Re: Will no one think of the poor amputees?

1

As I feel swamped by evangelicals,

For example, there is a car outside my office, with a bumber sticker that reads:

"Warning! Exposure to the Son may prevent BURNING!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:27 AM
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What's your definition of the difference between Christians and evangelical Christians? All Christians are supposed to evangelise, aren't they?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:33 AM
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Non-evangelical Christians have mushy answers to prevent their heads from exploding. Evangelical Christians believe the Bible is the literal word of God. That's my take, more or less.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:35 AM
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How novel! It's surprising that no one ever thought to assemble arguments against the existence of the christian god before. What will the theologians do in response, I wonder?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:42 AM
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Evangelical Christians believe the Bible is the literal word of God.

Evangelical ≠ Fundamentalist


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:42 AM
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Evangelical ≠ Fundamentalist

Not definitionally, but most evangelicals in this country are, in fact, fundamentalists.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:43 AM
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1: You misspelled "bummer."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:45 AM
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most evangelicals in this country are, in fact, fundamentalists.

Most, perhaps. But Jimmy Carter and Jim Wallis, for example.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:45 AM
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Even here in the heartland the atheists are coming out of their shells: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/11/12/atheistBILLBOARD.ART_ART_11-12-09_B4_A0FL82K.html


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:46 AM
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I thought 'fundamentalist' was obsolete, and people got all pissed off if you referred to anyone as a fundamentalist. Does it still mean something, and am I wrong to think it's pejorative?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:47 AM
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"Fundemantalist" is clearly the most precise word for the people targeted by those websites, because so much of what they are attacking involves interpreting bible passages literally.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:48 AM
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10: Perhaps it is disfavored, but "fundamentalist" does have a fairly precise meaning that applies well to a lot of people out there. A fundamentalist is someone who beleives that their religion has fallen away from its true roots and can only be restored by strict adherence to foundational texts or ideas.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:50 AM
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Right. The people who used to be referred to as fundamentalists are now generally called evangelicals.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:52 AM
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a bumber sticker

There's a car I keep spotting at the super market with a bumber sticker reading "Try Jesus". I've so far resisted the urge to hang around to inquire whether the car's owner is thinking civil or criminal.

Also: the other day I saw the license plate "JC DY 4U", which was sort of cutesily odd.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:58 AM
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13: Yeah. I don't know what either word means exactly, although I have a fairly good 'know it when I see it' sense of them, so I use evangelical exclusively because even if I'm wrong, it doesn't seem to be a pissoff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 11:59 AM
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"Fundemantalist" is clearly the most precise word for the people targeted by those websites, because so much of what they are attacking involves interpreting bible passages literally.

Yeah, I don't think "evangelical" applies at all. That means prosyletizing, not a reference to any beliefs in specific.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:02 PM
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people got all pissed off if you referred to anyone as a fundamentalist

That's why I still call them fundamentalists, which is still by far the nicest label they'll get from me. Anyhow, you don't have to be a biblical literalist to be evangelical.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:02 PM
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"Fundamentalist" now has connotations of things like disapproving makeup, thinking dancing is immoral, etc. If you're just trying to refer to someone who believes the Bible is the literal word of God, "evangelical" is generally the preferred word (5/8 notwithstanding)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:02 PM
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Since I only interact with people who are just like me, I get away with sloppily conflating evangelicals with prosperity theology megachurches. If I'm wrong, they never know and don't correct me. That means I must be right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:02 PM
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16: Isn't that an error like talking about whether someone is a Democrat by asking whether his beliefs really express an allegiance to democracy? Not that there's a singular organization 'Fundamentalist Christians' or 'Evangelical Christians', but in conventional use, 'fundamentalist Christian' does include a bunch of Protestant sects, but really wouldn't include someone trying to worship in the style of first century Christians, whether or not they were trying to return to fundamentals -- calling someone like that a fundamentalist Christian would be at the least highly misleading. Similarly, while Catholics can certainly evangelize, someone calling an evangelizing Catholic an 'evangelical Christian' would, I believe, be misleading in the same way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:07 PM
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Fundamentalists, evangelicals, (members of) prosperity-theology megachurches: These are all different things, but there's quite a bit of overlap.

"Fundamentalist" as a term originated with Christian fundamentalists and wasn't pejorative originally; I think some of the hard-core fundamentalists still like it.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:07 PM
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someone who believes the Bible is the literal word of God, "evangelical" is generally the preferred word

Brock, I'm going to stamp my feet and disagree. And the evangelical left is going to do the same.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:08 PM
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20 is correct. Evangelicalism is a theological and cultural movement within Protestantism that includes but isn't limited to an emphasis on proselytism.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:09 PM
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10:When I first read this I thought it was way overstated, but doing a bit of searching and reading it does not appear that "fundamentalist" is a term than folks tend to apply to themselves or their churches, but rather is a construct used by "outsiders" talking about what they perceive to be common characteristics of a set of believers and churches. Often pejorative, but certainly not always*.

*Outside of Kaeliana.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:09 PM
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I don't understand (and don't expect to, so don't strain yourself explaining it to me unless you've got something snappy) how biblical literalists handle straightforward contradictions in the Bible. There are plenty, and what do you do?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:10 PM
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22: That is to say, the evangelical left (and parts of the evangelical right as well) does not reject Biblical criticism. Somebody page Kotsko.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:11 PM
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Wikipedia looks like a decent start on evangelicalism and fundamentalism.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:12 PM
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21, 24: Yeah, I think it used to be a self-chosen descriptor (actually, I have a vague recollection that there's a foundational document of some sort: These are the Fundamentals of Christianity, and if your church accepts them, it's a Fundamentalist church. But I might be wrong about that.) It's only gradually become disfavored and used more as a pejorative than as a self-descriptor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:13 PM
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25: The harder it is to believe the better a person is for believing in it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:13 PM
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30

There are plenty, and what do you do?

"The ways of God are mysterious and not to be questioned. All will be revealed when you reach Heaven."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:13 PM
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19: Prosperity theology is a cargo-cult with Christian trappings, but I would assume most of those holding it are evangelical. (Obviously, most evangelicals are not into prosperity theology.) You won't see many fundamentalists in PT as you cannot get there from a literal reading of the Bible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:13 PM
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Brock, I'm going to stamp my feet and disagree. And the evangelical left is going to do the same.

Apo, I'm not saying that all people who call themselves evangelicals believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, I'm saying that if you're trying to refer to people who believe the Bible is the literal word of God, "evangelical" is the best word to use. Unless you don't mind pissing people off.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:13 PM
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Unless you don't mind pissing people off.

I go out of my way to piss people off. I also am persnickity about word usage.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:15 PM
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34

"evangelical" is the best word to use

"Borderline retarded" is better, but it's more than one word.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:17 PM
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35

But Brock, what about biblical-literalist charismatics? My sense is they're not all accepting of the "Evangelical" moniker, and it's not entirely accurate in any case.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:17 PM
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32: I think the problem is that there's a missing term: if 'evangelical' includes Jimmy Carter, what's the word for the kind of 'evangelical' that Apo wants to call a fundamentalist? Biblical literalists?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:17 PM
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25: Most contradictions can be handwaved away, especially if you are willing to play fast and loose with context. Some are explained away as scribal errors (the term of art is that the bible is inerrant "in the original manuscripts").


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:18 PM
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I prefer "fundy" or "creepy christians." Or, you know, "idiots."


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:19 PM
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25: The short answer is they* deny there are any true contradictions--what appears to be contradiction is just improper interpretation. I'm generally familiar with the various (attempted) reconciliations. It's a long list, as you mention, so I couldn't possibly go through them all. But if there's a particular contradiction you're wondering about, shoot.

*Many of them, at least. I'm sure there are some strains of literalists who deal with things differently (i.e., like apo in 30).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:19 PM
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24: I messed up my grammar terribly (shock!). Meant - not used much now as a self-descriptor. I am unsure of its history. There are a few "The Fundamentalist Church of X" or whatever, but that seems to usually have specific meaning within some narrow doctrinal context and should not be overinterpreted by outsiders. (Growing up as Presbyterian I learned you should not read anything much into the words in the specific splinter denomination names.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:19 PM
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So, so pwned by 34.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:19 PM
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42

36: A problem there is that there are two dimensions in play (to simplify greatly): religious liberalism/conservatism and political liberalism/conservatism. A religious conservative isn't down with modernist biblical criticism, for example, but that doesn't determine her political views. (The two types of liberalism/conservatism tend to go together, but not always.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:21 PM
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43

Inerrantists, actually. Which are not quite the same as literalists.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:21 PM
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44

Apo really knows his borderline retarded.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:23 PM
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32: it depends on who you're talking to. Many "biblical literalist" "evangelicals" would claim that Carter and his ilk aren't, in fact, evangelicals (because they do equate the term "evangelical" with biblical literalism), so there's that. But yes, I think if you're not looking to accept their framework, then "biblical-literalists" or "biblical-literalist evangelicals" works better than
"fundamentalists".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:24 PM
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35: my sense is that most would actually consider themselves "evangelicals", yes. (I did, when I was one.) Although they'd be more likely just to call themselves "charismatics".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:25 PM
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45: It does get confusing. The evangelicals should have a Pope.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:26 PM
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42: Right. Something that gets very confused in these political/religious conversations is that lots of the liberal churches are theologically not that far from the conservative churches. All the Episcopalian/Anglican kerfuffle is much less of a theological split and more of a church discipline kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:27 PM
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Apo really knows his borderline retarded.

It takes one to know one, of course.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:28 PM
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50

Contradictions are probably the fault of the machine elves.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:28 PM
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51

46: You were a Charismatic? Did you heal people and cast out demons and talk in Japanese? Please please please cat pee please please?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:29 PM
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52

51: yes, all that and more.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:30 PM
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46: Got it. I guess I tend to separate evangelicals from charismatics in my head because there are some differences, but sounds like it's more accurate to think of charismatics as a subset of evangelicals.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:31 PM
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54

more of a church discipline kind of thing

Lately, it seems like more of a gay thing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:31 PM
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52: I simply don't believe the Japanese bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:32 PM
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Domo arigato, Lama Sabachthani.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:33 PM
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56: The dreaded Styx/Allen Ginsberg mash-up?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:34 PM
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"Lama sabachthani, Mr. Roboto" would have made more sense but, sadly, that's not the part in Japanese.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:35 PM
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59

Come howl away, come howl away,
Come howl away with me!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:35 PM
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51: Brock healed cats, cast out people, spoke in demonese, and peed on Japanese.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:36 PM
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59: Ouch!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:38 PM
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54: Well, yeah. All I meant is that theologians from both sides of the divide could talk about stuff for a long time without hitting points of disagreement -- the stuff driving the schism isn't about the nature of Christ, it's about whether buttfucking is a huge deal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:38 PM
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63

Translationparty is the gift that keeps on giving.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:40 PM
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the stuff driving the schism isn't about the nature of Christ, it's about whether buttfucking is a huge deal

Same-sex buttfucking. Let's not mischaracterize the debate.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:43 PM
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"some people have been removed to get peed on"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:43 PM
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63: ...some people have been removed to get peed on...

Difficulty controlling my laughter.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:44 PM
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I pee on Apo.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:44 PM
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68

How do believers in a literally true bible cope with the need for new dogma, and the inevitable schism that follows? It seems like all of this played out in the early church already. Are there megachurches that accuse each other of heresy or whatever?

If vague good intentions are enough to belong, then I think that none of these beliefs are especially strongly held.

Not quite relatedly, Ezekiel reads like a drug fantasy. Four-faced flaming angels and chariots with wheels within wheels?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:45 PM
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Are there megachurches that accuse each other of heresy or whatever?

I think this is complicated by the fact that the sects involved were historically low on dogma -- individuals were supposed to go to the Bible themselves (I think. I could be way, way out in left field.) So while they've got cultural cohesion within a particular sect, I don't think there's going to be a lot of dogma you can point to that distinguishes one evangelical sect from another.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 12:58 PM
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70

Great TAL episode on megachurch heresy.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:02 PM
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70: Oh, man. I loved that story, but I couldn't understand why the guy wasn't happier at the end of it. I'd think if you were sure enough that God had told you everyone was going to heaven to piss off your church and financially fuck yourself over by preaching it, that you'd be sure enough not to give a damn about the financial/employment issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:05 PM
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Not quite relatedly, Ezekiel reads like a drug fantasy. Four-faced flaming angels and chariots with wheels within wheels?

Ezekiel is teh awesome. In addition to the insane imagery, it includes a remarkably detailed plan for the layout and organization of the city of God.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:09 PM
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Ezekiel is totally the best prophet, even if he is a bit flashy. Some Jehovah's Witnesses came by today who really wanted to read me a passage from Zephaniah. I appreciated that they were up on the Bible's back catalog.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:11 PM
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72: teo's secret motivation for going into urban planning???


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:11 PM
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75

70: It's almost as if he doesn't really believe it.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:11 PM
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74: No comment.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:14 PM
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75: Well, yeah. But he did believe it enough to screw up his whole life to preach it. It's weird to me that someone could be committed enough to a belief to take serious lifechanging action based on it, but not enough to be happy about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:17 PM
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I read Ezekiel as part of a project with my Sunday School teacher not long before I finally went off the rails into agnosticism and eventual full-blown capital-A Atheism. I hadn't really thought about the connection until now, but that has to have been key to damaging my faith. That and the intensive reading of Revelation alongside a teacher who has since headed into the boonies of northern Botswana to maximize her chances of surviving the apocalypse.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:19 PM
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Thanks to sweet coincidence, mistress of us all, I just this moment found the reaction of the kind of Christian who makes the rest of us look bad to the American fundamentalists of his day, who seem not to have been very different from today:

Bonhoeffer also encountered the fundamentalist theology of J. Gresham Machen and his followers, especially in the Southern Baptist Church. This kind of theology, he remarked, revealed "a different side of the American character", namely, "an unrelenting harshness in holding on to one's possessions, possessions either of this or of the other world. I acquired this possession with trust in God, God made my success happen, so whoever infringes upon this possession is infringing upon God".

Re: 68: They tend, eventually, to look to or create the sort of elaborations and embroideries typified by the Scofield Reference Bible.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:19 PM
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The short answer is they* deny there are any true contradictions--what appears to be contradiction is just improper interpretation.

And we should bear in mind that throughout most of the history of the Bible, what people have meant by its "literal sense" has borne almost no relation at all to the Martian-linguist sense that we (moderns, unbelievers) mean today when we say "literal". When a fundamentalist dodges an apparent contradiction by faulting your interpretation, the ghosts of 100 million ancient priests and rabbis stomp and hoot in support (of the method, if not the results).


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:19 PM
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It's weird to me that someone could be committed enough to a belief to take serious lifechanging action based on it, but not enough to be happy about it.

Have you seen many samurai movies?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:22 PM
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Speaking of evangelizing, I just got a Google Wave invitation, which I understand is supposed to be making me feel all holier-than-thou towards the rest of the internet, but I don't actually understand why.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:33 PM
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81: Or know anybody who ended up married due to a pregnancy?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:34 PM
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So how do they cope with novelty? Is going to the doctor when you are sick instead of praying OK? What is an appropriate atonement for a publicly acknowledged sin, is it the same for wealthy and poor believers? Is it OK to default on your upside-down home loan even though you have some means?

I suspect that the antecedents are black preachers from the reconstruction era, but they had a very strong shared experience of being a persecuted minority and a few central social problems to dictate cohesion. Both constraints are lacking for bored and lost suburbanites, who will happily drift to churches that believe less and demand less, leaving a faith consisting only of empty and easily hijacked symbols, no more significant than brands of clothing or soap.

Thanks for the audio link, will listen when I have a chance.

One thing I found really interesting is Lew Wallace's Ben Hur, which includes a miracle not present in the new testament. This should be up there with the book of Mormon or the Koran-- you can't just add new stuff, corruption of belief is much worse than mere worldly sin. But apparently, it's just fine, because Wallace means well. I do not get it, at all.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:34 PM
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82: I asked a friend who got one to pass along one of his invitations, and he said it's more like a nominating process. What does that mean? Do I need more nominations to get elected to the heaven of Wave?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:34 PM
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83: Always have to play to the cheap seats, don't you, apo?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:35 PM
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Flippanter, the first link in 79 was very interesting. Thanks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:38 PM
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88

I'm probably pwned, but It's doubtful this phrase will ever reach equilibrium.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:38 PM
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he stuff driving the schism isn't about the nature of Christ, it's about whether buttfucking is a huge deal. Speaking as a formerly practising religious affairs correspondent, I want to say that lizardbreath nails it there.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:41 PM
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One thing I found really interesting is Lew Wallace's Ben Hur, which includes a miracle not present in the new testament.

I've never read (or seen) that, but I don't think that writing fiction that includes Jesus, labeled as fiction, would be seen as corruption of belief, depending on what the miracle was.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:43 PM
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lizardbreath nails it there

Unfortunate word choice, my child.


Posted by: Jesus Christ | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:44 PM
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87: I think I've remarked before that theology is a literature of unrequited love, written by the loved to the lover. Reading Bonhoeffer's theological writings, as technical as they can be from time to time, is the experience behind that. There's a pretty good documentary available on DVD about him, with interviews with some of his friends and family, now dead, and his fiancée.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:46 PM
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I think I've remarked before that theology is a literature of unrequited love, written by the loved to the lover.

I haven't seen you use that before and that is good enough that I would remember.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:51 PM
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81, 83: No, it's not about believing anything strongly enough to mess up your life over it, but specifically believing that everyone, including you, is going to heaven guaranteed, and God himself told you so. I'd think that if you actually believed that one, it'd produce a certain amount of beatific grinning at people, a tendency to pat small children on the head and adopt lots of stray dogs, and a pretty settled indifference to your life being fucked up short of actual immediate physical suffering. While the guy in the TAL show seems to have been sincere on some level, or he wouldn't have thrown away his career over it, he didn't seem to react emotionally as if he believed it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:51 PM
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Apo, I know you've been lacking content lately on the blog, but I didn't know you'd signed on JC as a cob logger.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:53 PM
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... specifically believing that everyone, including you, is going to heaven guaranteed, and God himself told you so. I'd think that if you actually believed that one, it'd produce a certain amount of beatific grinning at people, a tendency to pat small children on the head and adopt lots of stray dogs, and a pretty settled indifference to your life being fucked up short of actual immediate physical suffering.

Francis of Assisi was pretty cool that way.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 1:57 PM
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94: But your emotions don't reside with your head, and his epiphany was somewhat intellectual. Emotionally, he's rejecting everything he was taught at a very young age, and all the emotional ties to other people that go along with it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:01 PM
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That's really a great question, LB. Reverend Pearson's situation shows that just believing in a future bliss isn't enough to make you happy now. Or to put it another way, the cause of most of human unhappiness isn't uncertainty about whether we'll get into heaven.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:03 PM
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99

To paraphrase Jonathan Swift, he had enough religion to sacrifice this world, but not enough to be happy about it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:23 PM
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100

This post at Slactivist is relevant to the "what constitutes 'being an evangelical'?" question. I feel like there is something even better in his archives, though, lemme see.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:27 PM
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101

This too.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:28 PM
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specifically believing that everyone, including you, is going to heaven guaranteed, and God himself told you so. I'd think that if you actually believed that one, it'd produce a certain amount of beatific grinning at people, a tendency to pat small children on the head and adopt lots of stray dogs

A decidedly non-evangelical view of human nature, of course. The predominant strain of evangelicalism teaches that the fear of hell is the only thing keeping the average person from scowling at people on the street, raping small children and kicking stray puppies.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:30 PM
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The fear of hell is CRAMPING MY STYLE.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:32 PM
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scowling at people on the street

Isn't that generally considered virtuous? I mean, since they are probably up to no good, anyway?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:34 PM
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32 and subsequent: IIRC "Bible-believing", as both "charismatic" and "evangelical" have meanings outside what you're getting at. I'm not particularly happy with the term as it cedes too much, but hey. Google sez: Results 1 - 10 of about 2,240,000 for "bible-believing church".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:34 PM
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Re: 100: That is, "Slacktivist."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:37 PM
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105: "bible-believing" works, yes, and I agree that charismatic has meanings outside this question (I don't think I implied otherwise?), although I'm not sure there's anyone who would describe themselves as "bible-believing" (and who means by that "I believe the Bible is the literal word of God") who wouldn't also identify as evangelical.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:39 PM
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102: Come to think of it, I suppose launching out on the rape/murder spree you'd always secretly longed for would be an equally reasonable reaction to believing everyone was going to heaven, guaranteed. No serious consequences for you or your victims, after all. Hadn't occurred to me to look at it that way -- I was thinking more of things like quitting your job and learning to surf, or giving all of your investments to an art school, or whatever else frivolously happy thing you wanted to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:40 PM
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Are Pentecostals and charismatics the same group of people?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:40 PM
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105: Disquietingly, "Bible-believing" has been adopted by Republicans as an epithet for not only the usual primary season cheap suits but also long-dead politicians whom Republicans want to co-opt into some outrageous position or other. There was a recent slice of bile (WSJ? The Atlantic?) leveraging Harry Truman against Democrats over Israel, as I recall.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:41 PM
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109: That, I think yes, almost exactly. But maybe there's a schism I don't know about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:42 PM
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Slacktivist is consistently excellent. Here's the key sentence from the 2nd link:

"We use that word -- Christian -- to refer to people who are evangelical Christians," Schneeberger added.


This is my issue with allowing the fundamentalists to own the word "evangelical." That may be the term they most often use to describe themselves, but they don't get to have it all to themselves.

It's the same relationship as exists between "Republican" and "patriot". They want you to believe that the two are synonyms, but they aren't.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:43 PM
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108: LB, hopelessly clean-minded as always.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:43 PM
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113: It's all the damn secular humanism.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:43 PM
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The Charismatic Movement has a relationship with Pentecostalism, in that it shares a commitment to the use of spiritual gifts. However, within the Charismatic Movement this commitment is embedded within the full variety of historic denominations, and so in each context theology, culture and acceptance can vary enormously. The term "Pentecostal" refers to that set of denominations that arose out of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival, whereas the Charismatic Movement refers to a different era, context and theological content. The term "neo-Pentecostal" is sometimes used to describe non-Pentecostal charismatics, who are either part of the Charismatic Movement, or neo-Charismatics.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:46 PM
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109/111: virtually indistinguishable in belief, but separate sects who generally would not cross-identify.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:46 PM
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("Charismatic" and "Pentecostal" churches have to do with a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit, most notably demonstrated via speaking in tongues and date to the Azusa Street Revival in California in the early 20th century. "Evangelical" is, as Bave and Apostropher note, a specifically Protestant movement that dates back to 18th c. Methodism, holding with Biblical literalism and authority. And "fundamentalism", to the extent that it means anything in this context, is the rejection of Biblical criticism in favor of Biblical literalism, in particular the fundamental truths that the Niagara Bible Conference came up with about Protestant theology.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:46 PM
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"We use that word -- Christian -- to refer to people who are evangelical Christians," Schneeberger added.

Isn't that awesomely irritating? Slacktivist also sometimes uses "Real, True Christian" or "RTC" to refer to these choads.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:46 PM
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62, 64 -> The D.C. Archdiocese.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:47 PM
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I was thinking more of things like quitting your job and learning to surf, or giving all of your investments to an art school, or whatever else frivolously happy thing you wanted to do.

Most people don't think they're going to hell, but they don't all up and quit the mine. I don't know how I'd react, but knowing everyone is going to heaven doesn't change that you have to pay the rent this month.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:53 PM
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119: Coming from an organization that has for centuries operated an underground railroad and relocation program for child molesters, that's pretty goddamn galling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:54 PM
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I'm not sure there's anyone who would describe themselves as "bible-believing" (and who means by that "I believe the Bible is the literal word of God") who wouldn't also identify as evangelical.

Sure there are! Or at least there were.* The "evangelical" vs. "fundamentalist" split comes as part of sectarian disputes about the duty of Bb Christians to interact with or withdraw from the secular world. I think Karen Armstrong has written about some of this -- I'm trying to find the name of the book that I read that went into some of the historical disputes; it might have been David Beale's In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1850.

* I mean, in a world where "God Wants You to Be Rich" is a best-seller, I give up.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:54 PM
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120.last: It *could*.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:54 PM
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The main thing that would change, I think, were this revelation bestowed to all, would be more sex.

Even then, maybe not. Awkwardness far out-performs morality as modern chastity belt.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:56 PM
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It's the same relationship as exists between "Republican" and "patriot". They want you to believe that the two are synonyms, but they aren't.

And the words "morals", "values", and "gay-bashing".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:58 PM
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120: You have to pay the rent this month, sure. But it'd massively lower the stakes on any kind of risky behavior knowing that it'll all come out all right in the end, wouldn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 2:59 PM
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I dunno. So you die and go to heaven, automatically: in that case, if you risk everything and lose, you haven't lost much. But if you risk everything and win, you haven't won all that much either. I guess it reduces both risk and opportunity costs, such that it all comes out a wash.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:03 PM
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And then there's the fact that risking everything and losing, and remaining alive, would still suck. I would think complete atheism would be just as freeing. Why shouldn't a true atheist take in stray puppies and go wind surfing all day?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:05 PM
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WRT the post title: St. Joseph's Oratory on Mount Royal in Montreal has a wall of things left behind by pilgrims who've climbed the stairs on their knees and touched Brother Andre's heart in a jar. (Don't know if the Oratory still offers the heart.) In the 1990s the wall included canes, braces, and artificial limbs. I'd love someone to explain the last one, because those things are expensive, and you'd think people would come back for them after a while. Maybe they prayed and got one that fit better.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:06 PM
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Maybe they prayed and got one that fit better.

Or they prayed and their limb grew back.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:08 PM
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Or they stole it off of someone along the way.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:09 PM
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130: Or they died when they fell back down the stairs.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:12 PM
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Teh interwebz cannot agree on what famous Frog quipped that they had visited Lourdes and seen no wooden legs left behind.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:33 PM
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In 1874, Emile Zola visited the sanctuary of Lourdes. Standing before the numerous votive offerings in the grotto, he declared, in a mocking tone, «I see many canes and crutches, but I don't see a single wooden leg.» So sez this letter, but it could well be apocryphal.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:39 PM
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There are a bunch of crutches and such at Chimayo, but I don't remember if there are any artificial limbs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 3:57 PM
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As I feel swamped by evangelicals

The only reason I know of white evangelicals in this country is news reports. Presumably some exist here, but they're so scarce as to be invisible.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:26 PM
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that was me


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:29 PM
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it's about whether buttfucking is a huge deal.

I thought that Fundamentalists believed in the primacy of the fundament, which is why the English call them "bummers".


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:30 PM
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I really don't see how this isn't targeting all Christians. Frankly, I found it condescending, smug, and just a tiny bit hateful.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:32 PM
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You won't see many fundamentalists in PT as you cannot get there from a literal reading of the Bible.

I read "PT" as "physical therapy" at first, and it was kind of funny.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:38 PM
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It is condescending. I didn't notice how new that site is, but what with Dawkins and Hitchens (and a third person I'm forgetting at the moment) on the atheism bandwagon lately, it's in the air.

Why one would actually argue for atheism is a bit of a question. Plays into the same game, doesn't it?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:41 PM
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139: All their evidence is specific quotes from the Bible, taken literally. How is that targeting anyone who isn't a biblical literalist?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:43 PM
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Also, I don't give a flying fuck if it's condescending. I'm sick of the pervasive message that I'm going to hell. It's idiotic and deserves to be condescended towards.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:47 PM
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142: All their evidence is specific quotes from the Bible, taken literally.

Not really. There's this, for example, which argues (I strongly considered putting that in scare quotes) that "it is only by assuming that God is imaginary that science can proceed". Um, not really.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:48 PM
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142: Because it styles itself as proofs that God is Imaginary and anyone who believes in God is delusionsal and then supports itself with, as you say evidence based on liberal interpretation of biblical quotes as if, clearly, everyone who believes in God bases their belief on inane literal interpretations.

I understand your frustration with asshats telling you you are going to hell. But I find it likewise frustrating to have my faith lumped in with those asshats.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:52 PM
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Yeah, but the straw man Christian that he describes up front is not a moderate Christian. Plenty of Christians can reconcile modern medicine with their faith.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:54 PM
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146: Nearly all of the fundamentalist Christians have no trouble with modern medicine. Pretty much only Christian Science and Jehovah's Witness have problems with modern medicine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:56 PM
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145: Fair enough. And I don't actually care whether or not someone is an atheist, as long as they're moderate in their beliefs and don't believe anything I find offensive. I just enjoyed reading a smarmy attack on bible-thumpers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:56 PM
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143: You'll never get to heaven with that attitude, heebie.

Seriously, though, I happen to agree that it's idiotic, but I tend to think that ignoring and gradually, increasingly, marginalizing it is better than launching an all-out mocking attack.

But I don't live in Texas.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:58 PM
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147: They have no trouble employing modern medicine, but there's a giant heaping of problematic prayer, like the kind that acts as a transaction to pay off God, going alongside it. Not just the give-me-strength or meditative prayer or appreciation prayer. They take modern medicine, but they don't give it much credit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 5:59 PM
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149: Oh, I don't think there's anything productive about that site, by any means. It's just there to either piss people off or make people pat themselves on the back.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:01 PM
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148: If only it weren't also a smarmy attack on my friend the lesbian pastor, my friend the single mom in an open relationship, all my friends who were there to offer their prayers and encouragement the minute they learned my friend has cancer along with the friend who is an honest-to-God bible-thumper.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:03 PM
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151: Yeah. Comity!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:05 PM
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150: God doesn't require so many forms.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:06 PM
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Why one would actually argue for atheism is a bit of a question.

Suppose one thinks that God-oriented religion has a deleterious effect on society?

To think about it another way: the Christian wants to convert the non-believer to his/her way of thinking for the non-believer's sake. The atheist wants to convert the fundamentalist to his/her way of thinking for the betterment of all humankind. (He said, smugly.)


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:07 PM
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152: Are they biblical literalists?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:08 PM
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the Christian wants to convert the non-believer to his/her way of thinking for the non-believer's sake. The atheist wants to convert the fundamentalist to his/her way of thinking for the betterment of all humankind.

I'm not sure there's really much of a distinction there, actually.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:08 PM
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155.last: Meh. We have more important things to think about at this time than converting one another.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:11 PM
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156: No (with the exception of the actual bible-thumper). That's my point. The site is smarmy to all believers and is that much more obnoxious because it confounds all belief with biblical literalist belief.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:12 PM
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Also see 141.last: Plays into the same game, doesn't it?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:13 PM
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157: No? How do you mean?

158: Sez you.

159: Meaning absolutely no personal offense, I think that believers, as a group, ought to be relatively thick-skinned about non-believers making fun of their beliefs. After all, the non-believers are pretty outnumbered.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:13 PM
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the non-believers are pretty outnumbered

And routinely subject to the real-world policy consequences of the beliefs of the believers.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:18 PM
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161.last: As a (I like to tell myself... ) fairly reasonable, relatively thinking, decidedly liberal sort of believer, I feel pretty damned outnumbered myself most of the time. When I was a whirly-eyed fundamentalist, I felt a lot thicker skinned.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:19 PM
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161.2: Sez you

Actually, yeah, I sez. In pretty good humor about it, but seriously: the believers in this country are pissed off enough as it is, increasingly so Sending them further into defensive fight mode isn't a good strategy. I really do think it's better to work under the radar where they're concerned.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:19 PM
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No? How do you mean?

Well, don't you suppose the Christian sees the conversion of nonbelievers as contributing to the betterment of all mankind? And if the atheist is aiming at the betterment of all mankind, doesn't that include the fundamentalist?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:20 PM
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And routinely subject to the real-world policy consequences of the beliefs of the believers.

Right, see, it's not the beliefs of "the believers" but the beliefs of "a certain subset of sort of rather obnoxious believers." It's not my beliefs.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:22 PM
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I really do think it's better to work under the radar where they're concerned.

Arrrrrgrrgrgggggghhhhhhh! "They" are not monolithic and some of them really, really bristle at being lumped in with certain others of them.

(And one of them is frankly just plain cranky tonight and should go fix herself a drink and make some dinner.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:24 PM
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164: the believers in this country are pissed off enough as it is, increasingly so

I'll see your "meh" and raise you the world's smallest violin, playing the sad song of the pissed-off fundamentalists. I don't think trying to hide until they go away is a particularly good strategy, either. In general, I'm unsympathetic to an argument that minorities should go quietly about their business to avoid pissing off the majority.

165: , don't you suppose the Christian sees the conversion of nonbelievers as contributing to the betterment of all mankind?

You know, I don't know, never having been Christian, but the evangelical who tried to convert me seemed genuinely to be doing it primarily out of concern for my immortal soul. I suppose the betterment of all mankind is a desirable side effect.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:24 PM
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167: Sorry, Di. I know I'm being sloppy in my language, and probably should not say "believers."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:25 PM
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Evangelicals?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:26 PM
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I don't think trying to hide until they go away is a particularly good strategy, either. In general, I'm unsympathetic to an argument that minorities should go quietly about their business to avoid pissing off the majority.

So, like, the strategy I would advocate would be to try to recognize that there are a great many believers in this country who feel just as disenfranchised by the religious fundamentalist/literalist/whatever-you-call-themists as you do and might, just might, be decent allies in many of the causes you have against that set of believers.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:29 PM
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170: Why not "fundamentalists" or "extremists" or "hypocritical Pharisees cynically playing upon the beliefs of the naive for personal and political gain"? I mean, sure, those terms are pejorative. But isn't that your point?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:32 PM
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I'll see your "meh" and raise you the world's smallest violin, playing the sad song of the pissed-off fundamentalists.

This made me laugh, babe.* Yeah. I know. Look, I know exactly what you're saying. I'm surprising myself a little here, actually; but I am not suggesting that we shut up and go along, that we hide. Not by any means. Just that a website like the one heebie linked might not be the wisest thing: I don't like encouraging the so-called culture wars, not at this time. It just makes people all screamy.

* And I apologize if "babe" is inappropriate there, but that was a great line.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:32 PM
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It would be better if the site didn't lump all Christians together, absolutley. The site is arguably not even particularly interesting, but if you think twice, it gets hard to post anything. And I did include a disclaimer saying that this is making fun of fundamentalist/literalist/whatever-you-call-themists and not of all Christians.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:33 PM
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It just makes people all screamy.

Happy I could illustrate your point, pars. Now off to go mix that drink for realz.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:34 PM
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I'm condescending towards anyone who believe things.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:34 PM
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I believe in you, Brock.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:35 PM
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174: Just so it's clear, I'm mostly screamy at the site itself, not you.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:36 PM
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173: And I apologize if "babe" is inappropriate there, but that was a great line

Not at all, sugar-britches.

171: So, like, the strategy I would advocate would be to try to recognize that there are a great many believers in this country who feel just as disenfranchised by the religious fundamentalist/literalist/whatever-you-call-themists as you do and might, just might, be decent allies in many of the causes you have against that set of believers.

Absolutely! To the barricades! I thought, though, we were arguing about whether it was counter-productive for atheists to try to "convert" religious folks to atheism, which I think is a separate issue from trying to mobilize to minimize the impact of the asshats on civil society.

I don't think the linked site is necessarily a productive force in that good fight; I think it's probably about as effective as handing out copies of The Watchtower, or whatever.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:37 PM
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"They" are not monolithic and some of them really, really bristle at being lumped in with certain others of them.

I really don't want to put you off, Di, but I suspect it may be you doing the lumping here. No one's said anything specific about your beliefs, including you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:37 PM
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178: Oh, good. Scream on, then.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:38 PM
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177: Foolishness! For all you know, I'm just pixels in the wind.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:42 PM
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180: When you speak about "believers" generically, for example, in a context that makes clear you are talking about the anti-gay marriage, anti-choice etc. crowd you are kind of lumping all believers into that crowd.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:44 PM
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I think it's probably about as effective as handing out copies of The Watchtower, or whatever.

You know, that's got to work for some small percentage of cases. I convinced, I dunno, more than a dozen people in Ukraine that Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni. The websites Heebie links are obnoxious and their arguments aren't very good, but they might be exactly the thing to trigger some trapped fundamentalist kid to start to rethink his view of the cosmos.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:44 PM
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And I did include a disclaimer saying that this is making fun of fundamentalist/literalist/whatever-you-call-themists and not of all Christians.

I think you're conceding too much. Some of the arguments/mockery are directed at Biblical literalists; some of them are directed at Christianity as a whole or even just supernatural belief more generally. To the extent the site fails it's either because the arguments are constructed badly or the purported audience for them wouldn't be interested in actually engaging with them. But that's true of arguments about anything.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:47 PM
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(As Parsimon recognized in 169, it's a quibble with sloppy language. Religion and sloppy language both push my buttons. Work some sort of parenting issue in there and I might just explode!)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:47 PM
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186: Maybe we could summon read? (I would include a winky face if they weren't deprecated.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:49 PM
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187: Yeah, uh, that would qualify as still rather a sore spot.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:56 PM
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180: When you speak about "believers" generically, for example, in a context that makes clear you are talking about the anti-gay marriage, anti-choice etc. crowd you are kind of lumping all believers into that crowd.

That's a very fair point. I view beliefs on a private/public metric. If you're making your beliefs public, it's fair game for discussion and even ridicule, even if makes you uncomfortable.

And, absolutely, me saying something like "believers do X" is sloppy language and a belief open to discussion and ridicule.

On the other hand, I'd be perfectly happy to live in a world in which religious beliefs really were a private matter.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 6:56 PM
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I view beliefs on a private/public metric.

Stanley is smart. {stands back and sends admiring beam in Stanley's direction}

I think you mean "axis," though. {coughs}


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:02 PM
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189 On the other hand, I'd be perfectly happy to live in a world in which religious beliefs really were a private matter.

On the third hand, it seems to me that one of the few good things that can be said about religion is that it can give people a supportive community that can help them out when they need it, and that's sort of an ineluctably public aspect of religion. So I'm more inclined to draw the line at "people who attempt to impose their beliefs on others" than at "people who make their beliefs known publicly".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:06 PM
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I'd be perfectly happy to live in a world in which religious beliefs really were a private matter.

I don't think that's fair to ask of believers. Some people's religion can be private, but other people's faith demands that they be engaged in the world as believers, whether trying to convert others or trying to help others (feed the hungry) or working for a faith-inspired cause (against SSM, against the death penalty or nuclear weapons). Religion is much too varied a phenomenon to be kept completely within a "private matter" container.

But if that's true, and we have to accept engaged religion in a pluralistic society, I'd argue that it's fair for non-religious or anti-religious people to engage based on their beliefs as well. Of course, any of these engagements may be in bad taste, annoying, or even unethical.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:06 PM
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This sort of thing, however, is just stupid. That's right! No religious thinkers have ever contemplated the idea of whether war is justified, or why the God of the Old Testament is so gosh darn bloodthirsty! (And your knowledge of Biblical Hebrew is really impressive!) Also, "slavery is bad" is totally one of the Ten Commandments, so in your face, hypocrites! It's the atheist's equivalent of giving a banana a handjob.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:06 PM
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I am starting a religion organized around converting everyone in the world to the fundamental belief that people who forgetfully leave their adopted Asian children in car seats to die should go to Hell. Also, I'm an asshole.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:09 PM
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I think you mean "axis," though. {coughs}

I struggled with word choice there, but I don't like "axis" because it suggests a range. To violate the analogy ban, if you want to believe the moon is made of cheese, go right ahead. Just don't tell me about it. As soon as you do, well, now it's public.

191, 192: I'm not saying I want it to be illegal for people to try to convert others and do community work. By all means, go for it. But once you do so, you're in the public sphere, and I can agree with you or disagree, and vehemently so, is my point.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:11 PM
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It's just that one doesn't view anything "on a metric".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:17 PM
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191, 192: I'm not saying I want it to be illegal for people to try to convert others and do community work. By all means, go for it. But once you do so, you're in the public sphere, and I can agree with you or disagree, and vehemently so, is my point.

This isn't what I was contesting at all -- I'm completely in agreement with that. I was just saying that there's a distinction between just "making your beliefs public" and actively doing things to try to get others to share them. Personally, I prefer to reserve vehement disagreement for the latter, not for people who are open about their beliefs and part of a religious community without trying to impose on others. If there's a community of people who believe the moon is made of cheese, gather once a week to eat cheese, and generally help each other out without bothering others, I might think they're a little nuts, but I'm not going to go out of my way to tell them so. But if they start knocking on my door and trying to force-feed me Swiss cheese, I won't think twice about telling them they're morons.

(I see why analogies are banned...)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:17 PM
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||

I'm trying to write a letter to the rank and tenure committee, and it's really hard. They solicited the letter, not the person in question.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:18 PM
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(I see why analogies are banned...)

Cheese, however, is delicious! Oh, what a friend we have in cheeses.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:19 PM
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To violate the analogy ban, if you want to believe the moon is made of cheese, go right ahead. Just don't tell me about it. As soon as you do, well, now it's public.

I don't think you're violating the ban, if that helps.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:20 PM
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195: Suggesting a range of publicity and privacy seemed appropriate, per 191 and 192. That's all. I stand by "axis."

The rest of your point in 195 is taken. It's just to say that religious activity, once made public in any way, is not inviolate?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:20 PM
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|| So, a FB friend ponders how soon is too soon for the L-word. I vote that one month is too soon.|>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:22 PM
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I do get annoyed when people act as if religious belief is some immutable protected category that people are horribly intolerant for not respecting.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:24 PM
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196: If that's the quibble, I'm claiming headache-due-to-fucking-wisdom-tooth-coming-in and seconding Di's need for a drink.

197: If there's a community of people who believe the moon is made of cheese, gather once a week to eat cheese, and generally help each other out without bothering others, I might think they're a little nuts, but I'm not going to go out of my way to tell them so.

What about making a website claiming they're weird? That's going out of your way, but I don't see the problem with it. They could just as soon go make ten other websites calling you a weirdo for thinking the moon is made of hummus, but you didn't do anything to harm them.*

*analogies!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:24 PM
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198: I think it's too soon to tell the rank and tenure committee you love them.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:25 PM
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Yeah, I think that sort of lactose-intolerant website isn't much of an offense.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:25 PM
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One month is totally too soon.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:26 PM
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204.1 -- It really does help immensely.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:26 PM
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207: But is it creepy soon or just improvident soon? Which was really the judgmental point of my question.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:32 PM
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Okay, test case on the private/public thing: should this guy have been fired?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:32 PM
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I'm not Read, but I'll see if I can play one on the intertubes

180: When you speak about "believers" generically, for example, in a context that makes clear you are talking about the anti-gay marriage, anti-choice etc. crowd you are kind of lumping all believers into that crowd.

You are asking way too much from non-Christians. Yes, I'm sure that there are lots of deeply meaningful distinctions within the set of those calling themselves Christian. I've tried to understand the distinctions, and to keep them sorted out, and frankly it's beyond me. Further, you're apparently equating 'believers' with 'Christians', which is rather a bit of hubris with respect to all the others Gods. The devout Buddhists don't really have a problem with gay marriage, as far as I know.

Christians have a bad history. From the Crusades to the Inquisition to Ghettos to some missionaries, there's a lot of really bad stuff. Yes, I'm sure that the sins of the past shouldn't be visited on the present, and I'm sure that those were just the actions of some small fringe sects, but we're talking really really bad.

And in the present I'm finding the actions of some very large ostensibly mainstream Christian organizations to be deeply offensive. The efforts of the Catholic church, mentioned above, to coerce DC into using civil legal power to enforce Christian beliefs so as to limit the freedom of non-Christian gays is reprehensible. You may also recall the efforts of Catholic officials, claiming to speak on behalf of the church, to oppose the election of John Kerry.

So for me it's not just now, and it's not just the Evangelical Protestants. I'm finding that in my everyday life I'm having my liberties restricted by people who call themselves Christian, I see the present evils as a natural successor to past evils, and I don't like it.

I don't think that's fair to ask of believers.

I think it's the only fair thing. That's pluralism: you keep your religious beliefs out of the civil law and don't try to force me to live by your articles of faith, and I won't force mine on you. You can wear crosses and put fish outlines on your cars all you want, but don't try to make it illegal to sell condoms in MA. We've had a thousand years of [some] Christians getting totally barbaric on those who had the temerity to question Christianity, and now [some] Christians are totally offended when somebody simply argues - not with swords and pogroms but with words - that there's something nonsensical about Christianity?

There, have I once again reinscribed my assholery and totally offended everyone?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:32 PM
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202: Stipulating that everyone is a beautiful unique snowflake whose mileage varies, one month is definitely too soon. I wouldn't go earlier than six months intentionally. (I actually wound up using the word unintentionally with the person I later married about four months in -- "see you later! love you!" -- but it was OK as she immediately returned it and then we both grinned like idiots at each other.)


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:33 PM
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She used that pronoun she.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:33 PM
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209: One month could be just improvident, but could also be evidence of creepiness if the circumstances otherwise support the inference.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:36 PM
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Further, you're apparently equating 'believers' with 'Christians'

No, I'm not.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:37 PM
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211.last: No. Not everyone, anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:38 PM
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I'm not really sure expression of the L-word should be time-bound at all. Plenty of people propose marriage within weeks of meeting, etc.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:41 PM
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It's also, perhaps, age-related. I was much quicker to use the L-word when I was 18 or 19 and foolish.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:42 PM
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You can wear crosses and put fish outlines on your cars all you want, but don't try to make it illegal to sell condoms in MA.

OK, but how about trying to force the government to do something about poverty?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:43 PM
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211.last -- Assholery, eh. Narrowmindedness, yep. You want to believe that all that shit is fairly attributable to the majority of Christians, go for it. But it's narrowminded bigotry.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:44 PM
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L-word-wise, and specific to the individual. If she's generally level-headed, then maybe she hit the Luv Jackpot. If she generally runs off with new thrills each week, I'd be skeptical and encourage her to let it develop in its own time.

In general, I would err on the side of letting the relationship stew longer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:45 PM
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how soon is too soon for the L-word. I vote that one month is too soon

Yes, I think you'd need more than a month to fully commit to being a lesbian.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:46 PM
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Unless we're talking about Leprochauns?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:46 PM
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Or the Lebanese?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:46 PM
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202 et al: OK, got it now from context, but I had not a clue when I read it. Lesbian*? Labia? Lederhosen? The decades since my last date, let me show them to you.

*Phuc u Postropher.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:47 PM
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221: It's a he, actually, and old enough. And I have no real idea of his propensity to run off with new thrills. I went on one date with him months ago, wasn't thrilled, and just got his friend request in time for his apparently unending stream of one-monthiversary true love.

so the correct answer is for you all to reinforce that ewwww.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:49 PM
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Then it is clearly tooo soon and he is acting out all his baggage and what a headcase. Ewww!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:50 PM
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That's all I ask, heebie. That's all I ask.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:53 PM
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one-monthiversary true love

Uh oh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:55 PM
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It is really hard to write this letter. It's hard to be brutally honest about someone's strengths and weaknesses. Especially because I'm measuring them according to what the Rank and Tenure's Official Six Qualities are, not necessarily what I value. Although there's a decent amount of overlap.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 7:55 PM
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Ugh, letter-writing sounds painful. You have my sympathy. I'm glad I'm not yet at the stage of my career where I have to think about such things. It was bad enough having some conversations with people recently about whether I should apply for faculty jobs now or not and hearing a lot of academic-politics reasoning that seems really distasteful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:00 PM
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211: My problem is that structures of so many of the denominations of the Abrahamic religions have not moved far enough from those appropriate for time when religious governance was synonymous with civil governance of the whole community. For instance, the Bishop of Providence impugning Patrick Kennedy's Catholicism for his vote on the Stupak sepsis amendment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:01 PM
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230: Is this someone you're competing with? </shearer>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:02 PM
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230: I tend to err on the side of only saying nice things. And then feel a little annoyed that problems fester.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:04 PM
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233: Not really.
234: But the stakes are really high on both sides. Is this someone I want to work closely with for the rest of my life? Will they be a sufficiently positive contribution to the community? Etc. It's not a slam dunk that the letter should be positive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:06 PM
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Yeah, that is hard. Wish I had something more useful than "good luck" to offer.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:08 PM
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For instance, the Bishop of Providence impugning Patrick Kennedy's Catholicism

Ugh. Can I just tell you how annoying it is that this all over the local news?


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:09 PM
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OK, but how about trying to force the government to do something about poverty?

If the given reason is "because God told us to" then no. If the reason is secular 'because neutral principles of justice require' or whatever, then yes.

You want to believe that all that shit is fairly attributable to the majority of Christians ...

That's the problem of collective guilt and no, I don't want to accuse any individual Christian based solely on their adherence to any sect. I do, however, hold it against Christianity in general and therefor see it as a reason to say "no" when someone says "but I deserve repect for my Christianity". I know I'm not explaining this well, but I hope there's a thought in there. One of the things that really irks me is when people (e.g. O'Reilly) say 'there's a war on Christmas' or says that pictures of Mary rendered in elephant dung are disrespectful and should be banned from public display.

In other words, I think I'm obliged to be precisely as repectful to Christianity as I am to Greencheeseism, which is to say, not at all.

216: thank you.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:11 PM
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226: The icky part is putting it all on Facebook.* Keep your one month trueloveverisary to yourself. Or I'll judge you on Stanley's public/private metric.

*I post boring, mundane stuff on Facebook all the time, but I'm really not a fan of the overly emotional status updates. Unless they're angry rants.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:11 PM
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Oddly enough, I can never think of anything to post on Facebook. Oddly only because I'm fairly prolific here and elsewhere, online.

I think it's because I don't have a single voice down pat that I'd use for such a random assortment of people who might see it. Whereas in blogland, I started first with a consistent voice and made friends who know me as such.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:16 PM
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210 is phenomenal. All 6+ minutes of it. I love the way he's so careful every time to say "so-called female fiance".

And yes of course he should have been fired. But I doubt you were really looking for an answer to that question, so much as you were just looking for an excuse to post the link.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:17 PM
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232: For instance, the Bishop of Providence impugning Patrick Kennedy's Catholicism for his vote on the Stupak sepsis amendment

agreed. Although with some branches of those religions, I see no evidence of a desire to move away from theocracy. What's really bothersome is that there's not a great wave of public outrage along the lines of 'how dare those Catholics try to impose their beliefs on our pluralistic secular society?". Instead everyone is too afraid of offending Christians and simply chuckles and says 'Catholics will be Catholics he he he'.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:18 PM
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If the given reason is "because God told us to" then no. If the reason is secular 'because neutral principles of justice require' or whatever, then yes.

Eh, but I don't really buy that there exist neutral principles of justice in the way you need for this to work.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:19 PM
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Eh, but I don't really buy that there exist neutral principles of justice in the way you need for this to work.

Well, this really isn't my area of deep expertise, but I thought that this was one of those issues that was first hashed over during the Enlightenment. We had Kant, and the Utilitarians, and recently we had Rawls, and there are a few others. They all, as I understand it, claim to have developed neutral, secular principles for deciding right and wrong. Am I wrong about what they were trying to do, or are you saying that they all failed?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:33 PM
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Wasn't Kant a Christian philosopher?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:36 PM
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Kant was a Christian (in some sense), and he was a philosopher, but he wasn't really a "Christian philosopher" in the way that, say, Kierkegaard was.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:41 PM
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Ah. I think I was thinking of Kierkegaard. They both begin with K, you see. My knowledge of philosophy is that refined.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:44 PM
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I don't (a) think their principles are neutral and (b) I don't think they are good enough principles I'd feel safe in making them somehow especially trustworthy.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:45 PM
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210 is phenomenal. All 6+ minutes of it.

Does that guy come off as completely gay to anybody else?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:47 PM
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211

... you keep your religious beliefs out of the civil law ...

I don't see how this is workable. Everyone has beliefs about what the law should allow and what the law should prohibit and I don't see any practical test for ruling out some of these beliefs as having an illegitimate basis.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:48 PM
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But I doubt you were really looking for an answer to that question, so much as you were just looking for an excuse to post the link.

Not at all. I think the company overreacted and might have offered the opportunity to have him re-visit what he said out loud and understand that what he said was outright discriminatory, religiously based or not.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:54 PM
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232

... For instance, the Bishop of Providence impugning Patrick Kennedy's Catholicism for his vote on the Stupak sepsis amendment.

But isn't one of the tenets of Catholicism that Bishops have special moral authority. If Kennedy doesn't agree he can become a Protestant.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:54 PM
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Considering that I can't tell a Kant from a Kierkegaard even when the wind is nor' by nor'west, I'm probably not the best person to be defending this thesis. But, as I've said before, I've never let ignorance stand in the way of an opinion.

I start from the assumption that discourse is the proper method for resolving policy questions. Or, if not resolving, at least exploring or explicating.

If you start the discussion with "God said so" there's really nothing more to say, no discourse, no explication. If you start with 'policy X will lead to fewer people sufferring hunger, and since no one wants to be hungry, and we can't tell in advance who is going to be hungry, so it might be you and me, so to prevent ourselves from being hungry we should support a policy that provides some minimum free government food for everyone' - well, at least you've got room for discourse. And it doesn't require starting from a belief in any particular God or Gods or Goddesses.

It may not be especially trustworthy, but at least there's a hope for understanding and concensus.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 8:55 PM
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249: I kept expecting him to say something like "Two women? Double ew."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:00 PM
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But isn't one of the tenets of Catholicism that Bishops have special moral authority.

To the extent that the claimed moral authority includes the moral authority to decide what's right and wrong for non-catholics, then that claim of moral authority is precisely what I'm decrying. The Bishop wasn't saying "Kennedy was a bad Catholic for having an abortion" he was saying "Kennedy was a bad Catholic for not using every civil legal means available for imposing Catholic views on abortion upon all non-Catholics"


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:03 PM
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252: Sure, there are several elements in play; the Church itself, Tobin and Kennedy all own a bit of this farce. But if that is going to be official church doctrine, don't beat around the bush, come out with it, kick the guy out. But no, they don't have the stones, they want it both ways. Come on Pope Benedict, you fucking pussy, kick 'em out, enforce your doctrines or don't, see what kind of freaking church you'd have left. And Americans would know how to evaluate a Catholic candidate for office. Otherwise tell your bishops to shut the fuck up or make it clear that they are speaking for themselves only and not with the power of their office.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:08 PM
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It doesn't work, Michael. There's no neutral position from which to rule some kinds of reasons out of bounds for public debate, others in bounds. The Enlightenment dudes were wrong in thinking they'd found one.

As a practical matter, it's sometimes quite effective to complain about religious believers basing their arguments on explicitly religious beliefs. For example, it's a winning tactic to point out that there aren't any good secular arguments against same-sex marriage, that the only plausible arguments against it boil down to "God told me"; pointing this out can sway a lot of middle-of-the-road voters. But it doesn't tend to convince the people who take political positions for religious reasons. And it's only a tactic, so it's not always effective, certainly not always the most effective thing you can do. You're often better off, for example, appealing to values that you share with the believers, even if they hold those values for religious reasons.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:15 PM
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254: I love that the only response he can think of to being hit on by a guy is to explain that so-called homosexuality is wrong. Dude, a straight person might just say, "I'm not gay, but thanks!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:16 PM
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251: well, yeah, I guess I didn't really mean that he should have been fired, about which I really have no opinion, so much as the company had every right to fire him, which I thought was what you were really asking. Meaning: I certainly don't think they did anything wrong, by firing him.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:18 PM
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The comments are pretty sweet, too. For example, is this one sarcastic or sincere?

"Actually, once a guy at work said he didn't like the fact that I drove a Japanese car. I think I should have had him fired...

This is a hate crime of Brookstone against this excellent young man. Contact the ACLJ, they'll win it for sure! You actually have an obligation to do so for the rest of us. This is cut and dried discrimination.

Thought police folks. I live in the Boston area and you should see these depraved activists in action. They don't wan't equality, they want us dead!"


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:48 PM
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I like this, too:

"Question: What would happen to me if I dogged a homosexual about my upcoming heterosexual marriage all afternoon.

Answer: I would be dragged into Personnel in a heartbeat.

Double Standard folks. Meet the new face of discrimination!

The white hetersexual male is now the new Anathema... ironic.

I wonder if hate legislation can be applied to him. Hold you breath.

Young man, sue these people with vigor. You have an obligation to do so! ACLJ will help. Call them free of cost. "


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 9:52 PM
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Yup, straight people never go on and on about their fiancé(e)s. They never mention them at all, out of perfect awareness about how their celebration of their own personal feelings for another will make everyone around them feel, especially gay people.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:00 PM
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257

... For example, it's a winning tactic to point out that there aren't any good secular arguments against same-sex marriage, that the only plausible arguments against it boil down to "God told me"; pointing this out can sway a lot of middle-of-the-road voters. ...

As an agnostic/atheist opposed to same sex marriage I naturally don't agree.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:01 PM
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Is the ACLJ like the evil-twin, alternate-universe, bearded version of the ACLU?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:02 PM
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264: this is probably all you need to know:

Founded by Pat Robertson, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and its Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow quickly established themselves as key players in the right-wing movement, litigating a variety of cases at all levels, including the Supreme Court. The ACLJ has been particularly active in fighting marriage equality and defending the Pledge of Allegiance, while Sekulow has maintained very close ties to the Bush White House and played a central role in pushing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:15 PM
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I get that he doesn't believe in homosexuality, in that he thinks it's wrong, but does he also not believe in homosexuality -- like he actually thinks it doesn't really exist? Dude, it's not just a "so-called female fiance" or "so-called homosexuality" -- she's really female, and they're really truly gay.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:16 PM
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266: that would certainly be the implication. I'm guessing he thinks it's "a choice, not a disposition."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:20 PM
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266: I think that's my favorite part. "A so-called homosexual," like gay people are all lying. They don't actually have gay sex or romantic relationships with the same gender; they just say that to pretend they're special.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:21 PM
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Why do all these so-called homosexuals keep telling me about their so-called female fiancés?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:27 PM
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264: It wants to be, although it doesn't operate on anything near the same scale. The ACLJ exists more or less to claim that freedom is really about the rights of Christians, gun owners, antiabortion demonstrators, and I think sometimes property owners, although that isn't their main thing. Definitely not the rights of suspected terrorists, though -- they filed in support of the government in several of the terrorist-detention cases. Their core area is religion and antiabortion-speech stuff (and, looking at 265, I guess they've gotten into the antigay area more heavily and more recently).


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:28 PM
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269: Answer.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11-12-09 10:48 PM
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This debate is interesting, as an atheist who comes from a country in which the dominant Christian sect isn't entirely dominated by asshats, and which tends to be politically fairly left/liberal* it all seems a bit odd.

* and divided between socially conservative and socially liberal factions on the buttfucking question ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 12:47 AM
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Further to 272, there was a kerfuffle recently in the Church of Scotland over an openly gay minister being chosen by a church in Aberdeen. It went to a vote at the General Assembly and the appointment stood. About 25% voted against his appointment, I think, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 12:55 AM
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The white hetersexual male is the Jew of Logan Airport.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 6:34 AM
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Further to 272, there was a kerfuffle recently in the Church of Scotland over an openly gay minister being chosen by a church in Aberdeen. It went to a vote at the General Assembly and the appointment stood. About 25% voted against his appointment, I think, though.

And that was the Established Church itself.

Personally, I believe in the Covenants, so, yeah, judgement!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 7:00 AM
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I was going to write something really standoffish and self-righteous about 220, but since the thread has remained mostly civil I won't upset that applecart. (Or at least, I'll do it in a completely different way: aloofness.)

It seems the disagreement in this thread, between nonreligious on one side and religious on the other, isn't about policy or beliefs at all. No one's saying "yes, but homosexuality is just wrong" or "yes, but the Bible does contradict itself". Instead, it's about tribalism. Heebie is annoyed by Christians she encounters, so she links to Web sites of atheist arguments. Di was annoyed by all "believers" being lumped together with the annoying believers. (164-167, for example, in which she objected to a criticism of the atheism sites, because that criticism just referred to a monolithic "they".) Does more standoffishness by atheists unify "believers"? Do liberal believers need to concede that term to the right-wing nutjobs and find something to call themselves that doesn't apply equally well to Bible-thumpers?

FWIW, I only skimmed the links in the original post. I liked the one about praying for amputees more than the other one, which isn't saying much. Ideally I'd edit them both down greatly to remove the weak, stupid arguments, but I also agree with 184, so...

271: Does that count if it includes the English word "fiancé" in the Japanese text?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:37 AM
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Personally, I believe in the Covenants, so, yeah, judgement!

Not really sure what that means!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:44 AM
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(164-167, for example, in which she objected to a criticism of the atheism sites, because that criticism just referred to a monolithic "they".)

I didn't object to the criticism of the atheism site. I objected to the proposed strategic approach to dealing with "the believers in this country." Disagree with me, but don't mischaracterize my point. Frankly, I agree with Parsimon's strategic approach in 164 if her reference to "believers" is limited to the fundamentalist types who seem to be the intended focus -- that crowd really does get energized by ridiculous crap like that atheism site. Nothing more exciting* than feeling like you are being persecuted for your faith! But if "believers" is read more broadly to include a good number of thinking people of faith, well treating those people like a bunch of weak-minded morons who need to be carefully skated around and by no means engaged intellectually... Well that sounds a lot like narrowminded prejudice to me.

Do liberal believers need to concede that term to the right-wing nutjobs

Seriously? Conced the term believer to the nutjobs. Hey, they win! They get to be the only true believers and the rest of us should come up with some asinine alternative catch phrase. No thanks.

Ideally I'd edit them both down greatly to remove the weak, stupid arguments, but I also agree with 184, so...

Here's my problem with 184. Yep, it might trigger some kid who is committed heart and soul to a vigorous but vacuous fundamentalist faith to abandon that faith. Is an atheism premised on vacuous arguments and superficial emotional appeals really that much better? Far better to see that kid prompted to think about faith or the abandonment thereof in a serious, meaningful way, if you ask me. Otherwise it's just exchanging one kind of prick for another.

* Presumably far less exciting when you are actually being persecuted in a real way.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 9:53 AM
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There's a car I keep spotting at the super market with a bumber sticker reading "Try Jesus". I've so far resisted the urge to hang around to inquire whether the car's owner is thinking civil or criminal.

This may simply be a polite request for Jesus to try a little harder.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 9:56 AM
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Speaking of prosperity theology, has anyone seen Hanna Rosin's fascinating new article, Did Christianity Cause the Crash?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 9:59 AM
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278 gets it right.

It's true that in real life I haven't encountered many people who mock the very idea of religious observance of any kind or view religious believers with pity as the victims of a repressive false consciousness, but it seems to be everywhere on the internet. Another thing to blame libertarians for, I assume.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 10:01 AM
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278

... well treating those people like a bunch of weak-minded morons who need to be carefully skated around and by no means engaged intellectually... ...

Sounds like standard operating procedure for liberals to me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 10:08 AM
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THe hardcore proselytizing atheists like Dawkins or PZ Myers are probably the main reason why I call myself an agnostic rather than an atheist. They are way too religious in flavour for my taste. I don't see anything bad about religious faith in and of itself, or good for that matter, nor do I understand why religion is supposed to be somehow intrinsically worse than any other ideological collective identity.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 10:09 AM
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282: Standard operating procedure for anyone who thinks their opponents are irrational.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 10:12 AM
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282: Even if we were to accept your statement, arguendo, as true, so? I mean, do you have a point here, or did you just feel compelled to take a gratuitous dig at "liberals" (who, I could but won't point out, are also not a monolithic body that speaks with one voice)?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:02 AM
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(who, I could but won't point out, are also not a monolithic body that speaks with one voice)

You won't?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:06 AM
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285

... I mean, do you have a point here, ...

The point is you shouldn't just object when you happen to be the target.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:06 AM
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Wouldn't it be more useful to point that out the next time you notice Di culpably failing to be supportive when mean liberals are condescending to someone else? It's not really an argument that she shouldn't be complaining now, but an argument that she should complain more at some other time when the circumstances are appropriate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:20 AM
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287: I can't say I've ever been accused of not complaining *enough* about people being unfairly mean.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:23 AM
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It's weird, on the one hand, I'm an anarchist and atheist and fairly contemptuous of the ol' crutch for the weak-minded. On the other hand, I was raised in a very liberal church, in a very liberal Mainline Protestant denomination, with very liberal parents who were also fairly devout and very committed to both an intellectually open approach to religious belief and a social-justice oriented engagement with the church as a community. In fact, one of the rocks upon which I build my anarchism is seeing how well an organization like the church I grew up in can be run with an emphasis on consensus decision-making and lack of a permanent formal hierarchy.

Having said all that, making a big distinction between evangelist, pentecostal, charismatic and fundamentalist has always seemed a bit of a fool's errand to me. For one thing, once you get into that non-denominational realm, some of those folx change their church like they change their underwear. For another thing, barring some of the most doctrinaire, they all associate with each other pretty freely, while shunning Catholics, Mainline Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, well, pretty much everybody who's not a holy roller, bible-thumper, fly-by-night crazy whack-a-loon Christian Christian.

Fundamentalism is a lot like pornography in that way. You know it when you see it. Sometimes, they'll even infiltrate real churches, but you can always tell 'em.

Buncha snake-handler goofballs.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:27 AM
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286: D'oh! I just can't help myself sometimes.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:28 AM
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I wish I had a better memory for all the names of rhetorical figures like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:29 AM
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Not really sure what that means!

The idea that the ruling class can and should be held to a moral standard sort of thing I think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:55 AM
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278
I didn't object to the criticism of the atheism site. I objected to the proposed strategic approach to dealing with "the believers in this country." Disagree with me, but don't mischaracterize my point.

That was not my intention. I suppose I should have written "criticized the criticism of the atheism site", but that sounded confusing or just repetitive. I realize you weren't objecting to parsimon's basic point, just something that was a side issue in her comment.

Here's my problem with 184. Yep, it might trigger some kid who is committed heart and soul to a vigorous but vacuous fundamentalist faith to abandon that faith. Is an atheism premised on vacuous arguments and superficial emotional appeals really that much better?

I'm not counting on someone completely reversing their most fundemental beliefs with the simplicity of a syllogism, as you seem to assume. I'm allowing the possibility of one or some beliefs being shaken, and therefore going on to reexamine others.

282
... well treating those people like a bunch of weak-minded morons who need to be carefully skated around and by no means engaged intellectually... ...
Sounds like standard operating procedure for liberals to me.

I'm confused by this, James. Are you saying that, to you (that is, in your opinion), this is S.O.P. of liberals when interacting with people in general? Or are you saying that this is S.O.P. for liberals when they are interacting with you personally?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 12:04 PM
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292 to 290.last


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 12:20 PM
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294

I'm confused by this, James. Are you saying that, to you (that is, in your opinion), this is S.O.P. of liberals when interacting with people in general? Or are you saying that this is S.O.P. for liberals when they are interacting with you personally?

Both.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 2:03 PM
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296: Sometimes, I get the feel you don't like us, James.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 2:45 PM
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Buncha snake-handler goofballs

What's with the snake handling anyway? A nod to our lizard people overlords? A sublimation of homoerotic impulse? Did the original tent revivalist also happen to own a snake farm? What gives?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 3:53 PM
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Symbolically taming the original serpent?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:00 PM
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Someone will know this, but it is a passage from . . . Matthew? that is sort of bracketed in most texts of the CT.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:05 PM
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Er, Mark 16: They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:06 PM
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I thought you were just supposed to avoid that one on account of tricksiness.

I don't get it. You're singing Amazing Grace and then, hey look, hold onto this, just do it, it's for Jesus -- wha?? -- no just hold onto it. Personally, I think it's option one, a nod to the Lizard People.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:07 PM
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So why don't they pass around hemlock? Isn't there also something about not testing the Lord?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:08 PM
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"they shall take up serpents" could mean anything. Like maybe they were going to wear shorter pants, and then there was a transcription error.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:15 PM
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303: Some apparently have. And some think that part of Mark 16 is an apocryphal addition.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:17 PM
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Accoring to this billy ray cyrus narrated documentary, apparently the snakes kill a boatload of those snakehandlers. Which I should have expected. Poisonous snakes are posionous.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:19 PM
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most texts of the CT.

Is "CT" some sort of PC term for the New Testament?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:23 PM
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Poisonous snakes are posionous.

Only to the unfaithful, Lemmy.

Would you mind holding this snake for me for a sec?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:24 PM
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if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them

I think that's from a Lucinda Williams song. No wonder most people think it's apocryphal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:24 PM
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307: Yep. Christian Testament. New is rather presumptuous, no?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:34 PM
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What does it presume, except that it came afterwards?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:40 PM
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311: Well, the presumption of the document is that it updates the "old," incomplete testament.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:46 PM
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I guess, to the extent that any religious document presumes not to be fraudulent. But that isn't normally what we mean by presumption.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:50 PM
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I don't think we're supposed to do this, but did New Coke presume?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:54 PM
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Yes, but if you don't buy in, it's a weird thing to call it. This sort of scruple is also where things like "C.E." and "B.C.E" come from.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:55 PM
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Only correctly punctuated. The point is that it's nice for scholarly terminology, at least, to refrain from endorsing the hierarchies of a given sect.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 4:56 PM
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I guess I don't see how "New" endorses any hierarchy, aside from a sequential one. If anything, the assumption is in "testament." And I wonder if it's really neutral to change a document's name in order to encompass "I think this is bullshit" into its title. I wonder whether that isn't the actual presumption. I also think I could distinguish the way we talk about dates of things to the names ascribed to a religious document.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:05 PM
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I think the problem actually becomes much clearer if you imagine all the scholars referring unproblematically to the "Old Testament." And then once you worry about doing that, it makes sense to use a different naming scheme overall.

And I wonder if it's really neutral to change a document's name in order to encompass "I think this is bullshit" into its title.

To me, all it seems to say is "This is the testament of the Christians."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:10 PM
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OT: Does anyone feel up for answering a question raised for me by this week's episode of Glee?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:10 PM
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Perhaps this isn't the right time...


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:11 PM
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320: It's all your fault we can't call it the New Testament, buddy.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:12 PM
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You can call it whatever you want, goy, so long as my people get a cut.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:15 PM
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318: How is it different from appending "of the Muslims" to the title of the Qur'an? Don't you think it's a little impolite to change the names of other people's religious texts?

319: Let's talk about Glee


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:16 PM
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wow, 14 consecutive comments by lowercase people.


Posted by: cryptic n3d | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:16 PM
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323: In what sense to you think "New Testament" is the "name" of the (not always the same) group of loosely gathered texts written over however many decades?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:20 PM
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It's the name inasmuch it's what people who ascribe to the religion prefer to call it and have called it in recent history.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:22 PM
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Who do you think should get to name the religious text of any given group? Yourself?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:22 PM
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323: Okay, here's the thing: disabled people are largely invisible in popular culture, right? And the show plays with that convention (or I guess it transgresses that taboo, if you want to be really generous) by screen-time to the the kid in the wheelchair. But on this week's episode the writers went a step further, including in the story line the young woman with, I think, very mild down's(?) and then putting her on the Cheerios. And then, in a very odd (and, for my money, discordant) twist, having what's-her-name, the head of the Cheerios, turn up at her sister's in-patient care facility. And lo! Her sister has very mild down's (or whatever, as I'm bad at recognizing various developmental disabilities -- because I don't see color).

So now, the question: why is it that aging people with developmental disabilities are never, like never, seen on television or in movies? Or really, if you think about it, in the public sphere at all? Is this because among the invisible, they're super-duper invisible? Or is it because they're all sitting in in-patient facilities, because after their parents die, there's nobody else to take care of them?

Thanks, I'll take your answer off the air.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:23 PM
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324: Excuse me, "minuscule" people.


Posted by: jp stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:25 PM
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327: Ah, ok. Nevermind.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:26 PM
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My guess is it's the latter, but I don't have personal experience.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:27 PM
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It used to be that people with Down syndrome had a significantly curtailed life expectancy, though that's changed a lot in the past decade or two.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:28 PM
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330: I don't mean to be overly rude here, but isn't it a bit silly to go renaming things because we're afraid that their original name presumes that they are valid? Are you going to rename the Upanishads now to make sure everyone understands that not everyone ascribes to them?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:29 PM
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332: Thanks. I thought that might be it. But aren't there other developmental disabilities that don't curtail lifespan as much? And still, we never see older developmentally disabled people. Odd. Or maybe not, as it really might just be the case that once the parents die, the child, at whatever age, has to receive care somewhere.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:31 PM
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From now on, The Epic of Gilgamesh will be known as "The Epic of Gilgamesh of Certain Dead People From Ur" to take into account that not everyone finds it to be epic.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:33 PM
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And is it Down's syndrome in Canada? Or do I just have it wrong? I'm pretty sure I learned, somewhere along the way, that it was Down's syndrome. But now, upon seeing 332, Down syndrome looks right.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:33 PM
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Nothing in the name of the Upanishads or the Qur'an raises the same issue as Old/New Testament does. Also, you do realize that this isn't Oudemia's own neologism, right? It's a common, though not uniform/ubiquitous, usage among people who study the texts and periods in question in academia.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:34 PM
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It may well be Down's Syndrome in Canada! Wikipedia tells me that "Down" is preferred in the US and "Down's" is "standard in the rest of the English-speaking world".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:35 PM
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It's the name inasmuch it's what people who ascribe to the religion prefer to call it and have called it in recent history.

The "Greek Scripture"? The "New Covenant", which is what it actually calls itself? Also, Qu'ran just means "recitation", just as "Book of Mormon" just means "book of Mormon". The Qu'ran doesn't call itself "the Final Abrahamic Revelation", just as the Pearl of Great Price doesn't call itself "the Corrected Bible". If everyone called the Old Testament the Tanakh, "New Testament" wouldn't carry the same connotations.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:36 PM
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||Holy fuck, holiday flights to Europe are really expensive this year>|


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:37 PM
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TKM, are you Polish-Polish? Your family is over there?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:44 PM
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339: I do understand that it's not oudemia's creation, thanks. Do you know any large groups of Christians who call The New Testament "The Greek Scripture?" If so I'm certainly fine with them calling it that.

Frankly I don't see the presumption in "new" any more than in "recitation" -- though thanks for the improptu pedantry -- or "pearl of great price," or "doctrines and covenants," nor does "new" have the same connotation as "final" or "corrected," nor does the New Testament actually purport to correct some error in the creation of the Old Testament.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:45 PM
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342: The Jehovah's Witnesses, among others.

Always happy to add some impromptu pedantry to your life, text. Maybe next time we can talk about Hebrews 8:13.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:49 PM
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341 My family is scattered, but the biggest chunk of it is in Poland and that's where we go for Christmas. Am I 'Polish-Polish'? Hmm, I don't have a Polish passport, though I could, I do have a dual national identity, and I was brought up very Polish by parents who emigrated as adults.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:52 PM
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Did I miss something where Christians call The Old Testament The Obsolete Testament? It helps when the pedantry is relevant.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:53 PM
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I never realized some people think "New" necessarily implies superiority over "Old". Particularly people who think the word "New" has more positive connotations than the phrase "Pearl of Great Price".

Since the more likely a Christian is to claim the Bible is the inerrant word of God, the more likely he is to favor the Old Testament God over the socialist New Testament God, I don't really know how many people base their anti-Semitism on the idea that the "New Testament" is somehow an improvement on the "Old Testament".


Posted by: cryptic n3d | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 5:57 PM
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I never realized some people think "New" necessarily implies superiority over "Old".

Yeah, see Snark's reference to Hebrews 8:13, which is the bit that makes it nicely explicit. I've only just learned that the whole theological debate over the issue is called the debate over "Supercessionism," which is a great word.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 6:00 PM
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The "New Covenant", which is what it actually calls itself?

"Testament" is King James-era English for "covenant".

Pedant this, pedantic motherpedants.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 7:21 PM
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Is this the right place to note that Clint Eastwood has received the Legion d'honneur?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 7:30 PM
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re: 334

I used to work in a mental hospital that had several wards full of elderly people with various mental handicaps.* They are out there. I'm not sure how much the situation has changed, as these were people who had largely been institutionalised back in the days when housing everyone with mental disabilities in large residential institutions was still the norm.

* The former RSNH/S /cottish National Institution for the Education of I /mbecile C /hildren mentioned near the bottom of this page


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 7:43 PM
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350: Yeah, it's only been in about the last thirty to forty years, at least here in the States, that it's become at all common for people with developmental disabilities to be raised by their own families and not institutionalized and basically kept away from the view of society as a matter of course.

And, while I've been enjoying Glee, I can't help feeling like they're running out of ideas about how to fill a whole hour each week. I like the acting and the characters and the premise, but the plotlines seem really haphazard and/or gratuitious and/or thrown together, almost like it's a sketch comedy show with recurring characters. Also, his past week's episode had an ensaddeningly high ASS (After School Special) quotient.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:14 PM
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I also never knew that New and Old meant anything more than chronology.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:16 PM
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On the other hand, I also explained to my dad that crosses weren't necessarily Christian.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:17 PM
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I also only found out recently that pretty much all Christian groups have a notion of hell. According to the theology prof I was talking to. I somehow thought it was limited to the more extreme groups.

Is accepting Jesus a prerequisite for admission heaven in all versions of Christianity?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:21 PM
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I can't help feeling like they're running out of ideas about how to fill a whole hour each week

I think this is dead right. And like I said, I found the plot twist involving the head of the Cheerios to be off by a considerable margin. Humanizing her character on a show that strikes me as a gay version of Better off Dead -- at least when it comes to the arc of the various characters' development -- can't a good idea. Absurd, beyond-the-pale evil is much more in keeping with the spirit of the show.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:21 PM
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354: Belief, broadly defined, shouldn't really matter to a orthodox Calvinist, assuming that you can find one lurking around. Unless I'm wrong. My ignorance of all religious traditions is really quite something.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:24 PM
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I found the plot twist involving the head of the Cheerios to be off by a considerable margin.

Completely.

Humanizing her character on a show that strikes me as a gay version of Better off Dead -- at least when it comes to the arc of the various characters' development -- can't a good idea. Absurd, beyond-the-pale evil is much more in keeping with the spirit of the show.

I was okay with the previous episode where she fell for the anchor man and bought a zoot suit, but this was just so gratuitous and non-believable. I'm also pretty certain that we're never going to see her sister again, probably not even the new cheerio.

With many of the characters they keep having them do things that are out of the blue and out of character and without explanation or follow up. If they're trying to make the characters more complex, they're doing it in a completely hamhanded way. It feels more like they're just trying to bend whichever character is handy to fit whatever particular point they're trying to make in that particular five minutes of the show.


Posted by: M/tch m/lls | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:33 PM
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Is accepting Jesus a prerequisite for admission heaven in all versions of Christianity?

I would say it is probably the major common point in most versions.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:34 PM
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358: That and high SAT scores.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 8:36 PM
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Is accepting Jesus a prerequisite for admission heaven in all versions of Christianity?

See, this always bugs me and is probably why I got dumped by my Atlas Shrugged-pushing college boyfriend. There's a verse in there somewhere, in the Gospels, I think, that talks about being judged based on how much knowledge you had. Which always sounded to me like "If what you knew of God was from some other tradition and you embraced that, you're good to go." There's a parable, too, about two brothers, one of whom goes on and on about being the good son and the other who goes on and on about how he doesn't get a crap about his dad, but the latter brother actually does the things dad wants/needs done and the point was sort of "talk is cheap, it's where your heart's at that counts." Someone with real church cred can clarify where any of that is or the extent to which I have perhaps distorted it....

I like to think there's a Christian denomination out there that sees things this way, but I'm sort of a drop-out in re: church attendance


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 9:05 PM
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I like to think there's a Christian denomination out there that sees things this way, but I'm sort of a drop-out in re: church attendance

Sounds like what you are looking for is Universalist Unitarian which I wouldn't call Christian as an organization, but has members that are Christian. If I recall correctly some of the people who comment here are UU or at least have been in the past.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 9:16 PM
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360 is more or less what Catholicism says in its catechism (see 847).


Posted by: Criminally Bugur | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 9:45 PM
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360: When I first learned of Protestants as a young Catholic (I must have been 7 or 8; there was a Baptist boy who began attending our School of Cathol, due to shitty city schools. My mom told me that Protestants were Christians just like Catholics, but there were some disagreements about things, nothing too important that they weren't going to heaven, too.

Bit of a shocker to move from heavily Catholic Chicago to not-so-Catholic Virginia and learn that my new Protestant friends were curious why I did things like worship the Pope, and why I'd be choosing to go to hell.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 9:55 PM
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Carl Sagan on all this and more.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-13-09 11:30 PM
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354: Belief, broadly defined, shouldn't really matter to a orthodox Calvinist, assuming that you can find one lurking around. Unless I'm wrong. My ignorance of all religious traditions is really quite something.

Hrm? Belief is really vital to an orthodox calvinist; sola fides & all that.

(Because if you really have faith then you'll behave appropriately; faith's the important part.)

Also, South Africa 2010 wa-hey.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 11-14-09 3:01 AM
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being judged based on how much knowledge you had

Romans 2, maybe?

There's a parable, too, about two brothers

The Parable of the Two Sons


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-14-09 5:30 AM
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360 is more or less what Catholicism says in its catechism (see 847).

I could be wrong not being a Catholic scholar, but I think 847 refers to the "Noble Savage". Someone who has never heard the gospel. Once you have been proselytized to it is convert or burn.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 11-14-09 6:53 AM
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That catechism is worse than "What's the Matter with Kansas?". Don't the proselytizers have some responsibility for salesmanship? It's not all that obvious to the noble savages what's in their best interest.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-14-09 6:57 AM
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366.1 -- maybe...
366.2 -- Yes.

Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Verily, I must attend to this verse!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-14-09 7:35 AM
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