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Chris Hedges: The Christian Right’s War on America

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Posted on Feb 6, 2007
Robert Scheer, James Harris and Chris Hedges

From left to right: Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer; Truthdig contributing editor James Harris; author Chris Hedges.

Robert Scheer and James Harris speak with Chris Hedges, the veteran journalist and author of the new book “American Fascists,” about the threat of the radical Christian movement, and about how getting it right on Iraq ended his relationship with The New York Times.


Listen to the full interview (running time: 44:56 / 41.1 MB)


Full transcript:

Harris: James Harris sitting down with Mr. Robert Scheer, and special guest on the phone is Chris Hedges, the author of the new title “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” Chris is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, and a former correspondent for The New York Times. Chris, how are you today?

Hedges: I’m all right—just flew in from Seattle.

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Harris: Let’s start by talking about your 2002 book, “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” In this text, you talk about nations and their behavior during wartime. Looking back at our behavior over the last three and a half to four years, as we’ve been at war with Iraq, how have our citizens and our president—how have we behaved?

Hedges: Well, the book, because I spent almost 20 years covering various wars around the globe, the book tried to explain the patterns of war—what happens to individuals and societies in war, and how they react. Unfortunately, we reacted in the way that most countries react when they go to war. It wasn’t just the Bush administration that pushed us into war. The media was completely in complicity with very few exceptions. The population at large got off on it; the cable news channels pumped out this garbage over 24-hour news cycles with graphics and drum rolls. And this was part of the whole sickness that happened to the country after 9/11, where unbridled nationalism—which I think is a disease—was unleashed. It brings with it—it really is just a form of crude, self-exaltation, but it brings with it a very dark undercurrent of racism—racism towards Muslims, towards anyone, including the French, who disagreed with us. And our society was really enveloped with this sickness. It really was a sickness that I had seen on the streets of Belgrade. It wasn’t a new sickness to me, but of course it was disturbing because this time around it was my own nation. And that euphoria lasted basically until the war went bad, or until people realized that it was going badly. And then we forgot about it. There’s a kind of willful amnesia that is also a pattern of wartime society—certainly something I saw in Argentine society after their defeat in the Falkland war. And now these very cable news channels and media outlets that sold us the war virtually don’t cover it. They pretend the war doesn’t exist, and they feed us this trivia and celebrity gossip that unfortunately in American society is consumed as news.

Harris: The situation that constituents, that the media was complicit in starting the war, I think some people may take offense to that. How was that received at the time, and what do you say to the criticism of, “Chris Hedges, I think you’re crazy.”

Hedges: Well, as one of the very few people, along with Bob Scheer, who was speaking out against this war, I can tell you that it was a very lonely position to be in. And I worked at the time for The New York Times. The New York Times acted as nothing less than a stenographer for the Bush White House—pumping out the lies used to justify the war. And there were reasoned, thoughtful, well-informed voices questioning, for instance, whether Iraq was trying to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program, or whether it actually had WMD, or whether it was actually a threat or had links to al-Qaida—and they couldn’t get into the mainstream media at all.  I think you’d be very hard-pressed—with the exception obviously of the alternative press. But we live in a country where the press, like everything else, has become completely corporatized. I think it’s something like 80 percent of American newspapers are controlled by six or eight corporations. And it’s pretty hard to break through that wall. So there were people around the edges, and there were a few of us even within the mainstream who spoke out against the war, but our voices were pretty much drowned out in this cacophony of war rhetoric and fear.

Harris: I don’t know if you know the name Scott Ritter—you probably do.

Hedges: I know Scott.

Harris: I remember at the time hearing Scott Ritter say, without reservation, that there are no weapons in Iraq, but still we went in; still Colin Powell stood before the United Nations and showed them the video, showed them the footage where there were weapons in Iraq. And Scott Ritter all along said, “There are no weapons.” I do blame, and in retrospect say that there should have been more effort to bring these stories to the forefront. Are you suggesting that propaganda was used by the media, perhaps by the government to suppress these types of stories?

Hedges: At the inception of any war, the press is part of the problem. That’s a pattern I certainly saw—and there are almost no exceptions to that. When your nation goes to war, there’s a kind of knee-jerk kind of response on the part of most of the press that their job is to boost morale, maintain the myth of war, vilify the enemies. And that goes all the way back to the Crimean War when the first modern war correspondent was invented.

Harris: Chris, a lot of people may not know that you are a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, and your new text, “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” I like your perspective, because you, obviously from an educated standpoint, can speak to the theology around this war.

Hedges: I look at the religious right, the radical religious right, those people who want to create a Christian nation, as a mass movement. I don’t give them much religiosity at all. I think they have acculturated the Christian religion with the worst aspects of American imperialism and American capitalism. They prey on the despair of tens of millions of Americans in this country who have been completely disenfranchised and shunted aside with the creation of this American oligarchy. That is the engine of the movement. These people, their lives have become train wrecks, their communities have been physically obliterated with the flight of manufacturing jobs, or they live in these soulless exurbs, in places like Orange County, with no community center, no community rituals—you know, they don’t even have sidewalks. And they’re lonely, and they’re alienated, and they’re lost. And that’s the fodder that demagogues use to amass totalitarian movements. And they do that by offering these people a world of magic, of belief in destiny and miracles and angels, that Jesus has a plan for them. And they essentially remove them from the reality-based world. That’s what creationism is about. And everybody who’s written about despotic movements, from Hannah Arendt to Karl Popper to Fritz Stern to Robert Paxton, cites this despair as being the kindling that allows despotic, totalitarian movements to tear apart the open society. So for me the radical Christian right is very much a manifestation of the inequities and the injustices that plague American society. We now live in a country where the top 1 percent control more wealth, or have more wealth, than the bottom 90 percent combined. The absolute destruction of the working class—and much of my family has been a victim of this—has now been accompanied by an assault on the middle class. So anything that can be put on software, from engineering to finance to architecture, can get outsourced, where it’ll end up in India, where they’ll work for a third of the wages, with no health insurance, no benefits. These kinds of assaults against the working and middle class are absolutely deadly to a democratic state. And that’s something that even the Greeks wrote about. I mean, Plutarch and Thucydides understood that.

Harris: Clarify for me, though, the relation to the evangelical right, or evangelists in general. I understand the preying on a particular class—because they’re vulnerable. When you live without for most of your life, you’re vulnerable to anything that looks appealing to you. How are the evangelists using this to influence government? Because you seem to be implying that they have a profound effect on the way that American government works.

Hedges: Well, they are. When this notion of a new political religion was first articulated in the early ‘80s by people like Pat Robertson, the proponents of this were on the margins or fringes of American society. They’ve now moved into the corridors of power—into the House of Representatives, the Senate, the executive branch and the courts. And they’ve received under the Bush administration hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. They’ve gone a long way toward setting up hermetic, closed indoctrination systems through Christian radio and television. They’ve brought the teaching of this mythology of creationism into public schools in places like Kansas. The advances that this movement has made in the last 20-25 years, is frightening. There’s no question that unless we begin to rectify the imbalances within this country, this will become the dominant political force. And it is a force in which all who do not subscribe to this narrow, frightening ideology—which bears many similarities with classical fascist movements—and all those who do not submit to these so-called Christian leaders, will at best become second-class citizens.

Harris: As a country, aren’t we open to this by virtue of the phrase “One nation, under God”? We’ve never been—you may argue otherwise—we’ve never been terribly eager to disassociate ourselves with religion. All of our presidents, except for one, practiced some sort of religion. So the fact that 20 million or how many other million Americans find interest in this practice of evangelism isn’t really that shocking, is it? Is it problematic, Chris Hedges, when you see church and state joining hands like this?

Hedges: Well, of course. Because it essentially serves the same purpose as the fusion of party and state, which is what totalitarian movements do. The state implements the policies of the party; they become essentially one entity. And that is by its very definition what a totalitarian state consists of. I think we have to remember that this new political religion is a radical mutation from traditional fundamentalism, or traditional evangelism. Evangelical leaders in the past, like Bill Graham, always warned their followers that—and he of course got burned and used by Richard Nixon—to keep their distance from power. And fundamentalists have traditionally called upon their followers to remove themselves from the contaminants of secular society, and to shun political activity. This is something we have not seen in the past. And yes, the nation has had certainly a Christian component to it, but there was always that understanding that religious belief was a private, internal affair, and not something that would be propounded by the state. And of course the architects of the Constitution were terrified of going back into the kind of tyranny and repression that was practiced by the puritan states, and more importantly by the religious states in Europe, because they understood the danger of that sectarian violence. And I think we should also be clear that the early Christians in this country, most of them were Deists, which these radical Christians would consider as heretics, the notion that you could find God in nature, as Jefferson and others believed.

Scheer: If I could just interrupt for a second, I feel like—this is Bob Scheer—I’m sort of a bystander to a very interesting discussion about a world that I don’t inhabit. I know James here is a practicing Christian.

Harris: Yes, I am.

Scheer: And Chris, I know you’re a person who’s been involved with religion.

Hedges: My father was a minister and I graduated from seminary.

Scheer: And so when I’m sitting here thinking: Well, what about all those other Christians—I know I traveled around with Jerry Falwell once and wrote a piece for the L.A. Times. Almost everyone I ran into, even in Lynchburg, Va., everywhere, they said they thought the guy was something of a charlatan. “Why is he on TV? Why is he getting all this money?” And this came from other “born-again” ministers and other evangelical people. And I’ve looked at some of the polling data and so forth, and evangelicals, I think, were a bit disillusioned with George Bush’s use of religion. Isn’t there a tradition of skepticism? Isn’t this what the Protestant religion was all about—skepticism of too organized, too powerful a church?

Hedges: I think you raise a really good point. Even within a single congregation, people are not going to walk in lock step. But I think that what’s happened is that with this notion of the creation of the Christian state, it has managed to overcome these doctrinal schisms. When I would attend an anti-abortion event, I would see Priests for Life, Catholic priests with people from the Salvation Army, with Baptists, with fundamentalists, with charismatics, and traditionally fundamentalists have always looked at charismatics as Satan worshippers, because they speak in tongues. But they’ve all managed to come together—although these factional disputes remain, and these differences remain—under this notion that our goal is to create the Christian state. There is a very ruthless core of people who are better described as dominionists. One thinks of Dobson, Robertson, LaHaye, Benny Hinn. These people who are pushing through a radical Christian agenda, who essentially control all Christian radio and television, and who have been quite ruthless—as we saw in the Southern Baptist convention—in pushing aside those people who don’t accept that particular political agenda, even if they’re born again, and even if they subscribe to some of the hot-button issues, like thinking that homosexuality is a sin. And they count on the sympathy or support or tacit acceptance of 80 to 100 million evangelicals in the United States, because they have been very effective in using the religious vocabulary and religious iconography—in the same way that they wrap themselves in the American flag. But I think that when you look closely, which is what my book tried to do, at what their belief system is, it is really a theology of despair. It is about bigotry, intolerance, there’s not only a lust for violence, but a kind of pornographic fascination with violence. There’s a cult of masculinity. There’s a war on science, a war on truth. And what they do, like many totalitarian movements, is speak in a language that’s comforting to the rest of us, but hollow out the definitions so they mean something else. It has a kind of newspeak quality, so peace is war. The concept of liberty, for them, as it is defined, is not our traditional definition of liberty, but liberty that comes with giving yourself over to Jesus and complete submission to Jesus Christ. And of course, in their minds, leaders who speak to Jesus. So yes, there is a great deal of skepticism. And I actually think that the most virulent opposition will rise not from the liberal church, but from within the evangelical movement itself. But these people are well financed, oftentimes by corporate interests—Wal-Mart—a lot of right-wing foundations. They’ve harnessed the power of modern communications systems and they’ve locked tens of millions of followers in closed systems of indoctrination, where they get their news, their spiritual guidance, their health and beauty tips, their entertainment, all filtered through this ideological prism.

Scheer: In your [most recent Truthdig column] you refer to your original mentor, James Luther Adams. That paragraph that caught my attention—because your book has not been easily accepted this time around, right?

Hedges: No.

Scheer: It’s interesting, when I look at your place in American letters, on the one hand you’re often celebrated as this brilliant person, you get awards, high prestige, and then every once in a while you hit some third rail, whether it was the graduation speech on the war [which resulted in your dismissal from the N.Y. Times], or when you mention Israel, even in pieces for our site, we seem to get a lot of mail, and now with this book. And when I was thinking of the criticisms of your work, I was thinking you wrote something about Adams. You wrote:

His critique of the prominent research universities, along with the media, was no less withering. These institutions, self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with government and corporations, given enough of the piece to be complacent, were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age. They had no stomach for battle that might cost them their prestige and comfort.

Is this what you’re experiencing with some of the criticism that you’ve been getting?

Hedges: Yes, although that’s not a new phenomenon, because when I was speaking out against the war, I was on the news staff of The New York Times, and I had been at The New York Times for 15 years. I knew what I was doing—that it was a kind of professional suicide. But at the same time I felt that it was morally incumbent upon me as someone who spoke Arabic and spent seven years in the Middle East, and because I had a platform because of my book—to avoid those questions or not answer them, or give non-answers to them, was not morally defensible. And then of course after I was booed off this commencement stage in Rockford, Ill., I was given a formal reprimand by the paper, and told to stop speaking out against the war. And at that point I knew my relationship with The New York Times was over, because I didn’t want to be muzzled for [the rest of] my career. And that comes out of the church. It comes out of having a father who was in the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, and finally the gay rights movement. And as a young boy I watched him take a lot of heat for that—not only from people in the community, but from the institutional church as well. And it was a pretty good reminder that you don’t get rewarded for taking a moral stance. And the sooner you learn that, the happier you are.

Scheer: What about the criticism of your current book? It seems petty in a way—again coming often from the universities. How do you respond to it?

Hedges: I try not to focus on it. I’ve had to deal with the Israeli lobby for so long that I really try and shut it out and try not to read it, because a lot of it is just completely untrue and unfair, and I don’t want to burn up a lot of energy. I’d rather just put the blinders on and keep going and say what I have to say. I don’t like it, obviously, and I especially don’t like it when it devolves—as it usually does—into character assassination. We saw that with the response to Jimmy Carter’s book [“Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”]. Nobody actually talked about the book; they talked about it as a controversy, at best; and usually they went after him. I sort of plow ahead. I’m not going to pretend that it’s pleasant. But at the same time I try not to waste a lot of emotional energy on it.

Harris: Do you validate or recognize any of the criticism that you’ve received? Does any of it mean anything? How do you support this? How do you stand by this point when there’s really no proof of that?

Hedges: Well, there is proof. We know Tim LaHaye has formed an organization where he matches donors with these organizations—groups like Sam’s Club have brought evangelical chaplains into their plants. There is evidence to that. And that relationship between these neocons and Christian radicals, there’s evidence within the Bush White House itself. I’m sure Cheney laughs at these people, but he finds them convenient allies. And of course, when you get people to believe in a system of magic and miracles and healings, then you don’t need health insurance; you don’t need unemployment [benefits]; welfare doesn’t matter, because as long as you get right with Jesus, you’re going to be taken care of. And I think there’s plenty of evidence to support that relationship between these sort of Straussians, like Richard Perle and others, and these Christian radicals who essentially get out the vote in places like Ohio.

Scheer: Is that an alliance that can hold?

Hedges: It’s always an uneasy alliance, and Paxton, in “The Anatomy of Fascism,” writes that, unlike communism, there’s no such thing as a purely fascist movement. Fascist movements make alliances with conservative sectors of society and often very uncomfortable ones. You saw that in Nazi Germany with Hitler and the German industrialists.

Divisions between the Bush White House and the Christian right arose over the issue of immigration, where Bush sided with the corporations—angering many within the base of the Christian right, because there’s a real backlash against immigrants within the Christian right. So it’s an uneasy alliance, but they both need each other. And in fact, this nonreality-based belief system, this ideology that is now peddled into the homes of many marginalized and desperate Americans, is one that plays into the hands of corporations that really want to defang the federal government. [The corporations] find in the ideology that’s promoted a very convenient vehicle to do that.

Harris: Have you seen Alexandra Pelosi’s movie on HBO?

Hedges: No.

Harris: She talks about the evangelicals and the extremist nature of their approach. So if you haven’t seen it—

Hedges: I don’t own a television.

Harris: A traditional man. A traditional man.

Hedges: No, I’m a freak.

Harris: [Laughs]

Scheer: We lump all these evangelicals together. But first of all, there is a racial divide.

Hedges: Yeah, and you know, the black church has been very wary of this movement traditionally, because this movement comes out of the John Birch Society, like Tim LaHaye, and the World Anti-Communist League, all the way back to the Klan. Jerry Falwell got his start as a racist demagogue who got up and talked about how desegregation was going to destroy the white race. That’s how he made his money, that’s how he built his church. And he went back in a kind of Stalin-esque purge and destroyed copies of almost every sermon he preached over a 10-year period, because it was so virulent and raw. He still preaches, in my mind, bigotry and racism. It’s just that he’s turned it on others, like homosexuals or liberals or feminists or immigrants, or whatever. But this man, he has the profile of a classic demagogue. And I think the African-American church has been very wary of these people—with good reason. Now, this movement realizes it has to bring African-Americans into the fold. So if you listen to “Focus on the Family,” this very popular radio program run by James Dobson, during Black History Month, every day they fall all over themselves to celebrate black history. I went to an event called Patriot Pastors in Ohio—this rally where they had adopted as their symbol an American flag with a Christian cross superimposed on it. They had a choir singing hymns while we watched video clips of American soldiers in Iraq. But they began by showing pictures of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, because they’re trying to co-opt the civil rights movement and present themselves as the natural heirs of the civil rights movement. Now not a lot of people of color were in the audience. Most of the people of color were sitting up on the podium. But one of the stars of the Christian right, a guy named Rod Parsley in Ohio, is being heavily promoted and bankrolled by people like Dobson and others because, although [Parsley’s] white, 40 percent of his congregation is African-American. So yeah, the African-American church traditionally has been sympathetic on issues such as homosexuality, on some of the hot-button issues. But as African-Americans they get institutional repression, because they’ve been a victim of it. They’ve been very wary of this movement because of the antecedents of the movement, and because they understand in a way that perhaps even whites who are at the same economic level don’t always understand, the way institutions work in places like the urban ghetto—to make sure that poor people remain poor.

Scheer: You know, one reason I don’t panic—I’m reading you and all that, and I think it’s probably that I’m just kidding myself—I just assume capitalism will triumph and that these people are at war with capitalism, for better or worse.  For instance, just the whole question of creationism—that you can’t have good science if you embrace creationism, you just can’t, and then you’re not going to be competitive with people who are doing good science, and it seems to me that, and I think this might be naive on my part, you know I’m very old-fashioned, but I have this idea that somehow they are out of step with the modern world, whether it’s controlling the lyrics in music or ... images that are shown on television or blaming Hollywood for everything. I guess I always assume they’re going to lose. Tell me why that’s wrong.

Hedges: They present themselves as a traditional movement, but they’re a distinctly modern movement, in this sense: that they promote an ideology that’s superstitious, magical and primitive, but they can only do it by co-opting the language of science, and there’s a huge industry of creationist scientists who will “prove” through scientific jargon and pseudo-science that the creation myth in Genesis is true. They don’t have a problem with technology itself, and I think that creationism serves the same role eugenics served in Germany, which was a pseudo-science about measuring people’s skulls and all this garbage, and they set up huge institutes. It was a way of turning lie into truth, of making facts interchangeable with opinion, of removing people from a reality-based world into the world they want them in, but at the same time the process of sort of building a machine is not going to interfere with that. And we’ve seen [that] Islamic groups which originally were, for instance, very distrustful of the Web have now adopted it. So I think sometimes you can have the marriage between very primitive superstitious belief systems and very advanced technology. I think one could argue that fascism in Nazi Germany did that.

That’s the first point. The second point is that this movement cannot come to power unless there is a period of prolonged instability or a crisis. I covered the war in Yugoslavia and we heard all these stories about ancient ethnic hatreds. The war in Yugoslavia had nothing to do with ancient ethnic hatreds; it had to do with the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia in the years leading up to the war, which, again, created deep despair and dislocation which the nationalist demagogues like Milosevic or Tudjman played upon. And I think that if we don’t enter a period of crisis, this movement can make creeping gains, as it has, but it probably can’t take power. But if we suffer another catastrophic terrorist attack—and I spent a year of my life covering al-Qaida for The New York Times, and there was not an intelligence chief that I interviewed here or abroad that didn’t talk about an eventual attack as inevitable—should we suffer a series of environmental disasters, or an economic meltdown, if we watch petrodollars become petroeuros, if we enter a prolonged period of instability, especially if people become afraid, then I think this movement does stand poised to reshape the country in ways that we’ve not seen, probably since our founding.

Harris: Chris, aren’t people already afraid? I mean, you look at this event that happened in Boston, where they posted these little electronic devices around the city, and Homeland Security was alerted, traffic was shut down. Aren’t we afraid right now?

Hedges: I think we’re paranoid. I think there’s a difference. I think we’re paranoid and they work to make us afraid. But I lived in Israel when the suicide bombings began. I was in Sarajevo during the war. I know what it’s like to be afraid. And you start thinking with another part of your brain. You reach out to people like Dick Cheney, who talk tough and promise to stomp the vermin out—if we’ll just give them the power to do it. That’s the appeal of an Ariel Sharon at a moment like that. That’s the appeal of a Slobodan Milosevic. So you’re right that they’ve worked really hard to try and make us afraid, but real fear, to be gripped with fear, in the sense that, “If we get on the subway it could blow up,” that’s another state and another level. And if we reach that level, especially with instability, especially with chaos, then we’re in trouble.

Scheer: As you know, the Intelligence Estimate Report, which the Washington Post had, and even [Sen. John] McCain said in his questioning of [U.S. Army general in charge of Iraq operations George] Casey—that the last two and a half years have been a disaster. And then you’ve got [Sen. Joseph] Biden coming along with this plan to partition—the old imperialist model of “divide and conquer”—and break Iraq up into three states. As probably the most experienced person who’s looked at this thing, what do you think is going on, what’s going to happen, how do you see it?

Hedges: Well, let me stress the issue of partition. Because partition presupposes that Sunni, Shia and Kurds are divided up into neat little areas—and that’s not true. There are 1 million Kurds in Baghdad alone. A partition plan would mean the dislocation of millions of Iraqis and probably murder of many Iraqis—in the same way that we saw the disasters that befell India and Pakistan during the partition plan. Because they’re mixed together. You have a huge Arab population up in the Kurdish north in Kirkuk. A partition plan like that is going to be a bloodbath.

So, what’s going to happen? A lot depends on Iran, because if—well, we’re losing the war and we’re going to have to leave, is the short answer. But the wild card becomes a hit against Iran, because a hit against Iran would ignite a Shiite uprising throughout the Middle East and become incendiary within Iraq. Whatever constraints had been placed on Shiite forces in Iraq until now would be lifted. Iran, which I’m sure is supporting the militias, would do everything in its power to turn what is already a hell into a nightmare of unimaginable proportions for American troops there. It would ignite a regional conflict, I fear, because you have Hezbollah, which is Shia; Pakistan has a huge Shia minority; Bahrain is Shia; there are 2 million Shia in Saudi Arabia—most of whom work in the oil sector; the Straits of Hormuz would get shut down. Iran does not have the capacity in a conventional sense to hit us; they might find a way to hit us in a nonconventional sense. But they certainly can hit Israel. Israel would hit back. And we’re already fighting a proxy war with Iran in the Middle East now. It happens to be a proxy war that we’re losing, because Iran backs Hezbollah; they back Hamas; they back the Shiites in Iraq. And in all of those fronts, we’re not doing real well—us or our Israeli allies. So this proxy war, which is already under way, would devolve into a full-fledged war, and I think it does have the possibility to ignite within the region, something that comes pretty close to this catastrophic Armageddon that many people in the Christian right see as a great sign, because it’s the end of history and the return of Jesus Christ.

Scheer: Now why doesn’t that scare many of the Jewish—and if they’re not Jewish, secular—neocons? I don’t get it.

Hedges: Because the neocons have built an unholy alliance with a group that’s—these people are anti-Semites, and I think the smart ones know it. But it has built an alliance between messianic Jews and messianic Christians, who believe that they have been given a divine right to rule one-fifth of the world’s population who happen to be Muslim. And that alliance is very convenient. It’s shortsighted on the part of the Jews, but for now it works. And I think that’s where they converge. There is a horribly racist element towards Muslims and a belief that we can impose through military might massive social engineering to create a Muslim Middle East which we can control, and that is amenable to our interests. And that, the messianic Jews and the messianic Christians share.

Harris: Do you think the media has done a good job of making us hate Middle Easterners? If we see someone who looks Middle Eastern, even the most educated, I think we all question, we all say, “What are their intentions?” Do you think I’m a bit off base with that question, or that thought?

Hedges: No, I think the things we say about Muslims in this country could not be said about any other ethnic group. I think the racism is raw, the ignorance is appalling. The way we denigrate their culture, their religion, talk about how they only understand violence, or that they want their children all to be suicide bombers, it’s just a huge advertisement to our incredible lack of understanding and appalling ignorance. And for somebody who’s spent so much time in the Middle East, it’s almost impossible to counter. The notions that all Muslims—who are one-fifth of the world’s population, most of whom are not Arab—[the notion that they] all think the same way, or that there isn’t a moderate center, or that Algerians are the same as Iraqis—you don’t even know where to begin.

It’s so vast, and it’s pervaded the mainstream to such an extent that I think you raise a good point. We’ve turned 1 billion people into a caricature or stereotype—and not a very pleasant one. And it’s ominous, if we should have another catastrophic terrorist attack, it’s going to be pretty ominous for Muslims in this country. And ominous for us because once again we’ll be responding or at least supporting a violent response, probably, in the Middle East, without any kind of cultural understanding or sensitivity. And all we’ve done since the war in Iraq is essentially dumped gasoline over the best recruiter that al-Qaida has—the conflict. And it comes because we’re walking blind into an area of the world we know absolutely nothing about, and dealing with people we’ve turned into cartoon figures.

Scheer: Basic to that cartoon image, when people talk about Islamo-fascism—which Bush seems now to have accepted—is a very simple, crude idea of religious evolution, that they didn’t have the religious reformation, that there’s an arrested development to the Muslims. And that takes all responsibility off other people who interacted, say, with Afghanistan, with Indonesia—the role of foreigners. And the example I think of is Afghanistan, which was not particularly given to a virulent form of fundamentalism, at least not in Kabul, where, under the king, women could get doctorates and be gynecologists, and so forth. [There, under Jimmy Carter,] we weighed in on the fundamentalist side. It seems to me that that was a perfect example; it wasn’t that they reread the Koran. It wasn’t that they did or did not suddenly discover the reformation. But in fact they were responding to a set of circumstances. And I think that could be said about Iraq, which was, after all, a primarily secular country at one point.

I don’t know if you agree with that, but I just wonder what happens when you have discussions with people who are in the State Department, or pundits commenting on all this. What do they say to that?

Hedges: Well, the State Department actually isn’t the problem. The best Arabists in the government are in the State Department and in the intelligence services. Because they speak the language and they spend time there. They get it. And I have friend who are Arabists in the State Department. They’re pretty lonely figures, because nobody in the Bush administration gives them the time of day. Oh, the issue of the reformation: Islam itself is so varied; there are mosques in India where men and women pray together; Egyptians could drink me under the table, for the most part. The notion that there is any kind of strict Islamic code that is pervasive throughout the Muslim world is just not true. Most Muslims, although that moderate center is under attack, do not live lifestyles that are particularly different from most mainstream Christians. So I think you’re right. Fundamentalism, and Karen Armstrong has written about this, is very much a response to essentially despair—to being pushed, like the Christian right, to be pushed into corners where you don’t have any hope. Where the only hope you have if you’re a kid locked up in Gaza, the only way that is left for you to affirm yourself, is through death. And they are responding to real conditions around them, and real conditions of oppression. And that is far more influential in fueling their belief system than the reformation.

I think you’re right. It’s the conditions that they live in that form the ideological belief system, rather than antecedents. Because Islamic scholarship is quite profound, and certainly rivals the great Jewish thinkers, or the great early church fathers. This is a religion that has deep and an incredibly rich intellectual tradition. It’s just not a tradition we know about.

Harris: Thank you, Chris. That was Chris Hedges, who is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, and former correspondent for The New York Times. He’s also written the new and controversial title “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” For Bob Scheer, this is James Harris. And this is Truthdig.


Chris Hedges graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School and worked for many years as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, where he also served as Mideast bureau chief. Hedges’ latest book, based on two years of reporting, is “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” He is also the author of the bestseller “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”

Click here to read Hedges’ biweekly column on Truthdig


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By dave-el, March 5, 2007 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment
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To the people
It has been my experience whenever I have encountered the sheep who are being led to the ditch of death by the wolves in sheeps clothing, that when they say,the book,or the bible,they are reffering to a “work book” or some such. That is to say they do not read the bible. The bible is a book. To my knowledge everything on earth known as a book is designed to be read from the first page to the last. This they do not do. If they did they might notice,if they refer to the King James version, that it is just that. A version is defined as a translation, an account showing one point of view,(implying there are others). Furthermore it is authorized by King James the secular head of state. Mr James was not known as a liberal. He was very conservative. That is to say he would have had them wacked had their pecular points of view,in regards to Christianity, been made public.
In regards to abortion they refrain from quoting any direct reference to abortion as murder. Curiously,the only reference,to my knowledge,as to when one becomes a human being is in the book of Genisis,when Adam and Eve take their first breath and become living beings. Where then do they get the idea that it starts at conception? From work books.
They are very proud to say there are no contradictions in the Bible. Ask them if there ever was a time without God. They answer no. Then why are the first three words:In the beginning…and later He proclaims I am the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. I’m not saying that is contradictory. The contradictions are in their heads.
The good christian who warned he wasn’t a turn the other cheek kind is in great company. Martin Bormann,Hitler’s right hand man also went on record as rejecting Christ’s weak turn the other cheek philosophy.

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By billy flynn, March 5, 2007 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty,
OK, I’ll try again, just for you. Scientism is faith in science, the belief that science is unlimited in its potential, the view that Skruff expressed in his post. That optimism is not something that is itself subject to scientific comfirmation. It is beyond science, as is religious faith, as is any sort of faith at all.

I believe in God based on historical evidence and scientific facts, but I cannot prove he exists. Neither can you prove that science is the only way to get truth about the how and why of the cosmos. That is faith, not science. If that sublety is lost on you, there’s no point in further discussion. That’s your queue for your usual repetitious, empty verbiage. I’m sure your won’t disappoint.

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By susan28, March 5, 2007 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
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from Lefty: “The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves…these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.” (Thomas Jefferson)

the thread like most religion-oriented threads here seems to have degraded into debate of the truth or untruth of faiths, God or no God, science vs God etc, but i think the above quote sums up Hedges’ point, ie: not that he’s challenging Christianity itself (and the perception by some here that he is illustrates perfectly the the other point in his essay that Christians and non-Christians alike are called “UnChristian” when they oppose the juggernaut), but rather is illustrating how that faith has been perverted and exploited by power-hungry materialists masquerading as men of faith.

again i refer to Antipas Ministries as an example of a church whose Christianity is clearly evident, and which agrees with Hedges 100%, and backs up his indictment of the dominionists with solid Biblical references (they believe the AC will come from the U.S., not the UN as most dominionists claim, and that the dominionists (apostate Church) are infact the woman riding the Beast). so don’t take my word for it, or Hedges’, take the word of these evangelical scholars and decide for yourself whether or not the Dominionist movement is an “apostate” (ie: deviant from the Bible) one.

and jean:

yes, though i got off on a bit of a tangent defending non-hypocritical Christians (being the Devil’s advocate that i am, hehe) the notion of distancing onesself from an exposed member of one’s own ranks who was caught red-handed and letting them “take one for the Gipper” is common - such as condemning clinic bombers but always getting the “but any decent person could sympathise with their anger” disclaimer. sometimes it’s voluntary (like Nixon bowing out to stop the investigation from blemishing the Party/CIA), and sometimes it’s a total hang-out (like the Abu-Ghraib underlings being portrayed as “renegades”), though in the case of religious righties caught with pants down they usually just blame it on the devil and make some token repentance and are praised for their valiant struggle for redemption (which is often genuine, i think, though the fact that it usually doesn’t happen til they’re caught is suspect).

on that note it’s interesting to note that the sins the particular preachers rail against most are usually the ones they persoanlly indulge in - homsexuality (welcome back Ted!), adultery, drugs etc - because we tend to see the world as we are, not as it actually is. can’t control their hands so they blame the cookie jar? dunno..

i still see alot of posters here seeing attacks on Dominionism as attacks on Christianity itself, degrading into arguments over what religion the founders were etc, when indeed many Christians - the silent majority, i think, and the founders, too - feel that the militance of Dominionism is infact the “secularisation” of Christianiy and, ironically, succumbs to the very “worldliness” that Christianity disavows.

i think the Constitution is indeed Christian-inspired, in that it takes great pains to thwart the imposition of any will - even that of the majority - on anyone else. the prime feature of Christianity is that it’s personal, and voluntary. it’s a *choice*. so to codify it in secular law would seem to undermine both the Constitution *and* Christianity, as one of Jefferson’s quotes above says.

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By Skruff, March 5, 2007 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
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Comment #56739 by Hondo on 3/04 at 5:03 pm says:

To Skruff (comment #56485)—You just compared children to “litter” and you repeated your claim that parents should face criminal charges for having too many children. Who’s the fascist?

I have (I believe) attempted a level of civility in my posts which preclude personal attack.  I have never used the word “fascist” to describe you, or anyone on this board.

It comes to me now that you have no such scruples, and despite your self-characterization as a “Christian” it is evident, from your deliberate misrepresentation of what I have written, that you intend to fight, not discuss.

Again, what I said was that folks who bring UNWANTED children (that means that two opposite gendered indidviduals concieved at least one child but are not interested in being parents….so now some other State appointed individual must raise them)

Having raised many children literally thrown away by their birth chemists, I feel this is a crime against all of us who consider ourselves a “civilization”

Now, you may not wish to acknowledge the fact that there are unwanted children in these united states…. Oh well, I guess some folks walk around with blinders in place.

I have been advised by others not to respond to your taunts… Ok, I can learn…

BUT thank you for providing me (within context) a forum for my favorite subject.

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By Lefty, March 5, 2007 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #56521 by billy Flynn on 3/03 at 9:58 am

“Eleanor,
The point was that scientism is faith in science, while theism is faith in God.”
——————————————————————-
WRONG!!!  Science is based on empirical evidence, not faith.  Theism is based on primitive, superstitious, fear, hate and tribalism.

When your premise is false, everything based on your false premise is equally false.

Try again, bible boy!

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, March 4, 2007 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment
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“Science and religion are complementary, not antagonistic. It is inconceivable that scientists will ever answer the big questions of why and how we got here. Scientism simply can’t get there from here, because it has ruled the most plausible answer out of bounds”

Billy Flynn,
What is the “most plausible” answer—-do you want to know who created life; are you searching for an explanation for creation, do you want to know the purpose and meaning of life?

The point that I was trying to make, is that theology explains the above questions through storytelling—-it provides comfort and helps followers to make sense of the “madness.”

Theology also provides a method of bonding, and a social network where “believers” can further reassure themselves with the support of others.  These groups further bond through rituals and traditions that continue to reinforce their belief system.  Ultimately, the believers are expected to follow the “rules” of the group, to prove their loyalty and camaraderie; and that is why religion throughout time has been an extremely effective method of SOCIAL CONTROL.

Those who are living lives of “quiet desperation,” find solace in joining an assemblage of similar thinking people, who provide comfort and encouragement; don’t worry about your problems, after all, the meek will inherit the earth—in death you will find happiness—-an interesting method of sedating anxiety—-and an excellent method of SOCIAL CONTROL.

If we did a comparative study of religions cross-culturally, we would find enormous similarities between primitive cultures and complex
societies—religion bonds similar sets of people; alienates those with opposing views;  and provides a convincing way for those in power to control and manipulate a population.
 
Now, you may say Jesus did not belong to the realm of the powerful—-and you are correct, if his life story is depicted accurately in the bible, Jesus was more of a political activist than a theologian—-he criticized the powerful and was killed.

Isn’t nteresting that thousands of years later,  worshipers of Jesus now revere wealth, power and militarism—-MORE SOCIAL CONTROL.

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By velma kelly, March 4, 2007 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
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Eleanor,
You say:

“‘Scientism’ uses systematic observations and experiments to study the physical world.”

So how do we know the world of the past? Are you able to use experimentation and systematic observation to prove that George Washington lived or to prove that birds evolved from fish? No, I think whether George chopped down the cherry tree is neither repeatable nor observable, unless you have discovered a better way to return to the past than James Cole in the “12 Monkeys.” Darwinism is not widely accepted by the American public, because we can’t create a bird from a fish in the laboratory. I’m afraid your scientism leaves only skepticism about a vast amount of what we take to be reliable information about the past.

Yes, the “scientific method” has been a successful model for discovering truth, but it is not the only such model. It simply does not work in the realm of unrepeatable events. The Big Bang is one such event. No one was there to observe it and it is not repeatable. So, how does the scientist propose to discover what caused it? Either we use some other method for getting at that question or we abandon the search for answers.

Judaism and Christianity propose that God has revealed himself in history as the creator and sustainer of the universe. Christianity proposes that Jesus of Nazareth revealed himself as God incarnate. The only way we can prove that is by reference to history, same as we do with G. Washington. I don’t object to science, but I do object to the scientist’s arrogance when he asserts that his method is the exclusive pathway to truth. That assertion is the opposite side of the coin that represented Galileo as a heretic.

Your dichotomy is false. It is not either science or mysticism. It is both science and reliable history, as we find it in the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. I believe in the Christ of the scriptures for the same reason that I believe in Julius Caesar. The historical record is credible. To deny that is to deny all of ancient history and render most of modern history suspect. You can’t get through this world without faith. It’s a matter of what you choose to have faith in.

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By Hondo, March 4, 2007 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
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John Adams and John Hancock:
We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]

John Adams:
“ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
• “[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
–John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”—October 11, 1798

“I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen.” December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

“Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell.” [John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817] |

Samuel Adams:
“ He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all.” [ “American Independence,” August 1, 1776. Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia]

“ Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity… and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” [October 4, 1790]

John Quincy Adams:
• “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?” “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity”?
—1837, at the age of 69, when he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts.

“The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.”
John Quincy Adams. Letters to his son. p. 61

Charles Carroll - signer of the Declaration of Independence
” Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” [Source: To James McHenry on November 4, 1800.]

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By Hondo, March 4, 2007 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
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To Skruff (comment #56485)—You just compared children to “litter” and you repeated your claim that parents should face criminal charges for having too many children. Who’s the fascist?

To Jean (comment #56506)—I’m guilty of “contextualizing” your comments? You were using satire? Judging from your comments, you must consider Josef Mengele the greatest satirist of the 20th Century!

To Lefty—read and learn:

James Wilson: Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Supreme Court Justice appointed by George Washington,
Spoke 168 times during the Constitutional Convention, he said:
“Christianity is part of the common law”
[Sources: James Wilson, Course of Lectures [vol 3, p.122]; and quoted in Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, 11 Serg, & R. 393, 403 (1824).]

Thomas Jefferson:
“ The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”

“Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus.”

“I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]

John Jay:
“ Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393.

“Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab [“Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?” 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.” [The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p.365]

Benjamin Franklin:
“ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?” [Constitutional Convention, Thursday June 28, 1787]

In Benjamin Franklin’s 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach “the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.”

In 1787 when Franklin helped found Benjamin Franklin University, it was dedicated as “a nursery of religion and learning, built on Christ, the Cornerstone.”

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By Lefty, March 4, 2007 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Comment #56417 by Hondo on 3/02 at 4:44 pm

“This thread is an absolute textbook in the backwards thinking of the modern secular progressive. . . .  Go back to my original comment (#56225) and compare their comments to the actions of Nazi Germany. Who’s the fascist? We have seen the fascist, and it is the liberal!”
————————————————————————

Apparently, Hondo’s Mama never taught him his left from his right.  Or perhaps he’s just dyslexic.  He never learned much about history, either.

“Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” - Benito Mussolini, Founder of fascism.

Let’s see! Does that sound liberal or conservative?  Conservative!

Further, based on Mussolini’s definition, christo-fascsim would be the merger of the Christian church and the state.  The “wall separation between church and state” described by the eminent liberal, Thomas Jefferson, would be the antithesis of christo-fascism.

Historical fascist/conservatives of note would include, but is not limited to the following scum: Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, Ion Antonescu, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Augusto Pinochet, Alfredo Strossner.

Can there be any doubt that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are the pimps of the military/industrial complex that Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about?

Other American fascsists of note include scum such as William Kristol, Jeb Bush, Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Steve Forbes, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Gary Bauer, William Bennett.

Some of these American fascists have founded a fascist propagandist organization known as “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC), has a web site which can be found here: http://www.newamericancentury.org/

Navigate the site.  Look for policy and mission statements.  World military and economic domination is the recurring theme. For example: “Established in the spring of 1997, the Project for the New American Century is a non-profit, educational organization (read: propagandists) whose goal is to promote American global leadership.” 

Do Americans really want the United States government to be the leader of the globe?  Does the world need a single nation’s government to be the leader of the globe? WEREN’T THESE THE WORDS AND THE ASPIRATIONS OF HITLER?  Would it be a good thing for the American public for the U.S. Government to be the leader of the Globe?  Does the U.S. Government really give a damn what American’s want?  Or, is it only good for Exxon/Mobil and other fascist corporations for the U.S. Government and its military to be the leader of the Globe?  Are propagandist phrases such as “global leadership” merely the dogma of demagogues used as tools to manipulate the primative tribalistic instincts of Christians, too brainwashed to think for themselves?

There is no liberal policy, theme or message to be found anywhere on the PNAC site.  I see nothing of the policy of personal freedom and liberty, the separation of church and state, the promotion of public health, safety and welfare, I see nothing of racial, ethnic, economic, and gender equality, of social programs like socialized medicine.


The “American Fascist Movement” (AFM) another less known fascist organization also has its own web site: http://www.americanfascistmovement.com/

None of the liberal policies cited above to be found on this site either.  Rather, right-wing, conservative, dogma, such as aspirations to world domination, similar to William Kristol’s PNAC, and slave-like loyalty to an unelected, dictatorial state are the overwhelming message of this group. 

Hondo, please allow me to thank you for proving to the world, once again, what inept clowns you and your propagandist christo-fascist ilk really are!

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By gryphyn, March 3, 2007 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
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Chris Hedges’ teachings have fleshed out my own belief that fundamentalism of any kind is an extreme response to any situation.  That goes for both sides of this argument.  The most renowned political and religious leaders are remembered favorably for the kindness of their acts and the thoughtfulness of their deeds.  Jesus, Muhammed, Budda, Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ghandi, and myriad others understood that to give in to pride, anger and hatred serves only to defeat any intentions, good or bad, aimed toward one institution by another.  It simply weakens the whole.
  A passage from the Bible stands well here-

If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand; and if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand (Mark II, v.25

We’d be better served by overcoming personal prejudice and hatred- again on both sides.  For one thing, its reflective of everything Jesus was about.  And another, it is the only way this country is not going to turn into a religious state akin to the one we are now at war with.
And I, being a free thinker, am scared to death that that is where we are headed.

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By susan28, March 3, 2007 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment
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to comment 52189 by CTPatriot (Planned Parenthood not being Nazi-breathed).

hate to say it but Dennis is right, baby.. Planned Parenthood, though i support it completely and agree with your views on abortion, was Nazi-inspired. actually Hitler was inspired by the American “Christian” (sic) white supremacists who pioneered the “eugenics” movement (championed by Bush’s ancestors among others who helped finance his regime both before and during the war) and called his forced-sterilisation program the “Indiana method” after the programs instituted here by the American Eugenics Society, which later morphed into Planned Parenthood.

Margaret Sainger of the AES was notoriously white-supremacist and PP was aimed at neutralising what the ruling class viewed as a population threat from the lower classes. it just happened to liberate the rest of us as a happy - though unintended - consequence. (we’re now seeing a decline in the birth rate of well-off white folks.. it appears that “abundant life” isn’t a popular choice in *any* demographic.. oops!).

so while i as an individualist do view our bodies as our own and acknowledge no extermnal authority over our bodies or what goes on inside them, and therefore support the right to abortions, we are in some bad company when it comes to the founders of PP, who, ironically, read like a who’s-who of the ancestry of the modern-day Christian Right.

we may view PP as giving women more control over their lives (and rightfully so), but Sainger and co viewed it as doing “God’s Work” (read: their own work) by thinning out the ranks of those “immoral” (read: poor) ghetto folk.

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By susan28, March 3, 2007 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
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to comment 52861 by jean:

“I’d be interested in what freethinkers have to say about Christians who reflexively call other Christians not Christian whenever the putative non-Christians do something embarrassing or disgusting”.

i think there are those who do that for PR purposes while secretly cheering them on, and those who truly are appalled by such acts and don’t believe in focibly subjecting others to their beliefs, and follow Jesus’s (sic) teaching to judge not, etc, and some are even the rare birds who renounce their material wealth and devote their lives to charity.

Hedges himself acknowledges and applauds the latter type - of which his father was one - and is indeed highly qualified to discern one from the other by virtue of the fact that’s he’s a seminarian himself. so he’s obviously not “anti religion”, being a man of faith himself, but rather is opposed to those who would attempt to twist religion to their own ends, and, more specifically, those who exploit the sincere faith of those under hardship to garner their support for political regimes that are counter to the teachings of their own religion.

the fact that Hedges is called “anti-Christian” for calling a spade a spade and pointing out non-Christian behaviour done in the name of Christianity illustrates his point.

now, to give you your due, jean, i do agree that there is much violence, fascism, sexism etc in the Old Testament, which most of those Hedges condemns espouse, and Christ *did* say he didin’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. and “he law” mandates stoning of homosexuals and slavery and all manner of social horrors, yet Christ also advocates non-judmentality, and not mixing religion and politics (“render unto Caesar” etc), so like most religion it comes down to interpretations, which invariably end up being a mirror-image of the interpreter. that’s what makes religions - especially absolutist ones like Islam and Christianity - so ripe for exploitation.

but back to my point, there are actually Christians out there who “interpret” Christianity - rightly or wrongly - as a religion of peace (ie: they are peaceful people who see the Bible that way, just as the dominionists see it their way.. and there are quotes aplenty to “prove” both views).

ironically one of the reasons Nietzsche denounced Christianity was for its pacificm and egalitarianism, and i think he’d actually be quite delighted with how it’s being applied these days - just as he’d have loved Hitler’s twist on it - by the most visible mouthpieces of that religion, though certainly not by all its members.

it could give you some perspective to check out http://www.antipasministries.com; i’m agnostic myself so i part ways with them on the supernatural-certainty stuff, but as a liberal have come to call them friend, because of the genuine compassion they have for the downtrodden, and thier brave (especially these days) advocacy of social justice and condemnation of the same crowd Hedges is dedicated to exposing. i actually *donated* to help keep their site alive, and anyone who knows me will tell you that *that* is a frikkin’ miracle, but the fight against fascism makes strange bedfellows.. i decided that if people were gonna be sheep, i’d rather see them in the Antipas fold than following Falwel and friends..

i think both you and Chris would agree that they’re “the real deal”, at least as far as the Christianity i was raised with, which stands in stark contrast to Robertson’s “death squad” brand of “faith” (which is described in detail on their site). they are among the self-avowed fundamentalist evangelicals whom Hedges cites as being marginalised by the vocal minority who are quickly becoming the driving force of “American” Christianty. check ‘em out and see if you think they’re faking it. i don’t think so..

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By Jean, March 3, 2007 at 11:49 am Link to this comment
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TAO:

I read your last post a little more closely,as I should have done initially—apologies for missing in my haste the basic challenge to specieism there.  I confess I do operate within its dictates for the most part (although I make mindful choices as much as possible) and was talking about vulnerable *people* in the context of overpopulation, not other beings.

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By billy Flynn, March 3, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
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Eleanor,
The point was that scientism is faith in science, while theism is faith in God. The two faiths are in fact quite similar. Neither you nor I can validate our faiths by the scientific method. To reject faith is to reject your own position. The scientist’s faith is supported by scientific proof for his theories, and rightly so, but the faith itself is beyond science. It is impossible to show scientifically that science can discover ultimate reality or that what it does not discover is not really there. Likewise, the theist’s faith is validated by evidence for God’s creating and sustaining work in the universe, but it is impossible to provide apodictic proof of God, the theist’s ultimate reality.

I am not persuaded by any of the classical proofs for God, although I believe the notion of a creator is immanently reasonable. Three lines of evidence that I do find compelling are the Anthropic Principle, the Big Bang, and Intelligent Design. Were not the parameters of the universe exquisitely fine tuned for life, none of us would be here. The Big Bang is consistent with the notion that God spoke the cosmos into being. Intelligent Design speaks to the idea that the enormous information content in genetic material requires an intelligent agent.

Most importantly, we have a reliable historical record of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, who identified himself as God incarnate. Of course, many dispute his deity and even his historicity. Personally, I have read the evidence and found it compelling. I speak not only of the scriptures but also of the vast, extra-Biblical literature that confirms their reliability. I don’t view my faith as mystical at all. On the contrary, it is based on historical fact and is buttressed by science.

Science and religion are complementary, not antagonistic. It is inconceivable that scientists will ever answer the big questions of why and how we got here. Scientism simply can’t get there from here, because it has ruled the most plausible answer out of bounds

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By Jean, March 3, 2007 at 8:44 am Link to this comment
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Population control—voluntary, of course! Responsible people shouldn’t go out of their way to avoid contextualizing the comments on this thread. Or can we so speciously cherry pick? Hondo wouldn’t know “A Modest Proposal” (Swift) if it hit him over the head. It’s satire, friend.  That’s why I said “for the sake of argument”.  I have no desire to control women’s bodies.  Nothing is more symptomatic of deep fascism than the control over women’s bodies, the womb of (human) life.  As far as my own pedigree goes:  my particular ancestors were on the receiving end of genocide; many of my son’s ancestors were killed in the Holocaust.  But this is nit-picking. These are all our ancestors, as part of this wacky species.

TAO, I agree that pop. control is a “subset” issue of a much larger problem, but its effect is real. And doing something about it can have powerful consequences.  I guess I’m way too weary and skeptical to believe in an all or nothing approach (although we seem only capable of nothing anyway).

And I agree with you about the priveleged “who” in your equation. Any glimpse into inst’s like World Bank makes it irrefutable.  I am suspicious of efforts to control population only in vulnerable parts of the world.  But I also chose to have only one child, despite a strong personal desire to have another (bio) one.  When my husband and I are ready (i.e. have the money), we’ll adopt. Peace . . .

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By Lefty, March 3, 2007 at 7:53 am Link to this comment
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Quotes of JAMES MADISON, author of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights:

“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”  (James Madison) 

“Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”  (James Madison)

“And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.” (James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822)

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” (James Madison)

“Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and all of which facilitates the execution of mischievous projects. Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.” (James Madison, in a letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774)

“Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?” (James Madison, “A Memorial and Remonstrance,” addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785)

“Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them, and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does this not involve the principle of a national establishment? Better also to disarm in the same way, the precedent of Chaplainships for the army and navy, than erect them into a political authority in matters of religion. . . .  Religious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts are shoots from the same root with the legislative acts reviewed. Altho’ recommendations only, they imply a religious agency, making no part of the trust delegated to political rulers.”  (James Madison)

“Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance.”  (James Madison letter of 10 July 1822 to Edward Livingston)

“It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will best be guarded against by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespasses on its legal rights by others.” (James Madison, “James Madison on Religious Liberty”, edited by Robert S. Alley, ISBN pp 237-238)

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By Lefty, March 3, 2007 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
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Quotes of THOMAS JEFFERSON:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.” (Thomas Jefferson, as President, in a letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802)

“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the wall of separation between church and state, therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”  (President Thomas Jefferson: in a speech to the Virginia Baptists, 1808)

“Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear.” (Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787)

“Christianity…(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology.” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short)

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.” (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782 Oxford Dictionary of Quotations)
“The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves…these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.”  (Thomas Jefferson)

“History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.” (Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813)

“In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes.” (Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814)

“And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a Virgin Mary, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. . . .  But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this artificial scaffolding.” (Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 11 April 1823)

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By Skruff, March 3, 2007 at 6:03 am Link to this comment
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Comment #56417 by Hondo on 3/02 at 4:44 pm claims:

“Comment #56369 from Skruff recommends actual criminal penalties for anyone who dares have more than 2 kids”

NEVER did I write anything resembling this. My opinion (after caring for other folks damaged children for over thirty years) is that folks who irresponsibally birth children for which they are unwilling to care. they should face some criminal sanctions as do literers!

I believe in Franklin’s concept of freedom. Your right to punch ends where my nose begins.

Why should I (or for that matter Hondo) pay the freight for someone else’ irresponsibility?

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By Zena, March 3, 2007 at 1:07 am Link to this comment
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You ought to know best, TAO Walker, you sound like an ‘idiot’ to me. You must be right. You seem to have a specialized knowlege of them, you speak of them sooo well, HaY OH! Come and see me sometime, big boy….

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By Hondo, March 2, 2007 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
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This thread is an absolute textbook in the backwards thinking of the modern secular progressive. Chris Hedges says that the modern Christian conservative is a fascist who wants to abolish the Constitution, take over the government, and force everyone to live as a Christian. I myself have never ever heard one single Christian leader propose doing this, but Hedges swears that fascism is just around the corner, courtesy of the modern Christian.

Then, we get Comment #56359 from Jean. She says that if Christians are going to propose something as “radical” as outlawing the murder of unborn babies, then maybe we should also have forced sterilization of all women with two or more kids. Comment #56369 from Skruff recommends actual criminal penalties for anyone who dares have more than 2 kids. Wow! Trace back their lineage, and I guarantee you’ll find someone named Hitler or Mengele!

Go back to my original comment (#56225) and compare their comments to the actions of Nazi Germany. Who’s the fascist? We have seen the fascist, and it is the liberal!

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By TAO Walker, March 2, 2007 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
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When white blood cells run amok (it’s called leukemia, a form of cancer, which most no doubt know), it is evidence the auto-immune system generally is failing.  In fact, there are those who’ve concluded that all cancers are a symptom of immune system failure, as is the epidemic of Asthma and a host of other chronic conditions besetting “modern” people.

Assume, “for the sake of argument,” jean, (#56359) that humanity is not actually (contrary to the cherished belief of so many of the domesticated breeds) the “brains” in the living form that is our Mother Earth, but rather a component in her auto-immune system.  What would happen if some life-form not from around here came and tried to graft onto this living body some parasitical retro-virus-like creature that would literally suck the life from her?  Wouldn’t you expect the immune system to respond to protect the whole organic living arrangemewnt from invasion and death?

Of course you would, and so did our tormentors.  So they first set about wrecking Earth’s auto-immune system by compromising and co-opting, finally, most of its human component.  Their process for doing this is popularly known as civilization among the co-optees (Us surviving free wild natural humans are more bluntly honest, and name it for the down-and-dirty domestication it plainly is.).  What has become of the organic functional integrity of those subjected to the immuno-suppression program is a suject for another time, as is the actual operation of the process itself.  The results are all too obvious, however, and are the generally-unkown subtext to every “special issue,” like “overpopulation,” that is ever brought up in fora like this one.

Not to worry about that particular “problem,” though.  The tormentors and their selected two-legged overseers are about ready to initiate a massive population reduction scheme that will leave only selected breeding stock (Guess who?) to serve for the next “interplanetary” phase of the grand design.

Anybody who thinks this is not what is actually happening here should pull their heads out of the idiot box, get the iPod earpieces off, and take a good hard look at the nearest factory-farm or feedlot operation.  If that doesn’t get your natural human juices flowing….well, we’ll catch ya on the flip-flop, good buddy.

HokaHey!

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By Skruff, March 2, 2007 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #56359 by jean on 3/02 at 12:45 pm ...ie that we are overpopulated and should do something about it is clearly to any thinking individual. 

I have no birth children but have fostered over 100 children who were clearly not valued by their families.

Despite the wealth of “happy-ending” adoption stories on TV, foster care is generally a horror show. 

Having lived in foster care as a child is a leading indicator that one will spend time in jail as an adult.

I suggest criminal sanctions on any person who brings an unwanted child into the world.

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By jean, March 2, 2007 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
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Well, it looks like the jesus freaks (and before you get excited, it is a term coined by one of your own, back in the day)have taken over this thread. It’s obvious that truthdig means to be a freethinking forum, but these people either don’t have jobs or have that oldtime energy to battlecry all over the internet at all hours.


TAO Walker:

Re: overpopulation:  This is an important issue for the world, and cuts across all demographics. I   I don’t think *anyone*—white, black, Indian, rich, poor, religious, not-religious, etc. should have more than two children (I have one) and the children that already live in the world should be cared for (i.e. adopted) (I know, these are far-fetched propositions and I don’t aim to do anything about it).

I’ll go so far as to say this, for the sake of argument (I am not actually proposing this):  if anyone in this country wants to control my reproductive rights (i.e. prevent abortion),  we should have legislation to sterilize every woman who has had her two kids (assuming that the infant mortality rate isn’t so disgustingly high for a developed country) Mother earth wouldn’t be as taxed and burdened and individuals would be better protected.

The idea of it might make these righteous breeders think a little bit about controlling women’s bodies.

Remember, as Bill McKibben (and yes,he is a christian I much admire) says:  “Go forth and multiply” is a command that we can safely cross of our list.  Humanity has multiplied.  We are plentiful.  That command is surely not about one’s own little-big family, smashed into a huge SUV on the way to WalMart, but about the Big Family.

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By roxy hart, March 1, 2007 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment
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kruff,
I’m afraid you told a couple of whoppers. This is a truth dig, and I’ve got to challenge your excavations.

“Once the moon was made of green cheese, and the earth was flat.  Religious entities attempted to stall the scientific truth….with some success I admit.”

Where did you find your evidence that “religious entities” ever held to the notions of an edible moon or a flat earth. Certainly not in the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. Perhaps you took “That’s Amore” too literally, but that’s not in the Bible.

“Even today certain scientific advances must await “clearance” through the halls of religion.”

Please enlighten me which scientific journals have their prospective articles peer reviewed in the “halls of religion.” It appears to me that “science” has assumed the magisterial authority that once belonged to religion. It has it’s own priesthood, dogma, ritual, and faith. If I remember correctly, recent attempts to have Intelligent Design included in public school curricula were defeated on the grounds that they were not science but religion warmed over. So, tell me again, which entity stalled which truth? No, you’ve got it precisely backwards. Scientists today are the high priests and theologians are the court jesters, if allowed at court at all. It is the theologians of today that must be escorted through the halls of science, like college frosh of yesteryear through the frat house belt line. If you don’t believe me, just review the posts on this thread. No, I won’t weep for your scientists. But I will defend the religious crowd, the modern-day heretics, ‘cause I really dig the truth.

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By Hondo, March 1, 2007 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment
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At first I got angry when I read Hedge’s screed, but then I just got sad. How tragic it is that the cancer of liberalism has blinded Hedges to the truth about Christianity. Perhaps a few facts would be in order.

The Christian conservative believes that it is wrong to kill innocent life. The secular liberal believes that abortion and euthanasia are perfectly OK, if the innocent life in question is “inconvenient.” Liberals supported the court-ordered killing of Terri Schiavo in Florida, even though her mom and dad wanted to continue to care for her, because the State of Florida deemed her life to be unfit to live. In 1933, Germany’s Nazi Party passed a law which institutionalized the eugenic concept of “life undeserving of life.” Who’s the fascist?

Christian conservatives will never deny a liberal the opportunity to voice their opinions. Liberals regularly censor conservative opinion—by burning college newspapers, by passing “hate speech laws” and by attempting to pass the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.” Nazi Germany passed legislation in 1933 that suspended freedom of speech and freedom of the press so that they could suppress opposing political opinions. Who’s the fascist?

The Christian conservative doesn’t believe that anyone should be legally excluded from running for public office, so long as they qualify under present, constitutional statutes. Liberals say that anyone not belonging to the Holy Church of Global Warming should be kiicked out of public office. Liberals say that conservatives need not apply for university teaching positions. Nazi Germany, in 1933, passed a law which excluded Jews and political opponents from university and government positions. Who’s the fascist?

Christian conservatives believe that America has a duty to help defend Israel from Islamofascist attempts to destroy her. Israel is our friend. Liberals support terrorist attempts to exterminate Jews. We know that because liberals get all bent out of shape everytime a conservative proposes defending Israel. Nazi Germany murdered millions of Jews. Who’s the fascist?

Liberals wish to have a complete “separation of church and state.” There’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that mandates that separation, there’s nothing in the writings of the Founders that suggests that they wanted a separation, and, in fact, everything the Founders said shows that they wanted a republic based on Judeo-Christian principles. But liberals want that separation anyway. Now, I do believe that the constitution of the old U.S.S.R. mandated a separation of church and state. So who’s the fascist?

Mr. Hedges, you have nothing to worry about from America’s peaceful Christian conservatives. I would, however, lose some sleep over the secular progressives in our midst. Those people are dangerous, as I think I have shown with the above facts. God bless each and every one of you.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, March 1, 2007 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment
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“Yes, indeed, humans have limitations, and science (scientism) is a human invention. Devotees of scientism arbitrarily define the domain of truth as that which is discoverable by their method.”

So, the choice is between mysticism and scientism; but that is not really a choice since the two “isms” are not analogous at
all—-mysticism is a personal belief strengthened through faith or intuition therefore, it has traditionally been known as BLIND FAITH, or some may say unsubstantiated speculation.

“Scientism” uses systematic observations and experiments to study the physical world,  scientific principles reject subjectively—-the basis of scientific findings is not to establish a subjective personal belief system, this would not be compatible with scientific principles, in fact, a common expression among scientists: “Take nobody’s word for it”—-reflects the importance of always having a healthy bit of skepticism when seeking new information.

Religion and science serve different purposes—-the former provides comfort, hope and reassurance, while the latter probes traditional beliefs, looking for new answers that might very well upset the overly-reassured.

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By amos hart, March 1, 2007 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
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Skruff:
Yes, indeed, humans have limitations, and science (scientism) is a human invention. Devotees of scientism arbitrarily define the domain of truth as that which is discoverable by their method. It’s like putting on sun glasses and declaring the color spectrum to be what you perceive through your restrictive lenses. Two hundred year ago, there was no way to demonstrate scientifically, or otherwise, that X-rays, electrons, black holes, or quarks existed. Thus, an orthodox practitioner of scientism would have declared them fanciful, like ghosts and witches. If they could not be observed scientifically, they simply did not exist. Today, of course, they are taken for granted. Point is that science is limited at any temporal juncture by the minds and tools of man. To assume that science can answer the questions of how and why the cosmos exists is the ultimate in scientism and exactly like religious faith. You cannot prove your faith by the scientific method, any more than can the believer in God. So, by your logic, you are obliged to put it in the same category as ghosts and green cheese.

BTW, I do completely agree that “people are entitled to believe what they will as long as their belief does not impede other folks in their own search for truth.” So you look for your answers your way, and I’ll do the same.

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By Skruff, March 1, 2007 at 7:10 am Link to this comment
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Comment #55988 by Anthony Thomas on 2/28 at 2:24 pm claims

“For the record, science has its limitations. It can’t answer the question of why or how we got here.”

Science has no limitations…. Humans (who may attempt to practice science) have limitations for which they attempt to compensate by inventing fairy-tales. 

Dragons, witches, and ghosts have all been banished over the years, and someday soon, the concept of an all-seeing “creator” will be banished also.

Once the moon was made of green cheese, and the earth was flat.  Religious entities attempted to stall the scientific truth….with some success I admit.

Even today certain scientific advances must await “clearence” through the halls of religion.

I feel that people are entitled to believe what they will as long as their belief does not impede other folks in their own search for truth.

“Just my personal opinion….mileage may vary.”

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By billy flynn, February 28, 2007 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment
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Logician,
I sincerly hope you have taken leave of us all, but I suspect it is only your senses that you have taken leave of. You are undoubtedly lurking in your favorite sewer, waiting for some unsuspecting Christian to back stab. As for “dismissing” us, again your monumental arrogance is on display. You aren’t in charge here, sewer rat. Your egomaniacal, psychotic raving is permanently on full display for all to see. Scurry back to your cesspool and leave rational argument to your betters, rodent breath. You are my favorite critic, because you discredit yourself every time you open your disgusting yap. Mother of all hypocrites, abort yourself before you hatch any more verminous offspring. That’s your true legacy to human race. If you don’t get it yet, write and I’ll say what I really think.

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By TAO Walker, February 28, 2007 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment
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None at all of this particular Indian’s “livelihood” (Zena #55901) derives from tribally-owned casino gambling, or any other kind….just for the record.  But so what if it did?  If Zena has some case to make about that totally-irrelevant-to-this-article topic, maybe she should pick a more pertinent forum to make it in. 

Her equally off-the-wall, and gratuitous, slander (at comment #55179 of E.J. Dionne’s “Grow Up or Get Out” piece on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) of Indian people who happen to be members of tribes that run casinos, betrays a pretty un-christian meanness of spirit….at least as this old Indian has gathered from studying the recorded sayings reputed to that particular belief system’s organizing principal, called (in latter-day English translation) “Jesus the Christ,” by his followers.

What’s more, Zena still declines to say whether she is following in the footsteps of her “saviour” herself….doing as he commanded by giving up all her wordly possessions and ministering selflessly to the poor.  Maybe she is, but her obsession with Indian casinos and partisan politics (which is also, happily, completely absent from this Indian’s personal medicine-bag-of-tricks) and “OVERPOPULATION!” (probably, though, only of those not sharing Zena’s ethnic and religious persuasions) and a U.S. Constitution effectively abolished years ago (R.I.P.) seems to argue otherwise….and rather conclusively.

It gets to be a little awkward, finally, trying to respond sincerely to the comments of someone with obviously so little grasp of her own muddled affect.  Zena’s feelings are hurt, she feels persecuted by those who don’t share her peculiar enthusiasms.  So she lashes out at people who have done nothing whatsoever to make her life the miserable mess it so plainly is.  She beats-up on an effigy of this old Indian (cobbled together out of bits of anger and pieces of hate and clips of media-manufactured cliches) that exists only in her own troubled mind….an image that has no living counterpart in the actual world.  She even takes a swipe at Mother Theresa.

Zena says she is a “real christian.”  Is there any reason not to take her at her word?

Hoka!Hey

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By old benjamin, February 28, 2007 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty and Logician,
Thanks for again making my point. You refute no facts, make no rational arguments and draw no logical conclusions. You merely attempt to over power your opponent with insults and silly accusations. Roxy, for example, is discredited because she used the word “apodictic.” You, Logician, undoubtedly had to look it up so you attacked Roxy to compensate for your own short-comings, (speaking of which, I couldn’t tell which hand it was in, ‘cause it was such a teeny weeny). Get a clue, you two bozos. Some of us aren’t very good Christians and don’t turn the other cheek. We hit back twice as hard as you pansy leftists. Think that over “Logician” before you slap your next patient. What goes around comes around, so keep up the farce. I really love you two clowns.

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By Anthony Thomas, February 28, 2007 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
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For the record, science has its limitations. It can’t answer the question of why or how we got here. Religion and philosophy have traditionally been the disciplines that have attempted answers to the “big” questions. To rule out religious or philosophical answers is to abandon the search for answers to these uniquely human inquiries. Those who don’t wish to participate in the quest should acknowledge that and do something else. To insult and demean those who believe that God is the answer to the how and why is misguided at best and momumental arrogance at worst.If you know God does not exist, then, by all means, prove it. If you can’t and won’t attempt the quest for answers yourself, then respect the rights and sensitivities of those who do. Science can neither prove nor disprove God. That’s a given. Science doesn’t have a monopoly on truth, nor is it the only way to find it. Relativity and quantum theory have essentially replaced the Newtonian view of the world. The next 100 years will likely bring more surprises. Those that hang their hat on current science will likely be making frequent trips to the local haberdasher. You “scientists” continue your search for truth in by your methods and let us philosophers and theologians search for it by ours. Truth is not many, but one. What is true for science is true in theology, and vice versa.

Second point, ad hominem arguments (personal attacks) are the most frequent type of logical fallacy. If you smear your opponent with invective, you do not make your case stronger. On the contrary, you weaken it. If your opponent makes statements of fact, then refute them with facts. Insulting his heritage, intelligence, competence, etc., with vile epitaphs or vicious accusations is only a reflection on the perpetrator and proves precisely nothing. Unfortunately, all too many posts on this thread cite no facts and rely on vituperation and insult to make their case. Think again, my friends. You may vent your spleen or satisfy the urge for revenge, but the end result is only discredit upon yourself. Argument requires facts, and deduction requires logic. Let’s abandon the locker room and move on to the court room, where reason presides and truth is the issue to be decided.

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By Lefty, February 28, 2007 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #55801 by old benjamin on 2/27 at 6:41 pm

“Lefty asked:

“Seriously, who could be at once more arrogant and ignorant than a “real Christian?”

“You are ass breath. You spout nothing but verbal manure. You make no arguments and employ no logic. You employ the same puerile language in each of your banal “posts.” If invective were effective, you would have rid the planet of Christians by now. Instead, you only show your own pathetic ignorance, and we dismiss you as a raving fool. If crap were brains, you’d be an Einstein. You couldn’t make a coherent argument if I spotted you the major and minor premises. Get some new talking points, frat boy. Your old ones smell like dead fish and belong in the compost pile. Better yet, get a new fishing hole. You ain’t catching anything but minnows like yourself in this one.
Sincerely,
Old Benjamin”
———————————————————————

Dear Old Ben,

YOU SIR, are a “real Christian.”  Your vicious and vulgar (look it up, I’m certain that you don’t know what vulgar means), blatherings prove, once again, that there are at least two things that “real Christians” like you can always be counted on for:

1) to be the genetically inferior, un-evolved, primitive, superstitious, tribalistic, fearful, hateful, pinheaded, pea-brain, bigots that you are, and

2) to be incapable of critical or analytical thinking of any kind.  At hurling childish pejoratives you, Benny, are an experienced journeyman, no doubt.  Critical thinking, however, is utterly beyond the capacity of a “real Christian” such as you.

In addition, Benny, you suffer from an obsession with feces.  This is also a trait that I have seen among other members of your primitive tribe in the immeasurable oceans of Christian hate-speech that pollute western culture, along with an obsession with sex.  The Christian obsession with feces and sex is quite perplexing. 

On the brighter side, for most, the disease of Christianity is curable.  It can take decades of consistent and determined hard work to undo the intense brainwashing that Christians are subjected to from childhood.  But, with a supreme effort on the part of the afflicted, in combination with an antipsychotic such as Thorzene, it can be done. 

However, in your case, Benny, I’m afraid it’s too late.  You’ve spent so much time in the hot sun, worshipping your mythical, invisible god in the sky, that your brain has been cooked.

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By Jane White, February 28, 2007 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
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Chris Hedges must have truly struck a nerve to have caused so much bile to be spewed out in the comments below.

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By Zena, February 28, 2007 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
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Let me see if I understand what you’re saying Walker. In other words, it’s ok for YOU not to understand where I’m coming from and disrespect me; but not me to question you. You malign, not debate. I bring up your livilhood because if people knew what you are trying to protect, they would understand your REAL political arguments. What else is politics about? So many people are being deceived by the now-nothings and deceivers who pass themselves off as community leaders. No wonder people are being encouraged to trample the constitution. I would encorage all who seek knowledge and truth to hit the books that contain them. Lots of lying prophets out there…

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By peter, February 28, 2007 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
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Thank you for allowing a voice that the NYT and the majority of the mainstream corporate warmongering press rejects. Being a journalist and outspoken witness to the rise (and eventual fall) of a disgusting empire built on the madness of the fundamentalists is a courageous act in this society. Sure Hedges does not face radioactive poisoning or a bullet in the head in hi own apartment buidling (see the way Russia treat its truthdiggers) but he has knowingly chosen to be shunned by his former colleagues because he simplys points out that they like the emperor in the are lying and complicit and have no clothes to speak of.

He stands in defiance of the tidal wave of pandering and codependent reporting that passes for hard journalism (see the Libby trial and the disgusting lack of any seperation of the press from those they are reporting about.)

I salute Hedges for refusing to cave under the pressure from the Times to not protest the Iraq War.

“War is a Force that Gives Us Meaing” is one of the more important books written about mankinds uncanny ability to destroy each other and attempt to justify it. If we were to examine how the sickness of warmongering and consequently war works-this book would be the textbook for such a class.

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By McCop, February 28, 2007 at 3:53 am Link to this comment
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Is this a private fight or can anyone join in?
I just love when comments on an interview devolve into character assasinating amongst the commentors.

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By Logician, February 27, 2007 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
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Re#55597 by Jerry:

By her own admission, roxy cannot apodictically ‘prove anything,’ revealing that she like any other ‘thinking’ believer has had just enough education to mouth enough multisyllabic words to feel comfortably intelligent about her delusions.  With no foundation, ANY argument she poses is pointless, even one backed by anecdote.  She has failed just as dismally as hume.

Let’s see:  “Put up or shut the hell up.”  Well, you see Jerry, I am not the one making claims that defy all known laws of nature and science, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever.  The burden of ‘putting up’ rests solely and completely upon the shoulders of those who make those evidenceless claims and upon NO ONE ELSE.  No one has succeeded so far, not merely on this post, but anywhere.  All the arguments first SUPPOSE that a ‘god’ MUST exist, and go on from there; a sad, sad, sad foundational fallacy.

As for you Jerry; such animosity.  Since you’re a believer like Haggard, perhaps you can tell me in which hand you visualize me holding my “pecker.”  Does that thought excite you?  Remember, go to Christian Camp for three weeks just like Ted and you won’t have those thoughts anymore…  And “lizard breath?”  A hit, a palpable hit!  Wounded to my core, I am. Such devastating logic admittedly has me on the ropes.  Never again shall I be able to do battle in the name of reason for I have been bested! 

I’m through with the lot of you.  When pressed, you all revert to the behaviors of your fore fathers in faith: because even you realize you have NO foundation for your belief system you begin by hurling hateful names and insults which inevitably lead to torturing and killing those whom ‘offend’ your ‘god,’ as has been done in the past and you are preparing to do in the future, as the article this post is based upon illustrates.

Commiserate among yourselves ‘preaching to the choir’ as you mouth the words of better men and women thinking that by doing so you have ‘logically’ proven your insane beliefs.  You all have done your apparent best here and failed, so I take my leave of the lot of you with Jean Shepherd’s words;

“Excelsior, you fatheads!”

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By old benjamin, February 27, 2007 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty asked:

Seriously, who could be at once more arrogant and ignorant than a “real Christian?”

You are ass breath. You spout nothing but verbal manure. You make no arguments and employ no logic. You employ the same puerile language in each of your banal “posts.” If invective were effective, you would have rid the planet of Christians by now. Instead, you only show your own pathetic ignorance, and we dismiss you as a raving fool. If crap were brains, you’d be an Einstein. You couldn’t make a coherent argument if I spotted you the major and minor premises. Get some new talking points, frat boy. Your old ones smell like dead fish and belong in the compost pile. Better yet, get a new fishing hole. You ain’t catching anything but minnows like yourself in this one.
Sincerely,
Old Benjamin

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By Jean, February 27, 2007 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment
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Um, Stephanie, wrong bush (neither burning nor dynastic):

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord/he is trampling through the bushes/ he is something something his terrible swift sword/something something/ his truth is marching on.”

—Battle Hymn of the Republic, as taught to me in my *public* elementary school—really!
(yes, I know, not verbatim)

The only relation between those bushes being trampled by an angry angry Jesus and those other Bushes is the fact that after 9/11 Bush used this hymn as a drumroll leading up to his war in Iraq.

But of course, there’s no relationship between militancy and Christian nationalism—

As for youth battling Satan—good luck with that!  I think I’ll pass on any of your invitations to collective delusion.

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By Lefty, February 27, 2007 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment
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To TAO Walker:

YOU ROCK, DUDE!

Seriously, who could be at once more arrogant and ignorant than a “real Christian?”

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By Lefty, February 27, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #55646 by stephanie on 2/27 at 7:01 am

“dear Jean, it is called battlecry because one, it is a battle winning youth from satan. . . .”
——————————————————————

Well isn’t THAT convenient.  How easy it is to motivate a brainwashed, Christian, psychopath to war by labeling someone, anyone, as satan - the invisible demon under the ground.

What complete and utter stupidity!  How amazingly brainwashed you must be to think that such a thing as satan exists.

And, what a simple and effective way, for demagogues to manipulate primative, superstitious, tribalistic, small minded, drones to war for them, is the disease known as Christianity!

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By TAO Walker, February 27, 2007 at 11:51 am Link to this comment
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Zena (#55178) evidently has a problem of some kind with “gambling” at Indian casinos.  She brings it up (also out of the blue)in a comment at another place on this site.  In neither instance does she bother to mention that no one, “christian” or otherwise, is being forced into “sin” there at gunpoint….unlike so many of our people who were driven first onto the concentration camps called reservations, and from there into the maximum security detention facilities called boarding schools….good cause for a little “angst,” maybe, although we’re not much inclined as a people to self-indulge in it.

Zena’s self-righteous (and mistaken) claim that this Indian doesn’t know what’s in her “bible” (a generic term for book) might have some credibility if she’d shown how the couple of off-hand references she takes issue with are wrong.  But then she couldn’t, because they aren’t wrong.  In fact, they’re right there in the book itself.

Just capitalizing “god” (another generic term), without putting an actual name to the entity so designated, is evidence of laziness or ignorance or deceitfulness….maybe all three.  It’s an old trick, though, that has taken-in multitudes of domesticated people….Zena herself quite obviously amongst ‘em.  It doesn’t fool us free wild natural human beings, who saw through it from the beginning.

Zena is totally unqualified to pass judgment on whether this old Indian, or anybody else, is “truly spiritual” (a word our people don’t so carelessly bandy about), and in no way is she entitled to presume that “....most of (our) brothers and sisters” share her beliefs.  Her own several comments here are more than sufficient to illustrate the poverty of her understanding, as well as the inability that peculiar ignorance induces in her to accept that not everyone is similarly handicapped.  Misery does love company, though.

HokaHey!

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By Old Benjamin, February 27, 2007 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
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Kevin,
I do appreciate an honest man and a good laugh to start the day. There are too few of either. While I can’t claim membership in your fraternity, I do agree with you. You fascists have the same rights as the ACLU, People for the American Way, Air America, and Michael Moore. I would part company with you if you advocated change by violent or illegal acts, same as I would if Alec Baldwin or Sean Penn did it. But I’ve seen no indication that that is a serious possibility. In the meantime, let’s all kick back and sing Cum Ba Ya. It’s the American way. Ain’t it great?

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By hume, February 27, 2007 at 10:30 am Link to this comment
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Roxy,
I do apologize for suggesting that you lower yourself to the level of that gargoyle masquerading as a savant. But you did out him for all to see. He has nothing to contribute other than his obnoxious braying and pathetic self inflation.

I appreciated your brief discussion of the Anthropic Principle. You hit the highlights, but, of course, there are many more cosmic parameters that are, as you said, “Exquisitely fine tuned” to support life in our universe. The astrophysicist Hugh Ross discusses them at length in his writings. It is amusing that that dullard was unable to see his own argument turned against him. He dismissed the notion of anything but a common sense view of reality. Then, when you pointed out that common sense would dictate a designer of our universe, with its astronomically improbable characteristics, he reversed his position and condemned common sense. With such fools there is no common ground.
Again, my apologies, and give my best to Amos.

Hume

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By Kevin, February 27, 2007 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
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As a fascist, I am distrurbed to see the word thrown about here. These people are no different than other special interest group that has their designs on what they think America should look like, be it the DNC, RNC, DLC, etc…
I am just surprised that these supposedly-educated folks are surprised that these people have now decided to jump in the ring after having their ox gored for so long. YOu asked for it, now you got it.
K

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By STEPHANIE, February 27, 2007 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
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Hi jean, i also wanted to let you know that i have no idea what this means
    “But then again, mine eyes have not seen bush-trampling and terrible swift swords.”
  you can explain it to me. i did not say anything at all about bush. he is the president but it is up to the indivual to say if they like him or not. some people on battlecry do and some dont. we are not bush’s army we are God’s army. we believe he saved us and he died for us. we are in personal battles inside us to make sure that when someone hears us or see’s us then they know we love Christ. i want people to know that i am living for Christ. he gives me everything. and i am trying to fight satan out of me and become more of the christian i wanna be, i want to do that by reading the Holy bible and by praying to God. i want to praise him. he done so much. he gave his son and look how beautiful the landscapes and oceans r. he created that too. Jean if you would like you can e-mail me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). i would really like to understand more about what you think and please someone tell me what is sooo scary about events where youth go to praise God.

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By stephanie, February 27, 2007 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
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dear Jean, it is called battlecry because one, it is a battle winning youth from satan.  the teens and people every where are fighting personal battles to get satan out of their lives, and two we are crying out trying to stop the violence and all the wrong that is going on every day. wrong such as kids bringing guns to school, people selling pornagraphic material to young children, and on battlcry we are being strong for each other and we are giving encouragement. we help each other understand the word of God.
why do some people think that is scary, and why do people think the christians (like me) are going to start some kind of terrible thing?

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By Jerry Kennedy, February 27, 2007 at 12:02 am Link to this comment
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Logician,
You wouldn’t acknowledge the Creator if he came down and slapped you in the face. In straining to discredit Roxy’s lucid presentation of the Anthropic Principle, you conveniently and foolishly overlooked the factual information that she presented, all the while bellowing about “common sense.” You argued for that very notion yourself, discounting anything but a simple-minded conception of reality. Reality, according to you, is what slaps you in the face. You demonstrate that you have no integrity and will slither to and fro in a futile and laughable effort to maintain your silly pretense of superiority. The Anthropic Principle is an indication to many that the universe was created to support life. Roxy provided the quotation from the famous astronomer Fred Hoyle. You declined to address his conclusion in favor of snickering like a junior high kid caught with his pecker in his hand. The famous philosopher and ex-atheist Anthony Flew stated that the Anthropic Principle, together with intelligent Design and the Big Bang caused him to turn from atheism to a belief in God. What’s YOUR explanation for the cosmos and the existence of human life, lizard breath? I am waiting breathlessly for enlightenment. Let’s have some logic, “Logician.” I’m sick and tired of your insipid blather. Put up or shut the hell up.

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By TAO Walker, February 26, 2007 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment
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Zena (#55178) seems to have a particular bone to pick when it comes to casino “gambling” on Indian land.  She raises its ugly head again in a comment posted at another place on this site. She neglects to note that nobody, “christian” or otherwise, is being driven into these places at gunpoint….unlike some of our people were onto the concentration camps called reservations, and from there into the medium security detention centers called boarding schools. 

She also says self-righteously (and maybe mistakenly) that this old Indian isn’t well-enough versed in her preferred scriptural reference work to have anything worthwhile to offer concerning the principal character in its “new” installment….one Jesus of Nazereth.  Yet she doesn’t actually challenge the specifics of what were, after all, no more than a couple of off-hand observations taken right from the pages of that “bible” (a generic term for book) itself.

Zena’s tendency to read-into things what she is pre-disposed to find there is illustrated sufficiently in her own several comments to need no further proof here. Further, what she claims about what she calls the “spiritual” understandings of “...most of (this Indian’s) brothers and sisters…” will not bear-up under actual examination….as opposed, say, to self-serving presumption. 

Finally, “god” is also another generic term….applied rather carelessly (in its capitalized form) to one or more of a particular type of being whose “ways are mysterious” only to those who let their selves be taken-in by what are essentially just ancient examples of what earlier generations called parlor tricks, and the self-styled “modern” people know as special effects.  Picking one or two or three of these entities out of the entire divine bunch, and elevating “him” (or them) to some kind of universally “supreme” status, is not something us free wild natural human beings would be caught doing….dead or alive.  Our tame two-legged relations, on the other hand, have fallen prey to such self-inflicted delusions in near endless profusion, and on a truly grand scale….much to their own growing misery.

HokaHey!

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By katalin hunyak, February 26, 2007 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
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Logician,
I’m waiting with baited breath. What indeed is your explanation of the how and why of the cosmos? You are champing at your bit to ridicule those who present a reasoned and plausible view of the origin of the universe. You have presented precisely no view at all. Here’s the chance you’ve waited for, Logician. Dazzle us now with your brilliance, just as you attempted to baffle us with your bullshit. Balls in your court, Fathead.

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By Velma Kelly, February 26, 2007 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment
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Roxy,
I am also perturbed with Hume. He invited you into a street brawl with a knave of the lowest sort, knowing full well that he (“Logician”) recognizes no rules of engagement other than preservation of his own mangy hide at all cost. It is comical how he argues for a common sense notion of reality, then brays like a jackass when you use his own mode of argumentation against him. There is no argument that would be acceptable to him, because his “mind” is incapable of dealing with facts that don’t fit his sad world view. I’m afraid we are dealing with a psychiatric disorder that has no hope of cure. You are to be commended on your effort to shed some light in his dark world. But the better you argue your case, the more psychotic his behavior becomes. My advice to you is that you don’t cast your pearls before swine.
As always,
Velma

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By amos_hart, February 26, 2007 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment
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Ah, Lefty,
Very powerful arguments that you make. The truth is what you say it is. That’s all. No, I think that’s called propaganda and other things, like what’s in the barnyard. Nobody’s buying your manure, but, if you like it, by all means jump in with with all four feet and splash around to your heart’s content. You’d make a sterling resident of Animal Farm. I nominate you for Commissar of Propaganda and First Secretary of Fertilizer Production. If you do a good job, you’ll get a medal and your very own cesspool to thrash around in. I know you’ll give it your best effort.

Write soon,
Amos

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By roxy hart, February 26, 2007 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment
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Zena,
For goodness sake. I asked for an example of an actual stoning. You cited an example of a non-stoning. Furthermore, the context clearly states that the Pharisees intended to entrap Jesus. They knew he would not approve the stoning because of his previous actions that they viewed as against the Law of Moses. They also knew that stoning for adultery was, in fact, never carried out. So, they hoped to be able to accuse him of disrespecting the Law. This was NOT an intended stoning. It was a trick, that didn’t work. Your trick didn’t work either. Try a lttle less arrogance and a bit more scholarship.

BTW: Your version makes no sense. How would stoning the woman trap Jesus? He would, in fact, be agreeing with the Law if he approved of it. Their intention was to make him appear a law breaker, not a Pharisee. If he agreed with the Law, what was the point?

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By roxy hart, February 26, 2007 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment
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Logician:
You are clearly the one who likes common sense demonstrations of reality, or did you forget that you prove it by slapping people in the face? Now you reject what you previously touted as your preferred mode of proof. It is a matter of common sense to most people in this country that God created the universe. You, of course, know better, but you decline to state your own views on the origin of the cosmos. What’s the matter, back shooter? Lost your nerve?

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By Logician, February 26, 2007 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
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Re#55356 by roxy:

Bwahahahahaha!  “Common sense?!”  That’s the BEST you can do?  What a delusive pile of horse poo. (“Common” enough for you, roxy?) 

A little over 100 years ago, it was “common sense” that if ‘God’ had wanted man to fly, he would have given him wings.  A little over 200 years ago, it was “common sense” that the black man was too ‘savage’ to be considered anything but a slave to the ‘civilized’ white man.  And on and on and on.  Good grief; “common sense?!”  Too, too much! 

THIS is the cavalry hume calls upon?  With you, as with him, nothing further is needed; so, I dismiss you as well with the words of Jean Shepherd’s lovely sign-off:

“Excelsior, you fathead!”

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By billy flynn, February 26, 2007 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
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Logician:
You say you are concerned about Tommy and Tammy Trailertrash foisting fascism on the republic in the name of Christianity, and you think you must discredit God, the Bible, and Christianity to accomplish your objective. You have taken on a truly Herculean task, Baby Huey. In your Socratic rush to action, you alienate the huge majority in order to vanquish the tiny minority that is the object of your scorn. You choose a nuclear device to destroy an outhouse. In this era of smart bombs and precision weapons, you really must be more selective. No one will tolerate the sort of collateral damage that you will inflict with your injudicious use of WMD’s. I’m not at all in sympathy with you, but if it’s Jerry Falwell that you want to eliminate, then, by all means, go after him. I suspect he is more vulnerable than James Dobson or James Kennedy. Last time I looked, Kennedy had a string of degrees after his name that would intimidate an Oxford don. So I don’t suggest you take him on unless you’ve got your butt fully insured. Likewise, Dobson is no pushover, having written several books and served on the USC faculty. No, I think Falwell is your best mark. He’s a mere clergyman and founder of Liberty University. Someone with your rhetorical skills and logical acumen should find him an easy mark. I do look forward to seeing you soon on Larry King with Dr. Falwell, or failing that, as a stand in for Mo on Dennis Miller’s show.
Sincerely,
Billy Flynn

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By Zena, February 26, 2007 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
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P.S. You need to think more carefully and logically Roxy. It was an INTENDED stoning. You think they wouldn’t have stoned her and trapped Jesus for the price of one rock? It’s called killing two birds with one stone, my dear. After all, did they not say: IT WAS A LAW OF MOSES??? If you want to start talking serious theology, you have to stop reading the bible as a hobby…

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By Zena, February 26, 2007 at 11:47 am Link to this comment
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Roxy can you prove to me without a doubt they wouldn’t have stoned this woman, had it not been for what Jesus said? What you said is exactly intolerance of other people’s interpretation of the scriptures. You’re welcome to interpret it like you want, except when it’s used to hurt other people, which makes you as guilty and legalistic as the dreadful Pharisees. Get down from your high-horse and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. You don’t have a superiority over anyone else’s GOD. My GOD can whip your god. And he will…

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By Lefty, February 26, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #54580 by amos_hart on 2/20 at 5:50 pm

“Lefty,
You are, in fact, a Christian hater. I have seen enough of your vitriol to know that beyond any doubt. If you were not, I would expect to see you attack Islam, Bahai, Hare Krishna, etc. Or are the recent depradations committed in the name of Islam insufficiently atrocious to merit your condemnation?

“Your rant about superstition and tribalism is very tiresome. The fact that you assert that Christianity is a manifestation of both is no better than an assertion that the earth is square. Proof requires verifiable facts, and the burden is on you. Your diatribes have a dull sameness to them. They are unfailingly vicious and lacking in proof. Get some new talking points or find a new venue for your tripe. I won’t waste any more time on you.”

———————————————————————

Amos,

It’s not surprising that you, who lives in a primative, superstitious, “faith based” world of dilusion, fantacy, myth and fable, and fear, no different from Greek/Roman mythology, witchcraft and voodoo, are tired of having the truth shoved in your face. 

As for “Christian haters,” as much as Christians have earned, and deserve, every bit of the hatred directed at them, I am not one of those.

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By Jean, February 26, 2007 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
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Stephanie,

why call it battlecry, then?  why not peacehum? lovesong? godwhistle?  There’s a reason for the word choice here.  I see the hateful and death-driven in action everyday.

I’m not buying it. Nor should you.

But then again, mine eyes have not seen bush-trampling and terrible swift swords.

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By Lefty, February 26, 2007 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
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Some quotes, continued:

THOMAS PAINE:

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”  (Thomas Paine)

“Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.” (Thomas Paine)
“The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system.” (Thomas Paine)

“The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable belief against the character of the Divinity, the most destructive to morality and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist.” (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795)

“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, not by any Church that I know of.  My own mind is my Church.” (Thomas Paine, Excerpts from The Age of Reason)

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)

“As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith.” (Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776)

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Muslim], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”  (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795)

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.” (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795)

“As priestcraft was always the enemy of knowledge, because priestcraft supports itself by keeping people in delusion and ignorance, it was consistent with its policy to make the acquisition of knowledge a real sin.” (Thomas Paine,  Of The Religion of Deism Compared With the Christian Religion)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN:

“The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma. (Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President).

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” (Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President)

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By stephanie, February 26, 2007 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
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hello Jean, battlecry is a website where christian people help each other and help each other understand Gods word. we pray for each other and we help people who need it. we praise God together and we are not violent and we are not some kind or terriost.

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By roxy hart, February 25, 2007 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
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Amos,
Yes, I’m here. But I’m a bit put out with you. I do wish you would not involve me in your debates, especially with the likes of that “Logician.” If he’s happy with his misguided view of reality, and it keeps him out of my hair, then I’m happy for him. It’s only our of friendship that impels me to respond to your request that I provide proof of God’s existence.

First off, I can’t provide apodictic proof of anything, even that I exist or that the cosmos exists. But perhaps that is not what “Logician” means or requires. His posts suggest that he accepts a common sense notion of reality. If so, then I think I can proceed with my argument. What, I would ask, is more in agreement with common sense than that the cosmos was designed and has a designer?  While some would argue that the cosmos just sprung into being sans cause, common sense tells us it had to have a cause. To imagine that some sort of “quantum fluctuation” was responsible for this grand universe we find ourselves in seems to me much more far-fetched than just believing that there is a God and he created it.  Until the middle of the last century, it was respectable to believe that the universe has existed eternally. But today the evidence is heavily in favor of a moment of creation some 15 billion years ago. Score one for God.

In the interest of brevity, I will limit myself to just one more line of argument. Again, I appeal openly to common sense as an arbiter of truth. Today, we know that the universe appears to be exquisitely fine tuned for support of life, beyond any precision known to or achievable by man. If the number of electrons were not equal to the number of neutrons in the universe to an accuracy of one part in 10 to the thirty-seventh power, you and I wouldn’t be here to consider the question of God’s existence. If the expansion rate of the universe were different by one part in 10 to the fifty-fifth power, we wouldn’t be here to know it. If the ratio of the electromagnetic force relative to gravity were different by one part in 10 to the fortieth power, this planet wouldn’t exist, nor would our friend, “the Logician.” I could go on, but you get the point. Some would say that we are here by chance. The famous astronomer Fred Hoyle had this to say:

“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion beyond question.” [Engineering and Science, Nov, 1981]

Score two for God. It’s just common sense, eh, Logician? BTW, what is your common sense answer to why we are here?

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By Roxy Hart, February 25, 2007 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment
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Zena,
So the Radical Republican Right supports slavery, does it? What is your proof text for that charge?

I’m afraid, dear, that the passage from John that you cited is not an example of stoning. On the contrary, it is a lesson in forgiveness. The passage clearly states that the intent of the Pharisees was to trap Jesus, not to stone the woman. In fact, the Pharisees slunk away without casting a single stone.  Get out your concordance and try again Zena. But next time, read a bit more carefully.

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By Zena, February 25, 2007 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you Roxy, you have shown a clear example of how the Radical Republican Right is using and manipulating scriptures to support Slavery, lying, cheating, and stealing. Like Satan, they put a ‘little’ truth and surround it with lies. Plainly this is the same old tired rehtoric they used back before the civil war to justify slavery.  Because actually there was a stoning illustrated in the New Testament which gave an example of how Jesus dealt with it. This is where it can be found:
John 7:53—8:11
[[And each one departed to his own house. 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 8:2 Early in the morning he came to the temple courts again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach 3 them. 8:3 The experts in the law 4 and the Pharisees 5 brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them 8:4 and said to Jesus, 6 “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 8:5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death 7 such women. 8 What then do you say?” 8:6 (Now they were asking this in an attempt to trap him, so that they could bring charges against 9 him.) 10 Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger. 11 8:7 When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight 12 and replied, 13 “Whoever among you is guiltless 14 may be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8:8 Then 15 he bent over again and wrote on the ground.8:9 Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, 16 until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 8:10 Jesus stood up straight 17 and said to her, “Woman, 18 where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 8:11 She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”]] 19 <<<<<
So yes, an Zionest might advocate such an obscenity, but a Real Christian never would. This article is either propaganda, or they simply are ignorant of the truth and speak of things they know not. I think we all know which it is.

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By Jeanne, February 25, 2007 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
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This same group is behind the things I see in the US that break my heart. For instance, the corporate prisons that house whole families of illegal immigrants. (BTW when a prison or detention center is a profit based entity you know the prisoners are not going to get their needs met and the population is going to have to be substancial to keep the profits coming)
And my tax money going to all these religious organizations while my roads and schools are deteriorating? Oh my God. What have we come to?

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By Jean, February 25, 2007 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
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TAO Walker,

thoughtful post, thanks. 

“To suggest someone could “slander” a sort of generic title is akin to believing it’s possible to wage WAR on drugs….or terror….or disease….or teenage pregnancy.”

Indeed.


“You are all ruled by fear.  You all try to rule your own little worlds by fear.  It’s a dead end, brothers and sisters….one you’ll be reaching much sooner than later if you can’t overcome fear’s hold upon your own little selves.”

Amen.  How not to fear, though?  I think this is my primary struggle in life.

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By Jean, February 25, 2007 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
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Velma,

“Perhaps I missed something.”

Um, yeah.

Can I help you find it?  Should we start looking at the last six or so years, maybe? 

If you weren’t so scary, Velma, the funniest line in this thread is “BTW:  Jesus isn’t dead.”  Such a casual side note. Is this said in stage whisper?

Reminds of this huge billboard we have here in the bible belt.  A bloodied-up Jesus, to whom we’re supposed to attribute the accompanying line:  “I’ll be back.”

Dude, you go fishin’ *again*?  Nobody’s minding the shop and that screwy Velma been bustin’ in here, talkin ‘bout rounding up the queers in SF!

Looking to brush up on your own religious education, Velma?  Look up the Egyptian son-a-god Horus.  Reminds me of someone . . .

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By Jean, February 25, 2007 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
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“This is so crazy. i love God. he saved me and now you say that because i use battlecry.”

Wow.  “battlecry” ?  do I even want to know what that is?  or how one “uses” it?

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

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By Skruff, February 25, 2007 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
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No one, even interested bystanders, emerges from a mudfight with a clean suit.

I’m getting almost nothing from this “dialogue”

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By Christopher Robin, February 25, 2007 at 7:07 am Link to this comment
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Encyclopedia Britannica Film from 1946

“Despotism”

YouTube 9:56 min.  Link

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By hume, February 24, 2007 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment
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Logician,
I’ve had my sport with you, and you’ve grown ever more tedious. I’ll give you one last chance: Prove to me that you exist; then I’ll prove that God exists. But if you just want to slink away and lick your wounds, I’ll understand.

My dear friend and colleague Amos Hart may have more patience with dullards than do I. Perhaps we can coax him to dive into the mud with you. But I must warn you that he is a man with a killer extinct, the sort that Socrates would approve of. He’ll not be gentle or kind as was I.

On second thought, Roxy might be a better match for you. She’s a rope-a-dope practictioner, more in keeping with your float-like-a rock style of footwork. Let’s ask her.

Roxy, dear, are you there?

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By Roxy Hart, February 24, 2007 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment
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Dead Religion:
Your post is as vapid as it is puerile, as banal as it is uninformed, as pathetic as it is paranoid. In fact, it is clearly you who haven’t the foggiest notion what you are talking about. What does science tell us about who wrote and translated the Bible? What does history tell us about censorship and redaction of the Bible by the Catholic church? You are obviously in way over your head, potty mouth. Time to put up or shut up.

On to your next topic, stoning of “ex-wives and Mistresses.” A Biblical scholar such as yourself should have no trouble finding an actual example of such a punishment. Tell me, where do you find one actually recorded in the Bible? In any case, you are oblivious to the fact that theology, like science, is a work in progress. (Natural) theology is an attempt by mankind to understand God, his laws, and his ways. What the ancient Hebrews may have believed or practiced is not normative in the 21st century. What they may have done several thousand years ago no more discredits Christianity today than does the practice of slavery discredit the current American republic. To the credit of both, they have arrived at what we view as a higher ethical consensus. I cite William Wilburforce and Martin King as Christian leaders instrumental in bringing about a new (higher) consciousness with respect to the rights of all human beings.

Lastly, your “therfore” is a non sequitur. You have cited no credible evidence to support your ludicrous “conclusions.” “They want to hate and control everyone and destroy the world,” you say. It would be convenient for you if that were true. Actually, the world is a bit more complicated. You have to work at finding the “real” enemy. To paraphrase Pogo, “You Have met the enemy and it is you.”

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By Zena, February 24, 2007 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
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Dear, TAO Walker , that’s big talk coming from one of the tribes that have ‘paid’ off representatives to endorse your gambling games which most Christians recognize as a ‘sin’. Could that be the source of your angst? Besides which, there is only One GOD. If you were truly spiritual you would acknowldege that as most of your brothers and sisters have. Just being an ‘Indian’ doesn’t preclude you from worshipping Satan either. Why don’t you read the bible before you talk about someone you know nothing about, in this case, Jesus. As for Mother Theresa, I don’t consider her a Saint because she supported the very conditions that made her work useful: OVERPOPULATION.

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By Logician, February 24, 2007 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
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Re#55064 by hume:

You’re right, hume, I am mistaken.  You’re not a Christian apologist, you’re either a political speech writer or a Fox ‘news’ fabricator.  Only in those writings have I encountered such slippery side-stepping from answering questions.  I will never get a straight answer from you, no matter what the question, no matter how many times it’s asked; just like Tony Snow, GWB, Pat Roberston, or the like. 

I humbly bow to your awesome obfuscatory abilities. While we both knew you could not prove your case, you most adeptly spun off into other directions, from irrelevancies to sad little insults in a vainglorious attempt to evade the obvious: Christianity is a sham and a shame upon the human race. 

The issue here is that Tammy and Tommy Trailertrash are being marshalled together to help bring fascism to this country in the name of Christianity.  They are being led by opportunists who spin their tales even better than you from a book of plagiarized lies.  This book’s illegitimacy for any use other than tinder must be trumpeted throughout the world. 

One way of doing that has been performed here:  you were given the chance to prove the foundation for this book of lies and you deftly slid out from under that challenge with the aplomb of the best carpetbaggers.  The original premise stands as it has since the human race was first subjected to this filth: there is no proof for ANY biblical claim of ‘God.’  It is time the human race marched forth from the dark stupidity of superstition and into the light of reason.

Obfuscate, hume, spin, insult, and evade to your heart’s content.  I queried you; you failed.  I’ll not ask again.

So, in the manner of a far more entertaining wordsmith than yourself; Jean Shepherd, I take my leave of you with his signature signoff:

“Excelsior, you fathead!”

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By hume, February 23, 2007 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
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Logician,
I’m not interested in your “sources.” I simply intended to show you up for the fraud that you are. Mission accomplished.

Your shopping list is wrong on all accounts. I made none of the claims that you attribute to me. Check my posts and prove me wrong. I am concerned with refuting silly arguments, such as yours, not proving the case for God, Christianity, or what have you. With regard to “sincerity” and “humility,” my meaning was that you will not understand, not that you cannot. No invidious comparison was intended, but wear the shoe if it fits.

Re my moniker, I’m surprised you consider Hume a real thinker. Far as I know he was never a “stone cold killer” of the sort that you admire. While you ridicule the notion of the “brain in the vat”, it was Hume who showed that we cannot prove the existence of the external world.  Karl Popper considered Hume’s idealism to be a strict refutation of the sort of commonsense realism that you prefer. By the way, your own moniker, “Logician,” has a delicious irony about it. Reminds me of the satirical representation of Rodin’s “Le Penseur”, a chimpanzee in sober meditation on a human skull.

Re your rant on science and reason, see most any respectable history of science. You may be surprised to learn that science flourished in the West in the context of Judeao-Christian beliefs and values. The view that nature is governed by law and knowable is an essential element of science. Isaac Newton, a “thinking Christian,” exemplifies this faith:
“Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.” [Tiner, J.H. (1975). Isaac Newton: Inventor, Scientist and Teacher]

Finally, re your contention that “thinking Christian” is an oxymoron: I call Isaac Newton as a witness against you and rest my case. He is regarded by many as the greatest thinker in the history of science. You, by contrast, are a fool and an ignoramus. Get a good shrink and work on your personal problems.

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By Jane White, February 23, 2007 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
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It has long been my opinion that when one makes a comment, then is slandered by a personal attack (if I were male it would be ‘ad hominem’, but I don’t have time to figure out the feminine for that), then the slanderer has truly nothing of substance to say. 

Further, when the attack comes, I know I have really hit a nerve.  As a Christian I know Jesus isn’t dead, but His earthly teaching days are over—thus His teachings can be twisted to suit the current needs of the twister. 

And, who says the present Administration wasn’t in on 9/11 in an effort to emulate the Reichstag
event?  With habeus corpus and posse comitatus emasculated, any new event could easily trigger the suspension of the Constitution and imposition of martial law.

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By tom cady, February 23, 2007 at 1:44 am Link to this comment
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it looked so easy
our heritage beckoned
the nation was, after all, christian

and so they began their crusade
marching toward theocracy

and as they plodded
the children wailed
are we there yet?

and god whispered
you’re going the wrong way

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By velma Kelly, February 22, 2007 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
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Zena,
The Republican Party wasn’t founded until 1854, so it’s hardly “been greedy and murderous from the beginning of America.” The beginning was 1789, if you remember your history. I would appreciate it if you would restrict your own slander to the appropriate villians.

To say that a given group is not “Christian” requires, I’m afraid, more evidence than you have at your disposal. Certainly Hedges was of no help in defining who the “they” are that he opposes. If he means Falwell, James Kennedy, and James Dobson, they are certainly Christians, i.e., they believe in the essential doctrines of Christianity. If you want to call them Dominionists, they are still Christians. The Puritans were Christians, although their view of religious freedom was that those who didn’t agree with them could hit the road. No doubt Robert E. Lee was a Christian, although he was a slave holder. I believe society’s view of morality evolves over time in the sense that we get progessively closer to the meaning of truth in the ethical realm, as we do in the scientific realm. Christians, like all social groups, include saints and sinners, and we cater to the latter.

I agree there will be no religious war, because the American people, on the whole, won’t join Hedges in his misguided attack against freedom of speech. If we were able to overcome our differences in 1789 and we survived the Civil War, the bogey men under Hedges bed pose no serious threat to the republic. That lies elsewhere. But that’s another story.

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By TAO Walker, February 22, 2007 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
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Zena (#54869) isn’t all that well-informed about her “savior’s name,” either.  “The Christ” is an honorific, not really a name at all.  We’re told it was appended to the name of Yeshua ben Yusef by his followers, who considered him “the annointed one” several times referred-to in the Hebrew’s story about their ups-and-downs with Abraham’s household god….named Yaweh, who forbade them to “have any other gods before” himself.  Sensible people have always seen plenty of room in this record to wonder about the exact nature and purposes of these “gods,” including the self-proclaimed “almighty” one.

Zena may have nailed the real identity of the people in-question in this article, but she’d best recognize they are billing themselves as THE christians these days, and that they probably haven’t much use for “real” ones like herself.  So maybe she should lay-off those who are only employing the public domain labels, in their discussions and characterizations here.  To suggest someone could “slander” a sort of generic title is akin to believing it’s possible to wage WAR on drugs….or terror….or disease….or teenage pregnancy.  It’s pretty crazy, if you ask this ol’ Hoss.

“Jesus the Christ” is said to’ve commanded those who would follow him to give-away all their wordly goods to the poor, and devote their lives to selflessly ministering to the afflicted.  There are no doubt some who are doing that today without even claiming to be “christians.”  Meantime there are multitudes making that claim who don’t come anywhere near the minimal standards laid down for its justification.

Where Zena is in that set, this Indian wouldn’t presume to say.  Her hurt feelings, on behalf of an entity supposedly divine and all-powerful, do seem to suggest she is not just now following closely in the footsteps of…...oh, Mother Theresa, say.  But then, who is?

Let’s face it, it’s a whole lot easier to have beliefs than it is to live them….except maybe for those who believe in money and power…..oh, and for us natural people who Be-Live in Music, the great Song and Dance of Life Herownself.  All this noise about labels and abstractions may be exactly what Will Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote about “....sound and fury, signifying nothing.

You civilized people, of whatever psycho/sexual/politico/religio/economic persuasion, have a lot more serious threats to your very existence than any posed by those among your fella and gal captives who “think” differently on any of those make-believe scores.  You are all ruled by fear.  You all try to rule your own little worlds by fear.  It’s a dead end, brothers and sisters….one you’ll be reaching much sooner than later if you can’t overcome fear’s hold upon your own little selves.

HokaHey!

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By STEPHANIE, February 22, 2007 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
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This is so crazy. i love God. he saved me and now you say that because i use battlecry and worship God and help the teens that suffer rape and family problems, that i am going to start some kind of war? this does not make any sense and i am praying for all of you who dont believe. p.s. God loves us all.

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By Zena, February 22, 2007 at 11:11 am Link to this comment
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Guys, I’m getting real tired of you slandering my savior’s name by calling this group “Christian”. They aren’t anymore chrisian than a Zionist or a Muslim. Real Christians don’t act like this, and if you’d refresh ur history you will find this group is none other than the Radical Republican Right, who has been greedy and murderous from the beginning of America. Stop trying to incite a religious war, it ain’t gonna work. The people have finally awoken and they don’t appreciate propaganda anymore. Certainly I can understand if this was an honest mistake….if you’ve never read the bible, you could have no basis to discern the differences between a Christian and a Pharisee. Have a great day. Zena

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By Dead Religion, February 22, 2007 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
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Always remember that Xians who ‘quote’ some dude they call Jesus do not know what the fuck they are talking about.  The Bible—science and history tell us—was in fact written by hundreds of loony desert dwellers over hundreds of years, then badly translated, censored and rewritten by the catholic church over hundreds of more years.  But its all true, every word!  Ask Haggard!

So, Xian’s, go and do exactly what it says then! ‘By their actions ye shall judge them,’ so until we see every republican presidential candidate stone to death their ex-wives and mistresses live on TV, like it says in their bible, you shouldn’t believe a word they say.  Isn’t that written?  Along with a million other stupid things, that no one with any intelligence would believe. 

Christians are therefore insane, along with their phony-hateful father god in the sky.  They want to hate and control everyone and destroy the world.  They have nearly succeeded, by making everyone take seriously some patch of sand in the middle east populated with others who are brainwashed into crap like Islam and Judaism as well as X-sanity.

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By Michael Monasky, February 22, 2007 at 1:38 am Link to this comment
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I heard Chris Hedges on the Dennis Prager show today, Wednesday, February 21, 2007.  Prager told Hedges “I’m not interested in ideology—you are.”  And Prager also said, in his final word after Hedges left the broadcast, “It’s wrong [for Hedges] to lump Americans of strong Christian faith with those who behead those who disagree with their religion”. 

This comes from a Prager who said, in 2004, he believes and sees Americanism as 1) Judeo-Christianity over all other religions; 2) Liberty over Equality;  and 3) Capitalism over Socialism.

Now who’s the ideologue?

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By Logician, February 21, 2007 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment
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Re#54074 by hume

After having given you a list of the originals with their sources and their comparisons in the OT and NT in a quick and easy format without wasting blog space, I rest my case.  However, hume, YOU claim:

1. There is a being, and this being exist outside all laws of time and space.

2. This being, furthermore, has performed deeds that again, transcend all laws of time, space, science, physics, what have you.

3. Incredibly, you have a personal relationship with this very being.

4. I can’t understand this because I’m not as “sincere” or “humble” as you. 

Number 4 is a lovely, failsafe claim. I’ve heard it from every spoon bender the Amazing Randi ever spanked.  It is the claim of every shaman, mystic,  and charlatan who ever fleeced a flock. So of course you have no interest in proving god to me.  How much easier it is appear more ‘humble,’ ‘sincere,’ and ‘spiritual’
than the poor, misguided realists. 

Here’s a shocker for you, hume (cute, taking the non de plume of a real thinker): Extraordinary claims take extraordinary proof. So far, Reality: 100%  hume: big, fat zero.  Game over, to resort to your folksy metaphor.

If you feel I am patronizing you, I am.  I am tired of the ignorant rantings of fairy tale believers getting any respect whatsoever. You reap the benefits of science and reason then proclaim yourself ‘above’ it and cite nothing but a book of plagiarized fairy tales.  You all then claim the god-given right to rule others and if not rule, then torture and kill them.

And for the last and final time, “thinking Christians” is an insulting oxymoron.  Insulting to those who think and to those who are Christians.  If you think, you cannot possibly believe in fairy tales, new or plagiarized, and if you’re a Christian, thinking will only get you in trouble.

So, hume, where is your extraordinary proof that you have a personal relationship with a being that exists outside the laws of time and space?

Where is your proof, hume?

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By velma kelly, February 21, 2007 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
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Jane White,
A politician you may be, but a historian you are not. The only thing comparable to the Reichstag fire of 1933 is 9/11, and I think we know who is responsible for that. If memory serves, a centralized totalitarian state was established in Germany in the early ‘30’s, making Germany a single-party state. Perhaps I missed something, but I think we still have a republican form of government with two very lively major political parties and several smaller ones.

There is nothing new about the debate between the secular and religious factions in this country. See “American Gospel” by Jon Meacham, managing Editor of “Newsweek,” for a fair and balanced account of our struggle since the 17th century to define the proper bounds of church and state. Our early history was not always peaceful or civil. To imagine that the sky is falling today ignores the lesson of history that this too shall pass. We survived the Civil War, despite the passions and violence of that conflict. I feel quite certain we shall survive whatever “fascist” bogeymen you may see under your bed. At least, I have heard no calls for secession, although I think I would not protest if San Franciscans decided to move to another planet.

BTW: Jesus isn’t dead. Time to get your catechism updated, Jane.

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By Skruff, February 21, 2007 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #54729 by amos_hart on 2/21 at 12:45 pm says:

SKRUFF,
“Hummm and xtians evangicals show proof of what?”, you asked.

I think it’s more accurate to speak of “evidence,” rather than proof.

“Proof requires verifiable facts, and the burden is on you. Your diatribes have a dull sameness to them. They are unfailingly vicious and lacking in proof”

YOU used the word “proof”, not once, but twice are you now changing your argument to “evidence?”

You are correct is that there is “evidence” of a creator. However, since even the bible states; “In the begining there was the void” I guess there is no remaining proof or evidence that who-so-ever claims to be the “creator” didn’t just walk along and “find” this mess….already created.

All kidding aside;

Humans are a frail bunch, without much in the way of belief outside their own senses.

What about this?  Suppose in some rhelms there is no begining nor end.

We base the “line-theory” on what we (in our short 77 years) see touch, hear, smell and feel..  maybe the universe is a endless entity without begining or end… There is some “evidence” for that theory also.

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By Jane White, February 21, 2007 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
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Far from being a Christian hater, I practice my Christian faith through the Roman Catholic religion.  I also am a 77 year old woman, and retired from elected office, so am not exactly an innocent.  I was upset after reading “American Fascists:, etc.” by Chris Hedges.  Not because I disagreed with him, but because I had come to the same conclusions and thought I was just a conspiracy theory nut case.  Instead, the book confirmed that what I was observing as being very close to what had happened in Germany in the 1930’s was happening here. The major difference being that Hitler has been traded for Jesus.  Hitler became sick and died—Jesus has already died, so He can be twisted to meet any contingency.

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By amos_hart, February 21, 2007 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SKRUFF,
“Hummm and xtians evangicals show proof of what?”, you asked.

I think it’s more accurate to speak of “evidence,” rather than proof. There is evidence for the Creator, for example. Even Anthony Flew, the famous philosopher and ex-atheist, finds the anthropic principle, the big bang, and intelligent design compelling reasons for supposing the existence of God. There is also evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of course, it is found in the New Testament. According to that record, he was seen by hundreds of people after he arose from the dead. There is no more reason to assume the New Testament is unreliable than there is to assume any other ancient book is unreliable. In fact, the bibliographic evidence for the New Testament is far superior to that for any other comparable document. See F.F. Bruce’s “Are the New Testament Document’s Reliable?”. There is no absolute proof of anything, just evidence that supports belief.

As is his custom, Lefty cites no evidence, let alone any proof, of his assertions that Christianity is blah, blah, blah. I am happy to put the claims of Christianity up against Lefty’s arguments any time. The truth will out.

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By Skruff, February 21, 2007 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
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Comment #54580 by amos_hart on 2/20 at 5:50 pm

“Lefty,
You are, in fact, a Christian hater….  Proof requires verifiable facts.”

Hummm and xtians evangicals show proof of what?

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By amos_hart, February 20, 2007 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment
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Lefty,
You are, in fact, a Christian hater. I have seen enough of your vitriol to know that beyond any doubt. If you were not, I would expect to see you attack Islam, Bahai, Hare Krishna, etc. Or are the recent depradations committed in the name of Islam insufficiently atrocious to merit your condemnation?

Your rant about superstition and tribalism is very tiresome. The fact that you assert that Christianity is a manifestation of both is no better than an assertion that the earth is square. Proof requires verifiable facts, and the burden is on you. Your diatribes have a dull sameness to them. They are unfailingly vicious and lacking in proof. Get some new talking points or find a new venue for your tripe. I won’t waste any more time on you.

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By Nab, February 20, 2007 at 12:52 am Link to this comment
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You are perfectly rite. ITS SORT OF RADICAL, FUNDAMENTALIST AND EXTREMIST CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT. I have been thinking this all the time as well. Its the media that plays the most important & dirty role in legalizing the war.


We help Israelis. We give them 2Billion$ pa, we gave them NUCLEAR BOMBS, missiles and Fighter Jets and Bombers. What have we given to Palestine? Israel was in fact a creation of Mr. Churchill, so its not even legal in that sense.


Israel bombed entire Lebanon(Where there are a huge no. of christians as well) to puff of dust and smoke,
Now we have bombed Iraq and Afghanistan, and now we are saying thats its the Shiites and Sunnis who are the problem(Huh).
So what should we expect now? Do we not expect them to fight back!!! They will fight us bcuz we are the oppressors and we have done wrong, not them.

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By Lefty, February 19, 2007 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #54043 by TAO Walker on 2/16 at 3:29 pm

” . . . It is understood among us Indians that the same thing applies to all you Americans today who still “have no ears.” Maybe you’re wondering right about now, since you belong to us, what your free wild natural brothers and sisters are going to do with you all.  We have a saying, “The way to know is to go and see.”

HokaHey!”

Hahahahahahaha!!!  I can only hope to live long enough to see that! (Grin!). If there really is a God, then it is a forgone conclusion.  Hahahahahaha!!!

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By Lefty, February 19, 2007 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #52365 by Amos_hart on 2/07 at 7:00 pm

“Question for religion haters:

Just who was it that was responsible for the horrendous atrocities described by Solzhenitsyn in the “Gulag Archipelago” and why did they happen? The Soviet system was atheistic to the core. What then accounts for the hideous evil done in it’s name? (Don’t give me Marxist crap unless you’ve read the book.) Could it be that there just may be a flaw in human character, as documented in Judaeo-Christian scripture? Could it be that what the “Christian right wing” and the Soviets of yesterday have in common is a fallen nature? I suggest we all have a capacity for evil, which crops up in all human institutions. Blaming the Christian right for the evils of society is simply paranoia. If you want to know who the problem is, just look in the mirror.”
——————————————————————-
Amos,

First, your premise is false. We are not religion haters, we are “Christianity rejecters.” Christianity is a disease, a mental disorder, a cancer on humanity.  If anyone ever believed in the existence of a false God, it was Christians.

Second, of course there are a flaws in human character - and Christianity is a manifestation of those flaws.  One is called superstition, which arises out of man’s fear of the unknown, fear of death and instinctive need for order and understanding of the universe around him.  Christianity is the most virulent, malignant form of superstition ever to afflict mankind.  Another flaw that gives rise to the disease of Christianity, would be tribalism - the primitive, vestigial, genetic survival instinct, now obsolete among modern, evolved humans.

I think it can be reasonable concluded that the existence of Christianity is founded upon two innate human flaws: superstition and tribalism.

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By Comrade Napoleon, February 19, 2007 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment
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Logician:
Here’s a quote from one of these “hideous hypocrites” that you find to be a dire threat to your liberties and the republic:

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the province of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” - George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation of Oct. 3, 1789.

Certainly, if ever there was scroundel, it was he. Next to him, Robert Kennedy, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell look…well, almost like Episcopalians. Wait, wasn’t George an Episcopalian himself? Truly a radical lot, I’m sure. Yes, let’s do whatever we can to shut that bunch of louts up. Clearly, this God talk smacks of repression, not to mention contamination of our vital fluids. I propose that you be annointed Commissar for Religious Cleansing. If you have any doubt how to proceed, consult the “Gulag Archipelago” and Orwell’s “1984.” There you will learn to deal forthrightly with religious fools of any persuasion.

BTW: I have heard rumors about Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and John Adams. They are purported to have made statements sympathetic to the notions of “Providence,” the “Almighty,” the “Supreme Being,” and such like. While they may try to claim “Deism,” as a defense, they are clearly fellow travelers with the theists and must be dealt with in like manner with the Jews and Christians.

Long Live Animal Farm.

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By hume, February 16, 2007 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
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Logician (sophist)
You didn’t hit it out of the park. You struck out for the third time.  I don’t need to “poison the well.” You do a very creditable job of poisoning yourself. You claimed you read original language sources that proved Hebrew/Christian traditions were plagiarized. Now you cop out by citing a recent book in English and by assuming your ridiculous, patronizing attitude, the last refuge of the truly inferior mind. You didn’t read anything in any original languages. You are a fake and a no-nothing. Put up or shut up.

I have no interest in proving God to you. “Why waste my time when you should have the inititive yourself?” Finding God requires sincerity and humility, neither of which you show any evidence of possessing. So much the worse for you.

You’re just a “big dog” wannabe, little shitzu, but your efforts at debate do have a decided big doggy smell to them. So keep at it, sweet pee. In time, even you may grow up to be a real pit bull. All you need is the pit to go with your bull.

Sincerely,
Hume

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By TAO Walker, February 16, 2007 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment
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Blade (#53708) must be referring to the celluloid tribe of Hollywooden Indians, nearly all of whom hailed from Italy and Eastern Europe, except for John Saxon and Jeff Chandler.  Debra Paget and Natalie Wood were probably exceptions to the well-known code of the Western, too.

No one among us actual Turtle Island natives ever behaved as Blade describes.  We were certainly hard-pressed by the hordes of domesticated people turned loose to rape, pillage, murder, and forcibly occupy Indian country, but never were reduced to the desperate reliance on make-believe and soporifics so rampant among those self-same invaders to this very day.

Now these allamerican chicken-hawks have come homeland to roost….with a vengeance.  Unable to find any of us surviving primitive savages, they’ve turned their greedy eyes on the sons and daughters of “the pioneers” who did all their dirty-work for them, and so are now just ripe for the shucking and plucking themselves. 

Our ancestors did try to tell yours that what goes around on Turtle Island really does come around, but they were too busy building the walls and fences of their “civilization” to pay any attention to free wild human beings who terrified them anyway….just by existing.  So here we are today. The americanpeople are thoroughly cowed and corralled by their own beliefs and institutions.  Their misadventures abroad turn increasingly sour and futile.  There is no business here anymore BUT show-business. Their home-grown predator classes are running the show to suit themselves, and to hell with the hindmost.

“Lo, how the mighty have fallen,” someone wrote somewhere sometime.  “Ain’t it the truth!?” quoth that over-the-rainbow moth-eaten “lion.”  And to think the Paiute prophet Wowoka saw it all coming nearly a century and a half ago.  The Hopis pre-recorded the whole sad sordid tale on a rock long before that even.  In his vision just before the Custer fight, Tatanka Yotanka (Sitting Bull) heard the voice of the Great Spirit saying, “Because these wasichus have no ears, I am giving them to you.”  In that vision he saw soldiers falling upside-down into the big camp there on the Greasy Grass River.

It is understood among us Indians that the same thing applies to all you Americans today who still “have no ears.”  Maybe you’re wondering right about now, since you belong to us, what your free wild natural brothers and sisters are going to do with you all.  We have a saying, “The way to know is to go and see.” 

HokaHey!

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By amos_hart, February 16, 2007 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ga,
Re your comment about having it both ways:  I will try again. You asserted that earlier practices, sanctioned by Christians at that time, are now widely accepted as immoral, or what have you. I argued that people of today are not to be held responsible for sins of the past, e.g., I’m not responsible for what my slave-holding ancestors may have done. I also acknowledged that what Christians may have held to be moral or immoral in the past may be viewed differently today. I’m not making a case for unchanging values. In fact, I said that both theology and science are a search for truth. Now, as for the last 50 years, it isn’t clear to me (and many others) that the changes we have seen in morals and values are based on valid science or theology. Perhaps, the next 50 years will prove me wrong. In any case, I’m not trying to “have it both ways.” Things change, but let’s be sure they change for the right reasons.

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