Re: Patently Untrue

1

The Lord fulfills the desires of those who complain loudly about idiomatic expressions?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:22 PM
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the desires of those who fear the Lord must have nothing to do with the predictable desires of the rest of the us shmucks.

I think this is the point. Those that fear the Lord want to be saved, and God sits in judgement over them. That can be scary, to a sinner.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:22 PM
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First off, who fears the Lord? Nobody, that's who. Everyone who believes, believes that the Lord loves them.

Not in my experience. I've known several people (all Catholic, FWIW) who were indisputably afraid of God.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:25 PM
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Catholics now say "wonder and awe" rather than "fear of the lord" for the reason you mention in whichever list of numbered theology points we had to memorize in sixth grade includes that item. That I no longer remember what it signified probably says a lot about it and/or me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:26 PM
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The people who write the books to teach the confirmation classes for the Catholics switched from "Fear of the Lord" to "Reverence for the Lord" shortly after Vatican II. Protestants, who are often very fond of the King James translation, have not all made a similar accommodation to changing connotations in the language.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:28 PM
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The old testament dude is especially fearsome.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:30 PM
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I think Thorn may be younger than me and they have since switched to 'wonder and awe' or maybe it varies by diocese. Anyway, it was the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:30 PM
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I was going to ask if fear was an NT theme at all, and if inserted whether it was more Catholics or Calvinists, but I guess that answers my question.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:34 PM
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You're right about the seven gifts of the spirit, Moby. It's possible that our school was just ahead if its time, though that would surprise me. They did start allowing what my dad insisted on calling female altar boys before it was officially allowed, so my desire to participate caused my parents all kinds of heartache and soul-searching before they found some way to justify it to themselves and just let me do it so they didn't have to hear my self-righteous rants the way they did with how unfair it was that I was only getting a quarter per week as allowance and thus was forced to tithe a nickel every other week. Ah, the good old days!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:36 PM
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I really haven't talked faith with hardly any Catholics. Even though obviously the Tex-Mex-Catholic presence here is huge. They just don't tend to evangelize like the Southern Baptists, and I avoid talking religion with everyone if possible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:39 PM
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One theological innovation from the New Testament is the Lake of Fire. Even the nicey-nicey biblical God threatens you with torture if you don't comply with rules that aren't even really all that well explained. When I was a Catholic, I was scared silly of God.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:40 PM
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My fear of God very early on was related to my belief that God was weird and creepy for apparently watching me while I was in the bathroom. Those were the first seeds of rebellion, around age 4.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:44 PM
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Sort of related, there's been a huge debate over IVF in Poland over the past two years since the Tusk government proposed that the national health insurance plan reimburse the costs. Now the Church has stated that anybody voting for any law dealing with IVF that doesn't at a minimum seek to limit its availability will be excommunicated. My feeling is they're overplaying their hand. Back in the nineties they managed to get parliament to ban abortion except for serious health risks/incest/rape and to make catechism classes part of the public school curriculum with a good bit of arm twisting (more positively they also successfully pressured conservative religious MP's into banning the death penalty). But this is a case which the majority of the population disagrees with them, and only a small minority fully supports the view that IVF equals mass murder. If they go through with this, it might make the Sejm more willing to take up abortion law liberalization in the future. If you've already gotten yourself excommunicated, what do you have to lose?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:47 PM
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Per 6, everything I've ever read about Orthodox Judaism leads me to believe they fear the artist subsequently known as the Lord f'real.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:47 PM
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13: meanwhile, 18,000+ Finns have left the Lutheran Church in the past day or so over mild statements of opposition to gay marriage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:50 PM
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12: when you poop, you poop on God.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:50 PM
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I don't think "get all you want" is the same as "fulfills the desires of." God knows your desires much better than you do.

Also, I think the context for the fear of god is social breakdown and fear or proximate death-- slavery, plague, invading powerful enemies, and the like.

Thinking about suffering on this scale is popular on both the right and on the left, though whether righteous punishment is divine or environmental depends on your politics.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:51 PM
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17.last: Zombie infestation is another good one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:52 PM
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How does a Catholic hospital handle it if you need a procedure which uses causing infertility to address some problem? Like a hysterectomy to address fibroids or something? They're okay with that, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:53 PM
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19: Yes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:56 PM
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Because I'm pretty sure every hospital within 100 miles of us is Catholic, and I know they won't let you get your tubes tied there or a vasectomy, even if your doctor is on board. I was just musing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:59 PM
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#12. GOD IS WATCHING US FROM A DISTANCE


Posted by: OPINIONATED BETTE MIDLER | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 6:59 PM
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God knows your desires much better than you do.

"God answers every prayer, but sometimes the answer is 'no'."


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:00 PM
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I suspect lw gets it right. Let's not forget that God is killing American soldiers overseas because of teh gays, and that 9/11 was divine retribution for teh gays and Hollywood and whatnot, etc. etc.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:02 PM
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Parsimon gets it wrong. The Fred Phelps church is not really a church, should not be taken as representative of anything.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:05 PM
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I'm comfortable admitting that I have no insight whatsoever into the minds of highly religious people and how they feel about their faith.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:06 PM
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25: Phelps shouldn't be take as anything, but Robertson is too big to not take as representative of at least something and he said the 9/11 thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:07 PM
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LIKE THE MAN SAID: SOME OF GOD'S GREATEST GIFTS ARE UNANSWERED PRAYERS (SERIOUSLY, THAT BITCH WAS A CHEATING WHORE IN COLLEGE. YOU'RE WELCOME).


Posted by: OPINIONATED GOD | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:08 PM
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27: Also the Katrina thing.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:09 PM
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Fear is not an unheard-of response to the sublime.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:12 PM
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25: Yeah, I hesitated before writing that, but you have to admit that that narrative is out there (beyond just the Phelps people), and has been for a while. Disasters and scourges -- of various sorts -- are delivered upon the people for their sinful ways, their failure to respect (fear) God's wishes. Pretty common theme. Throw in the notion that if you *think* your desires are fulfilled by gay sex and porn, you are wrong -- as evidenced by God's punishments if nothing else -- and you get the formulation on the church billboard.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:17 PM
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God changes quite a bit as the old testament goes on. In Judges, causal gory retribution. By Isaiah, a metaphysical wind something like karma, coming soon and all of you will deserve it. Except in the very oldest books, where desire is mostly confined to where best to address prayers, desire's a pretty subtle thing, characterization is elusive. Oh, except Proverbs, which is materialistic, small-minded, and pointless. Desire's striaghtforward there. Oh, and the Song of Solomon. And maybe books I don't know well. But other than that.....


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:18 PM
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As for desires and the fulfilling of same,* a theologian would probably comment on the propositions that we poor sinners yearn for God and that that yearning is fulfilled in the Big J.

* Ladies....**

** I am going to hell.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:18 PM
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34

Jeremiah was put in a well for good reason. If Phelps fell down a well, eh.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:20 PM
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35

So was the little girl in The Ring.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:21 PM
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I haven't really followed the mutations of the TV theologians over time: Robertson was big on 9/11 and Katrina, AIDS no doubt, and probably other things as divine retribution for our sins, but my sense has been that the megachurches of our current day are more into prosperity theology, and it's not clear to me how much berating goes on there over sinful behavior.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:35 PM
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How does a Catholic hospital handle it if you need a procedure which uses causing infertility to address some problem?

It would depend on the problem your addressing, but in many cases, you would apply double-effect reasoning.

Classically, I think it actually matters whether causing the infertility is the means by which you solve the problem or merely a known side-effect.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:39 PM
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you're


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:40 PM
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35: That is the first time I've ever seen that connection made.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:41 PM
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Is the post a joke, or are you honestly unfamiliar with Psalm 145:19?

Genuine question; I can't tell.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:41 PM
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whether causing the infertility is the means by which you solve the problem

Right, this was the scenario I was wondering about - like a hysterectomy or something. Maybe that's still indirect, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:42 PM
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Huh. My take on most Christianity is that if you don't fear god, you're doing something wrong.* (Yes, yes, I know that in the 20th century there has been a strong move towards the touchy-feely prosperity gospel Jesus. But most sects still preach re: the awesomeness** of God, and given that God does control salvation and most devout Christians that I know do worry about that whole Hell thing even when convinced of their own righteousness it seems to me that they fear certainly fear God.***)

I've been reading a lot about late medieval and early Reformation Christianity lately. I'm increasingly convinced that the Reformation was a bad idea.****

* This trope did not figure into my Unitarian-splinter-sect upbringing, but, um, well. My church could hardly be called Christian.

** In the OT sense.

*** I'm practicing run-on sentences.

**** Disclaimer: This is not a scholarly or academic idea, just personal opinion. I want my pantheon of Saints, dammit.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:49 PM
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43

Genuinely unfamiliar with Psalm anything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:49 PM
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42 fits with my understanding of fear of the Lord.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:51 PM
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On Sunday a friend and I drove past the old Heritage USA park and we talked about how great it would be if someone could buy it and restore it to exactly how it was in 1978. Nothing in the park would post-date 1978, not technology, not dress, not advertisements; everything would be just as Jesus-y and '78-ish as it was at the time. And at the entrance, Jim and Tammy-Faye (robots, ideally, but actors if necessary) would greet every visitor to the park.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:52 PM
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Genuinely unfamiliar with Psalm anything.

Oh. Well, then. The phrase on your church's message board is form Psalm 145:19. Feel free to disagree with its theology, but in doing so it might make more sense to take issue with the Psalmist than with this particular reproduction on the church message board.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:54 PM
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I wouldn't say it's my church.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:55 PM
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48

Plus, perhaps this is such a fabulously quoted psalm that it's utterly insignificant that they chose it. But otherwise, someone chose it. And whoever chose it, did so to catch people's attention. My attention was caught and my reaction is "Come on. That doesn't hold water."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 7:58 PM
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48: Within the rubric of Christian theology, it makes good sense. Fearing God means, in part, that you're showing proper reverence, that you're acting according to his precepts, etc - and thus, then you will be rewarded - hopefully with what is your ultimate desire, salvation.

But yes, I agree that it's probably not the best evangelical phrase.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:04 PM
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It kind follows from omnipotence by straight-line reasoning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:06 PM
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But does it match up with anyone's experience of the world? No.

I guess you don't bother to evangelize things that confirm everyone's experience of the world. That's what pop music is for.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:08 PM
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On this theme, I thought that Ted Chiang's short SF story "Hell is the Absence of God" did a very good job of conveying the fear of an awesome God. Chiang's story does not put this God in a good light.

Good summary here


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:09 PM
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From the post: Those who also believe in a bad guy also have at least one good guy who mentally holds them tight at night.

The Old Testament deity is designed to inspire both fear and love right from the outset. The Qur'an's Allah manifests these traits as well; Allah is merciful and compassionate and threatening a "painful doom" all in the same breath. The New Testament is imagined top be more about the love side of things, sort of, except that's only in sepia-toned Christmas specials and not in the Bible, whose Jesus is pretty adamant that the only family values that matter are belonging to his sect and that you're screwed if you're not a communist (two key points of which American Christianity's forgetfulness is proof positive of how completely a religion can blank out the tenets of its putative founder). Christian eschatology is likewise all about how only a few select people will enjoy the rewards of the Kingdom of God.

If I subscribed to and believed the literature of any of these religions, it would make perfect sense to both love and fear God and to have the understanding that you had to do both to get into heaven. The sign you're recounting actually sounds a lot like an aphorism that appears in the Pirkei Avot.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:09 PM
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I realized on this thread that I really hate contradicting heebie. Heebie is always right.

(OTOH, I have to do it again - I'm pretty it's not about the experience of/in the world, it's about faith.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:12 PM
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Plus, perhaps this is such a fabulously quoted psalm that it's utterly insignificant that they chose it. But otherwise, someone chose it.

I am not exactly sure what you're getting at here. The OP didn't strike me as a psychological assessment of what would make someone select this verse for their message board. The post was just a blanket reaction to the posted theological claim.

Try reading the original post again, but replacing the introductory "On the board out front of a church near here:" with "Psalm 145:19 states:". I think you'll agree that it gives the post a very different flavor.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:13 PM
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What's the point of singling out particular bits of religious doctrine as especially nonsensical?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:14 PM
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But does it match up with anyone's experience of the world? No.

The idea, as explained by Franciscan sisters, is that if you have the right attitude toward God, you'll get what you want because you'll want the right things.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:15 PM
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I realized on this thread that I really hate contradicting heebie.

Atta girl!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:15 PM
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What's the point of singling out particular bits of religious doctrine as especially nonsensical?

If I didn't post impulsively, I'd barely post at all. So you all get impulsive posts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:16 PM
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Try reading the original post again, but replacing the introductory "On the board out front of a church near here:" with "Psalm 145:19 states:". I think you'll agree that it gives the post a very different flavor.

It does give it a different flavor, but I wouldn't have written the post then. I wouldn't bother applying the psychology of people that I loosely see on a daily basis to something written a long time ago. I was definitely at least responding to the idea that someone chose this in 2010 as a message that needed sharing with other people in 2010.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:18 PM
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48: Well, (certain) christians are at war with teh gays and such these days, even moreso than usual, so that particular church may be trying to remind people of something. In order to make sure that young gay boys raised (a certain type of) christian try to kill themselves or something. You see.

Sorry. It's all demented and fairly unforgivable, as far as I'm concerned.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:18 PM
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58: Seriously, it's strange. I always have a visceral reaction to "fighting" online - I don't like doing it. But when it comes down to mildly disagreeing with you, I feel like I'm betraying my grandma. I don't know which I fear more, heebie or God.

If I didn't post impulsively, I'd barely post at all. So you all get impulsive posts.

I like impulsive posts.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:19 PM
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It's certainly not how many people at all experience God in the modern world, I think.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:19 PM
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I would actually completely disagree with you, Minivet. Granted, the Christians I know well are educated ones, not those going to Rick Warren's church or the like. But fearing God? Still very much present. Modernity is over-rated.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:21 PM
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What's the point of singling out particular bits of religious doctrine as especially nonsensical?

It makes sense to figure which bits of doctrine are appealing and persuasive, which bits contradict other bits, which bits remain persuasive even though contradictory, which bits don't impress Heebie, etc.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:21 PM
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THANK YOU LORD FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY, AMEN.


Posted by: OPINIONATED TODD SEAVEY | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:21 PM
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66 TO 28


Posted by: OPINIONATED TODD SEAVEY | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:22 PM
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What's the point of singling out particular bits of religious doctrine as especially nonsensical?

Why, obviously, James, it's an opportunity for the community to discuss the finer points of Christian theology. I mean, Jesus Christ.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:26 PM
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I've spent the last 36 hours living and breathing Christian theology. I'm actually sort of happy it is here on Unfogged too.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:27 PM
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60: I was definitely at least responding to the idea that someone chose this in 2010 as a message that needed sharing with other people in 2010.

The idea of the Deity as something that can punish you and that you should placate would, I think, be saleable in any era in which the idea of deities is saleable, which would be all of them.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:27 PM
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I was definitely at least responding to the idea that someone chose this in 2010 as a message that needed sharing with other people in 2010.

Hmm. You are aware, I presume, that this is true of (mostly) everything in the bible? (As well as in other religious texts.)

I guess your reaction seem odd to me because it strikes me as such an almost stereotypically bog-standard christian sentiment. It's quoting the Psalmist, but it's a message that's found throughout the bible. And yeah, sure, many christian (and other religious) beliefs seem unbelievable to non-believers, but, well, I wouldn't put this particular one in the top-10 on that score.

(56 says basically all of this, more succinctly...)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:29 PM
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66 I don't think Seavey is really the guy to complain about heartlesss and ruthlessly selfish philosophies. Plus, as a devoted Randian, his ex sounds like his dream woman.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:29 PM
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64: But fearing God? Still very much present.

Baptists think of themselves as Old Testament Jews. Luckily Jesus can save you from keeping kosher!

|| Why on earth are there so many commercials for investment advisers during sports games?|>

max
['God is watching the ninth inning.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:30 PM
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Why on earth are there so many commercials for investment advisers during sports games?

Viewers likely to be flattered that random outcomes are the result of heroic demonstrations of manly talents.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:39 PM
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64: OK, how about this: the idea of fearing God is notably absent, explicitly or implicitly, from common discourse. I'm thinking people's experiences of God when described in diverse fora, non-denominational theistic expression, tangential mentions of religious feeling, that sort of thing. It's dominated by inspirational material, magical thinking, and occasionally abstract reasoning. Of course evangelicals might not contribute much to said common discourse.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:40 PM
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75: That I can agree with. Phew, I feel so much better.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:41 PM
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This is all reminding me that as a child reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond I really wrestled with what it meant that one man's defense of the heroine as a good woman was on the basis of "she's afraid of God." Of course that is not how the book phrased it, but "God-fearing" was a really challenging concept.

Going back to the movie I mentioned a few days ago, it succeeds much better in portraying its conservative characters humanely than it does in understanding its own liberal biases. But one of the decent moments is when the liberal guy asks the conservative bartender, "Do you think I could ever live in [small town]?" The bartender says no, due to his clothes, car, and "what's on your car" [pro-choice bumper sticker]. Liberal guy says matter-of-factly, "It's a difference in political opinions." Bartender: "It's a difference in values. And the fact that you don't understand that is why you don't fit in."

I sometimes feel as though that's what religious discussions are in this country -- one group thinks we're debating a question along the lines of whether we like living in the city or suburbs, and the other group thinks we're deciding fundamentally what kind of moral citizens we want to be. Neither group really understands the visceral allegiance the other group feels, because the allegiances are on two entirely separate axes.

And of course, much of the country doesn't care one way or another.

The link in 52 is interesting.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:43 PM
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I was definitely at least responding to the idea that someone chose this in 2010 as a message that needed sharing with other people in 2010.

If you wanted to get paranoid about it, I suppose you could speculate that someone is trying to tell us that God will punish us if we vote Democrat.

You'd kind of need to know more about that particular church, though. There are a couple of churches within a 10-mile radius of me with a penchant for putting up old-skool messages that are similar; I confess my reaction is invariably, "Oh, shut up. Fuck you."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:46 PM
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75: The discourse you are describing is mostly evangelical. The fundamentalists would be more toward emphasizing fear and I think you may be conflating them. Of course, there is some overlap and the evangelical strain has spread around to other parts of Christianity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:48 PM
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why on earth are there so many commercials for investment advisers during sports games?

And "crash-proof retirement," and weird buy-gold buy-silver etc. shows.

I've tentatively decided it's because they think their listeners skew old, but I dunno.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:52 PM
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Thirdly, this Psalmist guy, whoever he is, clearly doesn't know what he's talking about. I mean, anyone could come up and diagonalize his (statement's) ass just by fearing him, but desiring not to...


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:54 PM
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Dang
"him" s/b "the Lord"


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 8:56 PM
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my belief that God was weird and creepy for apparently watching me while I was in the bathroom

My first recollection of learning, around the age of six, of God's purported omnipresence was to inquire if God (and Jesus and The Holy Spirit) was even in my bowl of cereal. When the answer came in the affirmative, my follow-up was whether it was okay to eat God.

True story! (And the answer was, obviously, yes, of course. God's already inside of you!)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:00 PM
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I'm pretty religious, though obviously not Abrahamically religious, and thus a tangential case-study at best. But I'll present myself for Heebie's curiosity. ;-) I certainly believe in 'the Lord' and that 'the Lord' loves me, and I have to say, I've never 'feared' the Lord. I have been afraid of a lot of things, but I think of those as heavily externalized from God and due to entirely to the circumstances of my life. Even thinking about trying to Fear the Lord as I conceive of Him feels weird. In fact, to me, 'fearing' the Lord feels like it would be almost sin--maybe not a sin, but a stupid and useless thing to do which would only annoy Him and make me unhappy. This is just my gut intuition thinking about it now. I have, however, feared that certain actions and attitudes (usually stewing in utter dislike of someone for stupid personal reasons) would cause Him to temporarily (i.e. a lifetime or two) abandon me--not so much hold me less tight at night as be less obvious and less accessible. This fear, has, in fact caused me to shape up and abandon said plans or attitudes. But no, I cannot turn that into directly fearing the Lord.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:02 PM
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79: I know they're different but I'm too far from any of them to know specific differences other than the basic orientations. But aren't evangelicals a lot more numerous and influential than fundamentalists? It would be pretty significant if they, in particular, de-emphasize fearing God.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:03 PM
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74: Viewers likely to be flattered that random outcomes are the result of heroic demonstrations of manly talents.

Or the sort of people who "manage" their investments by switching bankers see themselves as great atheletes. Which is the same thing I suppose.

I've tentatively decided it's because they think their listeners skew old, but I dunno.

Maybe Yankees fans fear God! I'm sure Rangers fans do, but they haven't got any money.

So the typical viewer of viewer uses Etrade, and an investment planner, needs car insurance and accident forgiveness bad for their huge pickup truck and apparently eats at Taco Bell a lot.

AHA! That's what's missing! Where are all the commercials for beer featuring women with huge boobs?

max
['Lots of empty seats.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:03 PM
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Don't Catholics eat God in particular, on purpose?

That's pretty cute though. I have this vision of Jesus cereal that's pretty awesome.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:03 PM
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Don't Catholics eat God in particular, on purpose?

I don't think I understood the Eucharist at the time. In any event, there's a good "I am the Alpha-Bits, I am the Omega-3" joke somewhere in that story.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:09 PM
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needs car insurance and accident forgiveness bad

Every time I see the web banner ad "If you haven't had a DUI, you're paying too much for auto insurance," I crack up. Bad English FTW! I'm sure it elicits lots of clicks.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:09 PM
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Whoops, runaway italics.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:10 PM
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Thanks, Ile.

A few people I know are very religious and have worldviews that I deeply respect, and I can't imagine any of them fearing God exactly. Like 84. Maybe that's where I got this reaction from.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:13 PM
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But does it match up with anyone's experience of the world? No.

I certainly feared the Lord when I was a child. As much as the devil and demons? No, but still, quite a bit.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:50 PM
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88 Oh man, I can't wait to tell my sister that joke.

91 I feel like I have known people who are deeply religious and who somehow 'feared the Lord', but it was before I really had an articulated sense of theology, so I didn't quite understand it. I had some really groovy Mormon and Evangelical Baptist friends in high school, for instance, but they might have been similarly inchoate in their teenage theology.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 9:56 PM
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It's a bit odd to me how Catholicism now stands in for "weird and scary religiosity" amongst American liberals of an unbelieving persuasion, when obviously the deeply religious (and politically troubling) nature of American religiosity is almost purely Protestant, and more specifically, Calvinist, both in its origins and in its contemporary expression. Though understandable, too, given the current makeup of the nutbar Supreme Court. And Scalia is just a thug, of course.

But some of the current complaints against Catholicism seem to resonate, uncomfortably, of nineteenth-century Know-Nothing nativism. And, you know, hospitals: the answer is not to demand of RC hospitals that they conform to liberal, secular norms, but rather to build secular, non-religiously-denominated hospitals that are open to any and all comers.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:09 PM
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I'm not really comfortable holding up my religious beliefs and practice as even an informative example to anyone, but my beliefs pretty much line up with Ile's. Anglican/Episcopalians don't go strongly in for the "fear" factor, for better or worse.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:22 PM
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It's a bit odd to me how Catholicism now stands in for "weird and scary religiosity" amongst American liberals of an unbelieving persuasion, when obviously the deeply religious (and politically troubling) nature of American religiosity is almost purely Protestant, and more specifically, Calvinist, both in its origins and in its contemporary expression.

It does have that association, but right-wing Protestantisms have it even more prominently, surely. ("Bible Belt" and related terms.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:27 PM
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Catholicism now stands in for "weird and scary religiosity" amongst American liberals of an unbelieving persuasion

I think the Mormons have long since lapped the Catholics in that race. The Catholics aren't particularly more so than the rest of the bunch. They've just stubbornly insisted (at the doctrinal level) on a lot more of the patently absurd bits.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:28 PM
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But does it match up with anyone's experience of the world? No.

And Pauline Kael didn't know anybody who voted for Nixon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:30 PM
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And, you know, hospitals: the answer is not to demand of RC hospitals that they conform to liberal, secular norms, but rather to build secular, non-religiously-denominated hospitals that are open to any and all comers.

But aren't they getting a lot of their funding from public sources as is?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:31 PM
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95: Yeah, Episcopalians and Unitarians seem similar in that front. And individual belief varies immensely, obviously - but I think technically your church's theology says you should be fearing the Almighty.


Posted by: Kobe Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:37 PM
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I should amend that to say I really don't know anything about Episcopalian theology post-1900, so I might be totally wrong.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:38 PM
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I think American religiosity is still pretty strongly, and somewhat surprisingly, regional. There essentially are no evangelical Protestants in the Northeast, so Catholics are about the only hardcore Christians around. In parts of the South, Catholics are still reasonably exotic. And in California, there's relatively little white ethnic identity with most denominations.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:39 PM
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I honestly don't know enough to answer 101, but I think that "fear" has basically been replaced with "be aware of."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:41 PM
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honestly, what? hasn't anyone read the bible lately? "awesome" has lost its meaning, but how you could read the bible and not come away with the sense that god is to be feared is a little beyond me. canst thou pull out leviathan with a hook? no? then shut the fuck up and start feeling holy terror before the awesome might of god, people. it's not as if jesus is all touch-feely either, what with the blasting fig trees for no reason, the commands for you to become permanently alienated from you whole family, not to mention coming back from the dead which, if you think about it, is actually pretty creepy also. and sure, jesus doesn't seem much into slaying in the gospels, but the during the end-times you're likely to be eaten alive by armored locusts with human faces.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:44 PM
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104 is correct. A *lot* of people believe the Bible literally, and there's not much getting around the fact that God goes on unpredictable killing sprees all the damn time. And he'll purposefully fuck with and torment his most loyal followers just because he can.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:52 PM
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Yeah, I don't think "fear" in the modern sense (as in, be afraid of the wrath of) as opposed to "admire the mystery of" are really a part of my beliefs, and that doing so is really not the point, as Ile says. There are parts of the bible that cuts the other way, but I don't think the bible can be read as anything other than an imperfect message handled by imperfect messengers, either, and a deep sense of being motivated by fear (as opposed to love, or awe) is directly contrary to the bulk of the New Testament and it's message. But I'll stop now before I embarass myself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 10:52 PM
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how you could read the bible and not come away with the sense that god is to be feared is a little beyond me

It ought to be very hard to read the New Testament and not come away with the sense that Jesus cared a lot about money, but millions of people manage it quite well.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:01 PM
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||

I think I have the cutest kitten ever. That is all.

|>


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:03 PM
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107: damn straight.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:09 PM
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101: I should amend that to say I really don't know anything about Episcopalian theology post-1900

Episcopalians are almost Catholics. As such there are liberal ones and conservative ones and as far as I know, coming from an Episcopalian family, conservative Episcopalians differ little from conservative Catholics on most issues. It's the liberal Episcopals who are a lot like Unitarians.

106: There are parts of the bible that cuts the other way, but I don't think the bible can be read as anything other than an imperfect message handled by imperfect messengers, either,

Well, that's what I think to, but Baptists and other similar types would consider that blasphemy. Any one saying the bible is anything other than the literal word of God clearly doesn't believe in the omnipotence of God, and thus doesn't believe in God or so I have been informed. And a God that drops frogs from the sky when he gets pissed off is probably not someone to be taken as a cheery, cuddly fellow.

But then, that's the cultural gulf between liberal and conservative denominations all over the US. They are for all intents and puposes, members of different religions, not just different sects.

and a deep sense of being motivated by fear (as opposed to love, or awe) is directly contrary to the bulk of the New Testament and it's message.

Again, I'd like to think so. Hell, as far as I'm concerned an omnipotent, omnipresent God implies that we all make up parts of God hisownself (we're just the liberal neurons!) and how can one be afraid of one's ownself. But as far as almost everyone I've ever heard is concerned, I just committed blasphemy.

106: not to mention coming back from the dead which, if you think about it, is actually pretty creepy also.

Yeah, I was reading along (in Matthew?) and there goes Jesus, reanimating the widow's son just because it seemed like the thing to do. No word if the son was a zombie or not. Be kind of a drag if he was.

max
['Now I am getting adwords for 'Entertainment with the Right POV' - presumably because I am arguing in email that Republicans suck. Way to go Google!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:20 PM
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See, alameida in 104 gives me an example of a Calvinism that I can fear, and therefore begrudgingly respect. Expecting biblical support for one's namby-pamby liberalism, with Jesus like Mr Rogers teaching preschoolers how to tie their shoes, just saps the nation of its virility doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Piss or get off the pot, is what I want to say: if you don't care about religion, well, that's fine, and no worries, but then, please don't expect it and its practitioners to care about you.

(Admittedly, the above prescription would work much better if we all inhabited a neutral playing field where religiosity was granted no more than its fair share of attention as just another expression of just another interest group...so, yes, I'm already aware of the holes in my argument, thank you, but still...).

[redacted]


Posted by: Zoé Lafontaine, épouse de Wilfrid Laurier | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:25 PM
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I'm glad to see my 108 remains impeachable.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:25 PM
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21 (about Catholic hospitals and tube tying):

My wife was a doc at a Catholic hospital in your neck of the woods. Technically they wouldn't tube-tie, but there was one floor that they technically segregated from the hospital and considered something different. So you go up a floor and somebody who works at the hospital but not for it would do it there.

If you want, I can ask her about the hysterectomy thing. My recollection was that they were okay with it provided that infertility was a result and not the aim.

The big thing, for Dr Wife, was that the Catholicity of the hospital forced them to deliver babies impossibly premature with conditions that were incompatible with life and only lived briefly and in suffering rather than terminate the pregnancy. She vowed never to work for a Catholic hospital again.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:41 PM
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There essentially are no white evangelical Protestants in the Northeast


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:47 PM
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111 -- I'm glad you get to feel so hardcore without actually being religious yourself, but liberal religious folks are here, are real, have a developed theology, and have a bit more to them than thinking that religion equals Mister Rogers -- and might even offer a way to practice faith that focuses on respect and love for human beings in a deep way. Sorry to be so aggressive about it, but 111 is actually fairly offensive.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:53 PM
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And the thinly-veiled anonymity is especially annoying. Glad you're not namby-pamby!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:56 PM
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And the thinly-veiled anonymity is especially annoying.

Yeah, Robert Halford.

Wait, no, I messed it up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:59 PM
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I'm comfortable admitting that I have no insight whatsoever into the minds of highly religious people and how they feel about their faith.

I don't really have any insight either into those who are completely immersed in that stuff, but I do manage to get a lot of understanding from the borderline cases - those who grew up in a very religious environment and then left it (vice versa too, though less understanding in that case). My father grew up in a Jewish Orthodox family and left it around 16 or so, and remained rather conflicted about it for the rest of his life. A common theme in the personal history of "Hozrim BeSheela" (Jews who become atheists) is the first time they smoked a cigarette on the Sabbath (almost all say they were sure they were going to be struck by lightning).
I think you can probably see a similar case in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. That is, 'thinking' people who still swallowed the whole thing at an early age have a pretty complex knot of emotions about it. On the one hand, the ultra-religious have a very intense community life which is not replicated in the secular world, and which is apparently very meaningful for anyone who experienced it. Also, in those communities, there is (sometimes) an atmosphere of learning (at least in Judaism) which gives genuine pleasure and is perceived as the ultimate justified goal of life in a way that, again, has no exact parallel in, say, academic life. On the other hand, there's all that stuff about masturbation (plus other arbitrary rules), which easily latches on to adolescent fears.
So you get a combination of the fact that people have very meaningful experiences which are all tied into the religious life (I guess this would be the fulfilled 'desires'), and the whole Hell and brimstone talk they ingested since childhood. Leaving the community is tied to giving up all those good things, and also the hard-to-shake fear element.
I don't exactly remember where I read this, but somebody somewhere sometime compared God to an abusive husband. Does that help to understand the fear and desire thing any better?


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 10-18-10 11:59 PM
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OK, presidentiality, used to thinly disguise a regular commenter persona. Happy?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:00 AM
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Happy?

Oh, heck yeah. My life is awesome.

Wait did you think I was making a serious point? I know what you meant. I was just trying to be random.

PUPPY FIGHT!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:07 AM
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And the thinly-veiled anonymity is especially annoying

Oh please. All "anonymity" at this site is just about a measure of protection from the google-bots, and not about hiding from the other commenters here. And I doubt you're sorry for being so weirdly aggressive, but honestly have no idea what set you off.


Posted by: Zoé Lafontaine, épouse de Wilfrid Laurier | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:09 AM
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Wait, are you calling me a PUPPY!!! I AM NOT YOUR PET WHO FIGHTS FOR YOU MR. TWEETY I AM A HUMAN BEING.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:11 AM
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121: Huh. I didn't know any other Canadian women commented here besides Mary Catharine, and I'm pretty sure you're not her. I need to rearrange all the Unfogged characters on my giant, not-stalkerish-at-all white board now.

(IOW, I can never figure out presidentiality and it always bugs me when everyone is like,* it's sooooooo obvious!)

*Ahem. I should probably apologize for that but I won't.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:15 AM
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*Ahem. I should probably apologize for that but I won't.

You would more properly have said "everyone is all like,"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:15 AM
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"everyone is all like,"

True, very true.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:17 AM
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remains impeachable unimpeachable.

Thanks for giving me the crazy cat lady pass on grammar errors, folks.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:23 AM
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Wait, I just assumed Zoe Lafontaine is Mary Catherine, being particularly odd about hiding a somewhat offensive comment under the name of the wife of a Canadian premier. If not, I apologize for the remakrs about presidentiality.

Anyhow, this:

Expecting biblical support for one's namby-pamby liberalism, with Jesus like Mr Rogers teaching preschoolers how to tie their shoes, just saps the nation of its virility doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Piss or get off the pot, is what I want to say: if you don't care about religion, well, that's fine, and no worries, but then, please don't expect it and its practitioners to care about you.

is pretty annoying, and aggressively offensive. "Liberal" christianity, such as I and (I think) others here practice, isn't about Mr. Rogers or about "namby panby" values. It's about trying to take seriously the idea that something like radical equality and universal love and compassion is the key message of the doctrine, while trying to take a realistic account of the world at the same time. The idea that Chrtistianity is either hardcore fundamentalism, conservative Catholicism, or nothing at all is pernicious and something that a lot of good eople have put a lot of time into fighting.

Admittedly, probably the worst place to carry on that fight is in a commenting form on the internet, and I'm probably not a great person to take up the cause -- all that really matters is what people do in practice, and fortunately there are a lot of good folks out there..


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:29 AM
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being particularly odd about hiding a somewhat offensive comment under the name of the wife of a Canadian premier.

It was 111.3 (because, you know, my mother) that prompted me to go prime ministerial, or wife thereof, which I'd now like to redact (hello! behind the scenes unfogged people with magical powers to erase words from the screen? that third paragraph of comment 111, that begins, "Also, you know that online...."? could you sort of pretend that I had never written that? I know I'm being a bit fussy and paranoid, but still: I'd be much obliged nonetheless). I thought it was sort of okay to use a thinly veiled but google-proofed pseudonym to cite a familial example of the positive impact of a campaign against homophobia, but apparently if Halford objects to something that you say on theological grounds, he will totally blow your (not really serious, but just sort of google-oriented) cover. Totally uncool of you, Robert, to violate the tacit agreement surrounding the practice of "going presidential," and you're obviously a bully with a hair-trigger sensibility when it comes to matters of religion.

And also, you've obviously completely misunderstand me on matters of religion, anyway, but it looks like it's just all about you, so not worth engaging any further.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:49 AM
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Also, for "sensibility," please substitute "sensitivity." I'm so truly irked, I can't even write.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:53 AM
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OK, well, redact my calling out as well, or the whole exchange, and I apologize for that. On the broader point, I can't really see how I've misunderstood what you've written, and I'm not fond of your style, but I'll take your word that I've misunderstood you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:53 AM
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And I'll also withdraw the "not fond of your style" from the above comment, which is excessively bitchy,. I'm sorry that I violated any norm of anonymity, and am also sorry if I misunderstood you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 12:57 AM
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"fear" in the modern sense (as in, be afraid of the wrath of) as opposed to "admire the mystery of"

a deep sense of being motivated by fear (as opposed to love, or awe) is directly contrary to the bulk of the New Testament and it's message

Even, but isn't there a sense in which accepting mystery and one's finitude naturally leads to, if not fear of wrath or punishment, at least anxiety over the possibility of being judged and found wanting, the possibility that you've hubristically failed to see where you have fallen short? So, you know, the idea is that you think you're a fine fellow, but maybe you're blind, and the day will come when you're judged and you see clearly, and what you see isn't pretty. So you fear judgement and hope for forgiveness.



Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 1:05 AM
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"Even, but" s/b "Even so,"

Also, I hope it's clear that when I say "you" I mean the generic "one".


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 1:09 AM
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128: oh, hey, I am sorry for my part in the presidentiality thing. I made the wrong assumption that it was definitively not you and, just, gah. Sorry, sorry. One shouldn't publicly guess at that sort of thing.


Posted by: parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 1:16 AM
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I guess it's best if Nosflow or someone erases all of these comments. Nosflow? Anyhow, apologies again for my part in that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 1:23 AM
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104: I suspect a lot of true believers in this sense regard God as somewhat similar to the US Air Force. He's up there in the sky, you don't quite understand what he does or why, he's nominally on your side (which is a good thing! because he can level entire cities at will, and has done so in the past) and you can talk to him via complicated rituals and ask for favours which he may or may not grant, but you're always slightly wary that he might annihilate you and everything else in a 1200-yard radius from your position, either by accident or just out of boredom or pique.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 1:50 AM
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That's a very egocentrical view of God.


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 2:45 AM
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Contra 111, liberal Christianity can be quite spohisticated theologically (see Slacktivist, passim, for an evangelical version, David Jenkins and similar for an Episcopalian take. It has nothing to do with Mr Rodgers - on the whole these people are hard as nails theoretically and practically, but they preach engagement, and from a progressive perspective.

On the lake of fire, I believe this was imported into Judaean belief from Zoroastrianism, as a side effect of Judaea being part of the Persian empire for 250 years. Prior to that YHWH simply lobbed a thunderbolt at you if he didn't like you. So it's only Abrahamic by adoption, so to speak.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 2:57 AM
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That's a very egocentrical view of God.

If your faith is based on a "personal relationship with Jesus", that's going to give you a very egocentrical view of God. I suspect that the fathers at Nicaea and Chalcedon would have condemned the whole idea as heresy in short order, but nobody at the time was daft enough to advance it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 3:04 AM
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I always say "Hi!" when I meet Him - but does that count as a personal relationship. I don't know.

Anyway - an egocentrical view might be better than a mass movement view.


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 3:19 AM
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Per 6, everything I've ever read about Orthodox Judaism leads me to believe they fear the artist subsequently known as the Lord f'real

To be fair, if I were Jewish and believed that was how the Lord treated his chosen people, I'd be pretty scared of him too.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 3:48 AM
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It's how he treats the ones he hasn't chosen that would bother me. Except that it seems to be mandatory that if you believe that you're the group with the hot line to the big guy, everybody else is basically expendable.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 4:50 AM
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127

... and aggressively offensive ...

So offensive comments about other religions are fine but your religion should be off limits? And I am not too impressed with the whole sure other religions are nuts but my religion is different line of argument.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 5:27 AM
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Not all liberal Christians are wishy-washy, of course. The church I attend is affiliated with The Fellowship and is basically a liberal evangelical Baptist/Pentecostal-style church for LGBT folks and former addicts and the children of both those overlapping groups, almost exclusively people of color. Most of them believe the bible is fully true and has just been misinterpreted in the churches they grew up in and that cast them out, and so they are waiting for the end times and worrying about The Adversary and also trying to live good lives and improve things here on earth, which is the part that's cool with me.

Having me around as an out atheist has been sort of a challenge for those of them who believe that means I'm automatically going to hell (my partner included, though I think she's decided God has some loopholes for people like me) and yet think I'm a good person doing good work and so forth. It's been really eye-opening for me, and I'm sure I've said this before but I do think the existence of churches like this one is consistent with the historical role of the black church (in general terms) to reinterpret scriptures that were used to oppress into something that liberates believers. But this church with a whole lot of neck and breast tattoos among the membership and a pastor who talks about her time smoking crack and working the corners as well as about how much she loves her wife is also liberal Christianity.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 5:58 AM
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Expecting biblical support for one's namby-pamby liberalism, with Jesus like Mr Rogers teaching preschoolers how to tie their shoes.

Neighbor, please. Let's not go deprecating Mr. Rogers' flavor of liberal Christianity. It is, after all, a good feeling to know you're alive.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:01 AM
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The actual church he used to attend isn't far from my house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:03 AM
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Moby killed Mr. Rogers!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:06 AM
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It is, after all, a good feeling to know you're alive and have thus far escaped the godly killing sprees.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:07 AM
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Flagrantly failing to read the whole thread, I will note that a little ways down the road from us there is a massive McMansion squatting between rows of fading lower-middle-class & upper-lower-class houses owned by members of one sprawling extended family that's been around so long the road is named after them. The McMansion itself is surrounded by a 7' or 8' wrought-iron fence - complete with motorized gate across the driveway - and when we first bought our house the fence had a yards-long banner that read in huge red letters, "JESUS IS LORD." I could not drive past without saying aloud something along the lines of, "...But he can't make it past my security system," or "...All others use service entrance."

I definitely disagree that no one fears God. Fear is such an integral part of the fundie world-view that they make it the core of every relationship. They fear themselves, their children, their parents, their peers, their bodies, their emotions, their intellect; might as well fear God, too, while they're at it. I suspect many of the hardcore fundies train themselves out of being able to feel much of anything else. Among the ones I grew up knowing, even love - even the natural desire to see a lover or a child or a sibling grow and flourish - was expressed solely in terms of being frightened that they wouldn't. As a child I pointed out that I was having a problem making the whole "fear the Lord" thing mesh with the whole "Jesus loves you" thing and I was told that the meaning of fear used in the Bible is "complicated and specific to God". I already knew what bullshit smelled like, but I also already knew there was no point in trying to argue.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:09 AM
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149.
Thesis: JESUS IS LORD

Antithesis: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States (Art. 1 Sec. 9)

Synthesis: Jesus is UnAmerican.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:16 AM
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I find 144 completely incomprehensible. I don't mean to cause offense but surely 144.1 is completely incoherent as a philosophical/theological position?

Liberal revisionist churches I can understand, biblical literalist conservative churches I can understand, but have-your-cake-and-eat it literalist-but-not-really churches?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:21 AM
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151: You're giving 'literalist' conservative churches too much credit there. The Bible is so contradictory and confused that anyone who says they're a literalist is still doing a whole lot of interpretation, and there's nothing inherently less valid about the interpretations of liberal LGBTQ persons of color than of conservative evangelicals. I think both of their claims to be 'literalist' are risible, but I don't think the conservative Christian claim is selfevidently more defensible than the alternative.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:25 AM
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I don't know, ttaM. I think all the churches have their own ridiculous spots. They're basically just like their Baptist/Pentecostal/Church of God in Christ parents except that they don't believe the stuff in the bible that's used to say gay relationships are wrong really says that. Or at least that's the read I get. I admit I think they're kind of hypocritical and things don't always make sense and they don't all actually know what the bible says, but I have the same complaint about conservative literalist churches and really probably any church. My partner considers herself a Christian and might be a biblical literalist, but that doesn't mean she's actually studied and thought about it all. She's just cobbled together something that works for her. I think that's pretty common. I find it frustrating, but it's certainly the lived experience a lot of people I know are having.

Can I explain this better so it would make sense more?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:25 AM
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Or what Thorn said. I probably shouldn't have used the word 'risible', both because I shouldn't be snotty about religions I'm not a member of, and because honestly, who talks like that. Substitute in 'hard to defend'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:27 AM
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151: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:29 AM
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re: 152

Well, yes. I often direct similar comments to them, too. And the whole atheist church going contingent [in threads past], etc.

re: 153

Yeah, I get that it happens. People want to believe whatever works for them, even if that means transparently denying their sacred scripture says what it says, while simultaneously claiming to believe every word of it. I suppose qua philosopher I'm always continuously surprised at just how nakedly incoherent many people's belief systems can be.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:31 AM
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154: I prefer "risible," really. But I try to be polite. I mean, I just said I'm someone who believes that if people like me it's because I'm putting on a good facade but other people are liked for being genuinely likeable. We all believe stupid things sometimes, right?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:32 AM
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I don't actually think christians are honor-bound to fear a wrathful god. I know plenty of liberal christians--who feel deeply religious about christ and the gospels without having to interpret everything literally. and indeed there is no mandate within the text to do so. I mean, on the one hand "not one iota of the law shall pass away", which seems to indicate pretty strongly that everyone should keep kosher and honor the sabbath and so forth. on the other, the pharisees are hassling the disciples for working on the sabbath and jesus is like, fuck off. so it's really insane to think that a text that mandates p and not p can be interpreted literally.

plenty of christians have a gentle loving god willing to sacrifice his most precious possession, and willing to die himself, just for you. even if there had been no one else, still, for you he would do this thing. that's fairly awesome, and the guarantee of immortality is pretty sweet too. finally, he tells you to give your possessions to the poor and go around helping everyone you can, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting people in jail.

I love that. because he doesn't say, when I was in prison and unjustly accused of a crime I didn't commit, [and about to escape to the LA undergroud] did you visit me? it's just straight-up, "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me." this is all very moving, right? if I were going to get religion, certainly it would be like that. oops, what's that next verse?
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

and this is the kinder, gentler version. OT god is ready to throw down, anytime, anywhere. if you take that seriously and the psalms seriously its hard to see how you wouldn't "fear" this thing.
Psalms 135:6
Whatsoever the LORD pleased, [that] did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:34 AM
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What LB says in 152--the human mind is plastic, but not so much that it can stretch to really take a fully "literalist" view of the words in the Bible. (Which is of course why it is so beloved of selective passage mountebanks the world over.)

I personally don't find anything in Thorn's brief description that is more risible than almost any other Abrahamic denomination that I know of.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:35 AM
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156.1: So liberal literalists are equally comprehensible.

Something that gets my hackles up in these conversations about religion is the conflation between 'liberal' politics and 'liberal' religion. You can get to liberal politics from pretty doctrinally conservative Christianity, and you can get anywhere you like from heavily interpreted revisionist Christianity. There's a correlation between liberal politics and modern, less literal theology, but it's not a necessary one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:36 AM
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Yeah, we all believe stupid stuff. No doubt even the best informed and most conscientious of us entertains stupidly incompatible beliefs at least some of the time.* I suspect I'm just naïve enough to belief that, as a general normative rule, we ought to revise those beliefs when someone points out some transparently absurd contradiction that holds between those beliefs we claim to value most deeply and hold most certain. However, the history of everyone, everywhere seems to count against this.

* I'm familiar with empirical research to this effect, I'm just hand-waving here ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:37 AM
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and also love this thing, I should say. but I would find it hard to imagine truly believing all this stuff and not at some level fearing god. he's fucking god, dude!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:38 AM
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Please, I get that the OT God is fearful. That's not what I was trying to post about whatsoever.

I was just trying to say - and this has been thoroughly disproven by this thread - that who spends their days going to work and dating and at the grocery store and listening to the radio and yet has actual, palpable fear of the Lord? It still seems strange to me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:38 AM
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163: I'm not religious, but if I were, fearing God along Alameida's lines would make perfect sense. He's got standards, and there's a very good argument I don't meet them: not objecting to Buck's bailing out our friend from jail is the closest I've ever come to visiting people in prison, I spend money on random stupid shit rather than giving it to the poor, and so forth and so on. If I became convinced of the existence of the Christian God right now, I'd be feeling flames licking up around my toes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:42 AM
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||
mountebanks

Such a great word.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:42 AM
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they don't all actually know what the bible says

Call it one of the benefits of foreign language education or lit crit or something, but this was kind of a spiritual epiphany for me back in the day. I don't know Hebrew (ancient or modern)! Or Aramaic or Greek! There are nuances to language that a simple literal translation of individual words doesn't capture! There are nuances to particular literary forms that inform their meaning! So, until I get around to comprehensive study of Biblical languages, cultures, and the literary traditions, I feel pretty darned comfortable claiming to be Christian without having to insist or pretend that I have a fully informed understanding of Truth or a belief that I can just go look up The Answer! Which I suppose also tells you that I don't so much buy into the idea that the Bible is a collection or writings dictated directly by God to faithful scribes who took the words down verbatim.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:42 AM
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And that besides the foreigness of finding God scary, the idea that if you're quaking over God, then you stand to win big at the carnival of life? It really just feels like one of those things you have to be brainwashed into believing, because life experience around you is going to provide far more counter-examples than evidence.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:46 AM
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If you sub in "of existence" for "of life", it gets less falsifiable and more plausible. All of the God-fearers who get screwed in life are going to make it up later in harps and haloes (or non-silly afterlife equivalents).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:48 AM
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Sure, I suppose. "The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him" didn't make me think of the afterlife, but I'm not predisposed to think of the afterlife anyway.

Conclusions
1. It's an outside possibility I'm not the target audience.
2. See 59.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:51 AM
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FWIW, my parents are of the loving-kindness version of Christianity, which is why they ended up in Africa. Between the two of them they have directly improved the lives of hundreds of people (my mom was a teacher, my dad taught and did survey work with the government which helped effectively target limited resources, including slowing the spread of HIV). Second and third order positive impacts include at minimum thousands of people, more likely tens of thousands.

Needless to say my contempt for the self-help calvinists and prosperity gospel narcissists is bottomless, and I do not consider them to be Christians in any meaningful sense.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:52 AM
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It still seems strange to me.

But that's probably true for you about a whopping lot of fundamentalist Christianity, right? It's a really weird belief system that is almost wholly incompatible with the modern, rationalist approach that prevails around here.

one of those things you have to be brainwashed into believing

Or have been taught since childhood, which is essentially the same thing. There's a reason that so many middle-finger-to-the-sky atheists come from exactly this background. They are angry that they spent so much time being afraid of God. IME, people who leave more liberal Christian sects/denominations tend toward shoulder-shrugging atheism/agnosticism instead and retain a vestigial, sentimental fondness for their churches.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:56 AM
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Oh I wasn't expressing a general contempt for Christianity. I may be an atheist but some people's Christianity definitely spurs them into doing a great deal of good in the world.* I don't even think all forms of Christianity are completely incoherent -- I'm sure there's a lot of scope in more nuanced positions vis a vis the 'truth' of the Bible to iron out a lot of the manifest contradictions, or even simply to accept them and admit they exist without that necessarily fatally undermining one's belief system.

* I used to work for a religious college, and while I'm sure I didn't see eye to eye with many of the staff on matters theological, some of them did tremendously brave and/or kind things with their time. Delivering aid in the Congo at the peak of the war, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:59 AM
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As to the fearing God thing, my favorite Bible story (and I distinctly remember being psyched by it as early as 2nd grade) is the one where Abraham (I think -- I've never been great with details) argues with God about God's plan to destroy the world and basically talks him out of it. I mean, maybe there was some fear there. But I love the idea that God is particularly fond of a follower who talks back.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:02 AM
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Job too, kind of. God's being fond of you doesn't necessarily stop the whole boils and potsherds process, but giving Him lip for it is an acceptable part of the relationship.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:03 AM
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173: Abraham tried to persuade God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. God said that if Abraham could find a few righteous people there then he would spare the cities. Abraham failed. So God smote them.

Is that the story you're remembering Di Kotimy?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:08 AM
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IME, people who leave more liberal Christian sects/denominations tend toward shoulder-shrugging atheism/agnosticism instead and retain a vestigial, sentimental fondness for their churches.

This.

Also a Spanish friend once explaned to me that under Franco the Communist Party and the radical, post-Vatican II wing of the Catholic church were practically interchageable and people moved back and forth between one and the other quite easily. Because they were both authoritarian organisations with similar short term secular programmes and belief in the intercession of saints (Peter, Paul, Augustine/Marx, Engels, Lenin) to resolve everyday problems. Easy familiarity.

You can't do that with fundamentalism, it's all or nothing. When they say rationality is a threat to their faith, they're right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:09 AM
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IME, people who leave more liberal Christian sects/denominations tend toward shoulder-shrugging atheism/agnosticism instead and retain a vestigial, sentimental fondness for their churches.

This, too, I suppose. Although I've never believed, and my family are (nominally) 'Catholic' [in the Nazi race law sense]. But I have a reasonable amount of affection for the Church of Scotland as an organization.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:10 AM
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IME, people who leave more liberal Christian sects/denominations tend toward shoulder-shrugging atheism/agnosticism instead and retain a vestigial, sentimental fondness for their churches.

Or folks raised agnostic/atheist who never had any problem with it from those around them. Most folks in my schools were Christian, but they seemed to see my lack of religious belief as just another denomination and/or an opportunity for futile but polite debate. This was even true of the Campus Crusade for Christ folks in both my high school and college (Yes, the CCC apparently spends money on sending full time employees to preach to kids in international schools. Not much in the way of results, but lots of free ski trips for all.)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:16 AM
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Via Yglesias, here's a particularly charming expression of Abrahamic faith:

http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?ID=191782&R=R1


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:19 AM
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Heh. I've probably told this story before, but my MIT coop had a contingent of Campus Crusade for Christ people living there when I was a freshman, and my class of freshmen got targeted for conversion. Or at least the other six did -- all of them got a weeks-long process of gentle conversations, invitations to prayer meetings, warmly supportive befriending... I got one ten minute conversation, and then they gave up. I have no idea what I said.

I got along fine with the CCC people as housemates, but apparently I present as just not worth the effort of saving my soul.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:20 AM
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179: In keeping with OT sentiments, I mentally insert "for dinner" everytime I hear that phrase.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:25 AM
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181: No, no! You can kill them, but you can't eat them! Not kosher!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:28 AM
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181. Is that i the OT? I can place it in Greek myth and in Bocaccio, but I didn't realise the Hebrews got up to it too.

Add colour to your foundation traditions. Cannibalism, you know you want to.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:34 AM
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Now that you mention it, Christians are more about eating Jews, aren't they?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:39 AM
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Can we leave the blood libel out of this, or you know who will turn up and advocate for it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:40 AM
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DEPENDS WHO YOU ASK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SIR HUGH OF LINCOLN | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:41 AM
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185 to 186


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:42 AM
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|| So here I am in the office, on my "day off," for a 10:00 meeting that was cancelled due to double-booking. Now the double-booker wants to know what time this afternoon would be convenient to re-schedule. Um, no time this afternoon is convenient. 10:00 was manageable. |>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:44 AM
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Or at least the other six did -- all of them got a weeks-long process of gentle conversations, invitations to prayer meetings, warmly supportive befriending... I got one ten minute conversation, and then they gave up. I have no idea what I said.

"Allahu akbar"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:45 AM
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184: EAT ME.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:45 AM
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Conclusions
1. It's an outside possibility I'm not the target audience.
2. See 59.

3. God's a dick.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 8:57 AM
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173: Abraham tried to persuade God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. God said that if Abraham could find a few righteous people there then he would spare the cities. Abraham failed. So God smote them.

I like the part about how Lot is the one good man. So good that when an angry mob shows up at his door he's like "rape my daughters! please!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:05 AM
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Hmm. Maybe they left out the daughter-rape bit in second grade religion class...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:27 AM
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192: It's not clear to me if Lot is supposed to be good, or if he's just spared due to nepotism.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:28 AM
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173: One of several instances of God trolling his own blog creation. Job was mentioned; God also picks a fight with Jonah, apparently for his own amusement, sends him quite a bit of suffering, and ends up with a "just kidding, no hard feelings?".

By the end of the blog, Old Testament, Oggeod is sufficiently bored with the entire operation to disappear altogether, leaving his creations to muddle along without him.

Many factions within the Orthodox Jews fear god quite alot, for objectively sensible reasons. Although a shocking number of the devoutly religious Ortohodox I have encountered (the folks who wear hats all the time, pray at synagogue every morning, and don't touch their light switches on the Sabbath) are atheists.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:29 AM
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193: Also the part a little bit later about Lot's daughters getting him drunk and seducing him.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:29 AM
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Although a shocking number of the devoutly religious Ortohodox I have encountered (the folks who wear hats all the time, pray at synagogue every morning, and don't touch their light switches on the Sabbath) are atheists.

So why do they put themselves to all that inconvenience then? I mean, I can sort of understand atheist "Episcopalians" like my dad who went to church because he enjoyed singing i the choir, but this sounds like a rather uninteresting form of masochism.



Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:34 AM
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195, 197: Yes, this is much more puzzling to me than (for example) the Christians described in 144.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:35 AM
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197: What are we, homo economicus now? Community, tradition, etc.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:44 AM
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199: You're right, of course, but, gosh, those are a lot of crazy rules to follow for someone that doesn't buy the premise behind those rules.

Maybe as an atheist of Jewish descent, I expect more from my own people.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:52 AM
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197: 199 gets it. It's not masochism if you'be been doing it all your life. It's just what you do. And some parts of the rituals are really very pleasant. Women get to wear beautiful wigs because their own imperfect hair must be hidden from all men who are not their husbands. Lawyers have an ironclad excuse to turn off the blackberry for 25 hours a week, and for a bunch of days in the Fall.

The extremely accurate portrayal here provides further explanation.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:54 AM
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re: 199

Oh come on. There's a pretty massive difference of degree going on there between that level of immersion in a particular set of customs and practices, and the atheist who buys Christmas presents, say, or the person who wears some sort of national dress for weddings and formal parties.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 9:55 AM
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Women get to wear beautiful wigs

Some women. My bff was under strict instructions from her husband not to get anything too nice, as that would be its own form of tempting. Some super duper orthodox women wear intentionally bad wigs (and askew no less) so that there is no doubt that they aren't showing their own hair (see also orange pantyhose which leave no doubt that pantyhose are being worn).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:00 AM
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If there was a rule for men about needing to wear bad wigs and have them askew, it would explain so much of response to male pattern baldness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:04 AM
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The ultraorthodox community is extremely insular and with an all encompassing set of life behaviours. I can imagine that chucking your entire way of life along with most people you know, rather than simply religion. And this agnostic born and raised has a very strong attachment to the traditional, and thus Catholic, Polish way of spending Christmas Eve. That means that even on the rare occasions I'm not with family I'll shy away from eating meat and want to listen to the rather strongly religious Polish Christmas carols for a good chunk of the evening. I also miss not sharing communion wafer. So well beyond merely an exchange of presents.

NB, someone was recently wondering why in English there's a 't' at the end of 'borscht' given that in Russian it's pronounced 'borsh'. In Polish, however, it is 'barszcz' with a hard ch sound at the end. Vegetarian (porcini broth based) clear barszcz is a key part of the very ritualized meal.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:06 AM
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It's not masochism if you'be been doing it all your life. It's just what you do.

Also, when I've been around atheist Orthodox Jews - and I second that there are a lot - I've been struck by the huge power of in-group psychology. As in "Why would I want to separate myself from this great group of key people, and why would belief figure into that decision in any way?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:12 AM
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I think it's possibly a good thing to introduce children to the idea that Authority is often kind of a dick, and not necessarily right on the merits, but can still fuck you up if it so chooses. It just seems so...accurate.

That's what I get from the Old Testament, anyway.

Also, LB on your rejection by CCC: that is impressive. Truly. You might have fucked up their indoctrination stuff? Awesome.

On a side note: Christian "humor" is profoundly, profoundly unfunny. Yet a profitable industry! Yay tribalism.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:30 AM
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Yet a profitable industry! Yay tribalism.

Unless those bits of fish pressed into fish shapes and sitting in jars are much better tasting than they look, I might have another example.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:34 AM
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The story of Abraham bargaining with God annoys me. God and Abe are walking along and God says He will destroy the two cities. Abe says well, would you spare them if I can find 50 good men there? God agrees. Abe then bargians God down to 10. But he stops there! WTF Abe? It seemd to me the story was driving toward the moral that if there is even one good person (and shouldn't God know all this already?) then the city should be spared. But no! They stop at ten.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:41 AM
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Huh. I wonder if that story has something to do with the 'ten people for a minyan' requirement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:43 AM
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Christian "humor" is profoundly, profoundly unfunny. Yet a profitable industry!

Christian "rock" is the biggest possible vortex of suck short of actual black holes, and yet it makes money too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 10:44 AM
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Christian "rock" ... makes money too.

Which raises an interesting question: Do Christian artists suffer the same kind of economic loss at the hands of file-sharers as the secular recording industry claims to suffer?

Surely there must be a weird parallel debate going on in Christian content-producer circles, with "Isn't it all about spreading the holy Word of Jesus?" substituting for "It's about the music, man," and "Thou shalt not steal!" substituting for "Piracy is theft!".


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 11:20 AM
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Do Christian artists suffer the same kind of economic loss at the hands of file-sharers as the secular recording industry claims to suffer?

Mostly, yes, although . . .

Surely there must be a weird parallel debate going on in Christian content-producer circles, with "Isn't it all about spreading the holy Word of Jesus?" substituting for "It's about the music, man," and "Thou shalt not steal!" substituting for "Piracy is theft!".

I have a little experience with this; the "Christian" culture industry is very shady; lots of fly by night and, as you'd imagine, weirdly subsidized operations. And yet, there's a lot of money to be made. When things need to be distributed on a large scale, it's generally done by the majors in partnership with some dubious Christian organization; the media industry execs really don't appreciate getting messages that say things like "I'm going to break my contract with you and take all the money for myself. Love, your brother in Christ" but that kind of thing appears to happen all the time.

The file-sharing stuff, I believe, gets enforced as it would be for any other product.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 11:34 AM
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I remember seeing, at some point, an online business where an atheist was selling Rapture insurance for true believing pet owners: since Fluffy will not be called on that day, when it comes around, and I, due to my atheist ways, will be left behind, I promise to find Fluffy a suitably loving, if unsaved, home in the event that you are called Home. Or something. That will be $100, please.

That made me proud to be an American. No, really. Wish I'd thought of it.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 11:45 AM
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The file-sharing stuff, I believe, gets enforced as it would be for any other product.

Copyright enforcement is a tiny fraction of my overall role at a large, Southern university with plenty of Bible-thumpers around and we've never, to my knowledge, received a copyright notice regarding a Christian "rock" band or the like. I don't think that says anything about the copyright enforcement views of their publishers, though, as I suspect they would enforce it like any other; rather, I think it says something about what college students are downloading instead and I think it says that the average college student who wants to listen to the stuff probably feels bad about stealing it and probably has plenty of easy access to it in the first place.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 1:15 PM
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214 was, iirc, linked and loved multiple times here.

Like 215.2, I think pirating is something that just wouldn't occur to the average christian rock listener. There's the importance of rule-following (authority is to be feared and respected and loved; see the OP!), combined with the idolization of private property and traditional capitalistic structures; it's all so baked into the culture. There's the idea that you're being a good christian by exercising some sort of morally elevated consumer choice, I think.

Christian "humor" is profoundly, profoundly unfunny. Yet a profitable industry!
My parents tried taking me to a christian bookstore as a kid and letting me buy whatever I wanted there. It went a long way towards undermining my faith, as I couldn't see how a loving god could possibly have allowed the existence of such terribly written books .


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 3:11 PM
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I think the Mormons have long since lapped the Catholics in that race. The Catholics aren't particularly more so than the rest of the bunch.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=12887161

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A Presbyterian church was happy to have Jeremy and Jodi Stokes as Cub Scout leaders, at least until officials there found out they are Mormons and told them they would have to step down because the church does not consider them real Christians.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 4:30 PM
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So, the church was explicit about not letting anyone be a scout leader for them unless they were a 'real Christian'? Sweet of them, and keeps all those nasty Jews and atheists out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 4:42 PM
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15: meanwhile, 18,000+ Finns have left the Lutheran Church in the past day or so over mild statements of opposition to gay marriage.

You go, Finns!

OK, now to read the other 203 comments in this thread.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-19-10 7:03 PM
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If I believed God existed in anything like the form depicted by the Bible, I'd be God-fearing, although probably not in the same way the church with the sign meant. I'd be fucking terrified.

It reminds me of the Doctor Who episode "The Waters of Mars". (I explain my religious opinions with a Doctor Who allusion because clearly, I don't advertise enough that I'm a geek.) Well-meaning though he might be, if someone like that starts acting like he does, shooting yourself in the head is simply a sane response.

209: Maybe it's just bad reporting. Like, God put his foot down at 10 and had a really biting retort to Abraham but that particular part of the conversation is lost in the mists of time. Either that, or you're getting the wrong moral from the story: the moral is that if God wants to smite someone, take his word for it that they really, really deserve it - there's not even 10 good people left in there.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-20-10 1:27 PM
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