from such obvious division is hatred and negativity? And, this is coming from the person who hates gays so much that you think they should be killed (after all, you do support those who advocate that)! Sounds like you're projecting.

Anonymous said...

Tigerboy,

Saying something is bigotry is one thing, and even on Get Religion is generally allowed as long as it is wrapped up in the journalism issues. Calling people of faith bigots and idiots, usually not. There's a difference. The same is true on most sites such as CNN.com and Huffpost, among others.

Basically what GCT did was start with the assumption that Get Religion is all about censorship in order to cover up their wicked ways. Then GCT went and immediately began violating Get Religion's policies. Oddly enough, when he didn't, his post was allowed - even if it went so far as comparing those who don't support gay marriage in New York with the KKK in the era of Civil Rights. Why? Because it pertained to the journalism question and he wasn't outright calling people names.

But when he just made accusations, called names, labeled people, and other nifty things not allowed, despite repeated attempts by the moderators to explain the policies, shockingly his posts were pulled. Go read the posts, you can see some of the discussion remains. The ones that were pulled? In most cases they would have been pulled from most blogs, journalism or otherwise. I know I've seen similar posts pulled by Huffington Post, and that sure is not a fundamentalist right wing blog.

GCT said...

"Calling people of faith bigots and idiots, usually not."

Time to put up or shut up. Where did I do that? In fact, I've done quite the opposite, but you continue to mis-characterize my words. That makes you as dishonest as the gay-hating Dominionists you're doing your best to defend.

"Basically what GCT did was start with the assumption that Get Religion is all about censorship in order to cover up their wicked ways. "

I did no such thing. I commented in line with what other commenters were doing and was summarily deleted. When I pointed it out, that too was deleted. Again, you are acting in a rather dishonest fashion, but I don't expect any less from someone who supports those who wish the death penalty on gays (a topic that you seem to want to avoid, BTW...why is that?)

"Then GCT went and immediately began violating Get Religion's policies."

That I did by not being sufficiently pro-Xian.

"Oddly enough, when he didn't, his post was allowed - even if it went so far as comparing those who don't support gay marriage in New York with the KKK in the era of Civil Rights. "

I stand by that, but this is stripped of the context, is it not?

"But when he just made accusations, called names, labeled people, and other nifty things not allowed, despite repeated attempts by the moderators to explain the policies, shockingly his posts were pulled."

Wrong again. Stop mischaracterizing the comments made, and start telling us why other comments that are not journalism related but are pro-Xian were allowed? And, maybe you could tell us about Dominionists and why you support death for gays.

Anonymous said...

Alas, the comments in question were deleted, so I can't access them. Had I known ahead of time, I would have copied/pasted. But as it is, consider this. You basically said that anyone on those threads who were disagreeing with you were bigots. That was made clear. That is what Mollie and Terry and company told you wouldn't be tolerated. You also made several sweeping statements about Christians and bigotry. Again, those were deleted.

The comment above was pretty much what you said. It was in response to someone asking if folks who opposed the Civil Rights Movement were ever interviewed. You came in and said that it would be like interviewing someone of the KKK:

"This makes a mockery of the word diversity, just as interviewing KKK members for their opinions on legal cases involving affirmative action would. It’s bigotry plain and simple and I see no reason for a serious publication to pay it any mind, just as I wouldn’t expect to see holocaust deniers given column space or KKK members." GCT, 7/29/11

As inflammatory as that might seem, it was allowed because your comment was in context of the blog's policies: Though it was a swipe against anyone not conforming to your own views on the subject, it was in the context of a question about the journalism coverage, and hence was allowed to stand. Your other posts were deleted because they were either absent on the journalism debate, or had nothing but your own swipes against those whose beliefs don't conform to your own. Something the moderators tried multiple times to explain, such as with this comment:

"Don’t worry, I won’t stick around too long, as I tire of this type of moderation and I tire of having my comments deleted simply because I don’t kowtow to your Xian/bigoted views." GCT

Which was responded to by Mollie:

"I’ll just leave your preceding comment up for the lesson. You see how you made unsubstantiated claims about what I’m doing and then also judged my motivation for it? That’s really not OK according to our comment policy. I get that this is difficult for some folks on the internet, but it shouldn’t be. Just engage the journalism in question, refrain from calling people bigots or other slurs, and substantiate your claims.

And if that’s too much for you, you’re welcome to find another venue for your comments."

That was it. Not too hard. But you just wouldn't stop. FWIW, folks from every POV have been deleted over the years, including myself, for wading into opinion and belief debate while failing to keep it on the journalism questions. So it's not just those who kowtow to their "Christian/bigoted views." It's anyone who, you know, violates their pretty clear policy.

GCT said...

"You basically said that anyone on those threads who were disagreeing with you were bigots."

I never said that...you are a liar.

"That is what Mollie and Terry and company told you wouldn't be tolerated."

And, they also lied.

"You also made several sweeping statements about Christians and bigotry."

Again, you are a liar.

"Though it was a swipe against anyone not conforming to your own views on the subject"

You really don't get it, do you? Calling someone a bigot who would rather quit their job than let those gays get legally married is not the same as saying that all Xians are bigots or that people who disagree with me a automatically bigots. Of course, if you agree with her actions then you are a bigot too.

Speaking of bigotry, why are you supporting these extreme Xian bigots who want the death penalty for homosexuals? Why do you continually avoid this question?

"Your other posts were deleted because they were either absent on the journalism debate, or had nothing but your own swipes against those whose beliefs don't conform to your own. "

Wrong again, as I've already pointed out.

"Something the moderators tried multiple times to explain..."

That's what they claim, but I showed that they were making it up based on the sheer number of posts that make it through that don't have journalistic content but agree with their positions. Don't be daft.

"That was it. Not too hard. But you just wouldn't stop."

Because I don't truck to bigots. Why do you support them?

"So it's not just those who kowtow to their "Christian/bigoted views." It's anyone who, you know, violates their pretty clear policy."

Uh huh, sure. I'm sure that it's completely even-handed...oh wait, I showed that it wasn't. Again, why do you defend such hatred against gays. Why do you defend people who want to put gays to death? Why are you avoiding the question? Why do you and your little blog hide your associations to Xian Reconstructionists?

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really are tough to discuss things with. Not unusual in modern atheists circles I'm afraid. OK, I'll alter my statement. You apparently didn't say all Christians are automatically bigots all the time and everywhere. You merely said those who didn't support the issue of gay marriage were bigots, and those who didn't condemn the individuals in the story were bigots. But since that was the topic at hand, yeah, it seemed like you were saying anyone who didn't agree with your views were bigots. Or as you pointed out:

"Of course, if you agree with her actions then you are a bigot too."

Oh, and what extreme Christian bigots who want the death penalty for homosexuals? I didn't see that brought up once on the debate. Nor can I remember writing anything along the lines of wanting a death penalty for homosexuals. A quote or two could be helpful there.

Again, there are times when they don't delete comments that violate policy. For instance, there were a couple about the cross at 9/11 that really weren't about the journalism, but were left up. And you'll notice, a couple were in no way supportive of the cross at the monument or religion in general. Just like your comment I posted above. If you are correct, then why did they leave up your comments that were just as inflammatory, and yet focused on the journalism issues at hand?

GCT said...

"Wow, you really are tough to discuss things with. Not unusual in modern atheists circles I'm afraid."

Nice bigoted statement.

"You apparently didn't say all Christians are automatically bigots all the time and everywhere."

Wow. I'm surprised and impressed.

"You merely said those who didn't support the issue of gay marriage were bigots, and those who didn't condemn the individuals in the story were bigots."

Close. Those who don't support gay marriage are bigots. Those who laud that non-support are also bigots.

"But since that was the topic at hand, yeah, it seemed like you were saying anyone who didn't agree with your views were bigots."

IOW, your error.

"Oh, and what extreme Christian bigots who want the death penalty for homosexuals?"

Are you admitting that you are a troll? You didn't even read the OP that you're responding to? Oh my. Care to answer why you're supporting those who wish to kill homosexuals and turn the US into a theocracy?

"Again, there are times when they don't delete comments that violate policy."

Ones that support their agenda? Sure.

"If you are correct, then why did they leave up your comments that were just as inflammatory, and yet focused on the journalism issues at hand?"

Because they wanted my comments to be seen by the larger crowd in a negative light, which would thus advance the agenda. Then, when facts came in and they couldn't control the argument, the ban hammer came out. I'm not surprised. Fundamentalists can not handle straight up debate because reality does not conform to their mythology.

Tigerboy said...

Notice how Anonymous keeps using the phrase: "modern atheist." Over and over. Modern atheist. Modern atheist. Modern atheist.

As in: "Wow, you really are a modern atheist."

Since GCT has made it clear that he is an atheist, and we all understand that that we live in the 21st century, a frequently repeated term like "modern atheist" starts to sound like the intentional creation of a pejorative!

"Wow, you really are a modern atheist" doesn't mean anything, except that it starts to sound suspiciously like NAME CALLING! The very thing that GetReligion's "comment policy", supposedly, would delete!

(Does anybody really believe GetReligion would delete "name calling" that was directed at an atheist? I don't.)

Pointing out bigotry--absolutely valid criticism. It's called dissenting opinion.

Repeating a meaningless phrase, like "Wow, you really are a modern atheist", in order to make it sound pejorative--name calling!

Catching Dominionists at their own game?--Priceless!

Anonymous said...

Tigerboy,

Use of the term Modern Atheist is usually a way to distinguish. It's meant to show I don't think all Atheists are the same. And yes, it's usually meant to suggest an Atheist who seems to reflect the line of arguments common with such notables as P.Z. Myers, Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Christopher Hitchens, and the redoubtable Richard Dawkins (probably the best of the group when it comes to someone who seems to have at least done his homework when it comes to the religious views he rejects).

Oh, speaking of utterly worthless and baseless terms: Dominionists? Really? Do folks actually understand that term and what segments of Christianity it applies to? Or fundamentalist. How is that defined? How is it applied? Do folks understand that these terms properly apply only to certain segments within a global faith that claims in excess of 2 billion people? If we're going to bellyache about proper terms, let's set the record straight across the board.

Anonymous said...

GCT,

I thought you might have had a better reference than the old 'the Bible says homosexuals should be killed and that's what these fundamentalists want!' Geeeesh. I thought that argument went out with VHS.

Yes, for a while that was used, usually by liberal Christians trying to pin those with a literalist background regarding the Bible. Some outside of Christianity jumped on it of course. Usually not accusing them of wanting to kill homosexuals. Basically trying to pin them as to why they hold to biblical literalism while rejecting that OT reading.

Of course that line of arguing only works against Protestant Fundamentalist biblical literalists. It is shaky at best against Mainline and even some Evangelical circles, and doesn't apply at all to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions due to their different understanding and approach to Scriptures. Which I'm sure you understand.

So I was just assuming you weren't dragging out an old argument better suited to the days of the butter churn (please tell me this isn't a common view in Atheist circles today).

Anonymous said...

Oh, and GCT.

No matter how you slice and dice it, you were on Get Religion clearly violating their policy of not insulting, attacking, labeling, or accusing other individuals on the blog. Anyone who does that gets deleted.

If they don't do those things, even if they move away from the journalism, GR will usually be somewhat lenient. But you continued to say anyone not sharing your viewpoint on those topics was a bigot. Something they don't allow. That's why those posts of yours were left. Not some vast theocratic conspiracy to fool people, but because you kept to journalism, and even though you suggested those who didn't conform to your beliefs were bigots, it was within the context of the journalism coverage. Not sure why you keep denying this while admitting to most of the meat of it at the same time.

Tigerboy said...

"Wow, you really are a modern atheist."

Oh, it's meant to be a pejorative! It's just like how Fox News is unable to use the term "left-wing." It's ALWAYS gotta be "radical left-wing." It makes no difference how moderately left-wing someone is, they ALWAYS say "radical left-wing."

"Modern atheist." It's like saying:

You couldn't possibly have formed any ideas about the foolishness of religion by yourself. You must be parroting something you read from the bestseller list.

Fine.

I've been an atheist since the 70s, but, if you want to call me a "modern atheist," knock yourself out.

I don't have a problem with name-calling. It's rude, but I'm fine with it. I don't censor people.

Tigerboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tigerboy said...

GetReligion clearly DOES censor people.

What are they afraid of?

Anonymous said...

Tigerboy,

All blogs maintain standards and the right to delete comments. I've seen hundreds deleted over at Huffpost, and most news blogs do the same. They try to keep it so folks can come and discuss the topic at hand without being blindsided or insulted by someone. Keeps the internet fighting to a min.

Anonymous said...

That's OK, Tigerboy, I was raised in a religious household, but became an agnostic in the late 70s. I wandered around in the dreamy world of 80s secularism until I made a grab at atheism. Then in a whirlwind of research, experience, and just plain faith and lack thereof, I ended up becoming a person of religious faith by c. 1990-1991.

Again, I do mean 'Modern Atheist' as I described. There are many great thinkers out there today who don't get the time of day from our media. Thinkers who begin by saying things such as, 'I appreciate all that religion has contributed to history. While evil has certainly been done in the name of religious faith, the last century alone demonstrates that the absence of religion is no insurance against evil and mass atrocity. And while I prefer a scientific approach to discovering the mysteries of the universe, only a fool would live on the leeward side of the mushroom cloud or the gas chambers and imagine that all answers can only be confirmed with the modern scientific method. Nevertheless, while I can see there are certain leaps of faith in my own thinking, and realize such gaps in my own view of reality are filled with my own personal beliefs, I nonetheless cannot find the evidence or the arguments that can lead me to fill those voids with the existence of a divine being.'

That's not bad. And most can come up with some pretty darn good sticking points regarding religious thought. They also usually demonstrate a knowledge of religious thought and practice.

The 'Modern Atheism', however, is a bit like Glenn Beck to classical atheism's William F. Buckley. It's based on appeals to emotion and rage, often ignoring or twisting facts, making sweeping claims that reality just doesn't validate, and then using vitriol, insults, and basic contempt and loathing in order to push through the debate. It's the stuff of people like Bill Maher, Christopher Hitchens, P.Z. Myers, and Sam Harris, who anyone with an intro to religious education knows don't know diddly about the very beliefs they ridicule and condemn. If they know anything, it's merely enough with which to arm themselves and fire back - not actually to learn. It's the approach that leads to comments like this:

"Real or imagined Jesus is/was an a--hole. Jesus exits as either a lying d--che bag who conned the earth and lives in Heaven or some other plane of consiousness [sic] with his d--che bag sadist father or he's a legend. Either way Jesus has earned the hate of humanity.

I think the historical Jesus was real and he was an a--hole then and he's an a--hole now. The brain dead hypocrites who follow him are also a--holes.

Any God who would condemn people to suffer eternal torture in hell is pure evil. Jesus is/was pure evil."

That's what is meant by 'Modern Atheist'. There could be others, but since it has become the face of modern atheism, for good or bad, it's a term often used to describe those who prefer the later approach rather than the former.

Tigerboy said...

It keeps dissenting opinions suppressed.

I've read GCT's blog for years. He doesn't "fight" with people. He's extremely respectful.

Calling out bigotry when one sees it is not "fighting." It's completely valid criticism.

Censorship of dissent is a really bad idea.

Anonymous said...

Extremely respectful? Define.

Tigerboy said...

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

Foolish advice. Love and respect are earned. This advice totally devalues the notion of human love, as well as the friends and family who have actually earned our love and respect. Strangers deserve my courtesy, they deserve fair play, they do not deserve love.


" . . . turn the other cheek."

Would you have recommended that the victims of the Holocaust "turn the other cheek?" Should a child molested by a priest "turn the other cheek?" Foolish advice. Just continue to dwell in victimization.

This is sage moral advice?

Believe outlandish representations of reality (even dare to question them), and you deserve eternal punishment.

You deserve eternal punishment for some perceived sin of your forefathers!

Perfect morality? Really?

The Ten Commandments. These are the top ten? Not one word about rape. Not one word about the molestation of children. Not one word about slavery.

The Bible. The perfect word of a God who cares about us? Not one word about antibiotics. Not one word about sterile surgical procedures. Again, slavery.

Christianity is not the ACME of moral philosophy. FAR from it.

Criticism of bad ideas does not constitute "fighting." Criticism of bad ideas is fair game.

Not all ideas are deserving of respect. Racism and religion are two excellent examples.

Believe this magic story that has not one shred of objective, peer-reviewed evidence to back-up it's claims, or else you are headed for damnation!

Criticism of that position is totally valid. One can be respectful and still criticize bad ideas. In fact, one has a moral obligation TO criticize bad ideas.

Religion and racism are bad ideas.

Tigerboy said...

Vilifying perfectly natural features of human sexuality is a bad idea.

Calling women "whores" because they dare to have a normal sex life is a bad idea.

Calling homosexuals "sinners" is a bad idea.

This is not moral behavior.

Tigerboy said...

Empathy leads to moral behavior.

Religion leads to judgmental behavior.

Anonymous said...

Of course criticizing ideals and beliefs is OK. I wouldn't argue otherwise. How else could I criticize atheism! But one can argue and criticize with respect. Or one can do so without respect. The trick is, making sure you are not the only one defining what is respect. After all, Fred Phelp's followers no doubt believe he is completely respectful. I would strongly disagree. Others say Sean Hannity or Keith Olbermann are respectful. I disagree.

Do do unto others is one of the most universal concepts in human ethics. In one form or another, the gist is usually understood. Yes respect must be earned. But treating others with respect is often the best way to do it (I've checked on my respect slide rule, and haven't found calling folks who disagree with me about certain issues bigots anywhere on it).

As for love, yours is love defined apart from the agape love understood by way of the Christian traditions. I can't imagine telling my son my love for him must be earned. I may not like what he does in life, but I will ever and always love him.

As for forgiveness, yes. Should Christians who were persecuted, ostracized, and at times imprisoned and executed forgive their atheist persecutors from the period of the Soviet Union? Christians who lived through that period would say yes. It's a tough ideal, and not easily attained. But it is the goal. Why? Do unto others. That is, no matter how often it has not been achieved, the goal.

As for the rest, that's more or less saying you think your absolute value system is absolutely true, absolutely right, and all competing truth claims are altogether wrong at best, if not evil. That's fine. Most belief systems have that same foundation. Like I tell my boys, there's no such thing as liberals and conservatives. They're right up there with unicorns, tooth fairies, and flying spaghetti monsters. Folks are liberal about things they don't like or want to change, and mighty conservative about things they cherish and value. It doesn't have to be a bad thing, but all too often folks lose perspective and that's where those nasty moments in history tend to occur.

Tigerboy said...

I didn't say the love of your family must be earned. I said that loving your neighbor, for no other reason besides the fact that he is your neighbor, devalues and trivializes the actual love you feel for family and friends.

"Love your neighbor as yourself" is not a shining example of the finest moral philosophy available to us.

". . . turn the other cheek" is bad, too.

Many people consider The Sermon on the Mount to be Jesus' finest hour! Let's just say that I find it to be a little thin on moral brilliance.

"Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you" is exactly the empathy to which I referred. I have quoted that phrase countless times in these pages. (Count 'em, if you wish.)

I happen to put a great deal of stock in the notion of empathy. You may choose to call it:

" . . . that's more or less saying you think your absolute value system is absolutely true, absolutely right, and all competing truth claims are altogether wrong at best, if not evil."

But, I happen to think it's a pretty good idea. You, yourself, called it: "one of the most universal concepts in human ethics." I think it's about as good as we can do. It's a lot better than a story featuring Isaac, with Abraham's knife at his throat!

"Do unto others . . ." is NOT an original Judeo/Christian idea. Nor does it come from the Quran. It predates all of the recognized religions. It is entirely human.

Maybe we could teach our children that there is tremendous value in these ideas of empathy, and forget the lessons that there is divine perfection in a book that glorifies animal sacrifice and slavery.

Is that too literal?

The problem with the Bible is that, one minute it's "the perfect word of God" and the next minute it's foolish to take it too literally.

Yet, we teach people with less that subtle understanding of these issues (like children) that this is divinely inspired Truth. Non-virgin brides are whores, and should be stoned, and homos are faggots for the fires of Hell.

Which is it? Robert Frost? Or, The Divine Guide to Life and Truth?

Because, people like Fred Phelps don't make this stuff up. He knows where to find the "fire and brimstone" in the text.

The 9/11 hijackers learned their lessons from somewhere.

I vote for Empathy, not talking snakes (literal, or poetic).

Tigerboy said...

Imagine you are sitting at a Woolworth's lunch counter, in Alabama, circa 1957, and you witness some Negroes (that's what they were called at the time) being turned away.

"We don't serve your kind, here!"

Or, suppose you witness Rosa Parks being told she must sit in the back of the bus.

If you called that "bigotry" you would not be "name-calling." You would be correct. Yet, many of the white customers at the lunch counter would be angry and offended at your assessment of the situation.

If you run something through your "empathy meter" and realize that you would not wish others to do that thing "unto you," calling it "bigotry" is not "name-calling," it's valid criticism.

Now, I want you to use every ounce of your empathy, and honesty, and love, and kindness for your fellow humankind . . . really try . . . and imagine another scenario:

You are a young child. A silly, happy, delightful child. Life is wonderful . . . until you start school.

As you make your way through the lower grades, you realize that many of the other children seem to hate you. Really hate you! It's baffling. They are downright nasty to you. (Above and beyond normal childhood teasing.) They constantly ridicule you for the way you talk, for the pitch of your voice, for the way you throw a baseball, for the way you "run like a girl."

They belittle you for all the things about yourself which you have no power to change.

You are too young to even know what sex is, but the first time you are called "faggot" you know it's not a good thing.

As you get older, public humiliation at the hands of more masculine boys becomes commonplace.

You are beaten. Bigger boys hit you, and throw things at you, on a regular basis. You are constantly shamed, not for something you've done, but for who you are. People write truly nasty things on your locker. Even teachers ridicule you.

School becomes a waking nightmare. You even consider suicide. You are only 15 or 16 years old.

Really try to imagine yourself as this boy.

You wish you could be the captain of the football team, but it's never gonna happen! You wish you could be what people want you to be, but this is it!

You are who you are.

People tell you that your "lifestyle" was your choice. You know for a fact that you never chose this, any more than the boys at the 1957 lunch counter chose the color of their skin.

Now, read what Christians say about this innocent, abused youth, and tell me it's not bigotry.

As you support a philosophy that says this boy should never be allowed to legally marry, to raise children, to be loved by the partner who will make him happy, to have all the things you take absolutely for granted, tell me that's not bigotry.

Calling out bigotry is NOT name-calling. It's valid criticism.

Anonymous said...

First, I took your statement:

Love and respect are earned. This advice totally devalues the notion of human love, as well as the friends and family who have actually earned our love and respect.

to suggest that family was in the mix when it came to earning love. Nonetheless, I prefer the unconditional love ideal. I join the vast masses of humanity who, through the ages, have praised the Sermon on the Mount as an ideal for human ethics and morality. That is, if humanity really achieved such noble ends, the world would work better, so that's the ideal for which we should strive. You don't have to, naturally. You can have another value system. That's fine. As laid out in the somewhat brief forum of a combox, it seems a bit vague and subjective, and if I may be so bold, a little bit self justifying. But hey, that's fine. As a member of the faith community, I'm proud to say most folks in our community acknowledge the bad that has been done in the name of our faith, as well as other ideals, through the ages. And most are trying to learn to do better. One of those is putting aside the old 'burn the heretic at the stake' approach in favor of dialogue and learning to interact with other POV, without necessarily compromising our own.

Though here's my little tag. You see, I grew up in a good old fashioned blue collar Democrat household. Like any good Breakfast Club youth, I quickly rebelled against my loving parents and rejected their worldview. Not hard in the late 70s - early 80s. Progressivism was coming to dominate education, and was already firmly implanted in our universities as well as our media and entertainment cultures. How could one *not* be a progressive in 1982? I also had quit going to church in 4th grade and found no difficulty finding justifications for my unbelief.

Anonymous said...

(cont)

As I listened to the older generation dismiss and condemn outright opinions and beliefs they disagreed with, the 80s liberal mantras of tolerance, diversity, respect for other beliefs, and no right to impose or legislate morality resonated with me.

Problem? By the late 80s, I noticed something. Growing up, I was taught that intolerance, judgementalism, close-mindedness, condemnation and contempt for other beliefs and cultures, and moral dogmas were the evil - those were what explained the horrors of the 20th century, as well as problems with antiquated Western institutions, not the least of which was "Organized Religion". Yuck. That was like a four letter word.

Yet when I listened to advocates of such modern liberal darlings as feminism, affirmative action, religious and moral relativism, and yes, gay rights, I couldn't help but detect a whiff of the same type of judgementalism and intolerance that I had been trained to have a Pavlovian response against. When I stood up one day and suggested that Affirmative Action, which I supported, might nevertheless need tweaked, I was basically called a racist. When I suggested that women and men might be different in some ways, I was asked why I hated women. And when I, an advocate for tolerance and rights for gays even in the early 80s (and be glad for those who didn't advocate such things openly in the early 80s), suggested that it was OK to reject non-heterosexual normality as long as gays had equal rights, I was asked how I could tolerate evil homophobic bigotry.

In short, growing up the progressive movement had won me over with visions of tolerance, diversity, respecting other beliefs and ideals, and a morally and ideologically open society. What I was seeing was basically these 'liberal' ideals being nothing more than the same old same old I was told made archaic institutions like religion so bad. Basically 'be liberal or be evil.' How did that differ from discrimination and bigotry, intolerance and judgementalism of the past that I was told to reject? Surely none of those people in those times and places thought they were wrong. From Nazis to the KKK to slave owners to oppressors of women to persecutors of gays imagined they were entirely justified in everything they did. All I saw was the same tactics and attitudes, just with a new name plate.

And that's when I realized. Either all of that talk about tolerance and diversity was a sham, a lie used to advance yet another dogmatic world view. Or it was real. I prefer to think it was real. And that's how I live. I still believe that when the conversation turns to 'think as I think or be evil', it's taken a fatal turn no matter how it is justified. And so while I realize that a person who thought blacks were subhuman in the 1920s was advocating bigotry, I also realize they were taught that with all the assurance and dogmatic fervor of a media atheist like Sam Harris who teaches that religion is bad because of all the evils it has caused by way of its intolerance and judgmentalism, which is why religion is bad and has to go. That people miss the irony in that demonstrates that people can be swayed, whether today, 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or a 1000. To me, the best way to avoid it is to do what Gandhi said. Try actually living the Sermon on the Mount instead of talking about it, and that includes judge not, lest you be judged. That way we can try to avoid the pitfalls of seeing so clearly the specks in the eyes of history, and yet miss that redwood log in our own eyes that may lay the groundwork for the misery of tomorrow.

GCT said...

"Use of the term Modern Atheist is usually a way to distinguish. It's meant to show I don't think all Atheists are the same."

There's this romantic notion that the Gnu atheists of today are brash and stupid and loud while older atheists were more thoughtful and had the proper respect for religion. It's rubbish and untrue, but it doesn't stop people from tarring atheists with such broad brush strokes.

"Dominionists? Really? Do folks actually understand that term and what segments of Christianity it applies to?"

You seem to understand it. I did leave a link as well. I would hope that people understand how dangerous Dominionists like yourself are. If you had your way, atheists like myself would be killed, imprisoned, exiled, and/or forced to supplicate myself to Xianity.

"Or fundamentalist. How is that defined?"

It's admittedly not hard and fast as a definition, but I think we all know it when we see it. I believe my readers are savvy enough.

"Do folks understand that these terms properly apply only to certain segments within a global faith that claims in excess of 2 billion people?"

It's a larger segment than you seem to imply.

"If we're going to bellyache about proper terms..."

You're the one with the bellyache.

"I thought you might have had a better reference than the old 'the Bible says homosexuals should be killed and that's what these fundamentalists want!' Geeeesh. I thought that argument went out with VHS."

Really? Really? Are you claiming that Dominionists don't advocate death to gays (as well as the rest of the Biblical law which says death for children that don't have the proper respect, death to infidels, etc?) I suggest you tell that to the LGBTQ community in Uganda where recently Dominionists from the US were there trying to shape the law that would put gays to death.

"Yes, for a while that was used, usually by liberal Christians trying to pin those with a literalist background regarding the Bible."

Sigh, no. It's a proper term for a group that actually seeks to gain political power and turn the US into a Xian theocracy. I see that you're trying desperately to downplay your group's motives. That is called lying. What does the Bible say about lying and how it should be handled? Why do you believe that your aims should be obtained through falsehoods? Don't you believe in absolute morals given by your god's book?

Oh, and your fantasy of liberal Xians trying to get those fundy Xians is nothing but. It doesn't happen, it didn't happen.

"Of course that line of arguing only works against Protestant Fundamentalist biblical literalists."

Sigh. It works against those who are in the movement to turn the US into a theocracy. I see that you're trying to muddy the waters to cover your own backside - it's not working.

"No matter how you slice and dice it, you were on Get Religion clearly violating their policy of not insulting, attacking, labeling, or accusing other individuals on the blog."

This has already been explained to you numerous times. Why do you persist in continuing?

"But you continued to say anyone not sharing your viewpoint on those topics was a bigot."

Not what I did or what I said. Stop misrepresenting my arguments and my words. (If this were GR, BTW, you would have been banned already - just saying.)

"Not some vast theocratic conspiracy to fool people..."

Except they, and you, are part of a theocratic movement that seeks to make the US into a Xian theocracy and advocates death to gays.

GCT said...

"The 'Modern Atheism', however, is a bit like Glenn Beck to classical atheism's William F. Buckley. It's based on appeals to emotion and rage..."

IOW, they just won't shut up and be good, subservient atheists. How dare these modern atheists write scathing blog posts! They're so militant! How dare they point out that the acts of terrorism perpetrated my religious fundamentalists are bad!

Yes, that's right. Atheists are militant and angry and abusive (bigoted view BTW) for writing stuff that isn't respectful of religion, but we don't say the same for religious groups unless they fly planes into buildings. In fact, you don't even refer to Dominionists that want to kill gays with the same level of vitriol.

"As for love, yours is love defined apart from the agape love understood by way of the Christian traditions."

Love your neighbor as it was understood (and practiced and still is practiced) was more about loving those who have the same religious beliefs. What love for gays are you showing by advocating their death?

"Should Christians who were persecuted, ostracized, and at times imprisoned and executed forgive their atheist persecutors from the period of the Soviet Union? "

Xians weren't persecuted because the persecutors were displaying atheism. They were persecuted because the nationalist cult of personality saw them as problems to his sovereignty. This wasn't a case of atheists killing in the name of atheism, but more killing in the name of dogma, just as Xians have done since the religion began.

"I join the vast masses of humanity who, through the ages, have praised the Sermon on the Mount as an ideal for human ethics and morality."

The sermon on the mount was not any sort of moral high point. In it Jesus (it never really happened, but you claimed not to take the Bible literally anyway, so you don't believe it did, right?) doesn't proclaim any sort of liberalism, he proclaims a very strict conservatism. Thinking bad thoughts (thought crime) is tantamount to murder? Sorry, but this is not a moral stance nor is the sermon particularly morally advanced.

"Yet when I listened to advocates of such modern liberal darlings as feminism, affirmative action, religious and moral relativism, and yes, gay rights, I couldn't help but detect a whiff of the same type of judgementalism and intolerance that I had been trained to have a Pavlovian response against. "

I wondered when the whole "You're the intolerant one because you don't tolerate my intolerance" bit would come up. I'm sure that everyone simply lashed out at you for no reason and that's why you now support Dominionists that want to kill gays. Sorry, not buying it.

Anonymous said...

Tigerboy,

One more thing. You said:

"Do unto others . . ." is NOT an original Judeo/Christian idea. Nor does it come from the Quran. It predates all of the recognized religions. It is entirely human."

That's an interesting take. I know it's commonly accepted that the Golden Rule exists, in some form or another, in most religious traditions at least in Western and Asian teachings. But this idea that it predates all recognized religion is something I'm still interested in seeing some evidence for. Do you know what texts or writings or glyphs of ancient man support this ideal? What evidence is there?

Tigerboy said...

"Do unto others ... " is merely a verbal expression of a foundationally innate human survival strategy. It is older even than the very first beginnings of the ideas that eventually became religion.

I can give you at least 20 different configurations of words that describe this inherent human desire, in about a minute, and without the least trouble. I'll spare us all the list of proverbs as long as your arm, since they exist in every culture across the planet, and we all have Google.

Where are the glyphs? This idea predates recorded history, it predates writing, it predates humanity!

"Do unto others ... " are just words that have been expressed in countless ways, for countless days, because they describe an idea that goes to the very heart of social, mammalian behavior. It is observed in other animals that have existed far longer than we. It is instinctual.

It expresses a basic idea that tribes of animals have used to get along for epochs of time!

It certainly was not an idea original to your favorite carpenter, a paltry 2000 short years ago.

Do think that humans would not understand fair play and basic empathy without magic stories about appeasing the volcano god? The notion of an afterlife is much more advanced than cooperative tribalism. Appeasing the volcano god came later.

Christians have this quaint notion that they invented morality. Religion loves to take credit for the most basic, innate of human emotions.

Jesus, standing on the Mount, talking about "Do unto others ... ", was not expressing anything remotely new or original. It had been understood and expressed by others since time immemorial.

Anonymous said...

Tigerboy,

Unfortunately, that was a long way around saying, "Obviously it's true because it's so obviously true.' Good atheists, as GCT points out, say that all belief should be based on good old fashion evidence. Show me the evidence. Not I could show you, or I'll spare you. Don't spare. Show me the evidence that it predates the foundations of the religious traditions in human societies and cultures. I'll endure it, I promise.

Oh, and Christians don't have any notion that they invented morality. That's a common slogan that's actually not true. Sort of like Rick saying 'Play it again Sam.' Everyone thinks he said it, but he never really did.

Tigerboy said...

It IS obviously true. Hello?

Religious thought ... the first threads of religious thought ... a supernatural being ... an afterlife ... divine retribution for misdeeds ... sin ... these are FAR more sophisticated mental constructs than empathy for the suffering of a fellow, or fair play.

It IS patently obvious that fair play and cooperation came before religion.

Religion didn't beget "Do unto others ... "

"Do unto others ... " begat religion. Don't be obtuse. It IS obvious.

GCT said...

"Good atheists, as GCT points out, say that all belief should be based on good old fashion evidence."

To be rational, yes. That isn't to say that we should never believe anything before sitting down and analyzing all the evidence. But, don't get excited, religion doesn't fall in the category of those things we should consider accepting based on zero evidence.

"Show me the evidence."

We already know that animals exhibit moral traits, including cooperation. That is obvious.

Finally, I see that you've abandoned trying to discuss Dominionism and have yet to tell me why you hate gays so much that you want to see them dead.

Tigerboy said...

The notion that Jesus invented cooperative behavior, 2000 years ago, is ludicrous!

For hundreds of thousands years, nobody understood empathy or fairness, till this Jewish preacher came along.

Yeah, right.

Nobody could figure out how to get along with their peers, till someone invented stories about supernatural beings.

Is that our thesis?

What complete idiocy.

Tigerboy said...

Hominids have been living in cooperative groups for some 3 million years before the invention of monotheism.

Earliest cave paintings, showing cooperative hunting in modern humans, over 25,000 years before monotheism.

There are your "glyphs!"

25,000 years before monotheism, people knew what it was to cooperate with their fellows.

"Do unto others ... " is just one verbal expression of this ancient cooperation. This idea predates any modern concept of religious thought!

It certainly predates the Abrahamic monotheisms.

Anonymous said...

Super busy right now. Will be back in day or two. Some errors that need addressed I see.

Tigerboy said...

Go to ANY zoo, and watch the monkeys play "You pick my flea, I'll pick yours."

Where can you possibly get the notion that religion gets the credit for the idea of reciprocal, empathetic, cooperative behaviors?

GCT said...

Why do I get the feeling these "errors" will either be left as un-named entities or will be instances where Anon decides that his opinions are fact and trump reality?

When you get back, will you tell us why you hate gays so much? (I have a feeling that's one of the purported errors. You see Anon doesn't hate gays because he loves all through his infinitely just and good Xian faith. He just thinks they should be subject to the perfect, loving law of god (death) and don't deserve equal rights. How could anyone say that's not loving?)

Anonymous said...

First, GCT,

I would like to see the evidence where I said I hate gays and want to see them killed. No Archie Bunker syllogisms here, just actual evidence. That is, give me a quote. Show where I said I supported any group that advocated such action. Me. Quote. Not some religious sect in Africa, or group in America without stats to back up the numbers. Where I said that I actually support such a thing. Evidence. You know, real evidence. Then we can continue, for I have never, nor would ever, support such evil and will not continue conversing with a person who continues with such false accusations sans evidence.

Anonymous said...

Tigerboy,

The problem is, you are brushing too broadly the meaning of the "Golden Rule." Saying that the Golden Rule, or any similar teaching in any major religion, is nothing but a form of animal cooperation is missing the point. It's skipping from point A to point Z, and leaving out the points in between. For instance. While 'do unto others' is known to exist in many forms and versions, they are not all the same. The Confucian version was actually a negative: If you don't want to be struck by your neighbor, then don't strike your neighbor first. A similar version is found in other examples (though not in all ancient socities it should be noted). In that context, Jesus took that standard teaching and turned it upside down. It ceased being a negative, and became a positive. Neither of which really have a clear expression in either the animal kingdom, or the earliest archaeological finds of human culture (by the way, the earliest of which show signs of cultic practice and basic religious belief).

Now, the point of Jesus is not simply 'if you want someone to give you money, then give him money first.' Even that would be hard pressed to be demonstrated in animal behavior. Again, animal instinct for cooperative survival and teaching that the best way to receive something is to give something first cannot so easily be compared, at least not without a truck load of presuppositions going into the interepretation of data.

But it isn't just that. For Jesus outlines what is meant by that, something that even some atheists concede is not easily explained from mere evolutionary theory. Jesus takes the notion of self sacrifice and injects it into the proverb. What does he mean by 'do unto others'? He means if an oppressor or conqueror demands you give him your coat, then given him your shirt as well. He means if a domineering boss demands you walk a mile, then walk an extra mile in addition. He means you should love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Find that in the animal kingdom.

That is what so many thinkers, even outside of the Christian fold, came to admire about the Sermon on the Mount. For it didn't take a genius to figure out that conditional love was not the solution, but existed side by side with the problem. As Jesus himself said 2000 years before the Holocaust, the Gulags, the Killing Fields - what of it if you only love those who love you, or do good for those who do good to you? Even the tax collectors do that. Or, for that matter, even animals with no more than a survival instinct do that. So from across the post-war progressive universe, this ideal of moving to unconditional love became almost a signal, a beacon to avoid the terrors of previous centuries. Since, on reflection, they realized even a slave owner had no problem with love and respect...as long as you weren't an African. Even a Christian imperialist was loving and caring - as long as you weren't deemed an infidel. And even the Soviet Union had respect for you - as long as you didn't challenge its social order including, but not limited to, the expulsion of religious thought from society.

That is the difference. To suggest even the most ancient forms of the "Golden Rule" are merely cooperative survival mechanisms is to suggest that Das Kapital and the Declaration of Independence are all the same. Delve a little deeper, don't settle for pseudo-knowledge. You seem like you're tossing some things out based on solid reading, but perhaps read more outside of polemical texts and debates. Like I tell my kids, belief in God or not is up to you. But if you believe or don't believe, for heaven's sake make sure it's for the right reasons and based on truth, facts, and evidence, not based on 'he did too say "play it again Sam!"'

GCT said...

The evidence is all over this thread from your continued support of GetReligion to your downplaying of the aims behind both them and their financiers. You are not only defending bigotry, but are downplaying the very real effects, including the death of actual homosexuals (geography does not matter in that context - IOW, I don't care if you want to downplay the plight of gays in a far off country I'm still going to hold it against you since it is the people you're defending that are causing it, hence you hold some culpability).

GCT said...

And, BTW, it isn't just some freakish cult in Africa...it was real, American Dominionists over there influencing things and pushing for death to gays...those people that you are defending now.

GCT said...

"In that context, Jesus took that standard teaching and turned it upside down."

If your contention is that all the golden rule standards were negatives until Jesus came along, you'd be wrong as the Tao, Jains, and others had positive versions. Even your contention about the Confucian version only tells half the story. Another text points out that he talked about reciprocity, which deals directly with what you continue to talk about in the rest of your comment that was supposed to clean up our errors and ends with you smugly declaring how advanced you are to all of us ignorant atheists that must have decided on atheist by reading polemical rants.

Oh, and BTW, you do realize that such dunderheads as Gandhi and MLK Jr. advocated the negative approach as being morally superior, right? They felt that the positive statement had shortcomings.

"Find that in the animal kingdom."

Like how monkeys will go on hunger strikes to protest the ill treatment of other monkeys? Nope, no sort of tendencies there.

"That is what so many thinkers, even outside of the Christian fold, came to admire about the Sermon on the Mount."

Because they accepted the modernized, romanticized version of someone calling for thought crimes and overly harsh readings of laws?

"To suggest even the most ancient forms of the "Golden Rule" are merely cooperative survival mechanisms is to suggest that Das Kapital and the Declaration of Independence are all the same."

No, it's not and your hyperbole here is duly and rightly called out.

"Like I tell my kids, belief in God or not is up to you."

You'll just prosecute them later once you and your friends take over.

"But if you believe or don't believe, for heaven's sake make sure it's for the right reasons and based on truth, facts, and evidence, not based on 'he did too say 'play it again Sam!'"

I find this especially ironic considering the lack of truth, facts, and evidence for the god hypothesis. You're telling us to believe for the right reasons in something that you clearly have accepted sans truth, facts, and evidence, not to mention logic or rationality. Et tu Brute?

Anonymous said...

GCT,

It's very simple. Show me the evidence. Show me the facts. You are continually saying I'm wrong about everything. Fine. I said what I thought was true. Based on what I thought I have studied and read. I'm willing to concede I might be all wrong. Now, the ball's in your court. Show me the evidence. No runabouts. No saying I should first. I concede I could be wrong. Now's your chance. Show me the texts, the quotes, the data, the research, the studies, the original source material from all of these cases.

Show me where MLK or Gandhi specifically said they preferred the negative aspects of the Golden Rule to the positive. Show me the actual manuscripts of Eastern texts, and their contexts, and show the same self-sacrificial implementation of their ethical teaching as elaborated upon in the teachings of the New Testament. Show me that the monkeys were deliberately protesting, and not reacting in some other way, that it was a purposeful and strategic action, not simply 'other monkeys stopped eating, I'll bet they were protesting.' In other words, no anthropomorphizing allowed. We have to have hard, scientific evidence that it was their deliberate strategy. So go for it. I'll be back to check in. You don't have to do it all at once. Pick one and put it out there, and we'll go from there. And remember, it can't be just this or that test or study that you choose to interpret a certain way. This has to be clear, objective conclusions reached from the information at hand.

Oh, and one more thing. No quotes from just other atheists here. Don't say this guy or that guy said so. I need the original source material here. Just like you wouldn't accept it if I said this or that Christian scholar said so. Original sources. Then we'll take a look and see what's there.

I'll let the other things you inferred about me and my kids slide. Personally, I would like to think that some of the others visiting your blog will look at that and start getting a creepy feeling about where you stand on things.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and no. I don't support the killing of homosexuals. I'm against it actually. As I am against the killing of anyone in most cases. There. That should do it.

Why defend GR? Because I feel you have falsely accused it of something. You went on their site, violated their policies, and when they told you why, you kept on. At that point, they deleted those comments that violated their policies. As they do to anyone. And they left your posts that didn't.

To me? That was a set up plain and simple. You had everything to gain (launching tirade after rant as is, apparently, your style), and nothing to lose (accuse them of censorship even if they merely did what many sites do when someone violates their policies). That's how I saw it.

GCT said...

"Show me where MLK or Gandhi specifically said they preferred the negative aspects of the Golden Rule to the positive."

Here.

For pre-Jesus Golden Rules:
The Eloquent Peasant says, "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you." This is reported by John Wilson in "The Culture of Ancient Egypt." The positive form is shown on papyrus (in heiroglyphs) during the Middle Kingdom (about 2000 BCE) while the negative form is more recent (500 - 700 BCE)

One example is enough to show your assertions were false. I'll also note that you simply made assertions and expected us to take you at your word without actually providing any evidence. Double standard much?

Monkeys

"I'll let the other things you inferred about me and my kids slide. Personally, I would like to think that some of the others visiting your blog will look at that and start getting a creepy feeling about where you stand on things."

Excuse me? You're the one supporting Dominionists and I'm supposed to creep people out? Please.

"Oh, and no. I don't support the killing of homosexuals. I'm against it actually. As I am against the killing of anyone in most cases. There. That should do it."

It doesn't. I don't believe you. You are supporting those who do advocate for such things. Your actions speak louder than your words.

"Why defend GR? Because I feel you have falsely accused it of something."

The facts have been presented, you ignored them, and now you're claiming they are being falsely accused? C'mon.

"You went on their site, violated their policies, and when they told you why, you kept on."

Yes, I violated the policy of not being atheist. Why are we going over this again. You are still avoiding the facts (hypocritically I should add after making such a show of wanting the facts up above).

Anonymous said...

See? That wasn't so hard now was it? There's really nothing Sagan says about Gandhi or King and their takes on the Golden Rule and non-violence that isn't true. That's not to say someone trying to insist that this means MLK and Gandhi were 'prefering the Silver to the Golden Rule' might be in deep. MLK certainly made the GR the cornerstone of Christian ethics. Plus, the Golden Rule isn't separate from the rest of the SotM. Turn the other cheek, another favorite proverb, was not unknown in the passive-resistance movements of the 20th century. It's not either/or. It's both/and. MLK who preached the primacy of the Golden Rule could also invoke turn the other cheek. And he, like Gandhi, understood situations and conditions determined just how one approached oppression and injustice. Hence MLK's famous quote regarding Bonhoeffer, one of the heroes of the 20th century, while at the same time maintaining a central place for the GR.

Anonymous said...

The Monkeys

As for the science, since I'm not a scientist myself, I defer to those in that field to hash it out. What I do know is that the Golden Rule, or for that matter the Silver Rule, is not merely altruism, unless you define that in the broadest sense possible. Certainly not the deepest level of unconditional love and forgiveness and self-sacrifice as laid out in the Christian concepts of the Golden Rule. That monkeys may not eat because of the punishment inflicted on another is not too far off a dog and cat we used to own that were so close that when one was ill and not eating, the other would lay down beside it and not eat either. Nobody would argue that animals don't have ties to other animals, or that they can cooperate in relationships. Anyone who has had a pet would agree. And of course nobody denies that there are common traits across the created order. Most religious thinkers would assume there to be ideals from the animal world that humans share. But it is a long leap from monkeys don't eat because they learn eating causes a mate harm, to yes, you should purposefully forgive that death camp guard. That's where the points A to Z are. Monkey not eating because of witnessed harm to others? That's about point D or E. Willing to love and forgive the death camp guard as he closes the door on you in order to starve you to death after you volunteered to die in the place of another human being? That's point Z.

Anonymous said...

The Egyptian text.

To be honest, that's a new one. Again, I'm well aware of the negative aspects of the so called "Silver Rule" through the ages. Though I've yet to find that Confucian one that is the positive. And there are many that are merely reciprocal - you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Of course Jesus' take is not that, but self sacrificing love and unconditional forgiveness (which we all want when it is us, of course - hence the point). But I admit, that quote from the Egyptian text does sound much closer to the heart of what Jesus was getting at than others I've seen. That would be interesting, since there is a school of thought that believes there may have been some influence by certain religious movements in ancient Egypt that found there way through the centuries into the cultural and historical milieu of Jesus' ministry. I'll look into that. It's especially interesting if the later version goes to the negative. You never know.

Anonymous said...

The rest,

Well, I'm not going around about the other issues. I disagree with your take. And folks can go to Get Religion and see your posts that are still there because those posts of yours didn't so flagrantly violate their policies. And Mollie was good enough to leave one up that did, so she could explain the problem. They can also see posts by folks who cover the entire spectrum from atheist and skeptic to liberal and conservative to Christian and any other that are allowed as long as they don't violate their policies. Let folks go and make their own decisions I say.

As for me constantly defending myself against charge after accusation, that's become tiresome, too. You obviously will accept no evidence at all. Yours is simply "I'm telling you your honor, I don't need any other evidence! He's guilty, Guilty, GUILTY! I've got all the facts here... that's it - that's the whole case!" And I won't dignify your rather strange and otherworldly logic in that regard. Think as you will. I can't change the assumptions you've taken into your heart that lead you accordingly.

GCT said...

"That's not to say someone trying to insist that this means MLK and Gandhi were 'prefering the Silver to the Golden Rule' might be in deep."

Actually, he explains that the Silver Rule was instrumental to the non-violence idea. But, hey, that would require reading and doing so for comprehension (even though he explicitly states that).

"Plus, the Golden Rule isn't separate from the rest of the SotM. Turn the other cheek, another favorite proverb, was not unknown in the passive-resistance movements of the 20th century."

Nor in times before with the Jains and others, but hey, whatever. I've already explained what is wrong with the SotM and we've already been over this and you are now grasping at straws to try and salvage your dead claims. And, we haven't even discussed the Tao or Mozi. I thought you were an expert on all this Mr. smug attitude of having to correct all of our "errors." Where's your smug now? (And, yes, I know what's wrong with the above sentence, but it puts the idea rather succintly.)

"As for the science, since I'm not a scientist myself, I defer to those in that field to hash it out."

IOW, you want evidence but when it's presented you demur claiming that you don't actually have the background to understand it anyway? Are you a parody of something and I'm just not getting it?

"What I do know is that the Golden Rule, or for that matter the Silver Rule, is not merely altruism..."

I gave you a link to the effing paper and you couldn't even read it? It's pretty explicit that the monkeys went on hunger strikes to avoid hurting other monkeys. That's about as close as anyone can get to the GR. They sacrificed their own well-being in order to avoid having to hurt others.

"Certainly not the deepest level of unconditional love and forgiveness and self-sacrifice as laid out in the Christian concepts of the Golden Rule."

I don't consider that to be the case at all.

"And of course nobody denies that there are common traits across the created order."

It's called evolution. I do think you just tipped your hand more than you think BTW.

"To be honest, that's a new one. Again, I'm well aware of the negative aspects of the so called "Silver Rule" through the ages. Though I've yet to find that Confucian one that is the positive."

Perhaps you should look at the full context of what he says in the Analects:
"Zhonggong asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "When abroad, behave to everyone as if you were receiving an important guest; treat people as if you were assisting at a great sacrifice; do not do to others as you would not wish done to yourself. Thereby you will let no murmuring rise against you in the country, and none in the family. . . .""

I predict I'll have to break that one down to you as well, so I'll do it now. He's presenting both the positive and negative form here.

"Of course Jesus' take is not that, but self sacrificing love and unconditional forgiveness..."

Again, I take issue with this.

"That would be interesting, since there is a school of thought that believes there may have been some influence by certain religious movements in ancient Egypt that found there way through the centuries into the cultural and historical milieu of Jesus' ministry."

Considering the mishmash of other thoughts that found their way into both Judaism and Xianity...

GCT said...

"And folks can go to Get Religion..."

And they can also see the link I posted above and see what's really going on. You seem to have ignored it.

"As for me constantly defending myself against charge after accusation, that's become tiresome, too. You obviously will accept no evidence at all. "

I've already accepted evidence. There was you defending getreligion using the same defensive tactics they use. There was you downplaying what Dominionists do and think trying to make them sound not so bad. Etc. etc. etc. Sorry, but your actions speak very loudly as do your words in defense of these extremist Xians and their positions.

"And I won't dignify your rather strange and otherworldly logic in that regard."

You never even dealt with what I presented. Don't try to turn this around as if I'm lobbing out ludicrous claims with no basis when I've presented the basis numerous times only to have you try to downplay them dishonestly or ignore them.

"I can't change the assumptions you've taken into your heart that lead you accordingly."

Because it was an emotional decision or something? Stop trying to downplay the evidence I've presented as over-emotionalism (another tactic used by apologists and others who can't defend their stance). And again, if I had an agenda like getreligion, I would have banned you already.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say that the silver rule wasn't. I said that there were also other aspects of the SotM that were behind that ideal as well, such as turn the other cheek, which I really didn't say was anything other than a basis for those ideals as well. I said that Jesus' take on some pretty standard religious teachings was unique, particularly in moving it past the negative of the time. Now, maybe there *are* other cases in other times and places before Jesus where that was done at least on some basic level. Fine. I don't know everything and I gladly stand corrected. But at this point, I maintain that the praise that has been heaped on the teachings of Jesus over the years is rightly due to the lofty high moral standards he adds to it, taking it beyond simply 'I'll scratch your back if I want you to scratch mine', to the ultimate essence of unconditional love and self-sacrifice: I'll scratch your back even if your desire is to kill me and you plan to do so, even after you've beaten me I'll pray for you and forgive you.' Now, you may think that's all B.S., but it doesn't change the unique level that has caused thinkers and philosophers over the ages to lift up his teachings, particularly those expressed in the SoTM. You can't just say the evidence proves you are right, and then take anything you don't particularly like and say it doesn't matter. It matters, even if you don't like it. For self sacrifice and unconditional forgiveness are different than the almost universal ancient laws of hospitality and kindness to a stranger (which can be found in the OT teaching of love your neighbor as yourself). And again, if you can find ancient examples of pray for those who are about to kill you, do good for those who hate you, go the extra mile for those who oppress you, then I'll reconsider that as well.

Anonymous said...

As for the science, all I meant was I can't wrestle, nor will I wrestle, with the details, for I gladly let those who are experts work that out in their respective fields. If you think that is a sign of ignorance on my part, I'm fine with that. However, I will say that monkeys showing a willingness to not eat because of harm done to another is nice, but hardly the same as the examples I gave. The idea that commonality is found in throughout the animal kingdom also goes way back, using animals to explain human behavior and to learn human lessons. Evolution? Sure, why not. I have no problem with evolution. It doesn't prove or disprove God one way or another. I like to think, as do most religious thinkers, that it's simply an example of that divine thumbprint on all living things that there are similarities. But again, while similarities between teachings here or monkey behavior there can prove some things, we can't fail to look at the differences between animal behavior and the highest human ideals. Those differences are important. As they are in any case.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and yes, the mishmash of thoughts in Judaism and Christianity (which I prefer to your version by the way, it's usually more polite to write Christian out) are amazing. Again, the differences and unique elements are also important, hence my statement about the Declaration of Independence above. So while the similarities between the Creation narrative of Genesis 1 and other ancient creation myths from the ancient near east have been told a thousand times, scholars like to remind folks of the differences. Those differences tell the tale, of one writing a narrative in order to take issue with the polytheistic myths of that age, and turn the tables toward a singular beneficent God creating out of love and goodness, rather than the Cosmos being an accident or byproduct of some pantheon's squabbles. Similarities often exist between many things and in many areas. But we can never forget the important differences or think the similarities simply prove the differences don't matter. Let me say it another way. A poodle and an alligator have many similarities over all, but if you don't worry about the differences, then don't buy me a pet for my birthday!

Anonymous said...

With this said, I must admit it seems like this is going nowhere and it's getting there fast. You seem pretty much to have the deck stacked in your favor. Anything I say you demand evidence for, and mock me continually if I don't support virtually everything with some form of evidence - most of which you say is wrong, or worthless, anyway. You, of course, needn't supply evidence all the time since it's only almost always needed. And besides, you've already demonstrated your evidence, even though I've not seen the actual statistics I asked for relative to just what the percentage is of Dominionists and Reconstructionists within the greater Christian faith. Not to mention, of course, demonstrating how many of them actually support what is happening in Uganda. And, of course, how you think I fit into this apart from me disagreeing with your version of what happened at Get Religion (I didn't agree with your version of what happened at Get Religion, so naturally I support the killing of gays since I am a Dominionists or Reconstructionist or both - there's a reason I've not put my name on this blog).

Of course when I do provide evidence, you as often as not pick a part of it and either dismiss it outright or once in a while provide your own to counter it. That's fine. But I notice you really aren't into the whole 'let's interpret the evidence' approach. You seem to say it and then assume there is only one valid interpretation which, shockingly, happens to be your own. Of course even when I agree with something you say, it's not enough, as I didn't really take issue with Sagan's take, for instance, just that it could be overplayed. Naturally you accused me of not even reading the article rather than engage in a discussion about why you don't agree.

Your pre-pubescent level of arrogance, condescension, mockery, and basic adolescent insults were worse at first, until I came to realize you are most likely a teenager of mid to late teen years. Not bad writing for that age, but dropping the constant insults only makes it look like you really don't have confidence in your own positions, and you're hoping that by wave after wave after wave of insults the individual will back down. A well placed jab, a clever zinger? No problem. Even a humorous and well written slam can engender a certain respect. But when it's just the same thing over and over again, it looks more like weakness in your own confidence to anyone not already in lock step and conforming to your own POV.

Of course there's the problem of your accusations. Again, that's pretty tough. Calling someone a supporter of mass killing usually demands more than 'because you're, you're, you're...one of them!' as evidence. But, again, evidence is something you seem to demand more than provide, while only allowing for your own interpretation when you do provide it. You seem to confuse 'because I said so' with actual evidence when it comes to what you have put forth. At best you assume if you cut and paste something, that's the end of the discussion, as once again, there can be only one interpretation since you've already concluded you are right in the first place.

Anonymous said...

(cont)

I knew we were in trouble, though, when you called my assumption of establishing a basis for discussing the existence of God daft. Daft? You could, of course, disagree. You could have argued that you think we should start with a particular Christian tradition's doctrine of God. Fine. But Daft? It's very common in academic circles to set forth the parameters of debate and try to establish a commonly accepted starting point in discussion. Sure you could disagree. But your whole 'hey man, you didn't think like I think you should think man, and that's like dumb man,' was a bit revealing. That's a clear sign of someone who spends their time accumulating data and evidence not to learn, but simply to win arguments. If you didn't realize that was a common first step, then you've likely just amassed files of quotes and charts and points to throw out there in a pinch, while not really understanding the overall topic at hand.

Another tip was your dismissal of my appeal to a religious agnostic approach to the discussion, where you seemed to assume the modern tendency of some agnostics to merge with particular forms of atheism as the sole definition of all agnosticism, rather than merely one form among many. Again that suggests a strong tendency of learning terms and singular definitions in order to sustain your preconceived ideals and beliefs, rather than a willingness to learn the complexities of the issues at hand; focusing on the trees and never worrying about the forest.

That's revealing enough to convince me that it's really a big waste of my time to continue, since people who worship the intellect rather than use it can never really be reasoned with. There's no sense. The rules change at the drop of a hat. Double standards are common. Data is presented, but interpretation is discouraged. Cut and paste is the proof, dialogue and discussion is necessarily dismissed, as is any original thinking about a topic. That's merely arguing for winning, not discussing for learning. And, of course, it's not something unique to atheists, though it is increasingly common in atheist circles. It's a type of intellectual masturbation that finds its way into most regions of fundamentalist thought, including that of atheist apologetics. I've seen it many times in fundamentalist circles of various stripes over the years. I recognize it well. And I know when it's ultimately a waste of valuable time to continue. So TTFN (that's 'ta ta for now' from Tigger to us old timers).

GCT said...

"You seem pretty much to have the deck stacked in your favor."

I do, and I don't apologize for it. Not only does it seem that I know more about this stuff than you (it helps if you get your info from more than apologetic sites), I seem to know more about logic, rational/critical thinking, but reality also has an atheistic bias. That's not my fault, but I will use it.

"Anything I say you demand evidence for, and mock me continually if I don't support virtually everything with some form of evidence..."

Actually, I've been less demanding than you. You've made assertions and instead of asking you for evidence and watching you flail about with some lying apologetics, I've countered and presented my own evidence. This view you have of what is happening doesn't accord with reality, but then again you think a magic sky daddy exists that hates gays.

"You, of course, needn't supply evidence all the time since it's only almost always needed."

And yet, I have been supplying it. You haven't. Sounds like someone needs a waaaahbulance.

"And besides, you've already demonstrated your evidence, even though I've not seen the actual statistics I asked for relative to just what the percentage is of Dominionists and Reconstructionists within the greater Christian faith."

I don't recall you asking for that, and I don't even know. But, that's completely irrelevant. The fact is that they exist, they're particularly nasty, and they are running getreligion...also you seem to support them regardless of their numbers.

"Not to mention, of course, demonstrating how many of them actually support what is happening in Uganda."

The pastors that went over there to push for the law to punish homosexuality with death are Reconstructionists. You incorrectly claimed that XRs don't hate gays and want them killed. The situation in Uganda is direct evidence against that.

"And, of course, how you think I fit into this apart from me disagreeing with your version of what happened at Get Religion..."

Sigh...reading for comprehension is hard, but if you try and read my comments again, you might get it - considering that I said it multiple times in multiple ways.

"...there's a reason I've not put my name on this blog..."

Seriously? I don't normally say this, but Fuck you. That was completely uncalled for.

"Of course when I do provide evidence..."

When will that be again?

"You seem to say it and then assume there is only one valid interpretation which, shockingly, happens to be your own."

Something is either evidence for a proposition or it isn't. It's not my fault that you can't present good evidence.

GCT said...

"Your pre-pubescent level of arrogance, condescension, mockery, and basic adolescent insults were worse at first, until I came to realize you are most likely a teenager of mid to late teen years."

Wow, name-calling, but I'm the adolescent? Besides, who came on here claiming to know so much about so much only to be shown wrong?

"Not bad writing for that age, but dropping the constant insults..."

Where are all these constant insults? Or, is it insulting to have your own words turned back on you and be shown that you are wrong?

"...makes it look like you really don't have confidence in your own positions, and you're hoping that by wave after wave after wave of insults the individual will back down."

What thread have you been reading?

"Calling someone a supporter of mass killing usually demands more than 'because you're, you're, you're...one of them!' as evidence."

You have continually and still continue to support Dominionists and their positions. You use their apologetic devices as well. Again, your actions speak louder than words.

"I knew we were in trouble, though, when you called my assumption of establishing a basis for discussing the existence of God daft."

I already went over this in the other thread. If you can't read, then yes, that's daft.

"It's very common in academic circles to set forth the parameters of debate and try to establish a commonly accepted starting point in discussion. "

Which is exactly what I did, while you tried to jump a couple steps ahead.

"But your whole 'hey man, you didn't think like I think you should think man, and that's like dumb man,' was a bit revealing."

When I tell you how you need to proceed and you ignore it to ask a stupid question, well sometimes I'm just going to call it out.

"That's a clear sign of someone who spends their time accumulating data and evidence not to learn, but simply to win arguments."

Somehow I don't think you can teach me anything except how to be a lying, condescending hater.

"Another tip was your dismissal of my appeal to a religious agnostic approach to the discussion"

What? Pointing out that you don't understand the terms you are using?

"...where you seemed to assume the modern tendency of some agnostics to merge with particular forms of atheism as the sole definition of all agnosticism, rather than merely one form among many."

Nice try, but that wasn't what happened. Again you try to re-write history, and you think you're safe because it was a different thread?

"That's revealing enough to convince me that it's really a big waste of my time to continue..."

It's a big waste of your time because you can't deliver the goods and because you aren't winning any converts in the PA war for getreligion or Dominionists.

"The rules change at the drop of a hat."

Oh, the irony.

"That's merely arguing for winning, not discussing for learning."

As opposed to your style of not presenting evidence but demanding it of others, not backing down from a position even after it's shown to be false, etc.?

"And, of course, it's not something unique to atheists, though it is increasingly common in atheist circles."

No, it's not, but you go on with your bigoted assertions.

GCT said...

Ugh, I lost the first part of my response to Anon...

In short:

golden rule came from other sources, and is an extrapolation to turn the other cheek

Anon can't understand the science, but somehow knows it's wrong

MLK Jr. and civil rights movement had lots of freethought behind him/it.

SotM raised up by Xian thinkers over the years (imagine that)

theistic evolution is self-contradictory and unsupported

The similarities of Judaism show it was borrowed and is probably a human construct. It's also not a story of love but of conquest as one god rises up out of many and sends his people out to conquer while smiting them for minor transgressions (thus explaining any time they suffer defeat, which is ad hoc reasoning).

Tigerboy said...

Wait a second, GCT, explain to me how The Golden Rule is an extrapolation of "... turn the other cheek."

To me, The Golden Rule is about reciprocity and empathy. It is the verbal distillation of our innate sense of morality. To me, moral advice doesn't get much better. It is simple. It's about kindness, without all the divine retribution mumbo jumbo.

" ... turn the other cheek" is just bad advice that encourages ongoing victimhood. (I recognize the way the Mahatma and MLK used non-violent civil disobedience to demonstrate their point. Clever tactic. Effective. Making it obvious to an entire society that one, or a group, has been victimized is powerful stuff.)

But, I would never advise some victim of a horrible crime (or, of ongoing abuse) to " ... turn the other cheek!" How about "Stand up for yourself! Be a person!" ?

How about "Hold your victimizer accountable to the law!" ? How about we set the record straight with the history books and the community of mankind?

Genocide? Turn the other cheek?! I don't think so.

Neither do I feel the need to love or forgive enemies and strangers, as if they were no different from family. Bad advice. Some people are more important to us than others. They just are. That's simple human nature, and it's a survival tactic! Loving and forgiving psycopaths will not lead one to happiness.

Claiming the teachings of Jesus to be the height of moral philosophy is just bullshit.

The Golden Rule is excellent. It is the basis for determining what will cause suffering, and thus, what is morally wrong.

As I have said, the "source" of this idea is millions of years of clan/tribe cooperative group living. Monotheistic religion does not get credit for it! No single proverb author gets credit for it!

Empathy for the suffering of a fellow is a much simpler, much more primitive, basic way of thinking, than the far more abstract ideas behind religion, the supernatural, or the envisioning of an afterlife.

In other words, on the road to "complex social species", empathy comes first.

Making up a personality for the rumbling volcano comes later.

GCT said...

Other way round TB. Turn the other cheek is an extrapolation of the golden rule in its various forms.

Now, whether "Turn the other cheek" is bad advice or not, I would say that it is situational. Just like most things, it depends on the situation. Sure, if it perpetuates victimization, then one should not do it. If you're leading a non-violent civil disobedience, however, then it's very powerful as you pointed out.

And, no, Jesus is not the apex of moral philosophy. We definitely agree there.

Tigerboy said...

GCT:

" . . . Turn the other cheek" CAN BE a very powerful revolutionary tactic (WHEN IT WORKS!).

I agree that one immediately loses "moral high-ground" as soon as one uses any form of violence. But, sometimes, even war is the best course of action. (Rarely)

The Mahatma and MLK were life-long believers in the supernatural. Just because they were successful (and admired) does not mean that their belief in the supernatural was true (I know that you already understand that, GCT).

Because Mohandas and Martin gave credit for their successes to these "Sermons of Jesus" (and other religious sources), it does not mean that large-scale protest movements were what the authors of the Jesus mythology had in mind when they instructed us to " . . . turn the other cheek."

The very fact that moral advice is "situational" is a big problem!!! The greater degree to which moral advice is "situational" diminishes it's universality, and thus, it diminishes it's power, it's truth. I have always maintained that moral advice should be AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. (Moral advice that veers off into the supernatural is guaranteed to cause trouble!)

"Divine judgment" and ideas of "sin" arise from myriad misinterpretations of "situational" moral truths.

As far as " . . . turn the other cheek" tells us to make every attempt to avoid escalations of violence, it is good advice. As far as it rebukes the notion of "an eye for an eye", it is good advice. As far as it suggests rewarding abuse with cooperation, I think it is prime for misinterpretation.

Mohandas would say that non-violent civil disobedience is NOT cooperation. True. The way he did it, it was not about cooperation. Excellent tactic. It worked. He held his moral high-ground. He won. Same with Martin. Turning one's "other cheek" demonstrates to the world great courage and great conviction to one's cause.

However, " . . . if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well." That doesn't sound like civil disobedience!

"If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." That's not resistance!

"Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." That's just compliance!

"Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask him not again." These words are NOT about using non-violent resistance techniques to express one's point that one has been mistreated!

I do not necessarily recognize that the words in these famous "sermons" describe civil rights actions.

Is Jesus talking about effective tactics for civil disobedience? Or, is he discussing the way in which an individual should live his entire life? I believe that Jesus is suggesting that any notions of "justice" should be LEFT IN THE HANDS OF GOD.

Sorry, I believe that justice can be determined by man. (Including by use of The Golden Rule.)

Tigerboy said...

Just because these religious men (Mohandas and Martin) employed a powerful tool to point out injustice, and gave the credit to Jesus, it does not mean that civil disobedience was the original intent of these words. Behind these words lurks a clear religious agenda. I maintain that religion is about gaining control over the masses.

"Do unto others . . . " is a universal mental exercise in trying to view a situation from the point-of-view of another. That is NEVER a bad idea. It gives no further instructions as to how one should proceed.

It's only goal is empathy. It's only goal is equality of action and intent. It's only goal is understanding. I will even use Anonymous' word "agape" which, also, is NOT specifically religious. It derives from the Greek for "love." It merely instructs one to take a moment to consider the feelings of another.

" . . . Turn the other cheek" is NOT about equality. It is about being a victim. Inhabiting victimhood may well be an excellent tactic to put across the point that one has, indeed, been victimized by the very society in which one exists, but it does not approach the simplicity, the elegance, the purest attitude of empathy-with-another as does The Golden Rule.

I prefer moral advice that is basic. I prefer moral advice that is easily understood. I prefer moral advice that is not confused by animal sacrifice, kosher preparation rules, and obsessions with virginity. Moral advice should be simple, unambiguous, and based upon a reality that all can understand to be reality.

The Golden Rule IS such advice.

" . . . Turn the other cheek" may have it's powerful uses, but I would not put it in this same category of EXCELLENT, UNIVERSAL moral advice. As you said, it's highly "situational." It is, often times, the very WORST advice.

Mohandas and Martin were great fellows. I'm sorry, if I see them as foolish for giving away credit for their own accomplishments to a fictional character. (Notice how the mythology of Jesus always gets the benefit of the doubt. It is always the default position that "good advice" comes from religion, rather than from common sense.)

I see no reason to believe that the first century authors of the Bible envisioned the Civil Rights Movement. I do not believe that tactics of civil disobedience are what they had in mind. Religion is used to suppress people, to make them cooperative and compliant.

" . . . Turn the other cheek" tells us to "always forgive" and "don't cause trouble, or demand justice" and "leave all judgments to God." Sometimes, trouble is our BEST course of action.

Should we just "forgive" the pedophile priest? Empathy (The Golden Rule) tells me to give greater consideration to the powerless child. I would NOT advise the choirboy to " . . . turn the other cheek." I would recommend that he tell his parents and call the police!

Drawing correlation between The Golden Rule and " . . . turn the other cheek" clouds the clear simplicity of the former. It pollutes The Golden Rule's pure distillation of moral truth.

I would maintain that " . . . turn the other cheek" adds to the equation the ideas of "forgive everyone, cooperate with abuse, and leave all judgments in the hands of God." No thanks.

Anonymous said...

holy shit! that anonymous sure does have a lot of free time on his hands. post after post after post ... to condense this whole string into a single line or two, just about anything a journalist says these days is pure bullshit intended to make a buck. who can believe anything anonymous says?

Anonymous said...

P.S. jesus "christ" is a filthy fucking no good lying whore who has no problem taking your very last crumb and making sure you're obstructed from getting any other.

Anonymous said...

Fresenius ensures the renal scam isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Chevron's efforts to repress alternate technologies/fuel sources, petrolium power plants in the 20th century has guarenteed petrolium won't be phased out.
The gods extensive use of this tactic occurred in this Situation as well:::The proprietors' financial interests and the career paths of their offspring ensures the gods are free to enforce their positioning to the end despite destroying my childhood to get here.
The only way Planet Earth will achieve sustainability is if we "take out the trash" and the gods allow the most disfavored among us to be terminated by eliminating reincarnation for those individuals. The bouy is sinking, social decay is becoming ruinous and unless it begins to rise to the surface the gods will get their way and life will end on Planet Earth.

Jesus Christ Church said...

John 3:36

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

GCT said...

Sounds very loving.

Frank said...

Have you ever read the BIBLE?
Have you never heard about Jesus been the Lord of Love and Peace?
Jesus Christ is the Messiah and he came to save!!!! not to rob and kill

NOW TELL WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?
Well ,you heather believe on the big bang theory, well tell me one thing, if nature evolved why wr still die with around 70years old like the bible says , just a simple question, why siency predicts the end of the world and global warming show us that the end is nearby Just like Jesus predicted?

Read revelations and see what the Holy Spirit. Said through Brother Jonh!!
I used to be like you, or even worse, but Jesus saved me!!
If you want we can meet someday, so you can learn abouwhat have Jesus done in my life!!!

I praise him with my heart and soul!

GCT said...

"Have you ever read the BIBLE?"

Yes.

"Have you never heard about Jesus been the Lord of Love and Peace?"

I've heard it claimed, but it doesn't seem to follow from a straight reading of the Bible. And, Xians don't actually seem to believe it either, considering all the hatred and violence historically and today.

"Jesus Christ is the Messiah and he came to save!!!! not to rob and kill"

Save us from what? Oh yeah, himself. It's nonsensical and cruel. You can't simultaneously tell us Jesus is the "Lord of Love and Peace" and also that he's going to burn in hell for eternity for being what he created us to be.

"NOW TELL WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?
Well ,you heather believe on the big bang theory..."

I accept the big bang theory as the best explanation for the evidence we have. It is a well supported theory in science. Additionally, "theory" in the scientific sense means an explanation that is well-vetted and repeatedly confirmed. Theories are as good as they come.

"...well tell me one thing, if nature evolved why wr still die with around 70years old like the bible says..."

Evolution and the big bang are separate fields of study for one thing. So, right there is an indication that you don't actually have a good grasp on the subject. Additionally, people do live longer now than they did thousands of years ago, so I don't understand your question. Lastly, your question betrays yet another fundamental misunderstanding about evolution, which is the concept that evolution implies that something evolves towards a goal or gets better. It doesn't work like that.

"...why siency predicts the end of the world and global warming show us that the end is nearby Just like Jesus predicted?"

Only if you think billions of years are nearby. The sun will explode at some point and destroy the Earth, but that's billions of years from now. Global warming will cause hardships for humans if we don't get a handle on it, but it won't destroy Earth. Again, you betray a basic lack of understanding of the things that you are so sure are wrong.

Not only that, but you don't seem to even understand your own theology. The gospels do paint a Jesus who claims the end is near. In fact, he seemed to indicate that it would happen before the apostles had passed away. That has not happened. In fact, the end has supposedly be near for almost 2000 years now.

"Read revelations and see what the Holy Spirit. Said through Brother Jonh!!"

It's weird and violent stuff. Which part do you think is germane to the topic, however.

"I used to be like you, or even worse, but Jesus saved me!!"

Yes, we hear claims like this all the time. It's quite evident that this particular claim is untrue.

"If you want we can meet someday, so you can learn abouwhat have Jesus done in my life!!!"

We are meeting, right here and right now. But, I don't see a need for you to tell me the same stories that many other Xians have tried to tell me. I need evidence, not personal anecdote and confirmation bias.

"I praise him with my heart and soul!"

That's great, but you are praising a genocidal dictator that seems to have no issues with slavery and subjugation of minorities.

El Rondo said...

Meet Phil Robertson's Gay Lover. Phil Robertson Outed CLICK HERE

Phil is a not so closet homo. His gay lover has come forward. Phil blows a lot more than duck calls! He's like so many Christians, he hates gays and is gay himself, just like Jesus in the Hidden Gospel of Mark