Rev. Wright at the National Press Club

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Sen. Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, Jermiah Wright, has recently concluded a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The AP's gloss:

"I served six years in the military," Barack Obama's longtime pastor said. "Does that make me patriotic? How many years did (Vice President Dick) Cheney serve?"

Wright spoke at the National Press Club before the Washington media and a supportive audience of black church leaders beginning a two-day symposium.

He said the black church tradition is not bombastic or controversial, but different and misunderstood by the "dominant culture" in the United States.

He said his Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has a long history of liberating the oppressed by feeding the hungry, supporting recovery for the addicted and helping senior citizens in need. He said congregants have fought in the military, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"My goddaughter's unit just arrived in Iraq this week while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls to die over a lie," he said.

More here.

From a Wash Times article about a speech Wright gave yesterday in Detroit:

While the TV sound bites that were constantly played on news programs often used only brief parts of his most incendiary remarks, the full statements from which they were taken were often broadcast or published in full context by numerous newspaper and periodical accounts at the height of the controversy that they sparked last month in the senator's campaign.

Among the full statements Mr. Wright has made in his sermons:

· "The government gives [black men] drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

· "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Mr. Wright said in a sermon five days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Questions remain about Mr. Obama's relationship with the church.

Mrs. Clinton of New York raised the issue in her campaign and in their last primary debate with Mr. Obama in Philadelphia.

For "Pastor Wright to have given his first sermon after 9/11 and to have blamed the United States for the attack … would have been just intolerable for me. And, therefore, I would have not been able to stay in the church," she said.

More here.

For the curious, I recommend checking out the official version of the Wright-approved "Black Value System" which is a statement of principles for Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ. The BVS, among other things, pointedly rejects "the pursuit of middleclassness" as a strategy through which "captor" majorities neuter the threat of revolt by "captive" groups. The BVS represents a stark alternative to a more-integrationist model of social uplift of the sort originally espoused by the NAACP and others.

reason's Dave Weigel looked at the Wright-Obama kerfuffle here.

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  1. In the speech last night Rev. Wright actually said white and black peoples brains are different.

    And Obama still wants to associate with this racist bigot?

  2. Heres your precious link

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/04/at_detroit_naacp_wright_says_b.html

    “He also devoted time to explanations on why black and whites learn differently (a left brain/right brain thing) and the black church.”

    He says we have different brains. yeah that will play real well with swing voters. Racist bigot.

  3. Good old “black work ethic.” A g for a key or a ball for a hundred.

  4. Nick,

    I’m no defender of Wright, but I would note that the U.S. has a long tradition (at least in the Protestant churches) of calling down God’s wrath upon (if that is what Wright is actually doing here – not quite sure) the polity until some reform of said polity is taken. This goes right back to nearly Plymouth Plantation and can be seen in declarations about the Peqout War, the French & Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, various economic dislocations, etc.

  5. He said the black church tradition is not bombastic or controversial, but different and misunderstood by the “dominant culture” in the United States.

    After watching the whole sermon in context, I’d say that it was *willfully* misunderstood by members of the dominant culture. Being one of them, I find myself disgusted at the media for only taking the most emotionally charged sentences of the sermon out of context and then looping them endlessly to provoke outrage.

    I mean, honestly, what is a more Christian message than “do not elevate nations as idols over God” and “violence begets violence to no good end”?

  6. I always thought Wright sounded like an angry Ron Paul.

  7. He did not say that white and black peoples brains are different. He said that our cultural differences make us perceive language and music differently. He gave specific examples. As someone who studied ethnomusicology, I have to completely agree. The whole point of his speech was that different does not mean inferior.

  8. fyodor,

    Neil doesn’t do linkies. He must think they are socialist or black magic or something equally sinister.

  9. I cant find a transcript but in the speech he said white people are “left brain” and black people are “right brain”.

    If saying brains are different due to racist isnt bigoted I dont know what is. If a conservative said this hed be crucified by the MSM.

  10. I always thought Wright sounded like an angry Ron Paul.

    And is right about the same proportion of the time in their respective areas. (Like, somewhere in the mid 60%s).

  11. Obama now has his own personal loose cannon (essentially) on staff, as the press now know that following Wright around is guaranteed story. Well done, Barack; you’ve managed to partially equal one of McCain’s weak points–that he may fly off the handle and say something really stupid.

  12. Wright is going to follow Obama right into his defeat this November.

  13. Neil —

    It occurs to me that I have done you a disservice by speaking for you on the issue of why you don’t link.

    What *is* your reason for not supporting your arguments with easily checkable facts?

  14. Nick,

    In other words, Wright (from what little I know of him) appears to be part of a long tradition in American political, religious, etc. discourse. That the media hasn’t picked on this is a bit odd to me.

  15. Godammit, Neil, you wanna come down off of that fucking cross?

  16. I posted a link. Go up.

  17. I’d like to see Rev. Wright debate Bill Cosby, given that the latter appears to be a champion of “middle-classness,” although Mr. Cosby doesn’t seem to agree on the neutering effect claimed by Wright.

    Maybe this has already happened and if so, could anyone point me to a link with transcript or video?

  18. Nick,

    Oh and the sort of historical analogy I am thinking of are those Protestant preachers who argued that one moral ill or another (slavery is one that comes to mind but there were others) was the cause of God’s wrath as it was exercised through the Revolutionary War.

  19. Something is funky with the reason servers and some posts are not showing up immediately, and then appear later in the correct place in the thread. I didn’t see Neil’s link until just now, but it was the second post. If he hadn’t said to go back and look I would have never seen it because I assumed I already read that section of the thread.

    Reason editors take note.

  20. If a conservative said this hed be crucified by the MSM.

    And defended by right-wing talk show hosts and bloggers. Yawn.

  21. [grr] Raw meat! [grr]

    The question is… which does Wright want more? A black president or the failed election of a black president so he can scream about it from the pulpit?

    I think feminists come down hard on the “want woman president” side of the question over Clinton, but I’m really not sure about the Obama question. Many leaders in the black community see themselves as only being able to trade on rage. What does Obama really get them in the end as president?

  22. The question is… which does Wright want more? A black president or the failed election of a black president so he can scream about it from the pulpit?”

    Thats exactly right. Wright is going to sabatoge Obama so he can scream about how racist America is. Too perfect for my side LOL!

  23. Just stop it already with the pathetic justification of Wright. Some of you who routinely slam conspiracy theories let Wright off the hook for his statements on AIDS and CIA attempts to poison the black community with the influx of drugs.

    If you want to see a slick politician/pastor in action, I urge you to find a transcript Wright’s speech he made in New Orleans in the week after Katrina.

    Obama had no business being associated with this bile filled idiot whether his motivation was cynical to help him get on the inside of Chicago’s black political establishment, or if it really was the some search for authenticity he describes in his memoir, it showed an incredible lapse of judgment and good sense on his part.

  24. Neil,

    I’m not going to defend Obama but the Gallup tracking poll (http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08gen.htm) doesn’t show a gap remotely that large (as of the 26th at least).

  25. Dont worry Alan Im sure Joe will be here soon to tell us how wonderful Wright’s sermons are and how we just dont understand black culture.

  26. alan,

    Who here is justifying Wright exactly?

  27. Fyodor,
    I don’t remember right-wing talk show hosts criticizing McCain for his willful association with the real bigots such as Ross Parsley and John Hagee

  28. McCain didnt sit in Hagee or Parsley’s church for 20+ years and say he was their “Spiritual mentor” icl. Thats a BIG difference.

  29. Have you been reading Salon SugarFree?

    That was essentially the argument put forward by Joan Walsh.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/?last_story=/opinion/walsh/election_2008/2008/04/27/wright_moyers/

    I can’t help but wonder: Maybe Wright needs Obama to fail to justify his pessimistic view of American promise. The whole thing is very sad.

  30. I understand why liberals should be suspicious of Obama for consorting with Wright, but I don’t get why conservatives should be. Wright sounds like every other fundamentalist Christian preacher – white or black, they all basically follow the same tenets. If anything Wright should help Obama in the general, but a lot of Democrats should be wondering if they want to put someone with ties to a person as far rightwing as Wright in office.

  31. Neil,

    Any statement about “Right Brain” and “Left Brain” is being used metaphorically to talk about different learning styles. Culture and experience can be as much the source of different learning styles as underlying biology. Wright seems to be attributing differences to culture and making the point that different is different, not, to use his words “deficient.”

    His willingness to lump people into groups “black” and “white” and assume that says something important about their culture may be racist, but his discussion of learning styles doesn’t seem to say what you seem to imply.

    If it is legitimate to talk about “black culture” his comments are not controversial.

    If it is not legitimate to talk about “black culture” his comments are part of that illegitimate discussion.

  32. Neil,

    So the length of relationship is the determining factor then? I’m not quite sure why.

  33. Neil,

    McCain stood on stage next to Hagee and said that he was proud of his endorcement, and he did call Parsley his “spiritual advisor.

  34. Calidore would you take your children to listen to someone like Rev. Wright? Would you? He took his SMALL CHILDREN to this mans sermons for years on end to hear anti-America, anti-white, anti-semitic, conspiracy theory rhetoric.

    Did McCain ever take his children to a service like that? No, hes an Episcopalian.

    What Obama did by taking his daughters there is borderline child abuse.

  35. Just stop it already with the pathetic justification of Wright. Some of you who routinely slam conspiracy theories let Wright off the hook for his statements on AIDS and CIA attempts to poison the black community with the influx of drugs.

    Um, it is not a conspiracy to say that the US government reacted with at least criminally negligent lethargy if not *intentional* lethargy when dealing with HIV/AIDS because in the beginning the disease seemed only to affect groups that polite white Christian people couldn’t bring themselves to give a shit about, and its management required advocating things (like usage of *demon* condoms) that were ideologically inconvenient.

    Compare, if you will, the government’s treatment of HIV/AIDS with the “epidemics” of Legionnaire’s Disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome. What you read should disgust you; I know if I were Wright, I’d be fucking pissed.

    Who here is justifying Wright exactly?

    I am, for one. I find the sound-bite view of his sermons and views that has been produced and propagated despicable and in need of some countering.

  36. What is it about “black culture” that makes them want to be yelled at by an angry maniac every Sunday? Any wonder it’s “the most segregated hour of the week”?

  37. Neil,

    Or let’s put it this way: can you defend whatever statements McCain has made about Hagee?

  38. “I served six years in the military,” Barack Obama’s longtime pastor said. “Does that make me patriotic?

    So i guess now any criticism of the moonbat left by anyone is now an attack on their patriotism.

    Anyway as the Rev swings at strawmen lets take a moment to remember that he sucks not cuz he is unpatriotic but because he spits hate and lies on a regular basis.

  39. One thing being missed in the whole Black Value System, Black Liberation Theology discussion is something Rev. Wright said explicitly in the Moyers interview and is obvious to anybody remotely connected to the Chicago Black community: Trinity is competing with the Nation Of Islam for believers. Black Christians have to deal with taunts of joining the “white man’s religion” every day. Wright’s “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian” mission statement has to be constantly defended on his home turf. To take that debate and equate it to the Prussian Blue fanbase – people who face zero persecution on a daily basis – is the sign of a partisan hack.

  40. McCain didnt sit in Hagee or Parsley’s church for 20+ years and say he was their “Spiritual mentor” icl. Thats a BIG difference.

    Yeah, it’s way worse. It means that McCain is willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who would twist the Christian tradition into hate-filled bile purely for political advantage, rather than because of some spiritual or historical affection.

  41. Calidore McCain didn’t sit in Hagee’s church for 20+ years, get married there, have his children baptized there, bring his small children to listen to racist manicial screaming every Sunday.

    So, no, its not the same thing. Get over it, because theres no equivalence here. NONE!

  42. Did McCain name his book after one of Hagee’s or Parsley’s sermons? LOL!

  43. Neil,

    I’m not quite sure how Obama’s relationship should be referenced in any defense of McCain and his relationship with Hagee.

  44. Calidore for the last time McCain was never a member of Hagee’s Church. He didn’t know about all the statements he made when he recieved his endorswement, which is entirely believeable because again he NEVER went to that church.

    Obama, OTOH, was a member for 20+ years (and took his children to listen to) hate filled, anti-white, anti-semitic, anti-American sermons.

    Whats more he gave hundereds of thousands of dollars to that church.

    Did McCain donate to Hagaee or Paresley?

  45. Calm down, Neil. Less exclamation points are good for the digestion.

  46. I predict that, in response to this post, Obama will gain a few points in the polls.

  47. Neil,

    I’m not quite sure why Obama’s relationship should be referenced in any defense of McCain and his relationship with Hagee. Why should that be the case?

    Please explain.

  48. Neil, every time you mention that McCain never went to Hagee’s church, you reinforce the notion that McCain is a run-of-the-mill political whore who will cozy up to anyone purely for the votes.

    I’d rather the guy who takes the good with the bad for twenty years than the guy who would sell his soul for a five-minute photo op with a snake.

  49. I guess maybe I am a little cynical. But I understand why Obama continued to go to that church. I agree that wright is crazy. However, I have hung out with crazy people just so that I can get laid much less cinch up the black support in one of the largest urban areas in the country. Wright’s church was the largest on the southside + Obama wanted the support of black southsiders = obama went to that church.

  50. ethnomusicology

    Uh-huh.

  51. Neil,

    No matter how loud you scream it from the mountaintops, most people will not find Obama’s association with Wright a big enough issue to prevent them from voting for him.

    It is a deal breaker for you?

    I doubt it, since you wouldn’t have voted for him anyway. If someone is looking for an excuse not to vote for Obama, then Wright may work as a handy shorthand.

    Obama is running for president, not Wright.
    Most people recognize the importance of that distinction.

    But, I guess, if that is the only dirt you got…throwing it with vigor is your only option.

  52. Isn’t this entire discussion really just this, every single time?:

    Neil’s side: THIS IS GOING TO SINK OBAMA!

    joe’s side: NO IT’S NOT CHECK THE POLLS!

    Neil’s side: THIS POLL SAYS DOWN!

    joe’s side: THIS POLL SAYS NO CHANGE!

    Neil’s side: WRIGHT IS SCUM, WHY IS OBAMA WITH HIM?

    joe’s side: WHAT ABOUT MCCAIN?

    Neil’s side: IT’S NOT THE SAME!

    joe’s side: IT’S WORSE HE’S JUST AN OPPORTUNIST!

    Neil’s side: DOESN’T MATTER IT’LL STILL KILL HIM IN THE GENERAL!

    joe’s side: NO IT WON’T!

    And then we have endless dueling poll links.

  53. As one who was raised deep woods baptist, I gotta ask. What’s the problem with Wright? Sounds like a typical pastor to me. Fire and brimstone sells when your preaching from a pulpit.

  54. NM Ive talked to several Reagan Democrats who are deeply disturbed by his association with a racist preacher.

  55. dbcooper,

    Thanks for the link, but it was really just a rather obvious observation on my part. That Wright keeps running his mouth is quite telling. It only hurts Obama, and anyone who cares about what Wright said/says wasn’t and wouldn’t go to his church anyway.

  56. Dislcaimer:

    I probably won’t be voting for either McCain or Obama in the general election.

  57. SugarFree, oh I quite agree with you. And I suspect we will see a LOT more of this over the course of the year …

  58. Yeah this will follow him all the way to November. Drip, drip, drip. Hes anchored to Wright like a ten ton weight and this will drown him in a sea of his own hateful racism.

  59. As one who was raised deep woods baptist, I gotta ask. What’s the problem with Wright? Sounds like a typical pastor to me. Fire and brimstone sells when your preaching from a pulpit.

    He’s black and therefore scary. The funnier part is that the excited fire & brimstone stuff seems to be rarer from him than from many of his paler colleagues in the more colorful traditions.

  60. Neil,

    And…?

    Reagan Democrats may have been looking for an excuse not to support Obama, and can use the Wright controversy as a shorthand.

    It will allow them to vote Republican without the potential guilt associated with crossing party lines when Bush has done such a good job of making Republicans pariah.

    Guilt by association is a lame argument no matter how it is used.

    Hold people accountable for their own views and actions, not those with whom they are associated.

    Otherwise you are making the same error in thinking that Wright makes….that is:

    Thinking that membership in a group, club, political party, race is all you need to know to understand the individual.

  61. Who here is justifying Wright exactly?

    I am, for one. I find the sound-bite view of his sermons and views that has been produced and propagated despicable and in need of some countering.

    Do you really need more than two minutes of historical footage of Bull Connor speaking to know you are dealing with a racist. Give me a God damned break.

  62. Neil,

    BTW, McCain didn’t have to go to Hagee’s church to know about at least some of the views that many find controversial; for example, with regard to Hagee’s Katrina statement it was made on NPR and was as far as I know reported broadly in the press.

  63. Did your Baptist backwoods church ever tell you AIDS was invented by the US government to kill black people, or say “Goddamn America” or print complimentary statements about Hammas in thier church bulletin?

  64. What the fuck’s a Freedom Swatch?

  65. Ive talked to several Reagan Democrats who are deeply disturbed by his association with a racist preacher.

    Do you own a time machine?

    Can I try it out?

  66. NM his membership in a racist, hate-spewing bigoted church says a lot about Obamas supposed superior “judgement” doesnt it?

  67. Again, how many of you would take your five or six year old children to hear one of Reverend Wright’s “Goddamn America” sermons?

  68. Wright has to be eating this up. You don’t become a big dollar preacher with a multi-million dollar home by caring more about your parishioners than you do about your own self promotion. Episarchic is absolutley right. The media is going to follow this guy around looking for a crazy quote and a good story for the rest of the election cycle. Even their cheerleading for Obama won’t overcome their desire for a good quote. Wright meanwhile will love the publicity and the attention a lot more than he cares about Obama being President. If I were Obama, I would put a contract out on the guy. Wright would be a lot more usful dead than alive.

  69. What the fuck’s a Freedom Swatch?

    Beats me, but the snap-on faceplate comes in over a dozen colors.

  70. Its FreedomsWatch, and I’ve capitalized the letters now in my handle to avoid any further confusion.

  71. Neil,

    NM his membership in a racist, hate-spewing bigoted church

    Is that what Trinity is?

    Really?

    Doesn’t ring true to me.

    But since that “club” is bad, then all members of that club must be bad too.

    And all Republicans are greedy oppressors too!

  72. Neil,

    I’m an atheist. The only reason I go to church is to hear cathedral choirs or organ music.

    As anyone with even a miniscule amount of experience with religion in this country knows the U.S. chock full of preachers, etc. who make sermons on Sunday morning which some folks outside their congregations would find controversial. That’s just par for the course and is an example of the rich religious diversity in the U.S.

  73. So NM you wouldn’t have any problem taking your small children to hear one of Wright’s sermons?

    What about you Clidore? Would you have any problem with them hearing that? If so, what do you think of parents that would subject their children to that kind of nefarious propaganda?

  74. Freedom Swatch, made in Switzerland.

  75. NM,

    Any statement about “Right Brain” and “Left Brain” is being used metaphorically to talk about different learning styles.

    Its as bad as agreeing with joe, but I got to agree with Neil here. Talk about right/left brain is discussing physical differences, not some metaphor. Or, at least, it should be. If you want to talk about learning styles, use the phrase “learning styles”. Right/left brain means something literal (and within any race, you are going to have both right and left brained people).

  76. Neil,

    I would have no problem taking my children to Wright’s sermons.

    I trust in my own ability to help my children learn how to critically appraise what others say. I think most parents do a good job of conveying their values to their children in spite of the negative input they get from many venues in our culture.

    My god, imagine how much worse it is to subject my kids to a State of the Union Speech by GWB? Deprogramming that would take more effort than deprogramming Wright’s message.

  77. robc,

    Right/left brain means something literal

    Not really…at least not in neuroscience.

  78. “As anyone with even a miniscule amount of experience with religion in this country knows the U.S. chock full of preachers, etc. who make sermons on Sunday morning which some folks outside their congregations would find controversial. That’s just par for the course and is an example of the rich religious diversity in the U.S.”

    Yes and people get really pissed off about it. The most bitter personal conflicts I have ever seen occur at churches and usually over something a pastor said in a sermon. That is why Obama’s claim that he didn’t really know what was going on or pay any attention doesn’t ring true. Bullshit. Everyone who regularly attends a church knows exactly what each pastor thinks and how they preach. People often avoid certain services because they know this or that minister will be doing the service. The idea that someone who goes to church every Sunday and not just on the high holidays could not be aware and have an opinion on what the pastor thinks and preaches is just crap. Only someone who never actually goes to church could buy that line of bullshit.

  79. If so, what do you think of parents that would subject their children to that kind of nefarious propaganda?

    Oh, wow, you are sheltered. But I imagine that the responsible thing for a parent to do would be to expose their kids to all sorts of ideas (regardless of their relative “repugnancy” or whatever) and then help the child analyze and dissect and criticize the ideas to help them assess their worth and prepare the child for the day when they become an adult and have to make such decisions and valuations for themselves.

    But I imagine your “take ’em out back and shoot ’em for collaboratin’ with enemy” approach works too. For a while. Till they grow up to be like you.

    Ugh.

  80. John I bet he really believes in the stuff Wright says too, thats why he never said anything. Hes expecting swing voters to buy that line but they wont, they can see right thru it.

  81. Neil,

    I might to go to such a sermon. Then again I’d also have no problem with my children reading the Prioress’s Tale (even though it is chock full of anti-semitism*) or Marx’s “Communist Manifesto.” One cannot hermetically seal children off from a world where they might encounter that what one doesn’t agree with. Indeed, though this may sound patronizing but visiting Wright’s former church sounds like an interesting cultural encounter to me.

    *Not that I am suggesting that Wright is an anti-semite.

  82. “I trust in my own ability to help my children learn how to critically appraise what others say. I think most parents do a good job of conveying their values to their children in spite of the negative input they get from many venues in our culture.”

    So you would go to a church that preached things that you completely disagreed with? Why? Yeah, I am quite sure that your children could attend Wright’s church and not turn out to be raving racists. But why the hell would you waste your time dragging them there every Sunday like Obama did if you didn’t agree with what was being said?

  83. Wright is a lot more palatable than the evangelicals that want to bring about the “End Times” by declaring war on every foreigner that isn’t Christian. I’ll take kooky “black people think like this and white people think like this” over “Jesus wants us to nuke the enemies of Holy Israel otherwise the Anti-Christ will win”

  84. So, NM, I guess it’d be alright with you to take your kids to listen to an Aryan Nations rally too?

  85. Aren’t the same people who are worried about Obama’s ties to Wright the same one’s who were defending RP about the Survival Report? As disgusting as they are, at least Stormfront has the honesty to be upfront about where they stand and why, unlike Neil and his ilk who claim concern.

  86. John,

    Well, I’m not defending Obama for his membership in the church.

  87. “Wright is a lot more palatable than the evangelicals that want to bring about the “End Times” by declaring war on every foreigner that isn’t Christian. I’ll take kooky “black people think like this and white people think like this” over “Jesus wants us to nuke the enemies of Holy Israel otherwise the Anti-Christ will win””

    Honestly, I haven’t been to anything approaching an evangelical church since I was 14 years old and trying to get a date with a girl who happened to be one, but I don’t remember hearing one thing even close to that. Further, I would like to see some links to some people who actually say that and how many followers they actually have. I bet they don’t have near the followers Wright has. Lastly, I wouldn’t go to their church or want anything to do with them either. Just becuase Wright isn’t the only nut in the world doesn’t mean he is not a nut himself.

  88. I never supported Ron Paul and would never vote for him.

  89. Neil was never a Paul supporter, and I rebuked Paul after the wetback ad.

  90. “Aren’t the same people who are worried about Obama’s ties to Wright the same one’s who were defending RP about the Survival Report?”

    That is a good point. Of course the hypocrisy goes both ways. Reason barbequed Ron Paul for those ties but doesn’t seem to have a problem with Obama’s ties to Wright.

  91. That is a good point. Of course the hypocrisy goes both ways. Reason barbequed Ron Paul for those ties but doesn’t seem to have a problem with Obama’s ties to Wright.

    I detected disgust in Gillespie in the above post. It was a kind of nudge, ‘Obama lovers save yourself the personal embarrassment of defending Wright, follow the link, Wright is a creep.’

  92. John,

    I think that the “End Times” movement (or whatever label one wants to use) makes up a significant element in the body politic. This is one of the reasons that “End Times” literature sells so well I think.

  93. Here’s why I won’t condemn Wright:

    Because the people demanding that I condemn him are scum, and the reasons they want him condemned are scumbag reasons.

    With respect to Alan, very, very little of reason that neoconservative scumbags want Wright condemned have anything to do with his statement about AIDS. [We’ll leave aside the question of the CIA and drugs, since the CIA’s admitted involvement in drug smuggling means that no one gets to complain about conspiracy theories about the CIA and drugs ever again. They fucked up; now that justifies any theory anyone wants to promulgate about the CIA and drugs. Forever.]

    They want him condemned because he said that God should damn America for what it has done to blacks via its drug and prison policies. I don’t expect everyone to agree with this statement, but I certainly don’t see that it’s beyond the pale of either political or theological discussion.

    They also want him condemned because he said that America’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unjust and terroristic. While I come down on the side of finding those bombings justified, I also certainly don’t think the position is completely beyond debate. The position that holds that the bombings were not justified isn’t my position, but it’s a defensible and legitimate position.

    As is the position that the 9/11 attacks were the fruit of the actions of the US in the world. Wright uses more religious language than I would [of course] to express this position, but trying to place this argument outside the bounds of acceptable discussion is a scumbag move.

    So hey, if you want me to say that Wright is a chump for thinking AIDS was invented by the government, fine. He’s a chump. But if you want me to say that anyone who thinks that US drug and incarcerations policies are damnable and that Japan should not have been attacked with atomic weapons and that 9/11 was blowback to US policy is a scoundrel who should be denounced and silenced, go fuck yourselves.

  94. John,

    BTW, given Paul’s eschatology it is not surprising that there has long been a focus on the “End Times” in Christian culture.

  95. Calidore | April 28, 2008, 12:41pm | #
    John,

    I think that the “End Times” movement (or whatever label one wants to use) makes up a significant element in the body politic. This is one of the reasons that “End Times” literature sells so well I think.

    The preachers at protestant churches I attended after a falling out with the Catholic church in my early twenties never really preached this sort of gospel, but Hal Lindsey was popular with the the members of those churches, and I even have a copy of The Late Great Planet Earth given to me by one of them.

    However, Hagee is a different matter. I think he is extremely dangerous, and we should devote more time to exploring why McCain sought his support, but at the same time, he has no real influence on McCain.

  96. Fluffy,

    Any HIV/AIDs conspiracy is of course the outgrowth of documented past medical-related conspiracies (involving black Americans specifically as well as Americans in general). The Tuskeegee experiments are merely just one example of this.

  97. Most people I know were raised in churches in religions they do not really agree with or at least had more “extreme” interpretations of their beliefs. Granted most of my friends are Catholics /Jews turned atheist, but I also have a fair amount of Protestants and others among my friends and family who don’t agree with half of the “official” or professed beliefs of their church/clergy.

    this is one of the main reasons I consider religion a joke- I know very very few people who are really strict believers in the sermons but many of them DO attend church regularly. When I was a kid, the primary reason my peers attended church was for social reasons (meeting girls, recreation), tradition, or just for something to do. I imagine this is the same for many people. Many adults take their children to church on Sunday just because its their tradition and what they do. They do what their parents did and they go to the same church as their community and peers. There are millions of bland white people who go to churches with bigots and no one really cares.

    What I can’t fathom is how any so-called libertarians could fault a preacher for opposing government policies.

    Oh, what? He’s BLACK? Oh , ok. yeah, umm, yeah socialist..commie anti-American blah blah blah…

  98. What’s the problem with Wright? Sounds like a typical pastor to me. Fire and brimstone sells when your preaching from a pulpit.

    Your traditional fire-and-brimstone speech is directed at your own congregation for their own shortcomings.

    Not saying that there aren’t exceptions, but there’s a lot of Black Liberation Theology that doesn’t really have a counterpart in white churches, as far as I can tell.

  99. What Obama did by taking his daughters there is borderline child abuse.

    But Neil, that’s true of all churches.

  100. alan,

    Well, it says something that appear to be what amount “End Times” tourism to Israel. At least that is the impression that I have gotten.

  101. Fluffy,

    I should have written that it is in part an outgrowth of such.

  102. Odd thing is, when the Democratic party collapses in the next couple decades, it will be largely because men influenced by Reverend Wright begin to vote Republican. All it would take is another 5-10% of the black vote; up by the bootstraps Bill Cosby republicans just might do it.

  103. Fluffy | April 28, 2008, 12:43pm

    What you said.

    Pretty much all of it.

    Any HIV/AIDs conspiracy is of course the outgrowth of documented past medical-related conspiracies (involving black Americans specifically as well as Americans in general). The Tuskeegee experiments are merely just one example of this.

    Also, see my post @ 11:54 am.

  104. R.C. Dean,

    Your traditional fire-and-brimstone speech is directed at your own congregation for their own shortcomings.

    No, a traditional fire and brimstone speech is as often as not directed to those inside and outside the church (or inside and outside the religious grouping). That’s also part of a long tradition, this one coming straight out of the Old Testament (e.g., The Book of Ezekial).

  105. The BVS, among other things, pointedly rejects “the pursuit of middleclassness” as a strategy through which “captor” majorities neuter the threat of revolt by “captive” groups.

    This makes me wonder if Obama is even “black enough” to be a member of the church.

    And I managed to avoid a reference to the word “uppity.”

    Oh, crap.

  106. fluffy, what you wrote is reasonable. The motives of the attackers do matter, as it is used to cudgel Obama when he isn’t the only one in the race with questionable ties. I tend to put the election horse race to the side when looking at this matter, though. My problem isn’t so much with Wright’s relationship with Obama, but Wrights relationship with the black community. He is a patheogen, a sociopathology. The sort of slick preacher that reasonable people from the time of Voltaire have been fighting against to clear the air for reason.

    Yes, the CIA fucked up. But the context that the conspiracy mongers put that matter in is a lie. The CIA was trying to make some quick cash to fund rebels through the extremely profitable (thanks to prohibition) drug trade, an not by some magical means creating a demand that would foster a black genocide. Wright knows the reality here, he is an educated man, but he is so bent he would spread lies damaging to the minds of those in his congregation.

    To many people are all too willing to let the Wright’s of the world off the hook when it is necessary for the well being of our society not too.

  107. alan,

    So you are arguing that Wright is a ‘Sophist’ in the Platonic sense* of that term?

    *I think the actual Sophists get a really bad wrap myself.

  108. Your traditional fire-and-brimstone speech is directed at your own congregation for their own shortcomings.

    not necessarily. there’s a sinful, wicked world out there with fornicators and heavy metal fans and homosexual atheist jews with communistic tendencies.

    or at the very least, it’s a distracting place of the flesh that removes people from god; therefore it is to be shunned.

    What Obama did by taking his daughters there is borderline child abuse.

    life’s a bitch and then you die
    that’s why we get high
    cause you never know when you gonna go

    on the plus side, at least their church services weren’t that boring. on the other hand, i’m sure neil’s aren’t, either – he gets to hang up on that cross while plaster jesus is out for renovations. problem being that crucifixion is habit formin’, and when you get a fixin’ for some ‘fixion you kinda get stuck that way. (no pun intended)

  109. The CIA was trying to make some quick cash to fund rebels through the extremely profitable (thanks to prohibition) drug trade, an not by some magical means creating a demand that would foster a black genocide.

    but you can see how this might strain the credibility they had, right? as in “no no no we just helped people sell drugs to fund wars!”

  110. their church services weren’t that boring. on the other hand, i’m sure neil’s aren’t, either

    Those snakes are totally cool, dude.

  111. Once again Im Jewish.

  112. Neil,

    Which denomination?

  113. So you’ll be *under* Hagee’s express bus to the promised land, right, Neil?

  114. Can we please have more Obama/Clinton threads around here? They’re just so gosh-darned informative…

  115. Im a Conservative Jew (aka Masorti Judaism for those of you in Israel and Europe).

  116. Say what you will about Hagee but hes a great friend of Israel.

  117. but you can see how this might strain the credibility they had, right? as in “no no no we just helped people sell drugs to fund wars!”

    Did they ever have credibility? My problem here is with reality versus fantasy.

    alan,

    So you are arguing that Wright is a ‘Sophist’ in the Platonic sense* of that term?

    That is right. Preachers in the black community have enormous influence, and Wright displays a fundamental lack of responsibility. In that link
    Gillespie provided was some rhetoric about personal responsibility, not succumbing to anti-intellectualism, seeking an education (the listing of General Semantics caught my eye there), and then out of left field comes that crazy ass shit about finding the talented ten percent among Blacks and killing them. It is as if, the crazy ass shit is what pays for the mansion and the rest of it is there to immunize Wright from criticism.

  118. Neil,

    So, NM, I guess it’d be alright with you to take your kids to listen to an Aryan Nations rally too?

    While I appreciate that more vigor is the only tactic you’ve got on this issue…wrapping the Aryan Nation up with Trinity and child abuse all in one neat little package is over-stepping.

    But, I guess vigorously asserting the same idea over and over again is gonna lead to inflated claims eventually.

    You did make me “LOL,” however.

    Only because I predicted you would go there.

  119. He’s a great friend of Israel.

    Right up until the time he asks his “best friend” to please lie down in the mud so he can cross the stream to Salvation without getting his shoes wet.

    Sucker.

  120. ChrisO,

    Good point.

  121. Neil | April 28, 2008, 1:16pm | #
    Say what you will about Hagee but hes a great friend of Israel.

    You realize that at the heart of the Dispensational creed is the idea that your immolation in an apocalyptic fire will save Hagee and his people being spared tribulations, right?

  122. I’m just glad that this whole Obama/Wright thing is shining a light upon this “not unusual”* wretchedness that is the black church.

    *Quote from black superdelegate and ABC “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” contributor, Donna Brazille

  123. Once again Im Jewish.

    then you *really* need to get off the cross, bro. these guys totally fucked up the last dude.

  124. So you would go to a church that preached things that you completely disagreed with? Why? Yeah, I am quite sure that your children could attend Wright’s church and not turn out to be raving racists. But why the hell would you waste your time dragging them there every Sunday like Obama did if you didn’t agree with what was being said?

    Maybe the sermon isn’t the primary benefit Obama and his family see in attending church?

    Maybe he sees more good things in the sermon than bad things and feels like he can help his children filter the message.

    Lot’s of reasons, it would seem, could explain the decision…

    Here’s one I would bet influences most church goers…it is close enough to their home and their friends go there.

  125. “You realize that at the heart of the Dispensational creed is the idea that your immolation in an apocalyptic fire will save Hagee and his people being spared tribulations, right?

    Well his religion is bullshit and isnt true, so I dont care about those beliefs if hes helping out Israel. His nutjob fantasy isnt going to come true so Israel may as well take advantage of his help.

  126. alan,

    A lot of Israelis find the support of Israel by “End Times” evangelicals* to be rather problematic.

    *Of course all Christians I would guess believe in an end times, it is just a matter of emphasis for some.

  127. By the way, if blacks really are more right brain than left brain, shouldn’t their be a lot more left-handed blacks (left-handedness is highly correlated with right-brainedness)?

  128. Well his religion is bullshit and isnt true, so I dont care about those beliefs if hes helping out Israel. His nutjob fantasy isnt going to come true so Israel may as well take advantage of his help.

    How odd- that’s what he said about you.

  129. Neil,

    The sorts of policies that “End Times” evangelicals might support could prove to be rather problematic in the here and now.

  130. “Maybe he sees more good things in the sermon than bad things and feels like he can help his children filter the message.”

    Maybe flowers come out of his ass to. Bullshit. He went there because he was a half white guy from Hawaii trying to make it in politics in a black neighborhood. He went there for purly cynical and calculating reasons. Given that, I don’t see how he can complain when people hold it against him for purely cynical and calculating reasons.

  131. Neil,

    BTW, it is interesting that you would have no problem with someone who you say has a “nutjob fantasy” for a POV in light of your comments about Obama’s relationship with Wright (in light of the comments of Wright that you find disfavor with).

  132. Actually, Hagee is an evangelical who doesnt even try to convert Jews. He actually preaches AGAINST it, so I dont know if he would call Judaism “bullshit”.

  133. Calidore | April 28, 2008, 1:25pm | #
    alan,

    A lot of Israelis find the support of Israel by “End Times” evangelicals* to be rather problematic.

    *Of course all Christians I would guess believe in an end times, it is just a matter of emphasis for some.

    Reminds me of a time in 2000 when a visiting Israelis journalist told me that groups of Christians would show up in Israel on tours and want the Jews to ‘perform for them like it was Galilee 33 A.D.’

  134. I wouldnt take my children to Hagees Church calidore.

    However yeah I might ally with him for purely political reasons.

  135. Also I appreciate Wright’s anti-authoritarianism and find the evangelicals willingness to cede everything to the right kind of authority to be a lot scarier.

  136. alan,

    Ha!

    I guess they don’t realize that Judaism is quite different today as opposed to the Second Temple period.

  137. Maybe flowers come out of his ass to. Bullshit. He went there because he was a half white guy from Hawaii trying to make it in politics in a black neighborhood. He went there for purely cynical and calculating reasons. Given that, I don’t see how he can complain when people hold it against him for purely cynical and calculating reasons.

    That’s a pretty fucking disgusting thing to say (especially the bold parts).

    It’s akin to saying “hey, John. You go to a church but I don’t think it’s because you love God. I think it’s because you want to find more clients for [whatever business you’re in].”

  138. By the way, if blacks really are more right brain than left brain, shouldn’t their be a lot more left-handed blacks (left-handedness is highly correlated with right-brainedness)?

    I’m left-handed. Why am I not black?

  139. Neil,

    You spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what other’s kids are exposed to.

    Admit it… you work for Hilary, don’t you?

  140. Why am I not black?

    What makes you think you’re not?

    But look on the bright side- maybe you’re related to Thos. Jefferson.

  141. As expected, the only people condemning Obama on this thread, as in the country as a whole, are those who would never have voted him anyway.

  142. “I served six years in the military,” Barack Obama’s longtime pastor said. “Does that make me patriotic?”

    Yeah, well, Benedict Arnold served in the military too. It doesn’t give you an automatic pass for everything you do.

    I see Wright’s still using the Milhouse excuse — “What about all the days I DIDN’T wear culottes to school? Nobody talks about that!”

    Still, I was impressed by Obama’s Fox News appearance with Chris Matthews. Now, if this primary would finally end so he can start pandering to us centrists instead of the Kos Krowd…

  143. Well Joe what do you think it says about Obama’s judgement that he let his children listen to anti- white and anti-America hate speech for years and years?

  144. Can I just issue a general condemnation of politics because we are at the point where a loony-toon Christian, no matter what color he is, is getting so much play in the press?

    I am SO tired of the Jesus-and-politics snake-oil salesmen on both sides of the fence getting disproportionate amounts of attention. A sane society would relegate Wright to the street corner, hustling for cash with Fred Phelps.

    The right Christian tells me I have to be guilty for tolerating gays and being lustful of women. The left Christian tells me I have to be guilty over slavery. It’s all a load of guilt-hustling crap and I’m sick of it.

  145. Ayn,

    I think it’s because they breed more successfully.

    I dated a girl whose parents were 7th Day Adventists, and real serious about the whole religion thing. 6 brothers and sisters, and none of the girls were even allowed to cut their hair till they were 18.

  146. Well Joe what do you think it says about Obama’s judgement that he let his children listen to anti- white and anti-America hate speech for years and years?

    What do you think it says about McCain’s judgement that he’s friends with Rod Parsley, spewer of right-theocrat crap and hater of the gays?

    Neil, just for the lulz, I hope that Obama wins and Wright is in charge of your cherished-President’s “faith-based initiatives” office. The only reason that evangelical claptrap has any kind of political sway these days is because of Reagan prostituting the party for a bunch of ignorant redneck hillbilly jerks. Thanks.

  147. So, whose politics would you worry about more: someone whose relationship with a looney clergyman who said scary things about politics was based around receiving the sacraments, performing ceremonies, receiving spiritual and biblical instruction, and doing good works in the community?

    Or one whose relationshpo with a looney pastor who said scary things was based entirely on politics?

    The one who invited said clergyman onto his campaign for reasons that had nothing to do with ideological affinity, and who removed him because of his political statements?

    Or the one who invited said clergyman onto his campaign specifically because of his political statements?

  148. Neil | April 28, 2008, 1:58pm | #

    Well Joe what do you think it says about Obama’s judgement that he let his children listen to anti- white and anti-America hate speech for years and years?

    He didn’t. You’re simply misrepresenting was Wright said for political purposes. And people are beginning to realize that.

  149. i think putting wright in the same category as phelps is a bit unfair, to say the least.


  150. What do you think it says about McCain’s judgement that he’s friends with Rod Parsley, spewer of right-theocrat crap and hater of the gays?”

    McCain is an Episcopalian, probably the most mild-mannered Christian denomination the world over. So please, find something offensive his Episcopal priest said on the order of Wright, and then we can talk equivelance. Ok?

  151. If Neil were not a spoof, and was actually the McCain buttboy he poses as, he would know that McCain loudly and prominently stated that he had left the Episcopal Church and was now a Baptist. Like Hagee.

  152. Theres a big difference between being ENDORSED by a preacher and ATTENDING THEIR CHURCH for 20+ years!

    BTW, since we’re talking endorsements, Farakahn endorsed Obama and said “once people find out who he really is, all this Jewish support will go away”. Well, hes actually right about that LOL!

  153. joe, your partisan heterosexist language ill serves you.

    and i’m only half-kidding.

  154. John,

    He went there because he was a half white guy from Hawaii trying to make it in politics in a black neighborhood.

    Why was the bold clause included in your line of reasoning here.

    I don’t follow the logical path from this to Trinity.

  155. So, we’re left with Southern Baptist vs. Congregationalist (UCC).

    Personally, I find it repugnant to judge people based on their religious denomination, and said so when Mitt Romney was the issue, but if that is the standard Neil wished to use, he should at least have his facts straight.

  156. Ok so hes a baptist now. Please find something his preacher said on the order of Wright.

  157. Its Southern Baptist vs. Black Liberationist.

  158. Theres a big difference between being ENDORSED by a preacher and ATTENDING THEIR CHURCH for 20+ years!

    Yes. The former indicates a political affinity and the latter does not.

    BTW, since we’re talking endorsements, Farakahn endorsed Obama…

    Without that endoresement being sought. Unlike McCain’s endorsement by Hagee.

  159. Hey Joe would you leave your church if the preacher said that abortion is murder and should be outlawed, that the war in Iraq is right, that gays go to hell, and that women should stay home in the kitchen?

    If you heard that during a sermon, what would you do?

  160. dhex,

    I used the term “clergymen” because we are talking about two men.

  161. i think putting wright in the same category as phelps is a bit unfair, to say the least.

    Maybe. I’m just tired of the Representatives of the Sky-Fairy hijacking public discourse today. I’m starting to understand why Hitchens is a raging alcoholic.

    Please find something his preacher said on the order of Wright.

    Dude, seriously, who cares? You think religion is BS and then you keep trying to make hay out of what some religionista said. It shouldn’t freaking matter.

  162. John,

    BTW,

    He went there because he…

    I realize the “it seems to me” is probably implied since this is obviously a statement of your own opinion rather than a statement of fact, but a polite hedge now and then can help you seem less shrill.

    Neu Mejican lessons in polite discourse now available for only $19.95 ;^)

  163. Neil,

    My church has said that abortion is murder and that gay people go to hell.

    It’s my church, I’m not going anywhere, and I don’t talk politics with the priest.

    Why you righties wish to pollute your spiritual lives with enforced political orthodoxy continues to elude me.

  164. Thank you, Reverend Wright.

  165. Well Joe what would your priest have to say before you left the Church?

    What if he said the Jews are collectivley guilty to this day for killing Jesus, would that be enough to get you to leave?

  166. That’s really why the right is freaking out about this; THEY don’t distinguish between God and Ceasar – between spirituality and politics – so they assume that nobody else does, either.

    At least, the ones who are freaking out in good faith.

  167. Neil,

    I’m going to quietly and reverently whisper your name when I pull that beautiful lever for Obama in November. Hearing you rant makes me just want to vote for him more.

  168. Neil,

    What if he said the Jews are collectivley guilty to this day for killing Jesus, would that be enough to get you to leave?

    That might do it. A statement of religious doctrine – not the priest’s personal opinions about politics, but a statement of religious doctrine – that offended my moral sensibilities would motivate me to leave.

    FYI, I’m not sure you know this, but the RCC has denounced the doctrine you mention for over four decades now.

  169. joe and Neil — Will you two get a room already?

  170. And what if he said “Goddamn America! Goddamn America! Thats what the Bible says!” Thats not religious doctrine?

  171. “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

    Sadly, the transcript can’t do justice to his little hand-fluttering illustration of a chicken roosting.

  172. Timmy, and I’m going to think of your name when OBama goes down the a major defeat thanks to folks like Rev. Wright and Farakahn dragging him under.

  173. I used the term “clergymen” because we are talking about two men.

    i’m talking about the term “buttboy.”

  174. Why you righties wish to pollute your spiritual lives with enforced political orthodoxy continues to elude me.

    For fuck’s sake, joe, you don’t think the left has a politico-spiritual orthodoxy of its own? Ever attend one of those lefty church bake sales and sniff up the rank horseshit pinko dogma they sell along with cookies?
    I’m with Ayn Randian — I’m sick of the Worshipers of Pure Fucking Fiction driving the agenda, left or right.
    Fuck you and your pope, fuck you and your messiah, fuck you and your allah, fuck you and your jesus, and fuck you and your fucking fuckhead god.

  175. Neil | April 28, 2008, 2:19pm | #

    And what if he said “Goddamn America! Goddamn America! Thats what the Bible says!”

    I expect the clergy to uphold the tradition of denouncing the evil done by governments. I have absolutely no problem with Wright’s “God and Government” sermon – the one you’ve made a point of not watching or reading, but choose to pontificate about anyway.

    Thats not religious doctrine? No, it’s not. Do you not know what the word means?

  176. i’m talking about the term “buttboy.”

    Congratulations.

  177. buttboy

    Didn’t he sidekick for Aquaman in the 70s?

  178. How about Wright saying that Jesus was black, that the Israelites are black, and that Jesus was “lynched by racist Italians”?

  179. “Fuck you and your pope, fuck you and your messiah, fuck you and your allah, fuck you and your jesus, and fuck you and your fucking fuckhead god.”

    Except for the Sacred Market, Jamie. Don’t fuck with the Market.

    Hail Market,
    Full of grace,
    Prosperity is with thee.
    Blessed art thou among systems,
    and blessed is the fruit
    of thy womb, Capital.
    Holy Market,
    Mother of Goods,
    pray for us consumers now,
    and at the hour of our bankruptcy.
    Amen.

  180. Oh, forgot about him saying Italians have “garlic noses”. That should help Obama in New Jersey LOL!

  181. Jamie,

    For fuck’s sake, joe, you don’t think the left has a politico-spiritual orthodoxy of its own?

    An orthodoxy? No. There certainly are political opinions flying around among the religious left, but there is not anything like the enforcement of political orthodoxy you find among the religious right.

    You can be a Republican and still be considered a find, upstanding person in lefty churches. Sadly, the opposite simply is not true of their opposite numbers.

    You don’t see religious-left preachers blaming natural disasters on God’s wrath at low marginal tax rates and evolution denial.

    Fuck you and your pope, fuck you and your messiah, fuck you and your allah, fuck you and your jesus, and fuck you and your fucking fuckhead god. For someone who likes to congratulate yourself for being more rational on the question of spirituality, you certainly are emotional. In my experience, most of you atheists are far more angry at God, the church, and some Sunday school teacher that angered you, than the rational skeptics you like to pose as.

  182. How about Wright saying that Jesus was black, that the Israelites are black, and that Jesus was “lynched by racist Italians”?

    None of those are relgious doctrines, and none of them are untrue. The Romans were extremely racist, the Jews (they hadn’t been Israelites for several centuries there, which you would know if you weren’t a spoof) were darker-skinned Middle Easterners who were subject to that racism, and those racist Romans did kill him, in an agonizing public manner, as an act of state terrorism against his fellow Jews.

    I have no problem with that at all. The “garlic-nose” bit was uncalled-for, though.

  183. joe must have energy today if he’s picking a fight with atheists.

  184. Joe I said “ancient Israelites” because Wright and his ilk also think all the Jewish prophets were black africans. I guess you do too now.

  185. Neil

    You are a hillul ha-shem.

  186. Joe I said “ancient Israelites”

    No, you didn’t.

    because Wright and his ilk also think all the Jewish prophets were black africans

    Since you can’t even accurately depict your own words in a comment you wrote four minutes ago, why exactly do you think anyone would consider you a credible source when describing Reverend Wright’s?

  187. Except for the Sacred Market, Jamie. Don’t fuck with the Market.

    Oh, stick a hot poker up your ass. The market, you shit-sampler, is based on reality, the rational and sometimes irrational choices of millions of individuals working and living on earth. This is unlike the teachings of, say, the dumbfucks and the leaders of the dumbfucks who weekly bow down to an invisible asshole who apparently is so disgusted with his own creation that his whole goal is to throw you off of it into a furnace or onto a cloud.

  188. You said Israelites, “Neil,” because your Jewishness is as phoney as everything else about your spoof identity.

    No actual Jew would use the word “Israelites” to refer to the residents of Judea and Samaria in the first century. You might as well have called them Hebrews.

  189. Neil,

    I dunno about the Jewish prophets, but does anyone know what the Natufians, etc. lloked like?

  190. Congratulations.

    in such a heady religious thread, i figure “practice what you preach” is as good a doctrine as any to stand up for, joseph.

    You can be a Republican and still be considered a find, upstanding person in lefty churches.

    i would cautiously label this with a “depends on the church you go to.” i’ve heard some funny ha-ha / not so funny ha-ha stories about some of the more lefty churches in my neck of brooklyn.

  191. most of you atheists are far more angry at God, the church, and some Sunday school teacher that angered you, than the rational skeptics you like to pose as.

    joe, I have plenty good reason to be angry, and it’s not just some petty vengeance I’m after WRT religion.

    Your Lord and Savior seriously said “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. I mean, Jesus deserves pimp-smacked for telling people they’ll go the fiery Gahenna for having natural, sexual thoughts.

    The church that Wright is in charge of is just as crazy as yokeltarian, snake-handling churches; they get all fervent about the Lord smiting down sinners, they just believe in emphasising different sins.

    Frankly, I hate race politics. And Wright does nothing but pimp and pump race-politics. He’s as filthy as the rest of them.

  192. Neil-

    Are you in 3rd grade or something? Even 3rd graders could do better than that.

  193. Yeah Joe, this sounds real tolerant and saane:

    “The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community … Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.”[”

    Thats not me speaking, BTW, thats James Cone the founder of Black Liberation Theology.

  194. most of you atheists are far more angry at God, the church, and some Sunday school teacher that angered you, than the rational skeptics you like to pose as.

    A very, very long annoyance can easily transform itself into anger, Joe.

    The history of religion’s resistance to skepticism is a tale of one corruption or injustice or act of intellectual dishonesty after another. Particularly in the Judeo-Christian tradition. As its cosmogony, history, and moral theory were exploded in turn as absurdities, Judeo-Christianity first tried to suppress the arguments of those who would expose its flaws, then denied they were valid and tried to argue against them, and then when finally routed took refuge in claiming that the discredited elements of a formerly seamless garment of religious thought were “metaphorical”. And most religious believers recapitulate that phylogeny day after day after day. It’s supremely annoying to deal with people whose ideas continually morph from one absurdity to another in order to escape refutation [before ultimately digging into trenches on the transcendental plane to avoid the necessity of justification altogether].

  195. It’s supremely annoying to deal with people whose ideas continually morph from one absurdity to another in order to escape refutation [before ultimately digging into trenches on the transcendental plane to avoid the necessity of justification altogether].

    you could shorten this to “It’s supremely annoying to deal with people.”

    to save time and whatnot.

  196. You don’t see religious-left preachers blaming natural disasters on God’s wrath

    No, just on man’s ego.

  197. Fluffy, as usual, does it better.

    If you study the history of Christian society, every time some tenet of faith or doctrine is proven wrong or ridiculous, the Christians just morph it into something else so it semi-conforms with common knowledge.

    The rate at which the RCC shoves saints through is so appalling; I could say that my local, recently-passed priest healed my nebulous back injury via Divine Touch and the throng would be ready to pronounce him canonized.

  198. “No, just on man’s ego.”

    Or in the case of Wright on the Amerikkkan white man’s government.

  199. I’m not voting for Obama, but not because he has a diarrhea-mouth pastor. I’m not voting for Obama because he is a big government socialist (dressed in big government progressive clothing).

    I guess that means I’ll have to turn in my Cosmotarian membership card.

  200. “i would cautiously label this with a “depends on the church you go to.” i’ve heard some funny ha-ha / not so funny ha-ha stories about some of the more lefty churches in my neck of brooklyn.”

    I have found churches to have, at least among the regulars, some pretty personal disagreements about things. People get really angry about things that go on in churches. I have no doubt that in a lot of churches left and right, you can feel pretty out of place if you don’t go along with whatever the predominant view of the world is and there is always a predominant view.

    The fact is either Obama believes all this looney stuff that Wright puts out or he doesn’t. I tend to think he doesn’t. But if he doesn’t believe in it, why the hell did he go to church there for so long and get so chummy with Wright because there is no way that Obama didn’t know how Wright thinks. Yeah, Obama may be a good Christian and all of that, but there are lots of Christian churches, why this one and not only this one but this one for twenty years? The only answer I can see is that Obama went there because Wright is big in the black community and it gave him political connections. Basically, Obama is a typical opportunistic politician who is not above associating himself with vile fruit loops as long as said vile fruit loops get him where he needs to go. The problem is that now that Wright has become a problem, Obama can’t just walk away. In an ideal world, Wright would have retired to his multi-million dollar gated suburban estate and laid low until the election was over. But, as I said above, you don’t get to be a millionaire preacher by putting your parishioners’ needs above your own. Wright loves the publicity and attention and is not going to go away.

  201. joe,

    In my experience, most of you atheists are far more angry at God, the church, and some Sunday school teacher that angered you, than the rational skeptics you like to pose as.

    I’m sorry that has been your general experience, however, it should be noted that I would guess that most atheists live their daily lives without even thinking about religion. That is my general experience at least.

  202. Either way, joe — left or right on the spiritual spectrum — there’s a certain disgusting air of glee when lefty peddlers of ecumenical shit or righty peddlers of ecumenical shit talk about natural disasters.
    We either got it coming because we like ass sex, or we got it coming because we shop at Wal-Mart.
    Since I like both of those things very much, yeah — I’m fucking angry.
    And again, fuck your pope. Right in his old, wrinkly ass.

  203. Ayn Randian,

    Your namesake condemns people for their thoughts and feelings just as vociferously. Which is as it should be – philosophies of morality and ethics are supposed to dictate to us about the proper way of thinking. I have no problem with calls to discipline your thoughts, whether it’s Buddha the atheist telling us to abjure all worldly desire, or Jesus telling us to abjure some of it.

    Neil,

    I’m sorry if denunciations of racist theology – of gods that only look after white people, and endorse their oppression – annoys you. No, wait, I take that back. I am very, very glad that denunciations of racist theology annoy it. It makes me happy thinking about it.

    Fluffy,

    There are going to be people who disagree with you about theological matters. Try not to turn into Jamie Kelly over it. I mean, does he sound like a happy person?

  204. I guess that means I’ll have to turn in my Cosmotarian membership card.

    No, you won’t. Committed Cosmotarian here who simultaneously hates Rev. Wright (and all the other guilt-peddlers) but doesn’t care about Obama’s relationship to him.

    However, I’m not voting for Obama for the very reasons you mentioned: I see no evidence he’s going to end the war, end the war on drugs, or any other “left” issues that drive me. I do see evidence, however, that he’s going to bail out the irresponsible (WRT the mortgage ‘crisis’) at the expense of the responsible. He’ll probably move to nationalize health care.

  205. But if he doesn’t believe in it, why the hell did he go to church there for so long and get so chummy with Wright because there is no way that Obama didn’t know how Wright thinks.

    Oh, if only he’d written an entire chapter of a book describing how he came to worship at that particular Congregationalist church!

    Oh, wait. He did.

    Obama (an agnostic at the time) approached Wright because Obama was a community orgnaizer and Wright was a leader in that community, and Wright converted him by teaching him about Jesus.

    This has been known to happen on occasion.

  206. It’s as if there was some group of physicists in the early 1800’s who had an all-encompassing proof of the nature of the universe that was composed of proof-sections A, B, C, D, E, F and G.

    But when A was disproven by experiment they burned the guy who disproved it at the stake.

    And when B was disproven by paleontological research they said, “Nuh-uh, nobody proved anything.”

    And then C and D were disproven and they said, “Um, yeah. Remember when we said that C and D were literally true? We were just kidding. Those were obviously metaphors.”

    And then when somebody actually sat down to read E and F, it turns out that buried in those “proofs” was text that said, “Please note: these sections are only true if slavery was a good thing, and if exterminating everyone in a city when you capture it is a morally good thing to do.” And they defended this by saying “Well, you have to understand that people had different standards back when we first did this proof”.

    And today, left with only a dubious G, the advocates of this theory of physics somehow still command the affections of large groups of the population – majorities even – and claim an exclusive set of insights to physics, and demand respect for their arguments and denounce the people who laugh at them or get annoyed at their method of arguing as “intolerant bigots”.

    That’s pretty much exactly what it’s like. It looks different to you if you’re inside it because you think religion is a special type of activity where it’s OK to be dicks like our imaginary physicists would obviously be being, if they existed. I just disagree.

  207. I have no problem with calls to discipline your thoughts, whether it’s Buddha the atheist telling us to abjure all worldly desire, or Jesus telling us to abjure some of it.

    I know you have some vision in your head of Jesus as a “wise old Buddha” telling us to abstain where abstention is needed, but the Gospels don’t back that up in the least.

    Jesus doesn’t say “Don’t go overboard with the lust, now…too much of a good thing can be bad for you”…no no, he says “Sexual thoughts make you sinful adulterer.”

    Try not to turn into Jamie Kelly over it. I mean, does he sound like a happy person?

    He’s enraged in this current topic, but given that he’s eliminated a bunch of mystic guilt-garbage, I’d bet he’s happier than the young man who thinks he’s going to hell every time he has a pubescent thought about some young lady (or young man).

  208. Neal,

    You are willing to allign yourself with a bigot, just because he “supports” Israel? I am Jewish also, although I am more secular than religous. I do support Israel, but people like Hagee scare the shit out of me. If there is anyone who could bring about the destruction of Israel, it would be Hagee.

  209. Try not to turn into Jamie Kelly over it. I mean, does he sound like a happy person?

    I’m not an angry person. I just play one on the InterPipes.

  210. “Either way, joe — left or right on the spiritual spectrum — there’s a certain disgusting air of glee when lefty peddlers of ecumenical shit or righty peddlers of ecumenical shit talk about natural disasters.”

    Who was the guy a few years ago who said he always “rooted for the hurricane”? Did anyone watch the History Channel show on what would happen if the human race just disapeared one day? They had one guy on there who seemed absolutely estatic about the idea of mankind becoming extinct. I would also point to the 2007 Alan Weisman book “A World Without US”, which has to be one of the most bizzare books of the last 20 years. There is a real creepy “someday we will get ours” sense to a lot of people on both the left and the right.

  211. one can eliminate one kind of garbage and just replace it with the next semi-coherent structure that floats along.

    i.e. sam harris.

  212. … converted him by teaching him about Jesus. This has been known to happen on occasion.

    Mostly in prison.

  213. First of all, if you believe in god you’re already a little bit insane. What’s marvelous about this whole controversy is that marginally insane people are upset with someone who believes in the same balderdash as they do but is more vociferous about it and doesn’t bother to hide his own bigotry and perceived victimhood. Wright’s brand of tribalism is bizarre to most whites, I’d guess, but those serene, civilized, and quiet white churches are full of tribalists as well.

  214. “Obama (an agnostic at the time) approached Wright because Obama was a community orgnaizer and Wright was a leader in that community, and Wright converted him by teaching him about Jesus.”

    So Obama does believe what Wright says? I am trying to be fair to Obama and give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he really doesn’t believe all of the crazy stuff that Wright says. But, if what you are saying is true Joe, then Obama does beleive it. Why else would Wright have been able to convert him? Think about it Joe, if some snake handling evangelical tried to convert you, they wouldn’t get very far. Why? Because you don’t agree with them about things like homosexuality and public morals and any number of other things. Yet, Wright was able to convert Obama. That tells me either Obama is really cynical or actually buys what Wright has to say.

  215. I think Obama really believes it. Thats whats so incredibly scary.

  216. What’s marvelous about this whole controversy is that marginally insane people are upset with someone who believes in the same balderdash as they do but is more vociferous about it

    You can see the same kind of cognitive dissonance in the Left v. Right.

    RIGHT: Invade Iraq but not the Sudan!
    LEFT: No, do the opposite!
    ME: WTF? Why do either?

  217. That’s pretty much exactly what it’s like.

    No, it’s not. At least, not for me. Most people don’t ask of their religion that it explain the physical phenomena of the world. Religion is rightly about things that cannot be proven. As a criticism of, say, Young Earth Creationists and Biblical literalists, that was a fine argument, Fluffy, but it really has nothing to do with the Immaculate Conception, the Transfiguration, or the meek inheriting the Earth.

    Ayn Randian,

    Jesus doesn’t say “Don’t go overboard with the lust, now…too much of a good thing can be bad for you” Neither does Buddha.

    He’s enraged in this current topic, but given that he’s eliminated a bunch of mystic guilt-garbage, I’d bet he’s happier than the young man who thinks he’s going to hell every time he has a pubescent thought about some young lady (or young man). So you see the spittle-flecked rage he is so easily driven to, but you JUST KNOW that he’s happier than any Christian believer, because he agrees with you. OK.

    John,

    Pray tell, which seminary did that one d00d you say on the History Channel attend?
    Alan Weisman – he’s a Catholic nun, right? Why are you bringing up the History Channel and stuff that has nothing to do with religious people?

  218. “I served six years in the military,” Barack Obama’s longtime pastor said. “Does that make me patriotic? How many years did (Vice President Dick) Cheney serve?”

    A fair point. But Cheney’s got him where it counts: the flag lapel pin.

    He said the black church tradition is not bombastic or controversial, but different and misunderstood by the “dominant culture” in the United States.

    True, probably.

    “My goddaughter’s unit just arrived in Iraq this week while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls to die over a lie.”

    Ouch. Well said.

    “The government gives [black men] drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

    This doesn’t seem that unreasonable, apart from the “government gives black men drugs” bit. Although one could say that the problems related to drugs in African American communities are exacerbated by our country’s drug policies, policies written largely by whites.

    “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,”

    Yep, this is true as well.

    “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

    Very insightful, and he had the courage to speak the truth only a short time after the 9/11 attacks, when most everyone else was pretending that we were perfect.

    Hillary Clinton:“Pastor Wright to have given his first sermon after 9/11 and to have blamed the United States for the attack

    That strikes me as a (probably purposeful) misreading of the Reverend’s words.

  219. What’s marvelous about this whole controversy is that marginally insane people are upset with someone who believes in the same balderdash as they do but is more vociferous about it

    No, what is marvelous about it is watching the hysterical rationalizations from both sides as to why their guy is OK but the other guy is scum when they both do similar things (i.e. associate with religious shitheads for political gain).

    I can only hope for more of this. The pretzel-twisting of logic and argument is nothing short of amazing.

  220. So Obama does believe what Wright says?

    Wright says a lot of stuff. Obama appears to agree with him when he says “Jesus is your savior” or “You have a responsibility to help the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden.”

    On the other hand, he has said he does not believe that the U.S. government invented AIDS, and I’ve seen no reason to disagree.

    Do you actually think you’ve developed a good measure of the man and his beliefs from the 40 seconds of cut-n-pasted sound bites that people with a political agenda keep feeding you? Heck, you can’t even accurately describe the point he was making in the “God and Government” sermon, and yet you think you’re in a position to know what Wright taught Barack Obama about Jesus?

    Don’t be a dupe your whole life.

  221. joe, I am having a difficult time understanding why someone who fancies himself a tolerant progressive would support such reactionary, Puritanical nonsense like the words of Christ and pretty much the entire New Testament.

    Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    There’s your first evangelical, spouting off nonsense again.

  222. joe,

    Do you ever get angry while commenting here?

    Most people don’t ask of their religion that it explain the physical phenomena of the world.

    I’d say that you are quite wrong in this assertion. Large swaths of humanity (certainly more than a majority) apparently think exactly that – which is why claims of miracles and other events where God works in history are so common.

    Religion is rightly about things that cannot be proven.

    Then why do so many religious people try to prove say that the tomb was actually empty? Visit a Christian bookstore some time. On the shelves there you will find lots of texts on Christian apologetics.

    Ayn Randian,

  223. John, did you even know that Wright has a long digression in the “God and Government” sermon – the one where he shouts that God damns America when it sins – about how enlightened white leaders like Harry Truman were able to make great strides in improving the lives and opportunity of black people in the United States? Or that he talks about how terrible things were under Jim Crow, and how much better they are now?

    I’ll tell you, if he’s trying to be a racist, segregationist, anti-American preacher, he needs to find another line of work, because he’s not very good at it. Heck, he even managed to get himself made the pastor of the largest church in a majority-white denomination.

  224. Really? The same Harry Truman he essentially called a terrorist for the atomic bombings later in the sermon?

  225. Ayn Randian,

    joe, I am having a difficult time understanding why someone who fancies himself a tolerant progressive would support such reactionary, Puritanical nonsense like the words of Christ and pretty much the entire New Testament.

    Could it be, perhaps, that you don’t know the gospels very well, and are confusing them with the doctrines you’ve heard from certain religious figures in your life?

    Oh, btw, Paul, like all of us, was a human being with his own failings, and culturally-informed understanding of God’s message.

    Calidore,

    Do you ever get angry while commenting here? Not with so little reason. Jamie Kelly went on that little rant merely because there are people who don’t agree with him.

    I’d say that you are quite wrong in this assertion. You’re probably right about that, I phrased my statement about what should be in terms of what actually is. My bad.

    Then why do so many religious people try to prove say that the tomb was actually empty?

    Because that can’t be proven.

    As Aquinas said, the purpose of Christian apologetics is to show that its doctrines cannot be disproven, not to prove them.

    The point of religion is faith. If every word of the Bible was proven to be literally true tomorrow, I don’t think I’d ever go to church again.

  226. Neil | April 28, 2008, 3:33pm | #

    Really? The same Harry Truman he essentially called a terrorist for the atomic bombings later in the sermon?

    Yes. Mull that over. He said both, in the same sermon.

    Although I’ll correct you on one small matter – he didn’t say “Harry Truman” nuked Hiroshima and didn’t bat an eye. He said “We.”

  227. Sort of like the Old Testament prophets, who didn’t say “King So and So did such and such,” but “Israel.”

  228. Now I am beginning to think Joe is performance art.

    Don’t be a dupe your whole life.

    That was obviously intended for self parody for other people to comment on later, and accuse you of a lack of self awareness after defending the indefensible Wright.

  229. Wow, alan, that you so funny, I didn’t notice you neither offered an argument, nor refuted one.

    You could have saved yourself some effort by just typing “joe bad.”

    If he’s so indefensible, you should have no trouble taking apart my defenses, or Elemenope’s, or any of the other people who’ve offered them.

    We’re waiting.

  230. Could it be, perhaps, that you don’t know the gospels very well, and are confusing them with the doctrines you’ve heard from certain religious figures in your life?

    Uhh, nope. I used to be a religion major and strongly considered “The Calling” before I realized how ridiculous it all was.

    Oh, btw, Paul, like all of us, was a human being with his own failings, and culturally-informed understanding of God’s message.

    See, this is the exact thing Fluffy was talking about. Cafeteria Christianity at its worst: when an Apostle makes a statement very clear and you, realizing how crazy it sounds, says “well, that’s just human flaws”. How about removing it from the Sacred Scripture, then?

  231. Joe, you are not being serious. You think this is some sort of game being played, verbal gymnnastics, a trampline
    for rhetorical acumen. You are unwilling to deal with the problem that Wright represents, but unlike you, I really do give a damn about the black community. When I see dysfunction I will call it for what it is, you are only concerned about getting one particular person elected in November for symbolic reasons that will have no effect upon the underlying reality.

  232. When I just heard Rev. Wright’s sound bites, I thought they were inflammatory. But when I read the transcript for context, I realize now he’s just a complete lunatic.

  233. “John, did you even know that Wright has a long digression in the “God and Government” sermon – the one where he shouts that God damns America when it sins – about how enlightened white leaders like Harry Truman were able to make great strides in improving the lives and opportunity of black people in the United States? Or that he talks about how terrible things were under Jim Crow, and how much better they are now?”

    Well Joe that is the nature of being nuts. You say some things that make sense and then proceed to go off the rails on other things. I am quite sure that I could find a lot of things that evangelicals say about God and love and self reliance and such that you would agree with. Now, when they got to the part about how homosexuals are going to burn in hell and they are corrupting our children, you would say “wait a minute”. Now my question is why didn’t Obama say the same thing when the good Reverend Wright got to the part about the government inventing AIDS to kill black people? Just because you agree with the guy on some things doesn’t excuse the really crazy things he says.

  234. An Obama presidency will not cleanse even one mind of dogma; an Obama presidency will not make even one more individual more prosperous than they were before.

  235. See, this is the exact thing Fluffy was talking about. Cafeteria Christianity at its worst: when an Apostle makes a statement very clear and you, realizing how crazy it sounds, says “well, that’s just human flaws”. How about removing it from the Sacred Scripture, then?

    You know, it’s funny, because Rev. Wright in his interview talked for a little while about “wrestling with sacred scripture”, i.e. the process of tangling with the fact that the words are supposed to be divinely inspired, and yet seem to suggest sanction for all sorts of nefarious and/or immoral behavior, like slavery, wife-beating, etc..

    His comments were certainly a little more cogent on the issue than what I would expect from, say, Hagee.

    I keed, I keed. 🙂

    I said a little more. They were a *lot* more cogent.

  236. A Reagan presidency will not cleanse even one mind of communism; a Reagan presidency will not make even one more individual more free than they were before.

    Fun game, alan. Do another!

  237. Jamie Kelly went on that little rant merely because there are people who don’t agree with him.

    That’s a lie and you know it.
    I’ve pointed out repeatedly on this topic alone, and in countless other posts over the last four years, with numerous examples, the illogical hypocrisy of religious types like you.

  238. Have I ever defended Reagan? What is the point?

  239. the process of tangling with the fact that the words are supposed to be divinely inspired, and yet seem to suggest sanction for all sorts of nefarious and/or immoral behavior, like slavery, wife-beating

    I don’t see this as any more intelligent. It’s like arguing over the symbolic meaning of the Wolf’s consumption of Grandma in “Little Red Riding Hood.” Draw the appropriate moral lesson, discard the crazy stuff, and stop taking fairy stories literally.

    Old Testament scripture does in fact, say some of the craziest stuff one will ever read. Why semi-rational people in 2008 keep trying to force the square peg of reactionary trash into the round hole of an advanced society, I will never know.

  240. Excuse me, I mean, Ronald Ray-Gun. Misty eyed sentiments are for lesser mortals, you have an entirely different kind of tiger by the tail here.

  241. “the process of tangling with the fact that the words are supposed to be divinely inspired, and yet seem to suggest sanction for all sorts of nefarious and/or immoral behavior, like slavery, wife-beating, etc..”

    When did an “Apostle” ever endorse slavery or wife beating? Certainly, there is some of that kind of stuff in the Old Testiment, but the OT didn’t have Apostles, it had prophets. It is problematic, but that is why I am not Jewish. Sadly, Christians tend to cherry pick out of the Old Testiment to further whatever their pet beliefs are. If you are some nitwit who wants to beat your wife and keep her at home in a stay, you can probably find something in the Old Testiment that if read carefully enough, gives you the okay.

  242. Cafeteria Christianity at its worst

    You don’t get to decide what’s best.

    Were you as rational about this as you like to pretend, you would actually have to look at a passage, consider its cultural context, and see if the thesis “this reflects his culture” holds up. But you don’t, because you don’t want to rational about this. You want to condmen, for you own reasons, and no one has needed to be informed or fair to condemn.

  243. Most people don’t ask of their religion that it explain the physical phenomena of the world. Religion is rightly about things that cannot be proven.

    Religion wasn’t always about things that cannot be proven, Joe.

    In fact, the men who first developed [or “received”, if you prefer] the doctrines of Judaism, Christianity and Islam would have strenuously disputed that there was any distinction whatsoever between what religion could and couldn’t prove and what God would or would not reveal to his chosen mouthpieces.

    The substance of my complaint about religion is that religion has taken refuge in the realm of the unprovable as a strategy for surviving its utter humiliation in every realm where anything was remotely provable.

    It is annoying to me that rather than discard a set of doctrines which were repeatedly and undeniably beaten like Rodney King by skeptics of every stripe, religious minds just hid.

    [By the way, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception only makes sense in the context of the various doctrines surrounding the “fall”, and those doctrines only were developed as embroidery to the “history” revealed in the Book of Genesis. The history in the Book of Genesis, of course, was asserted to be literally true by ALL religious for centuries, and was begrudgingly admitted to be false only recently, after which it is immediately rehabilitated as “metaphor”. The Immaculate Conception is no longer necessary if Genesis is only metaphorical, but that doesn’t stop the Catholics from pretending it all still fits together.]

    Looking at the way religious thought has hidden away to evade its various refutations, I ask myself Why? Why would people insist on sticking with Christianity, despite its atrocious record of error? Why bother? And the only answer I can see is that religion sought to preserve itself because it is the nature of corrupt institutions to seek to survive, and the beneficiaries of those institutions to dissemble in order to maintain them. And it’s just really, really annoying.

    Think of how annoyed you get at the silly things Neil says. Then imagine somebody being that silly for centuries at a stretch, and never letting go. Ever.

  244. alan,

    You think this is some sort of game being played, verbal gymnnastics, a trampline No, I think that people who make arguments should be able to back them up. Otherwise, they’re just talking out of their asses to make themselves feel better, or to manipulate people without regrard to the truth.

    E.g., unlike you, I really do give a damn about the black community,/i.

    Go fuck yourself, alan.

  245. Ayn,

    I want to hear your rundown of crazy things the “Apostles” actually said. If you really are a religion major, then you should be able to give me at least four or five examples off the top of your head. Not Old Testiment stuff, but New Testiment stuff. I am curious to see which things bother you so much.

  246. John,

    Well Joe that is the nature of being nuts. You say some things that make sense and then proceed to go off the rails on other things.

    That’s just the point – he’s not off the rails in that sermon. Were you to actually educate yourself, try to actually know what you’re talking about instead of being led around by the nose by any Republican with an editing program on his PC, you would realize that the statements you describe as “going off the rails” are not, in fact, anything objectionable.

    It’s not a question of his sane statements stacking up next to his insane statement. That is not what the term “context” means. The issue here is that you do not understand the meaning of the sound bites you’re describing as “off the rails,” because you’ve made a point of not finding out.

  247. Why semi-rational people in 2008 keep trying to force the square peg of reactionary trash into the round hole of an advanced society, I will never know.

    because it clearly doesn’t really damage the day to day operations of taxes and breeding very much, now does it?

    as someone who is both a libertarian and a rand fan, surely you can appreciate the balance of the person with having to interact with the outside world, no?

  248. Were you as rational about this as you like to pretend, you would actually have to look at a passage, consider its cultural context, and see if the thesis “this reflects his culture” holds up. But you don’t, because you don’t want to rational about this. You want to condmen, for you own reasons, and no one has needed to be informed or fair to condemn.

    No, Joe.

    Wrong.

    Mystical claims to insight and revealed truth only have credibility if the information comes directly from God.

    If the information is claimed to come directly from God, being incorrect in even the slightest detail destroys the credibility of every last word.

    There is no point to reading anything that Paul says on any subject [other than the academic interest one might have in doing so] unless he was inspired by God. That means he doesn’t get to be a product of his time, he doesn’t get to have cultural biases, and he doesn’t get to make any mistakes that later Christians have to fix. He has to be absolutely right or the whole thing is a con.

    The epistles are just another shoddy self-help text if they aren’t a revelation. A literal revelation.

    You’re actually engaging in exactly the kind of annoying conduct that works atheists into a lather.

  249. No, I think that people who make arguments should be able to back them up.

    Except when it comes to faith, I presume.

  250. Then educate me Joe. Explain to me how believing that the government started AIDS is anything but crazy? What context could possibly make that anything but really nasty nonsense?

  251. Now my question is why didn’t Obama say the same thing when the good Reverend Wright got to the part about the government inventing AIDS to kill black people?

    Because while that statement is factually incorrect and a bit looney, it is neither insane nor disgusting, like the assertion that Jews are collectively guilty of deicide. Wright’s statement tells us nothing about his moral compass or his decency. It tells us that he has a naive, conspiracy-laden view of politics, like a lot of people.

    Dissing the government just doesn’t have the same effect on some of us that it has on you, John – at least, that it has on you when done by a black person.

  252. I have to note that it is a very positive aspect of these forums that right now, on this very thread, joe and John are simultaneously arguing with each other over Wright yet at the same time in close agreement regarding religion and their support for it.

  253. I’ve already backed the argument up in the day in the discussion earlier with elemepope, and put to rest the ‘quote out of context’ bullshit three hours ago before you tried to ressecutate that corpse.

    Sorry, I don’t do encores.

    But I will tell you this, I’ve enjoyed reading your comments in the past, but your willingness to defend Wright and even try to parse his bat shit crazy mental meanderings into a positive disgust the fucking hell out of me.

  254. “If the information is claimed to come directly from God, being incorrect in even the slightest detail destroys the credibility of every last word.”

    That assumes that you understand and can correctly interpret the mind of God. Humans are utterly incapable of understanding the universe in any ultimate sense. It is not God’s fault we got the message wrong or the nature of our being makes it impossible to communicate ultimate truth in anything but metaphorical terms. Only athiests are arrogant enough to assume that they have an ultimate grasp of reality.

  255. When did an “Apostle” ever endorse slavery or wife beating?

    When Paul wrote “Slaves, obey your masters.”

    If you took that out of it context (ie, in the middle of an exhortation to set your minds on higher things, rather than earthy politics), made a poing of knowing nothing about the society of the day, and threw in a dash of politicized know-nothingness, you could waive that sentence around and pretend it’s an endorsement of slavery.

    But that’s the sort of thing that somebody pushing a political agenda without regard for the truth might do.

  256. Episiarch,

    I know. I need to stop picking on Joe. He is right about religion and God on this one.

  257. I have to note that it is a very positive aspect of these forums that right now, on this very thread, joe and John are simultaneously arguing with each other over Wright yet at the same time in close agreement regarding religion and their support for it.

    Kumbaya.
    Now, on with the bitch-slapping.

  258. Fluffy,

    If religious people have discarded the doctrines that can be proven false, and have recognized that their faith is a faith, which doesn’t inform them about physics, that isn’t hiding. It’s adapting.

    Darn those religious people, who used to make claims about their religion that they couldn’t support, and then stopped! How annoying!

  259. He is right about religion and God on this one.

    Well, he and you agree about religion and God on this one.

    Since I agree with Fluffy, I would vehemently disagree that you or he is right.

  260. It is not God’s fault we got the message wrong or the nature of our being makes it impossible to communicate ultimate truth in anything but metaphorical terms.

    Right, except for that couple of millennia where the Bible was decreed to be the literal word of God, and if you disputed that you were fucking toast.

    You do realize that if your statement here is correct, there is no reason to read the Bible or associate with any organized religious sect, right? That you have resorted to an argument that necessarily and unavoidably discredits all religion in order to “protect” it from refutation, but will continue to live your life as if you have not done this?

  261. “When Paul wrote “Slaves, obey your masters.”

    That is a good example. Part of the problem I think is that people misinterpret Christianity as offering some kind of salvation in this world rather than the next. Paul was not saying “slavery was good”. Paul was saying that it doesn’t matter that you are slave in this world, you won’t be in the next if you beleive.

  262. Kumbaya. Now, on with the bitch-slapping.

    I have to say something nice once in a while, Jamie. You fuckhead.

  263. Humans are utterly incapable of understanding the universe in any ultimate sense.

    That statement reveals everything you need to know about most religious people’s regard to reason and science.

  264. er, regard for reason and science.

  265. Fluffy,

    You should learn more before you condemn that which you don’t know about.

    Modern Catholicism, for example, does not teach that the words of the Bible “come directly from God,” but that they are “inspired by God.”

    No, it does not disprove God that human understanding of his message is fallable.

    But, hey, since Christian understanding of this doctrine has been able to incorporate new information, I guess that means we’re all corrupt and deluded.

    That’s ok. You don’t need to understand something very well to hold it in contempt. You know everything you need to know about the subject. For your purposes.

  266. “You do realize that if your statement here is correct, there is no reason to read the Bible or associate with any organized religious sect, right? That you have resorted to an argument that necessarily and unavoidably discredits all religion in order to “protect” it from refutation, but will continue to live your life as if you have not done this?”

    It doesn’t mean that at all. First, there are degrees of correctness. It maybe that we got the message really wrong but over time we started to figure out what it really was. Second, it also is the case that even though individually we don’t grasp the full reality of the universe, we can get a piece of it through metaphor. The story of the fall is a good example of this. Why is it that mankind continues to fail and do evil even though everyone claims to be doing what is best? Because we can’t help ourselves. We are tainted with sin to such a degree that even when we try to do the right thing, we often end up doing more harm than good.

    Just becuase you don’t understand the mind of God and can’t know ultimate through except through him, doesn’t mean there are not degrees of knowing below that ultimate truth.

  267. I’m definitely on the side, personally, of defining religion as the sickly-smelling effluvia of dead cultures’ psychological waste gathered into rank, unkempt piles of jaundiced observations and lucky charms, organized and ranked according to their supposed magical efficacy and the potency of the dopamine rush they provide to their regular users.

    Now that the pure product is no longer usable in polite company, it is cut by intervening philosophies (Plotinus and neo-Platonism, black liberation, and every fucking thing in between.) And as with drugs they so resemble, purer is not always healthier or better, and the cut product is definitely cheaper to produce.

    That isn’t to say there isn’t much of social, cultural, historical, or philosophical worth to be found there. There is. It just seems like an awful lot of crap to wade through to get there.

    Joe, implying that Atheists are by-and-large simply “mad at God” (or instruments of the corporeal edifice of God) is part and parcel with implying that Democrats are by-and-large simply “mad at rich people”. Neither are particularly true except for the occasional bitter outlier. That I endorse a (fairly Nietzschean) hermeneutical criticism of religion should be taken at face value, and it is a disservice to not take people like me at face value when you have no good reason to believe otherwise.

  268. John,

    Ephesians 6:5-9 appears to if not endorse slavery at least tolerate it. Colossians 4:1 appears to be more of an endorsement of such.

  269. You’re actually engaging in exactly the kind of annoying conduct that works atheists into a lather.

    Yes, disagreeing with you, and not holding to the juvenile, easily-caricatured beliefs that you would like us to. I image that’s quite irritating, to someone who has such a raw need to believe Christians are illogical.

  270. In reflection, the hermeneutic is at least as Freudian as it is Nietzschean, the way I wrote it there.

  271. Humans are utterly incapable of understanding the universe in any ultimate sense.

    Oh, now we get to it. Humans are incapable of seeing, because they have human eyes. Incapable of knowing, because they have human brains.

    God, Rand had you picked out in the friggin’ 50s, man.

    I don’t understand why you haven’t just shut yourself up in a room and do nothing but pray…I mean all this that you’re doing is meaningless, because you can’t understand anything about the way the world works, not from physics to economics to biology…none of it. Humans are ugly, sinful, blind monsters who can only be saved by the Sky-Fairy’s “Divine Grace”.

  272. “That statement reveals everything you need to know about most religious people’s regard to reason and science.”

    I totally believe in science. Science can predict but it can’t tell us why or what something is beyond describing its characteristics. Science makes the trains run on time, but not much else.

  273. If religious people have discarded the doctrines that can be proven false, and have recognized that their faith is a faith, which doesn’t inform them about physics, that isn’t hiding.

    But this is the utter illogic of faith. You yourself said above that if all of Christianity were actually proved true, you would stop believing.

    So you don’t believe in Christianity. You worship the concept of faith itself. You believe that the only thing that matters is believing in something that cannot be proven. I guess it just has to be something that isn’t too silly or has history.

    To me, that’s just 100% nuts.

  274. Except when it comes to faith, I presume.

    Statements about faith are not arguments. They can’t be – by definition, they are statements not arrived at through logic. They’re statements of faith.

    People who try to prove their religious convictions through Aristotelian logic are barking up the wrong tree.

  275. John,

    The problem is that the new world never came; the soon to come new world which Jesus promised in the early gospels didn’t come. So understanably people start looking for justice to answered in the here and now or for their religious view to trump that of others.

  276. Yeah like Objectivism doesnt have an awful lot of the characteristics religion does.

    Theres a God (reason), its prophet (Ayn Rand) and Holy Books (her works).

    Same with Marxism.

  277. Yes, disagreeing with you, and not holding to the juvenile, easily-caricatured beliefs that you would like us to.

    No, joe, it’s the shape-shifting Christianity that irritates us. “The Bible is the inerrant Truth!..except for where it’s obvious that Paul was influenced by the culture of his times…”

    And the parts that we’re supposed to take as “cultural idiosyncracies” are always the parts that make Christians look like yokely morons.

  278. Modern Catholicism, for example, does not teach that the words of the Bible “come directly from God,” but that they are “inspired by God.”

    So?
    Just because modern Catholics teach that, means it’s impermeable to criticism, cannot be challenged philosophically or historically, and must be taken on “faith” alone?
    Oh yes, we are talking about faith a mental disorder.
    The “good,” moral points of Christianity had already been fleshed out by a hundred moral philosophers before Jesus came tripping along, joe.
    I don’t need no fuckin’ German stick figure in a funny hat to tell me shit-all about moral philosophy when I can arrive at certain similar conclusions just by the simple idea of self-preservation.

  279. I don’t understand why you haven’t just shut yourself up in a room and do nothing but pray…

    i’m going to guess it’s similar to the reasons why you don’t just atlas-shrug-a-doodle-do into the sunset.

    everybody’s got to live in the world, regardless of the array of characters, fictional and otherwise, which populate their psyche and give coherence to the formless ebb and flow of existence.

  280. “God, Rand had you picked out in the friggin’ 50s, man. ”

    If you ever bothered to read anything beyond Rand, you would know that Kant picked up on that idea a hell of a long time before Rand.

    You can understand lots about physics and biology and the world around you fucking nitwit. But you can only understand those through the lense of temporality and our experience. You can not “know” those things in any sense beyond how we percieve them. That is great if you want to build a rocket to go to the moon or invent a new drug. It doesn’t do a damn thing if you want to know anything deeper.

  281. I burn down your cities–how blind you must be

    I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we

    You all must be crazy to put your faith in Me

    That’s why i love mankind

    Randy Newman

  282. John,

    Explain to me how believing that the government started AIDS is anything but crazy?

    Given what we know about Tuskeegee, and about the government’s negligent non-response in the early 80s, I don’t see it as so off the charts to make the connection, especially for someone who is naive about politics and prone to conspiratorial thinking, as many naive people are.

    It’s funny how closely you identify with the govenrment when it’s critic is black. You don’t just disagree with that conspiracy theory; you actually become defensive, as if you’ve been attacked yourself.

  283. I don’t need no fuckin’ German stick figure in a funny hat to tell me shit-all about moral philosophy when I can arrive at certain similar conclusions just by the simple idea of self-preservation.

    then why are you so angry?

  284. Yes, disagreeing with you, and not holding to the juvenile, easily-caricatured beliefs that you would like us to.

    Good rebuttal joe! Well thought-0out! I know you’re always imploring us to develop our arguments against you with ideas and evidence, but I had no idea you were such a master yourself!
    BTW, “easily-caricatured” is a complex modifier that does not need a hyphen.

  285. then why are you so angry?

    I’m angry because I don’t need no fuckin’ German stick figure in a funny hat to tell me shit-all about moral philosophy when I can arrive at certain similar conclusions just by the simple idea of self-preservation.
    That’s why.

  286. Joe,

    To the extent that someone would beleive that AIDS is the result of a government conspiracy, that is the horrible legacy left here by things like Tuskegee. Yes, such a legacy exists, but aren’t leaders such as Obama and Wright supposed to fight that legacy rather than foster it? If Wright were just some guy you met in a bar saying that, I could see your point. But he is not. He is a serious community leader in Chicago. Doesn’t he have a duty not to put out such nonsense?

  287. You can understand lots about physics and biology and the world around you fucking nitwit.

    “Turn the other cheek, but first call those who hate you a ‘fucking nitwit.’ ”
    That there’s in the Buy-bull.

  288. i’m going to guess it’s similar to the reasons why you don’t just atlas-shrug-a-doodle-do into the sunset.

    I’ll admit, I LOL’d at that.

  289. i’m going to guess it’s similar to the reasons why you don’t just atlas-shrug-a-doodle-do into the sunset.

    No one’s ever asserted that “shrugging” is the proper course toward happiness. Atlas Shrugged is an acknowledged work of fiction, wherein fictional people do fictional (and impossible) things.

    If we could get the faithful to acknowledge the Bible the same way, we’d all be a lot better off.

    It’s funny how closely you identify with the govenrment when it’s critic is black.

    ORLY? Wanna guess what my response is to a 9/11 Truther? Wanna guess what race they usually are? How about the black helicopter people?

    Don’t play cheap racial poltics, joe.

  290. Episiarch,

    So you don’t believe in Christianity. You worship the concept of faith itself.

    Faith is an inherent part of Christianity. Without that Pascalian leap, there is no point to it.

    I guess it just has to be something that isn’t too silly or has history. It has to be something that connects you to God, and to your fellow members of your religious community. There are a lot of aspects that go into whether a particular faith is right.

    Yes, it’s illogical. If one were to go about designing a bridge like this, there would be a legitimate reason to hold such a person in contempt. But no one is building a bridge, or even trying to explain lightening, using this process.

    Look it at this way: it’s like your soul going to the gym.

  291. I’ve already backed the argument up in the day in the discussion earlier with elemepope, and put to rest the ‘quote out of context’ bullshit three hours ago before you tried to ressecutate that corpse

    No, you didn’t. You simply made a facile and inaccurate comparison to a vastly different situation, and ignored the relevant details that make the situations so different.

  292. Joe,

    The bottom line is this: once upon a time there was a group of men who claimed to have exclusive information from God about phenomena across the range of human existence. They made various claims to have direct knowledge of the creation of the universe. They made claims to have direct knowledge from God about the creation of Man. They claimed direct knowledge from God about history, to the point of constructing elaborate genealogies to trace known figures back to a primordial first man.

    All of those claims were later exploded.

    But you want to pretend that it’s “adaptation” when you cling to the theological doctrines first promulgated by these men.

    You do realize that Judeo-Christian theology is largely an epiphenomena that arose from centuries of priestly discussion of the various historical and teleological claims you now blithely dismiss as metaphor, right? That they would not exist, and would have no reason to exist, if those claims were not at one time thought to be literally true?

    Darn those religious people, who used to make claims about their religion that they couldn’t support, and then stopped! How annoying!

    The current claims religion makes would not exist and would not have been granted a hearing by anyone if it were not for the claims that have been discarded.

    Christianity was painstakingly constructed over time to specifically conform itself with Old Testament prophecy.

    Without the claims that could not be supported, these religions should not exist at all. So I am willing to admit it: what annoys me about religious people is that these religions should have died when such a large body of material concerning them was debunked, and I find the fact that they did not die to be evidence of the capacity of human beings to be dicks and refuse to admit they are wrong.

  293. Anyway, I think it is pretty clear that the NT authors did not view the ownership of slaves as a sinful activity. That they could not make that leap demonstrates the limits of the moral universe that they lived in. In their defense I would note very few (if any) individuals prior to the 1700s viewed slavery as an institution as an immoral one. Indeed, to many intellectual giants like Aristotle it was a “natural” institution. Now religious people (along with secular figures inspired by the humanism of the Enlightenment) were involved in getting abolitionism going, however, such persons and groups almost invariably came from the marginalized periphery of religious believers like the Quakers.

  294. Epi @ 3:21

    I can only hope for more of this. The pretzel-twisting of logic and argument is nothing short of amazing.

    And in my opinon quite entertaining.

    Since the “accepted” thing to do here is to support one’s opinion with “evidence”, preferably external, (and preferably other than wikipedia) I offer this, as supporting evidence (no external links required)- pretty much everything that has transpired on this thread, before and since the time of the above quote.

  295. Statements about faith are not arguments. They can’t be – by definition, they are statements not arrived at through logic. They’re statements of faith.

    I’ve read Kirkegaard, joe, I have heard all this before.

    I will reiterate and restate what I said above. You believe not in God or Jesus or Xenu, but in faith itself. You seem to feel you gain something (I have no clue what it is) by believing in something which cannot be proven, as if by making this leap of faith, you have done something positive.

    But really, all you have done is made an irrational decision. Why do you feel that there is anything redeeming in this?

  296. You do realize that if your statement here is correct, there is no reason to read the Bible or associate with any organized religious sect, right?

    This is what’s known as “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    Because we cannot understand the will of God perfectly, we therefore cannot understand it at all.

    Nope, doesn’t work like that.

    I could throw several centuries of bodily-humor theory at you to make the same refutation of science (and often see this done by so-called rational people on global warming threads), but since I’m not motivated to believe that science is false and dangerous, I have no motivation to make such an irrational statement.

  297. I’ve already backed the argument up in the day in the discussion earlier with elemepope

    All these days as an elemecardinal, and finally I’ve been elevated! Huzzah!

  298. You know, when John wrote the phrase “…in any ultimate sense,” it wasn’t just fancy punctuation. It actually changes the meaning of his statement “Humans are incapable of knowing the universe in any ultimate sense.”

    Just pretending that those last four words aren’t there, and attacking him for making a statement he didn’t make, is willful ignorance masquerading as sophistication.

  299. Look it at this way: it’s like your soul going to the gym.

    What does this even mean? It’s like your soul doing 20 reps of incline press if you believe in unprovable things? How do you benefit from such belief?

    Or is the “benefit” taken on faith too?

  300. joe,

    What does “any ultimate sense” even mean? Ultimate in what way? Who is defining what “ultimate” is? And if one cannot know it in any ultimate sense then how does one know that exactly? If one does know that, one seems to know at least one “ultimate” is: ultimate knowledge of what cannot know.

    Full Disclosure: To me the universe seems knowable enough for my concerns.

  301. Fluffy,

    Modern religion was born of mythology, just as modern chemistry was born of alchemy.

    I don’t care. It’s good that time and effort have burned away the false and pointless elements. It’s good that relgion occupies its rightful sphere these days, instead of making unfounded claims to knowledge it doesn’t possess.

    None of this tells us anything about the truthfulness of religion, in its rightful sphere.

  302. I don’t need no fuckin’ German stick figure in a funny hat to tell me shit-all about moral philosophy when I can arrive at certain similar conclusions just by the simple idea of self-preservation.

    You don’t seem to have worked out “Do unto others…” very well.

    love,

    joe, who hasn’t actually made any arguments about religion being necessary for the development of morality, because he doesn’t believe that.

  303. This is what’s known as “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    Because we cannot understand the will of God perfectly, we therefore cannot understand it at all.

    No, it’s not.

    The Bible was held out for centuries to be the word of God, as revealed to its authors.

    If those authors could not understand the will of God, why should I read their book and not some other one?

    Why shouldn’t I just write down some nonsense of my own in crayon on a brown paper bag and call it the word of God?

    More annoying religious behavior: elevate a text that only is relevant if it is authoritative, but then when there’s something embarrassing in it deny that any text can be authoritative because it’s all just too freaky-deaky from our silly little brains.

    I could throw several centuries of bodily-humor theory at you to make the same refutation of science (and often see this done by so-called rational people on global warming threads), but since I’m not motivated to believe that science is false and dangerous, I have no motivation to make such an irrational statement.

    Science can survive error, because its entire reason for being is to provide a methodology to gradually work through errors.

    Religion can’t survive error, because its hucksters claim divine inspiration.

    If a scientist declares that the world will end next Tuesday and it doesn’t, we can send science back to the drawing board.

    If a prophet says that God has personally told him that the world will end next Tuesday and it doesn’t, everything else he says God told him is revealed to be stupid and only you’d have to be stubborn or an idiot to say, “Well, that whole ‘end of the world’ part was wrong, I guess, but let’s keep the rest of this material and make a religion out of it!”

  304. joe, who hasn’t actually made any arguments about religion being necessary for the development of morality, because he doesn’t believe that.

    Now I am really confused. You acknowledge you don’t religion for science: they are two different realms. You acknowledge you don’t need it for morality.

    So, you don’t need it for the “is”s of the world, and you don’t need it for the “oughts”, either…so what the hell do you need it for?

  305. joe,

    Would you say that you are zetetic?

  306. love,

    joe,

    Ewwwww.
    Just. Ewwwww.

  307. You believe not in God or Jesus or Xenu, but in faith itself.

    No, I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth…

    What you mean to say is that I recognize that the worth of religion comes, at least partially, from the act of faith. Yup. Guilty. But there is no such thing as “believing it faith itself.” Faith needs an object.

    Why do you feel that there is anything redeeming in this?

    No one can answer that for another person. It’s subjective, and individual, and personal. I cannot – the wisest man who ever lived could not – explain the answer to you, because it cannot be proven. Nor can it be disproven.

    Yes, I’ve made the decision to be irrational about theology and ritual, and other things that aren’t about building highway bridges.

    I’m not going to insist you understand that, and I’m not going to apologize for it. It’s what I choose, and you

  308. OMG God just struck joe down!

  309. So, you don’t need it for the “is”s of the world, and you don’t need it for the “oughts”, either…so what the hell do you need it for?

    Joe wouldn’t like it if I said this was about him, so it’s not officially about him, you know, but in my experience that are lots of Catholics who just like churches.

    And singing.

    And having somewhere to go on Sunday morning.

    Many, many people defend religion from attack because they are simply attached to it as a cultural artifact.

    But noooooooooo, there’s nothing annoying about that at all.

  310. Elemenope | April 28, 2008, 4:46pm | #
    I’ve already backed the argument up in the day in the discussion earlier with elemepope

    All these days as an elemecardinal, and finally I’ve been elevated! Huzzah!

    With the religious discussion going on, I think that would qualify as a Freudian slip. As for the promotion, you are most welcome, sir!

    Joe, could you or could you not using your own ability apply your knowledge of the world around you deduce from two minutes of a Bull Connor clip that he was a racist?

  311. so what the hell do you need it for?

    Deep-seated, primordial, subconscious and seldomly acknowledged fact that joe is going to soon be occupying a hole in the dirt with maggots eating away what once was vibrant, pink, blood-filled tissue, and that everything he’s ever done, all the people he’s ever known and every precious experience will soon be blacker than a steer’s tuckus on a moonless prairie night.
    In other words, he’s going to …
    DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE.
    And no, not the German “the.”

  312. What does this even mean? It’s like your soul doing 20 reps of incline press if you believe in unprovable things? How do you benefit from such belief?

    Interestingly enough, there does appear to be certain circuits in the brain that are stimulated and reinforced in people who regularly digest concepts that include a conception of the infinite. This section of the brain lights up fairly consistently, and seems to be reinforced and better developed in mathematicians, (to a lesser extent) physicists, and (drumroll) religious ascetics and meditators of various doctrinal stripes.

    It isn’t crazy to say that to think of the great “mysteries” does help the brain exercise certain conceptual skills. Now, for it being “soul exercise” that would require a belief in something silly, like a soul.

  313. I pretty much figured one would be trotted out today when I heard Wright say this:

    x x views?

    REV. WRIGHT: As I said on the Bill Moyers show, one of our news channels keeps playing a news clip from 20 years ago, when Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter’s being vilified for and Bishop Tutu’s being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I’m anti- Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago.

    Make of it what you will, but parsing
    Farrakhan is a no no in America’s political establishment.

  314. Fluffy,

    If those authors could not understand the will of God, why should I read their book and not some other one?

    Once again, you fail to incorporate the concepts of “perfect” and “good” into your thinking.

    Nor have you yet contended with the difference between material and spiritual truth.

    This is what I meant about juvenile, simplistic faith.

    You hew to this vision of faith that exists for the purpose of being easy to refute, no matter how many times people tell you that’s not their faith.

  315. Now, for it being “soul exercise” that would require a belief in something silly, like a soul.

    Death is scary, as Jamie was sort of pointing out, and souls are a nice faith-based unprovable exit hatch from ceasing to exist.

  316. Alan anyone who is not a liberal elitist and/or has an IQ of over 30 gets it.

    Obama is being pounded for it right now in the media, btw. Hillary might get it if they keep it up LOL.

  317. joe @ 5:12 proves he hasn’t been reading Fluffy very closely.

    Is your faith and the Sacred Scripture inerrant or not, joe? It’s a very simple question.

  318. Joe, I agree that it is easy to make the “perfect” strawman to bash Christianity, but in some sense the Christians have done it to themselves by endorsing a “if you aren’t perfect, you are an evil sinner!!!1!!1!eleventy-one!” treatment of the imperfections of aspiring Christians (to say nothing of others!).

    The psychological damage of this is incalculable. What do you think happens to the psyche of a teenage boy when you tell him that considering unspoken the girl-next-door’s tits to be hot is an affront to the LORD? This practically invites criticisms of impossible perfection as the desired goal of Christianity, leaving itself open to the attack that it considers all imperfection as failure.

    Whether this is what was intended to be the way Christian religion was to be practiced is fairly unlikely, and yet here we are, stuck with the ways religions are actually practiced (rather than some normative wishlist of true Christianity which would leave us all in “no true Scotsman” territory).

  319. OMG God just struck joe down!

    Well it’s been a long match, but it looks like we have a winner.

    Take a bow Episiarch.

  320. You hew to this vision of faith that exists for the purpose of being easy to refute, no matter how many times people tell you that’s not their faith.

    Dude, come on. Our entire discussion has been about the way the religious side of the argument has dishonestly hidden itself in new configurations to try to recover from the shellacking Judeo-Christianity received beginning at the time of the philosophes.

    I absolutely understand that your faith is not the same as the faith of Catholics of the high Renaissance. As I’ve said a few times now, that’s precisely what is annoying about it.

    You hew to this vision of faith that exists for the purpose of being easy to refute

    No, I hew to the vision of faith that the custodians of your religion promulgated to the world for almost two millennia. When the jig was up on that vision of faith, they were not gentlemanly enough to leave town, but came up with your version of faith and foisted it on the world instead. I just refuse to play along, because both iterations of that faith depend on the credibility of their authors and of their custodians for their truth value, and that means I can judge them both at the same time.

  321. Whether this is what was intended to be the way Christian religion was to be practiced is fairly unlikely

    I would say that, given that the progenitor of the whole shebang set up a lot of those impossible standards, it was meant to be this way.

    Why? To be controlling; none of us can ever achieve Christian perfection, we’re all just worthless sinners, so we have to spend more time and energy “controlling” our natural humanity for some kind of perverse “perfect”. And, of course, only the Church fathers can help us, so we have to spend more time (and money) in their sanctuaries, avoiding Hell.

    It’s designed to be an impossible standard; if you could achieve it, then you could claim godhood status.

  322. Questions for joe:

    Does joe believe in spreading the Gospel, or is it just that joe feels all warm and fuzzy with the faith he was raised into?
    Does joe believe that the world would be a better place with more Christians, or religious people in general?

  323. I would say that, given that the progenitor of the whole shebang set up a lot of those impossible standards, it was meant to be this way.

    Who, Paul? Yeah, he was kind of a dick. Nobody makes a zealot like a good ol’ convert.

  324. 300+ comments. Lemmee guess. Neil and joe pissing contest, right?

  325. 300+ comments. Lemmee guess. Neil and joe pissing contest, right?

    Actually, for the most part, no. It’s been Fluffy and A_R trading shots with Joe over the validity of religious belief.

  326. Joe is just trying to hide my brilliant post with miles of crap about god:

    joshua corning | April 28, 2008, 11:56am | #
    “I served six years in the military,” Barack Obama’s longtime pastor said. “Does that make me patriotic?

    So i guess now any criticism of the moonbat left by anyone is now an attack on their patriotism.

    Anyway as the Rev swings at strawmen lets take a moment to remember that he sucks not cuz he is unpatriotic but because he spits hate and lies on a regular basis.

  327. Well, Corning, not any criticism. Just the ones that, you know, actively assert anti-Americanism and a lack of patriotism.

    Read every Wright-related post at the Corner for the last few months and see if any of them assert that:

    1) Wright is anti-American and not a patriot; and

    2) Obama’s patriotism is suspect because he knows Wright.

    Hell, Patty Noonan’s column just the other day basically said that because Obama is friends with Wright, it means that he hates the Wright brothers.

  328. Who, Paul? Yeah, he was kind of a dick. Nobody makes a zealot like a good ol’ convert.

    Thass true…ever have a conversation with an ex-smoker or some joker who has been through the twelve steps? [or former Catholics…hmmmm]

    Egad.

    No, I was referencing the Big J himself, given that your example of

    What do you think happens to the psyche of a teenage boy when you tell him that considering unspoken the girl-next-door’s tits to be hot is an affront to the LORD?

    was spoken by him. Anybody who said “Lustful thoughts are sins” clearly intended to deny human nature, and to make people feel bad about it makes Jesus an asshole.

  329. So i guess now any criticism of the moonbat left by anyone is now an attack on their patriotism.

    Just like how the right took up “victimhood politics” because it worked so well for left, now has the left picked up the “military service = unquestionable patriotism”, because the right has used it so effectively.

    I just want to say this: military service gives you authority to speak on military matters, and military matters ONLY. Servicemembers viewpoints should not be considered more valid or revered just because they volunteered to go to war. The end.

  330. Much better discussion than I would have believed would develop out of this topic.

    I disagree with dbcooper…

    Here’s the thread winner:

    “In reflection, the hermeneutic is at least as Freudian as it is Nietzschean, the way I wrote it there.”

  331. For what it is worth, I believe that a close reading of Revelations will reveal that Paul was the anti-christ and has led many away from the important message found in Jesus’s teaching.

    Which are worth reading, regardless of whether you believe they are perfect, divine, or God-inspiring/world creating.

  332. No, I was referencing the Big J himself, given that your example of

    What do you think happens to the psyche of a teenage boy when you tell him that considering unspoken the girl-next-door’s tits to be hot is an affront to the LORD?

    was spoken by him.

    You have more faith that the gospel’s have accurately recorded the words of the Big J than I do, for sure.

    By the time Matthew was written, I am not sure everyone’s recollection maintained the appropriate fidelity. A half-century long “pass it along” game will always allow in some distortions.

    Not to mention that there may be a different message lurking in the actual bible passage than the interpretation you give it.

  333. I just want to say this: military service gives you authority to speak on military matters, and military matters ONLY. Servicemembers viewpoints should not be considered more valid or revered just because they volunteered to go to war. The end.

    I would be even more limited than this. It gives you some personal insight on how things actually work (or don’t) at whatever level you wound up. But as for ‘grand strategy’ stuff – i.e. anything decided on a political level – it makes you no more (or less) qualified than a ‘civilian’ who gives the matter proper study and thought.

  334. No, I was referencing the Big J himself, given that your example of

    What do you think happens to the psyche of a teenage boy when you tell him that considering unspoken the girl-next-door’s tits to be hot is an affront to the LORD?

    was spoken by him. Anybody who said “Lustful thoughts are sins” clearly intended to deny human nature, and to make people feel bad about it makes Jesus an asshole.

    Well, I think that that is somewhat mitigated by two factors:

    1. He was busy criticizing a society and religious power structure that was obsessed with “ritual cleanliness”. He was essentially running around shouting at the top of his lungs:

    “You think you’re clean? You think you’re FUCKING clean? You think that’s gonna save your scrawny ass? YOU AREN’T CLEAN! NOBODY’S CLEAN!!! YOU’VE THOUGHT ABOUT TITS, TOO!!!” at all the arrogant holier-than-thou religious leaders of the day.

    2. And he followed up the above with “but I love you anyway.”

    In short, I think his point was that everyone sins, and that forgiveness and humility must be part-and-parcel of holiness, not just piety or cleanliness.

    I agree that he overestimated the amount to which human beings can control their urges, and also wildly underestimated the extent to which people two millenia hence would no longer have his context (nor his tone of voice) to suss out what he might have meant beyond the bare meanings of his words.

    Because of these faults among his decently accumulated virtues, I consider him to be a very wise and crafty rabbi, but no deity’s son.

  335. That “half-century” is, of course, the shortest estimate…and assumes that Matthew was written by Matthew.

    If not, which is likely, the chance for fidelity goes down considerably.

    Note, much biblical scholarship follows pretty rigorous scientific methods and is carried out both by people of faith and atheists. Some denominations make of doctrinal point regarding the fallibility of the source texts and place emphasis on the individual’s personal faith and personal relationship with god and the universe.

    That, of course, exempts those denominations from some of the arguments made above.

  336. Nice interpretation LMNOP…

    Congrats on the thread win, btw.

  337. I realize, of course, that my comments may now result in a discussion of whether “scientific methods” really apply in fields like archeology or history…

  338. “The BVS, among other things, pointedly rejects “the pursuit of middleclassness” as a strategy through which “captor” majorities neuter the threat of revolt by “captive” groups.”
    And staying poor (while hoping to strike it rich in music or sports)is really a threat to the status quo.
    Wright (and the leftist social-worker industry) want a perpetually dependant underclass that needs their “help”.

  339. Nice interpretation LMNOP…

    Congrats on the thread win, btw.

    Thanks. First the elevation to “elemenepope” and now this. I’m on a roll, tonight! 🙂

    As to whether scientific methods apply, re: archaeology and history; I’d say that Neil Postman’s argument (following the consequences of Popper) that social “sciences” function more to create coherent narratives than to test falsifiable hypotheses is fairly persuasive, though that should not in any way be taken to suggest that their methods are less rigorous…just not strictly “scientific”.

  340. CNN played extensive clips of Wright’s press conference. He was hamming it up and having a good ol’ time. Heck, about 80% of what he said made sense (all until he was asked about his comments that the US government created AIDS to kill black people or something).

  341. Neu Mejican,

    Depends on the subject of study.

  342. If a prophet says that God has personally told him that the world will end next Tuesday and it doesn’t, everything else he says God told him is revealed to be stupid…

    This, from somebody who would pose as the arbiter of rationality. You would fail freshman Logic with a statement like that.

    If a prophet is wrong about something material in the world, it means he is wrong about everything.

    But only prophets! Not anybody else, oh no. Only the people Fluffy finds annoying.

  343. Ayn Randian,

    Is your faith and the Sacred Scripture inerrant or not, joe?

    Yes, sacred scriptures tell eternal truths, which men were inspired by God to write.

    The problem is, they’re only human, and the truths they gotten glimpses of are often beyond human understanding, so they have to use allegorical language, sometimes without understanding that’s what they’re doing.

    Scripture is not an unerring source of knowledge about the material world. It’s not TV Guide. The truths it reveals are of a different kind. It is annoying when atheist fanatics, and other varieties of religious fanatics, fail to understand that.

  344. But only prophets! Not anybody else, oh no. Only the people Fluffy finds annoying.

    Oh come on, Joe. Prophets take their claim to be prophets from their having access to a supernatural unerring authority. That raises the standards on them *a little*.

  345. LMNOP,

    but in some sense the Christians have done it to themselves by endorsing a “if you aren’t perfect, you are an evil sinner!!!1!!1!eleventy-one!” treatment of the imperfections of aspiring Christians (to say nothing of others!).

    Yes. They shouldn’t do that. This, and your next example, make a great many assumptions about how all Christians live their faith.

  346. Fluffy,

    If you are driven to so much distraction by the fact that Christianity was able to reform itself, that’s too bad for you.

    It says nothing about Christianity, or the truths it reveals, that it has come to understand the world and the concept of truth better.

    You can keep referring to this reformation using words like “dishonest” and “hide,” but all those terms do is draw a little frown next to the word “reform.”

    Yup, the faith has changed. Had it not, perpetually aggrieved atheists like yourself would be annoyed that it HADN’T changed.

    Not my problem.

  347. Ayn Randian,

    I would say that, given that the progenitor of the whole shebang set up a lot of those impossible standards, it was meant to be this way. Ditto for that atheist, Buddha.

    A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. It gives us something to work for. If you think Jesus of Nazareth, who could have gotten an army of Jewish nationalists at his back by snapping his fingers but decided to be tortured and murdered instead, was simply trying to exert control, you don’t know very much about the subject you’re holding forth about.

  348. Scripture is not an unerring source of knowledge about the material world. It’s not TV Guide.

    I LOL’d earlier, but for this one I ROFL’d.

    Yes. They shouldn’t do that. This, and your next example, make a great many assumptions about how all Christians live their faith.

    Well, to be fair both to reality and to Christianity, I made an assumption based on a great deal of observation of the actual behavior of a goodly number of Christians. Certainly not all Christians do this, perhaps not even most. However, the most popular ways to teach, experience, and live Christianity these days have copious amounts of the very thing which you (rightfully, I think) criticize.

  349. LMNOP Calidore,

    RE: scientific

    I concur.

    Of course the narratives that are created even by “hard science” are not strictly “scientific” in the strictest sense…Only specific hypotheses that help support those narratives.

  350. Jamie Kelly,

    Does joe believe in spreading the Gospel, or is it just that joe feels all warm and fuzzy with the faith he was raised into?

    Yes, but conditionally. joe would heartily endorse spreading the good news, and encouraging people with a void to find sustenance from it, but if someone is happy and fulfilled by their Shinto faith, and they don’t get anything from reading the New Testament, there’s no point in hammering away at them. A kind, devout old Shinto lady isn’t going to be better by converting to Catholicism.

    Does joe believe that the world would be a better place with more Christians, or religious people in general?

    Why, better off with more of the right sort, but worse off with more of the wrong sort, of course.

  351. Hrrm,
    Without reading too much of this thread I suspect ya’ll are making much ado about nothing. Or at least not 350+ posts worth of something.

    That having been said, I am not about to read the thread to see if I am Wright right so carry on.

  352. LMNOP,

    Prophets take their claim to be prophets from their having access to a supernatural unerring authority.

    And this makes the prophets themselves infallible? No, it does not.

    It is possible to tap into something and not get all the details right. And then, of course, there are false prophets. Between the two of these factors, religious people with modern minds do not trust in the unerring pronouncements of prophets. Regardless of whether people seeking to discredit religion entirely try to convince you that we do.

  353. A nice talk regarding truth in science

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/194

    Murray Gell-Mann (the quark guy)…

  354. Elemenope,

    Well, to be fair both to reality and to Christianity, I made an assumption based on a great deal of observation of the actual behavior of a goodly number of Christians. Certainly not all Christians do this, perhaps not even most. However, the most popular ways to teach, experience, and live Christianity these days have copious amounts of the very thing which you (rightfully, I think) criticize.

    I can’t argue with that. You are right, there are far too many, still.

    My kung fu, of course, is the best. As is my mother’s pasta sauce. Of course.

  355. if someone is happy and fulfilled by their Shinto faith, and they don’t get anything from reading the New Testament, there’s no point in hammering away at them.

    So, like you were told before, you’re in love with the idea of faith in general, not YOUR faith.

    In your faith, you’ve been commanded to “make disciples of all nations” because “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.”

    So I suppose while you’re all warm and fuzzy about little old Shinto lady and her comforting beliefs, you’re condemning her to hell and sinning against God yourself by not “hammering away.”

  356. Haven’t read all the posts, so I’ll just say to joe –

    Ha ha ha! (strokes beard). My kung fu is the best, and nobody can defeat me, not even you, Wong Fei-Hung! Ha ha ha!

  357. so they have to use allegorical language, sometimes without understanding that’s what they’re doing.

    Which is a complete and total reversal of pronouncements made by the pope and the Magisterium declaring the Scripture (as combined with Sacred Ritual) to be the unerring Word of the Lord.

    What’s sad to me is you won’t cop to the fact that Christianity changed because it was proven wrong on so many temporal issues. You’ve just shifted the debate so the circuit is complete and the logic is circular.

  358. So, like you were told before, you’re in love with the idea of faith in general, not YOUR faith.

    I can only speak for myself.

    Of course I think my faith is the best one, but I temper that idea with some humility, some appreciation of the differences between people, and of the inherently subjective, personal, culturally- and historically-bound nature of one’s relationship with and understanding of the divine.

    “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.”

    And what the “I” means in that statement has been the subject of centuries of dispute. Jesus, personally? His religious doctrines? The light of the Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit come in the same form to everyone?

    That nasty little paragraph you ended with a perfect example of the juvenile, straw-man version of faith I’ve been talking about. It is, of course, possible and common for a Christian to understand that teaching otherwise than the flat-brained, straight-line, thuggish spin you put on it, but there are two particular varieties of thugs who find that spin incredibly appealing.

  359. Which is a complete and total reversal of pronouncements made by the pope and the Magisterium declaring the Scripture (as combined with Sacred Ritual) to be the unerring Word of the Lord.

    The Magesterium has not taught that the Bible is literal truth in my lifetime, nor that Scripture, except for the few sections of the Gospels that quote Jesus, is the Word of the Lord.

    You don’t know your subject matter, A.R. You spout these half-informed misinterpretations, and presume to hold me to account for not agreeing with them?

    What’s sad to me is you won’t cop to the fact that Christianity changed because it was proven wrong on so many temporal issues. Actually, I’ve acknowledged that about a dozen times already. I’ve put up a whole passel of comments about reform, and faith learning its proper sphere, which make exactly that point. You’re just out of sorts because I won’t make the irrational leap you wish of me, to claim that being proven wrong on the literalness of the creation story means that the deeper truths that have nothing to do with literal readings about material matters have been disproven as well.

  360. Jesus’s words were very clear, joe. I’m not the one putting spin on things here.

    I’m curious, joe, why can’t I just take the entire story of Jesus as a misinterpreted allegory? Why not the whole Bible?

    Which fables of the Bible do you take to have actually happened, factually speaking, and which are just “metaphorical allegories”?

  361. Lord knows, atheists don’t fear death.

    Nope.

    And they certainly don’t create any big, heroic belief systems to help them cope with it.

    Or cryogenically freeze themselves. Or greedily read posts on web sites about physical immortality.

    As someone who looks at the teachings about the afterlife as being one of the biggest struggles of my faith – as in, not being sure there even is one – it’s amusing to see that singled out by the armchair psychologists as the grand explanation for why I choose to have a religious life.

  362. You don’t know your subject matter, A.R.

    No, joe, I really, really do know my subject matter, and so do you. You just don’t like where it leads under the proper interpretation, probably because of deep cultural roots and/or familial associations with the Church.

    Face it: you’ll take as allegorical those things which don’t conform to what you know is right, and you’ll take as literal those things that are benign and/or “good” in your view.

    You’re just out of sorts because I won’t make the irrational leap you wish of me

    I am not the one who believes in an omnipotent Being, in the face of no evidence for its existence.

    Your faith is, by definition, irrational.

  363. Lord knows, atheists don’t fear death.

    Strawman.

    nd they certainly don’t create any big, heroic belief systems to help them cope with it.

    Like what?

    I’ll repeat the question, since you missed it: Which stories in the Bible should be taken as allegory, and which as literal Truth and historical fact?

  364. Jesus’s words were very clear, joe.

    Uh huh.

    The above statement is the equivalent of a fifty foot blinking sign reading “I’m an intolerant asshole.”

    Yup, crystal clear. They could only possibly mean the one thing you want them to mean. Of course. All of those people who find different meanings in them…they’re just wrong.

    If there’s on thing we can sure about, it’s that people who don’t take religion seriously can reliably hit upon the ONE TRUE MEANING of the Bible at a glance.

    Which fables of the Bible do you take to have actually happened, factually speaking, and which are just “metaphorical allegories”? They all happened, in one sense or another. It’s just a matter of figuring out the proper sense.

  365. Ayn Randian,

    As anyone who has read Rand should be aware, it is not the truth of the words that matters the most in the formation of a belief, but the way those words resonate with your understanding of the world.

    How much of Rand’s objectivism should be taken as literal truth, and how much as metaphor aimed at deeper understanding?

    Which version of Objectivism is correct? Ayn Rand’s orthodoxy or the heretical teachings of The Atlas Society?

  366. And this makes the prophets themselves infallible? No, it does not.

    It is possible to tap into something and not get all the details right. And then, of course, there are false prophets. Between the two of these factors, religious people with modern minds do not trust in the unerring pronouncements of prophets.

    I agree, but then again I didn’t say “infallible”, only *slightly higher standards*. I think it isn’t too much to ask of a divine source that *many* or even *some* of the physical details will accord with what we found out later through arduous scientific means, even allowing for poetic language or hard concepts given the contemporary state of understanding and language. Not all of these errors can be explained as the product of wanting for the proper metaphor.

    Regardless of whether people seeking to discredit religion entirely try to convince you that we do.

    Though I’m usually pretty gentle (a “sheep in wolf’s clothing,” as one of my friends with faith said), I *am* one of those people. Unlike my compadres, I don’t usually whip out the whole “look how many scientific mistakes Isaiah made”. Cause that’s mean, partially unfair, and not my style. I do think that the “inerrant word” thing does clash some with the whole “whoops, rabbits don’t chew cud and Pi isn’t equal to 3” thing, and these things ought to be addressed instead of minimized for the convenience of the modern mind.

  367. No, joe, I really, really do know my subject matter

    No, you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t claim that the Roman Catholic Church teaches Biblical literalism, or that the entire Bible contains the unerring transcription of the divine word.

    If you knew your subject matter, you wouldn’t have so misused the term “the Word of the Lord.”

    You’re holding forth on doctrine you don’t actually know, and insisting that everyone else agrees with you, when they plainly don’t.

    You know what? I don’t need to waste my time with you anymore. You’ve simply devolved into “Nuh-uh, you know I’m right.”

  368. Your faith is, by definition, irrational.

    Joe admitted that, like, two hundred posts ago.

    If you’re gonna fight, fight fair.

  369. Your faith is, by definition, irrational.

    I believe I stated that six hours ago.

    You, on the other hand, wish to claim that your beliefs are rational, so i still get to ping you for your faulty logic.

  370. 367? joe and Neil must be here.

  371. You, on the other hand, wish to claim that your beliefs are rational, so i still get to ping you for your faulty logic.

    Incredible. You hide behind your faith and assert it as unassailable because it doesn’t deal it facts, but you have the audacity to “ping” people for their perceived errors.

    You can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned into. – Jonathan Swift

    Guess we both learned a valuable lesson.

  372. 367? joe and Neil must be here.

    Joe’s a recent arrival and Neil quit like six hours ago.

  373. Ayn Randian,

    Doesn’t look like you learned much today, from an outside view based on your posts, at least.

  374. A guy named Ayn Randian, asking what big, heroic ideas atheists build to make up for their smallness in the universe?

    A guy who calls himself Ayn Randian?

    Dude.

    Look inward for once.

  375. Doesn’t look like you learned much today, from an outside view based on your posts, at least.

    Get out of my head, Neu!

    Oh, wait, you’re not in there, so you wouldn’t know.

  376. A guy named Ayn Randian, asking what big, heroic ideas atheists build to make up for their smallness in the universe?

    What do they build, joe?

    Why are you so insistent that man is small in the universe? I suppose you only care about physical, literal size, rather than the size and power of ideas.

    Which is fine; just don’t uplift yourself as some kind of “lover of humanity”…you think man is just a speck, powerless in a vast void.

  377. Wait – just read a few more posts.

    Way to go, joe!

    And props to Neu Mejican for the comments on the Objectivist mythology.

  378. I think it isn’t too much to ask of a divine source that *many* or even *some* of the physical details will accord with what we found out later through arduous scientific means, even allowing for poetic language or hard concepts given the contemporary state of understanding and language.

    I do.

    God isn’t a physics book. He isn’t a TV Guide. God uses, and the people trying express His message use, concepts that their audience will understand, to reveal deeper truths.

    Not all of these errors can be explained as the product of wanting for the proper metaphor. They are the proper metaphor, if they revealed the underlying meaning to the people who heard them.
    That’s why it’s a mistake to focus on the surface things, or to read the Bible without always keeping an eye on the society of the time.

  379. Ayn Randian,

    I tried to include that hedge in my statement.

    I have no idea what you learned today.

    Objectively speaking, of course.

    ;^)

    Seriously, are you an Ayn Rand literalist, or do you buy David Kelly’s argument that it is a living system that will continue to evolve through the efforts of her followers?

    Is the belief system that makes up Objectivism fixed or mutable?

  380. They all happened, in one sense or another. It’s just a matter of figuring out the proper sense.

    Shorter joe: “I don’t know. I’m gonna make it up as I go and pick what I like from my faith.”

  381. You hide behind your faith and assert it as unassailable because it doesn’t deal it facts, but you have the audacity to “ping” people for their perceived errors.,/I.

    Yup. If you wish to make arguments based on logic, use coherent logic, or your claims of logic will be shredded.

    I haven’t made any claims that my faith is logical.

    Guess we both learned a valuable lesson. You didn’t realize that faith is called faith because it’s based on faith? Glad I could help.

    For my part, I already knew that people who try to use logic to understand faith will fail.

  382. Geez. I leave for five minutes and everyone gets all nasty.

    Not really fair to accuse A_R of not learning anything. You could more narrowly accuse him of not learning something specific, like “humility”, but nobody on this board is particularly humble, so…

    Gonna chuckle a little on the whole “for a guy named Ayn_Randian…” thing though. Fair or not, the low-hanging fruit is sometimes the juiciest.

  383. I tried to include that hedge in my statement.

    My fault. My Apologies.

    Seriously, are you an Ayn Rand literalist, or do you buy David Kelly’s argument that it is a living system that will continue to evolve through the efforts of her followers?

    well, I’ll say this first: I’m not even sure Ayn Rand was an Ayn Rand literalist. It would have been pretty arrogant for her to assume that she had the Final Say on all things Objectivism. I don’t believe she ever asserted such a thing (though there are those who have).

    I would say, of course Objectivism is going to evolve, because man is always learning new facts. I’d say there isn’t a lot of room for change, though…most likely in politics, if anywhere. Oh, and definitely in art…there’s no way that “romantic realism” is the end-all be-all of art.

    I don’t know if I see much change coming from metaphysics, epistemology or ethics, however.

  384. And, for the record, mankind *is* basically a speck in the void .And it’s a big-assed void. Like, Bedonkidonk big.

    “Powerless”, whatever that may mean, is open to debate.

  385. I haven’t made any claims that my faith is logical.

    in that you assert that faith is good for people, you have. That’s really what is at the root of the discussion: is a dose of irrationality good for people?

    Even if it is true that people need ritual and dogma, the Christian Church sucks at providing people life-enhancing spiritual fulfillment…which, of course, is why it keeps moving the goalposts.

  386. What do they build, joe?

    I’m not going to answer that. I think it would do you good to ponder it.

    … the size and power of ideas

    Getting warmer. Go with that.

    Why are you so insistent that man is small in the universe? I don’t. I was using that term to characterize atheists.

    ..you think man is just a speck, powerless in a vast void. I think I made in the image of God, and on my better days, that my soul is immortal. I’m not on the side that insists humanity is just its material form. That would be you.

  387. While there have been many (misconceived) attacks on Christianity’s attitude toward women, what about Objectivism’s attitude?

    Like Catholicism, Objectivism sets one woman apart for special veneration. Unlike Catholicism, the women to be venerated is Ayn Rand, a bed-hopping hack novelist and would-be philosopher.

    As for other women, Objectivism (if we *literally* interpret their holy books) sees them at best as incomplete, just waiting to be raped by a Real Man (TM).

  388. Shorter joe: “I don’t know. I’m gonna make it up as I go and pick what I like from my faith.”

    Hmph. First, he’s Mr. Big Ideas. Then, suddenly, there is no role for the individual in understanding the universe.

    It doesn’t bother me that you so mischaracterize the experience and struggle of faith. You don’t know anything about it, and it shows.

  389. I’m not going to answer that. I think it would do you good to ponder it.

    Shorter joe: “I’m gonna cop out and pretend it’s a “lesson”.

    And I see Mad Max is trolling. Knock yourself out, kiddo.

  390. You don’t know anything about it, and it shows.

    Get over yourself, joe. No one gives a holy damn about your struggle.

    Feel free to come down from the cross anytime.

  391. in that you assert that faith is good for people, you have.

    No, the link between “good” and “rational” exists only in your head.

    Much of what is good in the world is wholly irrational.

    It is only the cramped, cold, barrenness of your chosen ideology that leads you to believe otherwise.

  392. I write pretty short comments.

    And my meaning is pretty clear, all by itself.

    My, you are the bitter one.

  393. My, you are the bitter one.

    Hardly! I’ve been laughing over here pretty much the entire time.

    Much of what is good in the world is wholly irrational.

    Like…?

  394. My turn to be a little mean. ;-0

    I don’t know if I see much change coming from metaphysics, epistemology or ethics, however.

    It’s hard to make progress from a philosophical dead end.

    OK, well, there are places to go with the ethics. Though her ethics is kind of like what someone would write who read Nietzsche the way fundies read the Bible. That is, fucking wrong. But just because she read Nietzsche like a ‘tard doesn’t mean her *conclusions* were wrong.

    I’m not nice to Randians. Cause they’re not nice to anyone else. (Is that a stereotype? Perhaps. Ah well. I’m sure you’re a nice fellow, A_R.)

    🙂

  395. Jesus’s words were very clear, joe.

    Uh huh.

    The above statement is the equivalent of a fifty foot blinking sign reading “I’m an intolerant asshole.”

    Oh, I see…the only thing to be clear about is that Jesus’s words weren’t clear. The only thing to be intolerant about is intolerance.

    God uses, and the people trying express His message use, concepts that their audience will understand, to reveal deeper truths.

    So, God intentionally created man so that man would not immediately and clearly understand Him? Of course you realize how nonsensical that is.

  396. Like…?

    Why is it we drive in parkways, but park in driveways?

    Why are Canadians so damned infuriatingly nice?

    Why do cats put up with human inferiority?

    Why do authors that can barely write dialogue gain a following?

    Why do religions persist in the face of psychology, science, and modern life?

    Why are people always wrong on the Internet?

  397. That is, fucking wrong. But just because she read Nietzsche like a ‘tard doesn’t mean her *conclusions* were wrong.

    All true. There’s so much misunderstanding with Rand, it’s incredible.

    Like the presumption that she worshiped impossible superhero idols for example. For some reason, people miss that Atlas Shrugged anthropomorphizes an entire class of men, the middle class…the productive and thinking class. They think Ayn Rand literally only likes dudes like John Galt

  398. You’re really a piece of work, Ayn Randian.

    You write about a dozen posts accusing me of facile picking and choosing in my religious beliefs, and when I dare to disagree, to point out that an unorthodox religiosity can be just as serious, involve just as much real effort, as a more orthodox one, you tell me “come down off your cross,” as if I’ve been trying to garner sympathy.

    And, of course, those who just accept teaching uncritically come in for your bitching, too.

    When a question has no right answer, it’s a trick question, and the person asking it isn’t even trying to get at the truth.

  399. Oh, I see…the only thing to be clear about is that Jesus’s words weren’t clear. The only thing to be intolerant about is intolerance.

    Keep babbling, you’re good at it.

    So, God intentionally created man so that man would not immediately and clearly understand Him?

    You mean, he created mortal beings, instead of gods? Yes, he did.

    What’s next, junior? Why do bad things happen to good people?

  400. Oh shit, you wanted a list of things that are irrationally good. Ah, well…

    My fiancee loves me.

    Two grandparents, still alive, sharp, and kicking.

    The Republican and Democratic parties are busy imploding.

    The Internet survived both government subsidy and corporate handling to still be useful.

    Cheap foods sometimes taste great.

    Marijuana is cheap and plentiful where I live.

    Most of the rest have to do with aesthetics and improbable beauty, encounters with the sublime in nature (and in technology), good shows (BSG, House, Lost, Boston Legal, etc.) being renewed for another season, and sundry minor miracles.

  401. All true. There’s so much misunderstanding with Rand, it’s incredible.

    Yeah, don’t you hate it when people who have it out for your belief deliberately create an strawman version that is so flat, so deliberately obtuse, so purposely ignorant of nuance as to be unrecognizable, just so they can more easily criticize it?

    And then act as if they have achieved some sort of superior insight on the subject, just because they can refute the cartoon-version they constructed for themselves?

    Man, I HATE it when people do that.

    How about you, AR? Don’t you just HATE it when people do that?

    Ahem

  402. You mean, he created mortal beings, instead of gods? Yes, he did.

    That’s not the answer to the question I asked.

    Keep babbling, you’re good at it.

    I mean, is that your assertion, joe? That you’re right in your thought that Jesus’s words were unclear, but the “intolerant assholes” are wrong because they think Jesus spoke plainly?

  403. How about you, AR? Don’t you just HATE it when people do that?

    Yes, I do. However, I at least can provide rational reasons as to why they are wrong and calmly explain where the error was.

    You resort to calling Biblical literalists “intolerant assholes”.

  404. You know, the fact that Ayn Rand wrote that one man invented the wheel one day completely voids any insight she might have had into ethics, morality, politics, or any other field of human endeavor.

  405. That’s really what is at the root of the discussion: is a dose of irrationality good for people?

    seeing as it’s unavoidable, and results in things like music and the arts (as mentioned above), i’d have to say “yeah, probably.”

    or at the very least “it’s kinda unavoidable and stuff.”

  406. You know, the fact that Ayn Rand wrote that one man invented the wheel one day completely voids any insight she might have had into ethics, morality, politics, or any other field of human endeavor.

    Ha!…that was a good one, joe.

    Hey, I gotta give you credit where credit is due.

    Oh shit, you wanted a list of things that are irrationally good.

    Perhaps it’s just me, but I see those as good, rationally speaking. The problem is, a lot of folks think that Rand thought that emotion was bad and/or wrong and/or the antithesis of reason. That’s not an accurate statement at all.

  407. I’m not going to bother explaining my ideas to you, A-R.

    My ideas are plainly written, and you aren’t making any good faith effort to consider them.

    You’ve got your back up, and there’s no point trying to converse.

    I answered your point about man’s fallibility, and don’t really care if you’re going to pretend not to get my terminology.

    Nor is my point about the proper humility, the necessity of considering that one is does not have an unerring line to God that allows one to perfectly and with certainty understand His will, plan, and Word, particularly when reading scripture, remotely difficult to understand, either.

    But you don’t misunderstand them; you’re just choosing to phrase them in an uncomplimentary manner, and play dumb about them, because you’ve decided to be an asshole. So, no, I’m not interested in repeating or clarifying, because you don’t actually misunderstand the way you are pretending to.

  408. seeing as it’s unavoidable, and results in things like music and the arts (as mentioned above), i’d have to say “yeah, probably.”

    I may or may not agree, but it sounds reasonable(!)…I’d assert, then, that if irrationality is necessary for a man to stay sane, it’d be best if we (logically) determine which irrationality is least harmful, or best, even.

  409. Like the presumption that she worshiped impossible superhero idols for example. For some reason, people miss that Atlas Shrugged anthropomorphizes an entire class of men, the middle class…the productive and thinking class. They think Ayn Rand literally only likes dudes like John Galt.

    Oh, no, no, no. You may make a caricature (probably deservedly) out of many Rand-haters. But not me. I’ve read her perhaps a little more than is healthy, and did not go in with a jaundiced eye. (first exposure: The Fountainhead. In high-school, before I had read much philosophy outside of political thinkers or second-rate sci-fi books. Like Atlas. [I keed!])

    I don’t think she was so kludgey a thinker as to succumb to titan-worship nor complete pseudo-human abstractions. I base my opinion of her Nietzsche scholarship on her (at least seeming) complete lack of intellectual appreciation for the subtlety, word-play, and gentle self-mockery that runs through most of Nietzsche’s work and informs, particularly, his views on ethics and meta-ethics.

    This may not have been her fault (unless she read fluent 19th German; I have no idea) since Kaufmann’s incomparably awesome English translation of his works had not yet been published. Most of the prior translations just plain *sucked* and lacked a suitable exegesis with his Nachlass and other important notes and correspondence.

  410. You resort to calling Biblical literalists “intolerant assholes”.

    Nope.

    I call anyone who pronounces with certainty that they perfectly understand God’s message an intolerance asshole.

    There are plenty of people who take a literalist view of the Bible who aren’t intolerant assholes – the ones who leave the door open enough that they can, unlike you, consider the ideas of those who disagree as potentially having merit, too.

  411. Perhaps it’s just me, but I see those as good, rationally speaking.

    Yet, like faith, they were arrived at irrationally.

    By admitting that those things are good, you are admitting that irrationality can create good, which rational people could rightly decide adds to the world.

  412. unless she read fluent 19th German; I have no idea

    She actually did, at least presumably, to a certain extent.

    because you’ve decided to be an asshole.

    You can’t assert that, joe…there’s no reason why my interpretation of the Bible as “One Big Allegory” is any better or worse than your interpretation of it as “Some Allegories, with Some Truths…But I Have No Idea Which Is Which”.

  413. There are plenty of people who take a literalist view of the Bible who aren’t intolerant assholes – the ones who leave the door open enough

    That wouldn’t really be “literalist”, then, would it?

  414. You can’t assert that, joe…there’s no reason why my interpretation of the Bible as “One Big Allegory” is any better or worse than your interpretation of it as “Some Allegories, with Some Truths…But I Have No Idea Which Is Which”.

    That’s not really fair, either. For someone who studied on the way to the priesthood (IIRC), you must know that Biblical interpretation isn’t exactly a grab-bag of “which passages shall we treat as figurative today”. While it isn’t exactly physics, there are *rules* to exegesis that respect history, philology, and overall consistency of the text message and placement in the wider text.

    That wouldn’t really be “literalist”, then, would it?

    Even a quick survey of random words submitted to “dictionary.com” shows that many English words admit to several “literal” meanings apiece. And if English is bad, Greek words like “logos” are fucking murderous. Like Joe pointed out earlier, there are sufficiently literal readings of, for example, “I am the Way…” that admit to ambiguity of actual meaning.

  415. Ayn R,

    Thanks for elaborating.

    So you are more in Kelly’s camp.

    Kelly’s denomination insulates Objectivism from the weaknesses of its original author, of course.

    It opens it up, however, to many of the criticisms of religion that have been aimed a Christianity here…(eg, changing just to save face).

    The axiomatic underpinnings of much of Objectivism are irrational beliefs, and as unprovable as any claim in the bible. It seems like attempts to recast those assumptions when they lead to poor results in the real world are in many ways equivalent to the various recastings of Christianity alluded to up-thread.

    No?

  416. LMNOP,

    Rand was certainly not a subtle thinker.

    Certainly that is something we can all agree on…no?

  417. A_R,

    For all the abuse I heap upon your namesake, I have to say that perhaps one of the most *interesting* areas of her commentary was upon sexuality and gender roles. I don’t particularly agree with her on many points here, but I see no *flaw* in her conclusions or reasons coming to them.

    I find them doubly fascinating as in regard to her personal status as one of the few prominent female intellectuals in American society during her lifetime, and an interesting (perhaps unintentional) self-reflection in context of her own recorded sexual history. In this way she’s a little like an American de Beauvoir (though considerably less debauched!).

  418. Orthodoxy and Objectivism.

    http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog/2005/07/ayn-rand-on-david-kelley.html

    And in my experience, those who criticize her (including myself at times) have usually failed to carefully study her arguments, to understand relevant underlying principles, and/or to employ proper methodology.

    Beautifully reverent don’t ya think?

  419. LMNOP,

    Rand was certainly not a subtle thinker.

    Certainly that is something we can all agree on…no?

    Well…

    She certainly was not a subtle writer. On that we all probably *should* agree. As to whether she was a subtle thinker, I’d say that any evidence one way or the other was rather obscured by her writing style.

    As I have written in the recent past, I get the impression that she was unduly quick to dismiss thinkers whose ideas she found personally distasteful, and so suffered some philosophical pratfalls that would have been obvious if she had been paying more attention (and reading more charitably). I’m not sure how much of that has to do with her actual opinion and how much from how she chose to express it.

  420. Also, I really liked her West Point Grad speech.

  421. Hillary Clinton! We can all agree to hate her right? Right??


  422. I may or may not agree, but it sounds reasonable(!)…I’d assert, then, that if irrationality is necessary for a man to stay sane, it’d be best if we (logically) determine which irrationality is least harmful, or best, even.

    let the market decide!

    no, i’m not kidding. i don’t think we should go around centrally planning shit like this.

  423. Sayeth Neil: this will drown [Obama] in a sea of his own hateful racism.

    I didn’t have time to post this earlier, but I did want to point out that we’re getting this particular argument from a supporter of John “I hate gooks” McCain.

    But yeah, we can all hate Hillary together.

  424. So joe clings to his religion irrationally. So what, lots of people believe irrational things. Maybe he likes the pageantry, maybe it makes him feel warm and fuzzy inside, maybe it’s nostalgia. What I don’t understand is a) why it bothers people, and b) what is accomplished by debating with him about it.

    A rejection of theism would seem more attractive to many people if atheists didn’t so often come across as so angry.

    Carry on, joe; shine on, you crazy diamond.

  425. Update:

    On Tuesday, Obama sought to distance himself further from Wright.

    “I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he’s done enormous good. … But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS. … There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced.”

    From Obama’s press conference today. I am not at all surprised that Obama did this because he is not completely without sense, unlike Joe. Obama agrees with me, not Joe. How is Joe going to square that circle? I imagine as usual the words and phrases, ‘context’, ‘complexity’, ‘read the entire speech’, ‘unlike you’, and ‘superfluous nipple’ will be involved, though not necessarily in that order.

  426. There are no excuses. They offended me.

    That is right, Joe. You offend me and you offend Obama, as there are no excuses for defending Wright’s behavior. You owe us both an apology for your mendacity. Maybe you are just not good enough for Obama. He deserves better supporters than you.

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