Religion

Christians Trying to Convert Muslims and Jews to Christianity

"So what?." asks David Harsanyi at the National Review, quite correctly.

|

I'm not sure what to think of the newly-elected Rep. Madison Cawthorn. But I entirely agree with Harsanyi that his attempts to convert Muslims and Jews to Christianity sound perfectly legitimate. In Harsanyi's words,

The investigative journalists over at The Daily Beast report that Madison Cawthorn, the North Carolina Republican who will soon become the youngest member of Congress in American history, "has admitted he tried to convert Jews and Muslims to Christianity."

So what?

As a Jew, I've had a number of Christian friends try to turn me toward Jesus—Lutherans, Catholics, and Evangelicals. Though denominations seem to adopt different philosophies on how best to proselytize in a secular world, they have all been exceptionally polite about it.

NEXT: "a homosexual social media website called reddit"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. While there’s nothing inherently wrong in trying (politely) to convert someone, I suspect a number of people would take into account the values of {convert from} and {convert to}.

    Thus trying to convert from, say, homosexual activity would be a bit of a no-no for some folk. Trying to convert to homosexual activity might be problematic for others.

    And converting to White Supremacism would be disfavored by some.
    Converting to Communism too, for a partially intersecting set of folk.

    I suspect the problem of converting to Christianity, amongst those who have a problem with it, may have something to do with the value of Christianity when slotted into the [convert to} box.

    1. Eugene and Harsanyi may not be troubled by this, but I myself very much dislike being proselytized. I suspect that there are many others who feel as I do. It’s annoying, rude, and frankly insulting. Still, if the evangelist is polite and quickly gives up when I express my lack of interest – not all do – it’s acceptable in some circumstances.

      Still, given that the guy seems to be a total asshole – he claims he has read through “just about every single religious work there is,” – I doubt he goes about it in an inoffensive manner.

      1. The only time I mind being proselytized is when they come to my home and attempt it…It’s never a convenient time, even if I’m doing nothing: My doing nothing time is valuable to me.

        Most, however, are willing to go away, politely. Some are not…. Then I get the dogs and guns out.

        1. Prosletyzation is taught by many religions and protected by the First Amendment, so no, I don’t really hold it against a politician that he or she favors prosletyzing people of other religions.

          But as a personal matter, I find the whole thing arrogant. First of all, of course, they are promoting blatantly false historical claims and horrible, outdated morality teachings. And the whole experience makes me appreciate how women feel when they experience mansplaining. No, I actually have heard about your religion. No, I actually have thought about morality and have found it possible to derive moral principles without it. No, just because we can’t do anything about human mortality is no reason to believe stuff that isn’t likely to be true.

          I don’t need the universe explained to me by people who know a lot less about it than I do.

          1. And yet you have no problem bloviating and “mansplaining” at length about your political philosophies. Do you not see the parallel?

            1. I don’t walk up to strangers on the street or in their houses and do it.

            2. There is a difference.

              When someone tries to convert me they are telling me they understand the universe and I don’t.

              Well, I don’t think they do understand it, no matter how certain they are, and on top of that their explanation often makes no sense at all. It’s pure arrogance, and it’s insulting.

              As Dilan points out, expressing a political opinion on a blog doesn’t interrupt anyone or anything. If you see my name on a comment you can read it or skip it, as you like, and if you skip it I’ve taken a negligible amount of your time and attention.

              On top of that, a political opinion is an opinion about some point or other. “This bill is a terrible idea.” “That Senator is a fool.”

              A religion is an explanation of the universe.

              1. Faith is an explanation of a great journey. Choose the journey or not. It is a sharing of hope, strength and experience.

                Nobody “understands” anything. Least of all the entirety of the Universe. Which is exactly where faith comes in.

          2. ‘I don’t need the universe explained to me by people who know a lot less about it than I do.’

            How you manage to find anyone or anything arrogant with this view of yourself is fascinating.

            1. If Neil De Grasse Tyson wants to explain the universe to me, I will listen and learn.

              There are actual experts on this stuff. Prosletyzers are not among them.

              1. De Grasse can explain what…he has no idea why.

          3. I am in Dilan’s camp when it comes to the nature of the universe. But proselytizers don’t bother me, as long as they are polite.

            I look at it this way: they think they know the secret to everlasting life and happiness. It would be kinda jerky if they didn’t try to share that info with others.

      2. Is that different from trying to convince someone of any other type of opinion?

        1. Or selling insurance.

          1. Potentially, someone is thinking is sitting in his living room thinking “I really should buy insurance.” If an insurance agent knocks on his door at that moment, that person is better off.
            No one, anywhere, is thinking is sitting in his living room thinking “I really should become a Jehovah’s Witness.”

            1. Possibly not, but there are plenty thinking thoughts along the lines of “why is my life so shallow?” , “how can I find meaning in my life ?’, “I sometimes feel that it’s hardly worth carrying on” , “nobody loves me” und so weiter.

              Evangelists of all types offer a take on such questions. Perhaps they haven’t got the right answer, but it’s certainly not the case that nobody’s asking those questions.

              As for insurance, if I were a regulating sort of guy (which I’m not) I’d be tempted to insist on insurance salesfolk being accompanied by a member of “No You Don’t Inc”, to help the victim get a balanced view on whether he really does need insurance.

            2. Potentially, someone is sitting in his living room thinking, “I am really unhappy with my life.”

          2. People trying to change my mind about some opinion that I hold, or sell me insurance, at least feel obliged to try to present some sort of rationale. But those trying to convert others just cite their own theology as evidence of its truth.

            (When I was senior in college, with graduation nearing, I stupidly agreed to meet with a life insurance salesman, who of course wanted to sell me a policy. At one point in the spiel he picked up a binder with examples like: “Look, this guy bought a policy and was killed in a car wreck a week later,” with the tone of someone identifying lucky winners. I didn’t buy.)

            1. You are seeking a rationale for the transcendental. Which is an irrational demand.

        2. I think it’s different, since the evangelist isn’t trying to tell me that I should vote for Foghorn for Congress, but rather that he knows all about the universe and if I don’t swallow his BS I’ll spend eternity in hellfire.

          Seems like a difference to me.

          1. If you don’t believe that there is a place to spend an eternity in hellfire, then to quote the article “so what?”

            1. Actually, the fact that people are attracted to a belief system that would eternally torture people who disagree with them is a big problem and a huge source of evil in the world.

              1. One alternative to believing in divine punishment for those who disagree is to support earthly punishment for those who disagree. This is also a huge source of evil in the world.

      3. Lots of people proselytize about lots of topics to the point of being annoying, on both religious and secular topics.

        If he was annoying, he was hardly the first.

        But the article presents his religious speech as basically a thought crime: “Madison Cawthorn…has admitted he tried to convert Jews and Muslims to Christianity.” And judging from the responses on twitter, that seems to be a fairly popular view.

        1. Obama very publicly chose Christianity over Islam…so the implication is that Obama believes Christianity is a superior religion to Islam. So in America all adults are free to choose their religion and yet progressives very rarely choose Islam…because it is an inferior religion.

          1. “Obama very publicly chose Christianity over Islam…”

            Publicly, sure. But privately?

            (Just kidding, of course.)

            1. In America one can be publicly a Christian but privately be a Muslim or Jew or Hindu or Swinger. Btw, if Trump wants to run again in 2024 he needs to win back suburban women and so he should follow Jerry Fallwell Jr’s lead and allow Melania to get humped by young hot dudes. Suburban moms would love for Trump to be a role model to their fat lazy drunken husbands…and maybe Trump will enjoy watching just like Jerry! 😉

            2. One of my favorite lines from a movie has a Roman senator saying, “Privately, I believe in none of the gods, and neither do you. Publicly, I believe in them all.”

      4. Everybody tries to convert you to their cult. At least with Christians you won’t be jailed or banished from polite society these days if you refuse. The Social Justice Cult on the other hand.

  2. Completely agree.

    I personally find evangelicals of all stripes tiresome, but am willing to answer their intrusive questions if they will answer my intrusive questions. I learned this approach when we transplanted to a rural southern town when I was a kid.

    Very few of them will play beyond a few questions. (And no, it isn’t about embarrassing sex questions or whatever. I do ask about their souls, just from a rather different starting point.)

  3. I had an interesting encounter with two Mormon missionaries in 1978 in Japan. I was on vacation, saw the two with their white shirts, narrow ties, and bicycles; they saw me. Star Wars had just come out in Japan, they had been in Japan when it came out in the States, and they were forbidden from seeing any movies while on their mission …. so it looked like they were going to miss it altogether and wanted to know what it was like. But that’s another story.

    I am no expert on Japanese attitudes towards religion; for want of anything better, I suppose some think “the more gods, the merrier”, and so have Confucianism (not really a religion), Shinto, and Buddhism. These two missionaries had not been prepared for their mission. They barely spoke the language, even after being there for over a year, and they knew almost nothing of Japan’s culture. They would knock on a door and ask (in English) if they could discuss religion. This is, to me, a bit rude anywhere; how would they like someone knocking on their door and wanting to discuss their attitudes towards religion, politics, vaccines, chocolate cake, or anything? But they’d occasionally get a bite, talk a bit, pass over a bible, and come back later. They acted as if the Japanese were notorious liars for still going to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines after having “promised” to become Christians.

    Very strange encounter. I do not know if they were typical for Mormon missionaries right out of high school, if Japan was a special case, or if it was just those two. Nice kids … just totally unprepared. And the fact that in over a year, they had barely learned any Japanese, made me think it was just them.

    1. Well, missionaries being frustrated by the Japanese adopting new beliefs, and then continuing to practice their old beliefs along with the new ones, is hardly a new problem. That’s been the experience of missionaries in Japan ever since the first one arrived in ~1600 or so.

      1. Maybe pre Christian missionaries had the same problem.

        I expect the Buddhist missionaries found the continuing Shinto practices of their converts somewhat disconcerting, but maybe not if they came from China where Taoist practices continued.

    2. If they had learned little Japanese, they must have missed seeing much of the beauty of Japan and its culture

      1. I remember the liberation when I first told a kiosk lady that I spoke Japanese, asked how much my purchases cost, she told me, and I gave her exact change. I also remember the same feeling when I figured out how to use their train schedule and route books to know when my train left and from which platform. I can’t imagine being so ignorant after more than a year that I might as well have been a self-imposed prisoner. Their lack of curiosity about anything except Star Wars was astounding.

    3. I was under the impression that Mormon missionaries were given pretty extensive training in the language of the country they were being sent to.

      Not so?

      1. “I was under the impression that Mormon missionaries were given pretty extensive training in the language of the country they were being sent to.

        Not so?”

        They are currently, but I can’t speak to practices in 1978.

  4. Everywhere you go, there are tolerant people and intolerant people, and they’re all fairly similar. Except that the intolerant people are intolerant of different things.

    1. So, who’re the tolerant and who’re the intolerant here?
      (my answer: Harsanyi and Volokh are the tolerant; all those accusing Cawthorn of anti-Semitism / Islamophobia are the intolerant.)

      1. I think 12P is just playfully tickling those earnest folk who go round praising their own tolerance, and declining to tolerate other people’s “intolerance”, on the basis of a remarkably limited appreciation of the theory of motes and beams.

  5. If one believes that the only road to salvation lies in one’s religion, it would be churlish not to politely encourage others to join.

    1. What about that sect which believes only 144,000 souls will go to Heaven? Jehovah’s Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventists, I forget which.

      I usually answer the door with “No thanks” as I close it. No arguments, no chance to get a second chance. But for one of them once, I asked why they would be trying to increase the competition for the very few slots. Aren’t the odds already pretty dour? I forget his response, it was so forgettable.

      1. Seventh Day Adventists, iirc, believe in pre-destination. The 144,000 souls are already chosen – there’s no competition. But only God knows which 144k, so proselytizing might be the act which is fore-ordained to convert one of the 144k to the ‘true faith’. But I’ve only gotten to talk with a couple of them one time, so i could be mistaken.

        1. Actually that’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

          1. I admit iIhave always marked down Jehovah’s Witnesses as folk selling something I didn’t want to buy – without troubling to examine their merchandise.

            But glancing at wikipedia I find :

            “A central teaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the current world era, or “system of things”, entered the “last days” in 1914 and faces imminent destruction”

            Well, it seems they’ve got a sharper grasp of history than the 1619 Project.

      2. Predestination was popular among early Calvinists, though I gather it has been modified in recent years. One might have expected belief in predestination to cause a slackening in morals and industry, since one’s chances in salvation would not be impacted. In fact, the effect was opposite: leading an obviously virtuous life provided reassurance that one was among the saved.

        1. One might have expected belief in predestination to cause a slackening in morals and industry, since one’s chances in salvation would not be impacted.

          No one wouldn’t, for one’s level of commitment to morals and industry would be ……..predestined.

          I recall a discussion with a friend a few years back, over a steadily increasing number of beers. He had become attracted to a non religious version of pre-destination, based on scientific findings on brain activity.

          The gist of it was that we only have the illusion of making voluntary conscious decisions, because the reality is that the “execute” brain signal happens too quickly for the conscious “mmm, I wonder what I should do here” signal to be completed.*

          Anyway his argument was that it was wrong for ferociously right wing people like me to go round demanding that criminals be put in jail for a long time. Because in reality it wasn’t their fault. They had no conscious choice. Nobody has a choice. The refutation of this criticism being, obviously, that we far right “Punish Criminals” types can’t be guilty of cruelty to criminals, because it’s not our fault either.

          * I believe that this brain signal speed “illusion of consciousness” notion has since been undermined by better measuring devices.

    2. If one believes that the only road to salvation lies in one’s religion, it would be churlish not to politely encourage others to join.

      Religions are giant memeplexes, collections of memes evolved to spread onto other hosts. The ultimate goal is to gain power, so you no longer have to rely on persuasion, but can use force.

      Thus religions and political parties are the same phenomenon. Politics has even expressly forbidden religion from diret political control, so the giant political memeplexes need only fight amongst themselves to achieve the power to force themselves on unwilling hosts, (so they don’t have to persuade anymore.)

      There. Now people are as woke as they’re ever gonna get. You are tools of memeplex life forms, behaving in manners to aid their spread.

      And here you all thought you were pensive commentators. Freedom is best. Freedom from controlling quasi-life memeplexes.

  6. Christians missionise, it is what they do, which is fine. But I do hope he does not try to write his religion into the laws.

    1. Wish that atheists would do the same

      1. Atheism is no more a religion than “not collecting stamps” is a hobby or “fasting” is a form of eating.

        1. The evangelism of certain atheists says otherwise

          1. Trying to propagate a certain belief does not make that belief religious. I can devote my entire life to trying to get people to be stamp collectors, but that would not make stamp collecting a religion.

            Atheism is the absence of religion. And that’s not changed because some atheists are very devoted to encouraging people to be atheists.

        2. Atheism is the easiest religion to troll.

  7. Amen.

  8. Well, Professor, if we’re on the subject…which arguments for Christianity (in any form) do you find off-putting or silly, and which arguments do you at least find more respectable?

    1. “which arguments for Christianity (in any form) do you find off-putting or silly…”

      Don’t believe in God, eh?

      Do you believe in the Devil?

      No? Well, when he puts his claws in your ass and starts dragging you down to Hell, are you gonna believe in him then?

    2. I do find it telling when people will object to so-called bigoted statements if it involves any other class of people, but then denigrate Christians openly thinking that is acceptable. I mean that is what AK does here every day. But that is the left wing idea of tolerance for you.

      1. “I do find it telling when people will object to so-called bigoted statements if it involves any other class of people, but then denigrate Christians openly thinking that is acceptable.”

        I have to defend AK on this one. AK denigrates all sorts of people, from people in mixed marriages to suicide victims. He slut shames women. He’s basically an Archie Bunker.

          1. No, please keep AK over there, there.

  9. Madison Cawthorn is proof that Trumpism is a purely cultural phenomenon and has nothing to do with economics or judicial philosophy. In the words of the preeminent Republican thought leader—cry more, lib!

    1. I think this is true to some extent. People love a winner. Trump looks like a winner. He has a big business empire, has largely been successful (at least in the public eye), and in the political arena he didn’t shy away from doing battle with the liberals. People loved the fact he said “build a wall”, liberals wailed and cried, and he stood strong. Most Republicans would have apologized, thrown some appeasement at various minority groups, and gone back to their cave.

      I think after 8 years of having a pure beta male in the White House, people were craving the musings of an Alpha so bad they could have put any such man in office. That man just ended up being Trump because he was either smart enough to realize it was a possibility or lucky enough to just walk into the gig (or both.)

      1. BHO is the last person that I’d call a “beta male.”

        1. The dude clearly got pegged by his wife every night…

          1. Better than getting “pegged” by Stephen Miller.

      2. Trump became president because W Bush bankrupted the GOP…it has nothing to do with Democrats other than Hillary was very unpopular due to 25 years of being attacked by Republicans. Trump winning the general election was a fluke and it has been corrected.

        1. “Hillary was very unpopular due to 25 years of being attacked by Republicans”

          And it was raining because of the wet streets.

  10. That’s not all. While on vacation in Germany he went to a place where Hilter also went! That’s almost like being Hitler yourself!

    1. I, myself, have been to Paris. And Belgium. And The Netherlands. And Berlin.

      Jfc, why didn’t someone warn me! 🙁

      1. You know who else went to Paris and Berlin…no, wait, this subthread has been pre-Godwinned, never mind.

  11. I’ve always found conversations with missionaries to be pleasant. When they try to get your number and start calling you … that annoying and obnoxious. But just conversing is fine. Mormon missionaries I’ve found to be generally decent people. Id rather talk to a Mormon with an agenda than your average new Yorker with an agenda (and they all have one lol).

    On Madison, if people like him are the future of the conservative / Republican party, well, I’m not looking forward to it. Its a type of personality that’s young and ideological. Id prefer old and ideological or young and pragmatic. It’s the same on the left as well (see AOC). Too many younger candidates have obviously ideological predisposition and even when I agree with them … its off putting and not helpful towards governance.

    Heck the first thing he tweeted when he won was “eat shit lib” which I’d expect from an internet commentator … not a representative.

    1. The link in this article has a link where the guy says this:

      “If we dug more wells instead of launched more warheads, I think the world would be a much safer place right now, and it would be cheaper.”

      He also apologized for the mean tweet.

      For all I know, of course, the guy could be a total phony. But he wasn’t afraid to sound like some beardo selling hemp oil at the farmer’s market.

    2. In that sense he is only the mirror image of AOC

      1. Does he also want to ostracize those with whom he disagrees from mainstream society?

  12. When I was a child in the beforetimes, polite Jehovah’s Witnesses used to ring doorbells in our neighborhood with some frequency. Based on the history of forced Jewish conversions, some found those chats offensive. Not having known anyone who was alive during the Crusades, I saw nothing, other than the danger of being bored to death, objectionable about it.

    Apparently one person’s dire lesson never to be forgotten is another’s historical curiosity. Be prepared, Eugene. Someday you may see your kid in a Che shirt.

    1. Leo Marvin: I’m with you, at least as to the first paragraph (and quite possibly the second).

      As to the second paragraph, I wouldn’t want my kid wearing a Torquemada shirt, either. But just because I condemn the crimes of political Communism (returning to Che) doesn’t mean I’d oppose people choosing to live on communes. Likewise with the difference between forced conversions and unforced ones.

      One analogy might be sex: That Jewish women were raped by Christian men in pogroms doesn’t mean there’s a legitimate objection to Christian men trying to seduce Jewish women (or vice versa). Same for conversion.

      1. But just because I condemn the crimes of political Communism (returning to Che) doesn’t mean I’d oppose people choosing to live on communes. Likewise with the difference between forced conversions and unforced ones.

        Fair enough, but there is a long and unpleasant historical context, as you and Leo both acknowledge. That unavoidably hangs over Christian conversion attempts. Even though forced conversion is not something that happens in the US, there are still echoes, especially on the right with various “Christian Nation” ideas.

        1. EV’s point, I think, is that there is an unpleasant historical context[1] that unavoidably hangs over Communism.

          I wonder if EV’s parent’s, looking back on their time in the Soviet Union, primarily characterize their reason for leaving as antisemitism or non-denominational communist oppression?

          [1]which goes back 100 years – not ‘long’ compared to antisemitism, but not exactly ‘short’ either

        2. There’s a long and unavoidable historical context that hangs over socialism in general. Sure, proponents of medicare for all aren’t openly advocating sending political opponents to gulags, but who are we to fault those who make the association?

          1. Especially, since AOC is making lists, and the talk of “Truth and Reconciliation” commissions.

          2. It has long been largely forgotten just how radical pretty much all socialists were until, oh, WW2. Even the take it slowly merchants had no doubt that they were aiming for state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

            As for gulags, if gallows humor is to your taste, minutes 6.15 to 8:15 of this is pretty funny :

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiWdIrY_5FE

    2. When, as a teen in Boston, I first encountered Jehovah’s Witness missionaries in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I thought they were Protestant fundamentalists. It just goes to show how uncommon real Protestant fundamentalists were in my neighborhood.

  13. I come down where you do, EV. But I don’t fault anyone whose sensitivity to what you and I consider innocuous is informed, albeit IMO overdetermined, by a genocidal history they were taught never to forget.

  14. A big difference is Christians ask you to convert. Other will just cut off your head if you don’t. Of course, in the victim matrix Christians are evil so doesn’t really matter because well stuff and stuff.

    1. Jimmy, it’s true that in the United States in 2020 you can refuse to convert to Christianity and nothing bad will happen to you, but that has not been true at all times and places. Just ask the Inca, the Scandinavian pagans and the victims of the Inquisition. IIRC, Presbyterian Scotland’s last execution for blasphemy was in 1700 or so; the defendant admitted to having told a friend that he saw no evidence for the existence of God.

      So, I’m curious: What do you suppose changed? Why will Christians no longer cut your head off for not converting, even though at one time they happily would have?

      1. What do you suppose changed? Why will Christians no longer cut your head off for not converting, even though at one time they happily would have?

        Because God is dead, and He can no longer supply the authority to justify cutting people’s heads off. Now we are – or think we are – ruled by reason, not authority. And we do not think it reasonable to chop the heads off heretics, when a friendly chat over a cup of coffee might talk them round.

        Head chopping these days is reserved for folk who appeal not to reason but to authority. Whether that be the authority of their still living Gods, or their ideologies.

        1. Ah, Christianity had a Renaissance.

          Radical Islam is today where Christianity was in the Middle Ages. Maybe some day it, too, will have a Renaissance and lose some of its thirst for blood.

          1. You are an optimist. Christendom may have passed through the Renaissance, but as Nietzsche pointed out when discussing the complications arising from God’s demise, that leaves us mostly clinging to moral tenets inherited from God’s commands, that no longer have a foundation in God’s authority. Our attachment to them is merely habitual, and vestigial.

            As Nietzsche predicted, and as we have found, men without God do not lose their thirst for blood.

            1. I would agree that in practice, some moral tenets remain out of force of habit from the days when theism ran things. But I don’t think religion is required for moral tenets. If you spend a few minutes actually thinking through what it would be like to live in a society in which murder, rape and violent theft were acceptable behavior, it soon becomes clear that there are perfectly fine utilitarian reasons to have moral scruples about murder, rape and violent theft.

              I’m a Darwinian. Humans do morals and ethics because humans evolved to live in community, and do not do well living on their own. Living in community requires that certain behaviors be encouraged and others suppressed.

              And while not being religious does not guarantee losing one’s blood thirst, not being religious is at least one less thing to fight about.

              1. If you spend a few minutes actually thinking through what it would be like to live in a society in which murder, rape and violent theft were acceptable behavior, it soon becomes clear that there are perfectly fine utilitarian reasons to have moral scruples about murder, rape and violent theft.

                Now do lions.

                Humans do morals and ethics because humans evolved to live in community, and do not do well living on their own. Living in community requires that certain behaviors be encouraged and others suppressed.

                Lots of social animals appear to have some sort of rules within the social group, but that certainly isn’t extended outside it. And even within it, the idea of “equality” hasn’t taken on at all. The dominance hirarchy dominates (for the good evolutionary reason that threat is less damaging than actual fighting.)

                So if your moral code is Darwinian, it’s not going to look very like the US Constitution, or the teachings of Confucius.

                Genghis Khan would have understood it though.

                1. Darwinism explains why humans need moral codes, but it does not explain what the specifics of any given moral code should be. For that, you need a different branch of science.

                  And if your standard is what “lots of social animals” do rather than what humans do, well, I see your problem. Each organism is unique, and trying to analogize to other organisms usually doesn’t work.

                  So now do quantum mechanics.

                  1. Darwinism explains why humans need moral codes

                    “Darwinism explains, to some extent, why different groups of humans have, to some extent, somewhat similar moral codes”

                    FTFY

                    And if your standard is what “lots of social animals” do rather than what humans do, well, I see your problem. Each organism is unique, and trying to analogize to other organisms usually doesn’t work.

                    This seems a bit of a retreat from :

                    Living in community requires that certain behaviors be encouraged and others suppressed.

                    since, as adjusted, it now simply asserts that living in social groups probably has some implications, but precisely what can’t be deduced from the mere fact of living in social groups. Well, great.

                    And the idea that social behavior in other animals isn’t going to teach us anything. seems lacking in, er, Darwinian perspective :

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Oa4Lp5fLE&list=PL848F2368C90DDC3D&index=2

                    Minute 1.18.30 till the end would be a good refresher

                    1. No, it was fine before you tried to fix it. Darwinism explains why it is necessary to have a moral code at all, but doesn’t provide us with the details of what the code should be. Think of it this way: With traffic lights, there is nothing magical about red meaning stop and green meaning go. The person who invented the traffic light could equally as well have decided that red would mean go and green would mean stop, or used different colors altogether. But what is essential is that there be a rule so that everybody knows when it is his turn to go and his turn to stop. So, we have a well-understood convention that red means stop and green means go. (I understand that conventions and morality are not the same thing but I’m using traffic conventions because they illustrate the specific point I’m trying to make.)

                      Likewise, Darwinism shows that humans cannot survive without any moral code at all, but the specific details of that moral code are left to other disciplines, and may even vary from one community to another. So when you try to sweep with the broad brush of Darwinism leads to Genghis Khan, you understand neither Darwin nor Genghis Khan.

                      And I didn’t say that other animals have *nothing* to teach us; I said analogies to other animals usually don’t work, which is not the same thing. Like humans, bees live in community, but hardly anyone would suggest that humans adopt hive morality. As with anything else, there are some similarities and some differences, and if you’re going to claim that the behavior of a specific other species of animal applies to us, you first have to explain why that specific one.

                      You’ve basically created a false alternative in which everything is identical or nothing has anything to do with anything else. Those are not the only two alternatives.

        2. By the way, I just finished reading a biography of Julian the Apostate, the last pagan emperor of Rome. His uncle, Constantine, Christianized Rome in 325 AD and when Julian took the throne about twenty years later he attempted to re-paganize Rome. He was killed in battle before he could succeed, and it’s a very interesting historical “what if” he had lived.

          Anyway, the best line in the whole book was his comment that “I forbade the Christians to persecute either the Hellenists or each other; they thought me intolerably cruel.”

          1. Some would argue (correctly I think) that the radicalization of Islam IS their “Reformation.”

            1. I said Renaissance, not Reformation. The two were very different events.

    1. Yes, that should be our (Christians’) message to anyone we are trying to convert.

      And BTW, Jesus loves you even if you don’t convert.

      1. It’s not a message, it’s a feeling.

        1. No it is a state of mind.

  15. As an atheist of Jewish ethnicity, the only proselytization I’ve experienced in my life is from liberal “Jews,” who claim, among other things, that “I have an obligation because of victims of pogroms in the past to maintain Judaism,” or “That Judaism is a beautiful faith with a rich tradition and that if I don’t love it, I’m doing something wrong.”

    Not once has any Christian ever bothered me about anything

  16. Free Speech Baby!

    No problem here.

    When I’m approached I always say that since you’re trying to turn me, it’s only fair that I get a chance to try and turn you.

    Shuts that conversation up reeeeaaallll quick.

    1. Turn? Are we talking about conversion or the undead here?

      “I’m a 9th level Cleric, and I attempt to Turn Undead.”

  17. ‘Cry more, libs’

    ‘Walk it off, loser’

    1. ‘Walk it off, loser’

      Lol. Get it? It’s funny because Cawthorn uses a wheelchair.

      1. That wheelchair may be fraud. Do you have any evidence he needs it (rather than sees it as a convenient political prop)? Cawthorn has lied before.

        (That argument is at least as sound as any of the clingers’ election-related claims.)

        1. “That argument is at least as sound as any of the clingers’ election-related claims.”

          Gee, if that’s the standard, I guess it doesn’t matter as he needs it, as long as he self-identifies as needing it. That argument is at least as sound as any progressive position.

          1. But of course, those of us in the reality based community understand the facts: Cawthorn is disabled, and you’re a bigot.

        2. Or, you’re just a biased dick?

  18. Interestingly enough, only one Faith requires, a sentence of death for leaving it. Some, might consider that extreme.

  19. Yes. So what. I was the Jewish lawyer at the Christian Coalition of America. Occasionally someone would ask me to convert. I was never offended; I knew they did it out of concern for my soul.
    Interesting point, the Pentecostal Christians who make up the CCA believe that Jews still are the “chosen people.” They believe that in the end days, the Jews will be the primary force for God and goodness in the fight against Satan and his legions.
    When someone asked me to convert, I would just say, “I am a Jew and I have a job to do.” That was exactly the right answer. They would respect. it.

Please to post comments