Christians are meek

James Donald explains.

James: Christians have not murdered dissidents for several centuries.

Attila: Not from a lack of interest. They just can't get away with it any more.

James: Christians today conspicuously turn the other cheek, even in cases where they could easily take care of offenders.

Observe all the people who do bizarre and extreme things in an effort to get a rise out of Christians. They don't get a rise. Ask yourself why the Artist does not publicly use the koran for toilet paper the way he publicly uses a depiction of Jesus as a toilet? He refrains because the Muslims would kill him, his parents, and various random people. Christians don't even show up to spit on him. If one Christian in the entire world wanted to do something about it he could quietly roll up and leave a bomb. There is no security to protect against Christian bombers - because the Artist knows he is insulting tolerant and kindly people - no security because the Artist knows that each and every Christian in the entire world will tolerate him in a manner that adherents of other religions conspicuously fail to do.

Share this

Following the thread, the

Following the thread, the following argument is opposed to what you quoted

You are just a stupid asshole who clings on to ancient tales,
although you are supposed to have modern knowledge. Or have you?

This is why I don't miss Usenet.

Usenet used to be better

The problem with Usenet these days isn't the presence of morons. It's the absence of non-morons. Non-idiots have been trickling away (to the blogs or to their lives) for years and are not being replenished, leaving behind a few stubborn old-timers in sea of idiocy. I don't miss Usenet as it is now, but I miss what it once was.

Nothing I can do.

Nothing I can do.

Moderated Forum

Even then only the moderated forums were worth commenting on. I used to have discussions on alt.atheism.moderated a long time ago. One of the people I was most impressed with on the usenet was Paul Filseth.

When alt.atheism.moderated became dead I tried the non-moderated forum but it quickly turned into a cesspool (or already was).

Christians and Muslims

People in the Youtube atheist community (with a combined audience of tens of thousands) have both desecrated the Koran and constantly get death threats from Christians (and Muslims).

A certain harmless group of people in California have also just had a portion of their civil liberties revoked because of Christian doctrine. If these people were to attempt to marry, violence would ensue.

Death threats

constantly get death threats

Michelle Malkin reportedly receives death threats from liberals and leftists, possibly some of them atheists. While these are reprehensible, a distinction begs to be made between what Michelle Malkin receives and what Theo Van Gogh received.

I would not necessarily argue with the assertion that Christians are almost as dangerous as Democrats.

a portion of their civil liberties revoked because of Christian doctrine

1) As above, this would make Christians almost as dangerous as Democrats. Furthermore, there is hardly a human on this planet who does not become dangerous in the same way when they are given the vote. Go look for the most harmless human you can find. Then give them the vote. Let's see what they vote for and then we'll compare their votes to the votes of Christians. The most harmless people I know vote for horrendous things that will violate my rights as surely as I am typing this. For example, they vote for politicians.

2) Christianity I think is blamed too much for every bit of traditionalism and resistance to change under the sun. The Christians are as much to blame for this perception as non-Christians to the extent that they believe that morality comes from God and that, but for religious indoctrination, it would not occur to anyone that it was wrong to eat the neighbors. But the claim that morality comes from God is about as true as the claim that food comes from God - another claim Christians seem to accept, or at least to pay lip service to before meals. Maybe we should blame our agricultural abundance and therefore our nation's epidemic of obesity on Christian doctrine.

Christians and Muslims

People in the Youtube atheist community (with a combined audience of tens of thousands) have both desecrated the Koran and constantly get death threats from Christians (and Muslims).

A certain harmless group of people in California have also just had a portion of their civil liberties revoked because of Christian doctrine. If these people were to attempt to marry, violence would ensue.

whoops

(I accidentally posted my last comment twice, I think. It isn't spam.)

Re:

Firstly, I forgot to add to my wee list the way PZ Myers is threatened by Christians.

Anyway, my point was that Christians are no more 'meek' than the rest of us, at best. They will stoop as low as anyone else. But sure, I'll accept that they perhaps aren't as bad as they once were, or as bad as, say, Muslims, in general. But the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Re 1: I'll tentatively accept that people can become dangerous when given the vote, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't still reprimand the reasons people vote badly. If a sadist were to vote for the legalisation of torture-without-justification, I think you'll agree with me that we should definitely reprimand and try to inoculate, if possible, the sadist's motives which caused her to vote that way.

Re 2: Who knows, you may be correct that Christianity is blamed too much, but that is irrelevant here. The proposition 8 case is quite obviously Christian in origin.

And I think the agriculture example is a disanalogy. In the case of food, everyone just sort of observes it and eats it. It doesn't matter where they think it came from. It would matter where they thought it came from, however, if Christians were put in charge of all food production and believed that praying would cause food to appear, or that pesticide isn't necessary because God wouldn't let pests ruin our food, or if they didn't accept the theory of evolution in plant sciences where evolutionary theory is important (just as an example; I don't know what Christians would actually do in this case).

If ethical decisions were something that just 'happened', then it wouldn't matter what people believed about their origin. But they don't just happen. The population is in charge of determining what happens, and when a significant proportion of that population is voting in accordance with their religious prescriptions, then, as we see with proposition 8, there will be problems. And going back to '1', if we know why people are voting badly, then we should do something about it.

Christian in origin

The proposition 8 case is quite obviously Christian in origin.

Your talk of "origin" seems to imply that you're talking about who proposed it. The problem is not that it was proposed but that it won. What matters is not who proposed it, but who voted on it and why.

The "who" is a bit easier to tell than the "why", but the "who" can be used to blame pretty much any outcome in the US on Christianity. There are enough Christian voters in the US that pretty much anything can be blamed on Christianity if you're doing it on the basis of who voted.

That leaves us with the "why", and that's a bit more difficult. As I mentioned, even if Christians themselves believe that their views are based on Christianity, even if they say, "I voted for X because the Bible teaches X", that doesn't mean that Christianity is really the cause. The Bible teaches that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, but even if a Christian says that his own opposition to adultery is based on the teachings of the Bible, he may very well be wrong. Religions put their stamp of approval on all manner of things which do not actually originate in the religion. The prohibitions against theft, against murder, and against dishonoring one's parents, surely long predate their inscription into the rocks of Mount Sinai, and they would exist today even if Moses had never come back down off the mountain.

But one thing that should be blamed on Christianity or on Islam or on any given religion is any violent attacks on those who offend that religion. Which brings us to the passage I quoted from James Donald.

For clarification, here are the Commandments specifically relating to religion. To disobey these is to offend the religion:

I am the Lord your God
You shall have no other gods before me
You shall not make for yourself an idol
You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy

And here are the Commandments that merely endorse traditional morality which long predates the religion:

Honor your father and mother
You shall not murder
You shall not commit adultery
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife; You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor

(Taken from Wikipedia)

These, by the way, are not intended here as containing the full moral teaching of the Bible. I'm simply using the list of commandments to illustrate the difference between specifically religious prohibitions, and long-standing prohibitions which are merely endorsed by religions.

re:

"The Bible teaches that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, but even if a Christian says that his own opposition to adultery is based on the teachings of the Bible, he may very well be wrong."

I agree with this for two reasons: 1) it seems people are naturally jealous, regardless of their religion (or lack of; I'm an atheist, but I still feel jealous sometimes), and 2) if this is actually wrong (I don't believe it is, but let's take murder as an example), then it isn't wrong because the bible said it.

The blogger BitchPhD mentioned in a post yesterday ('Thoughts on the passion of proposition 8') how a lot of Christians she talked to voted for prop. 8 because they were afraid they'd go to Hell if they didn't. Then, of course, there are the ones who believe it is wrong and are fully against it because the bible teaches it ("thou shalt not lie with a man as one lies with a woman", or however it goes). The fact that the bible prescribes that and it influences people to vote the way they did is a problem.

Imagine, for a moment, a country full of rapists. They have some sort of a biological predisposition to rape. They all belong to a religion which has a text which endorses rape. Perhaps it even says that they will go to Hell if they don't rape someone every once in a while.

Their desire to rape has its origin in their innate psychology, but the fact that their religious text endorses it and even threatens punishment if they don't do it (and if the text doesn't explicitly do this, then the modern day teachers of the text do) is surely a bad thing. It encourages and validates something which is wrong. Without the text, the rapists would have no real justification of their actions. They would have no fear of the repercussions of not raping someone every once in a while. Without the text explicitly endorsing it, there would be a lot more room for other ideas.

Here where I live, in New Zealand, religion doesn't have a lot of influence. Nearly 40% of the people in the last census affiliated themselves with no religion. Thus, we allow civil unions. People are more open to ideas which the bible doesn't teach. But most of the opposition which does exist comes from the churches.

But sure, murder and theft etc would be seen as wrong even without the Bible. It is probably part of our psychology. And it's great that the Bible is against these things. But even if a lot of people are predisposed to disliking homosexuality (which I highly doubt; look at the New Zealand example), it is 1) wrong that the Bible endorses this bigotry, and 2) the BitchPhD example and the New Zealand example demonstrate, I think, that Christianity really is a bad influence on people as far as this goes.

So I think that answers your remark that "[w]hat matters is not who proposed it, but who voted on it and why."

Religion

Here where I live, in New Zealand, religion doesn't have a lot of influence. Nearly 40% of the people in the last census affiliated themselves with no religion. Thus, we allow civil unions. People are more open to ideas which the bible doesn't teach. But most of the opposition which does exist comes from the churhttp://distributedrepublic.net/comment/edit/74186ches.

Here where I live, in Massachusetts, 79% identify themselves as Christian. Same-sex marriage is legal here.

I have limited myself to doing what you did: to provide information about where I live. We could stop here and conclude that the more Christian a place is, the more likely it is to allow same-sex marriage (as opposed to mere "civil union"). Or, alternatively, we could look at the larger world. If same-sex marriage would have been accepted but for Christianity, then we should see that it has been a common and accepted practice throughout history wherever Christianity has failed to reach - that is to say, places such as pre-Columbian Americas, pre-missionary Africa, India, and the Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan.

I have not done the research. It would be interesting to see. There is this article. The sparseness of the examples suggests that it was not all that common. For instance, the section on Africa is exceedingly short, and one of the two lonely examples (Azande) is admitted to be temporary, and therefore unlike marriage as we understand it, and the other is considered to be "the first in history", which is not compatible with the proposition that such a thing was a common occurrence at that time.

Christian Sects

"Here where I live, in Massachusetts, 79% identify themselves as Christian. Same-sex marriage is legal here."

There are different sects of Christians. Surely we can credit Amish religion for their behavior regarding cars, and pacifism. Surely we can blame the teachings of the Westboro Baptist church for their opposition to same sex marriage.

Likewise one can rabbit genes for their inability to survive in the open ocean. It would be a mistake to blame "mammal genes" since some mammals have adapted to the sea.

Origination

"The Bible teaches that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, but even if a Christian says that his own opposition to adultery is based on the teachings of the Bible, he may very well be wrong. Religions put their stamp of approval on all manner of things which do not actually originate in the religion. "

I don't think that origination is all that important. If a philosophy consistently teaches something good then I think that the religion can take credit in behavior that is inspired by that teaching. However only if it is consistent.

Where it is inconsistent then I believe it can take the blame for bad behavior where it excuses it. For instance, if your philosphy teaches that stealing is bad and also teaches that stealing from the rich is ok then it deserves blame when a believer acts on the bad part, and no credit when it's followers don't steal from the rich.

Furthermore, a philosophy or religion can include fictional stories that have characters that act badly. In-so-far as the living religion teaches that these fictional stores are fiction, and that the bad actors are acting badly then it cannot be blamed for people emulating the bad actions.

A religion can also keep bad historical teachings within it's religious texts that contradict current living teachings and not be blamed for bad behavior based on the historical teachings in-so-far as the religion makes clear that those teachings are wrong in a non-contradictory fashion.

Some creeds of Christianity fail in this regard. For instance teaching that the bible is inerrant, and teaching that the new testament overrides the old is contradictory. It is therefore impossible to tell if one should or should not stone adulterers if one is a infallible bible literalist. Thus the religion has to take blame for the bad stuff in the old testament while not getting credit for the contradictory good stuff in the new testament.

Non-literalists don't have this problem. They can teach that the old testament is in error and that the new testament overrides a lot of that bad stuff.

Of course, it's worse than that because there is bad stuff in the new testament also.

One also needs to consider frequency of acts by believers but I believe that this in and of itself is very less important. What is more important is effectiveness of the teaching. If 100% of individuals who "defame the prophet" are murdered by a small percentage of followers who are taught to "kill those who defame" the religion still can be held responsible. The religion, after all is the inspiration. You don't see a lot of atheists killing Christians for defaming Mohammad.

I'm no historian, but still....

James: Christians have not murdered dissidents for several centuries.

Srebrenica?
N. Ireland?
THE NAZIS?

Wait the Christians murdered

Wait the Christians murdered Nazis ?

What is a dissident

When the Nazis rounded up the Jews to murder them, they did not round up merely individual Jews who had defecated on an image of Jesus. They rounded up the Jews, period - men, women, children, no matter what they had done or not done. The rounding up of the Jews was not the same sort of thing as the thing that James is talking about in the quoted passage, which is the targeting of dissidents - individuals who speak out against the religion. People like Theo Van Gogh (who made a film offensive to Islam) or Andres Serrano (who took a picture offensive to Christianity).

The Jews were scapegoated for hardships, as outsiders or "others" have been scapegoated throughout history. In contrast, Theo Van Gogh was not scapegoated - he was murdered for an act of dissent. If (some of) the Jews were "guilty" of any "offense", it was the "offense" of being economically and socially successful, of failing to share in the misery of others, while at the same time identifiably belonging to an "alien" group - rather than for an act of dissent.

While Judaism is a religion, the Nazis treated it as a race. Conversion to Christianity was not offered to the Jews as an alternative to the death camps - because it was not, in the Nazi mind, about the Jew's religion, but about his race.

Apart from that, if the Nazis saw themselves as defenders of the Christian faith, they didn't do very much to leave that impression with others. I've seen the Nazi Propaganda film Triumph of the Will (full movie) a few times and it did not in the slightest leave me with the impression that the Nazis presented themselves as defending the Christian faith.

Whoops

Ah, I kinda missed that whole "dissident" aspect of the discussion. Never mind.

Wait the Christians murdered Nazis ?

Well ... probably. Killing people in combat isn't generally regarded as murder. But Saving Private Ryan depicts stressed-out US troops being sorely tempted to kill a prisoner of war, which would presumably have counted as murder. I'd be astonished if no Allied troops -- who, in the 1940s would have been overwhelmingly likely to self-identify as Christian -- yielded to that temptation.

Then there's the issue of how to categorize the act of knowingly bombing civilians, as occurred in Dresden among other places.

Not that this has anything to do with the subject....

German mindset on Jews

"Conversion to Christianity was not offered to the Jews as an alternative to the death camps - because it was not, in the Nazi mind, about the Jew's religion, but about his race."

Actually according to the book "The End of Faith" (if I remember correctly) there was a long history in Germany of trying to get the Jews to convert to Christianity. What happened was that eventually the Germans gave up on the idea and turned to other solutions to the "Jewish Problem". Long, long before the Nazi's and Hitler there was talk about the "Jewish Problem" and about exterminating all the Jews. Hitler only implemented what many mainstream Germans had been writing about for a something like a half century or more (again if I remember correctly).

Take everything I just wrote with a grain of salt as I don't remember the timelines, the who's and the whats. Point is that the German's had decided that being Jewish was 'genetic' based on their failure to convert them. The mistaken belief being that since Jews can't "get it" it must be because of something inbred or genetic.

Likewise, if you've read some left wing or black Muslim writings it's the whites who have some inherently genetic moral turpitude. We're naturally morally inferior. We're inbred racist.

Supply new routes of causation please

The personalization of religion runs rampant. What is the point here?