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Posted on Nov 7, 2007
Cadet Chapel
usafa.af.mil

The famous Air Force Academy cadet chapel, once a place of nondenominational worship and reflection, seems to have become a focal point of evangelical indoctrination and conversion.

By David Antoon

“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  ...”
    —Oath of Office

“Our mission is to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.”
    —Air Force Academy mission statement

“We will not lie, steal, or cheat. ...”
    —Air Force Academy honor code

“Military professionals must remember that religious choice is a matter of individual conscience. Professionals, and especially commanders, must not take it upon themselves to change or coercively influence the religious views of subordinates.”
    —Religious Toleration (Air Force Code of Ethics, 1997)


Forty-two years ago, at the age of 18, I took the oath of office on my first day as an Air Force Academy cadet.  The mission of the academy was not only to train future leaders for the Air Force but for America as well, because, in the end, most academy graduates do not serve full military careers.  The honor code became an integral part of everyday life.  These are the values that I, and most graduates of the 1960s and early ‘70s, took with us from our four years at the academy.

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I, as did many graduates, underwent pilot training followed by tours of duty in Vietnam. Like military men and women of today, we did our best to become technically competent and professional leaders.  Never, during my four years at the academy and subsequent pilot and combat training, was the word warrior used; nor, whether as a cadet or officer, did I ever encounter “Christian supremacist” rhetoric.

In April of 2004, my son, after receiving a coveted appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, asked me to accompany him to the orientation for new appointees.  This 24-hour visceral event changed my life forever, and crushed my son’s lifelong dream of following in my footsteps.

The orientation began with a one-hour “warrior” rant to appointees and parents by the commandant of cadets, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida.  The fact that the word warrior had replaced leadership was a signal of what was to follow.  I later learned that cadets, to determine when a new record was established, had created a game in which warrior was counted in each speech Weida gave.

My son and I then made our way to the modernist aluminum chapel, where I expected to hear a welcome from one or two Air Force chaplains offering counsel, support and an open-door policy for any spiritual or pastoral needs of these future cadets.  In 1966, the academy had six gray-haired chaplains: three mainline Protestants, two priests and one rabbi.  Any cadet, regardless of religious affiliation, was welcome to see any one of these chaplains, who were reminiscent of Father Francis Mulcahy of “MASH” fame. 

Instead, my son’s orientation became an opportunity for the academy to aggressively proselytize this next crop of cadets.  Maj. Warren Watties led a group of 10 young, exclusively evangelical chaplains who stood shoulder to shoulder.  He proudly stated that half of the cadets attended Bible studies on Monday nights in the dormitories and he hoped to increase this number from those in his audience who were about to join their ranks.  This “invitation” was followed with hallelujahs and amens by the evangelical clergy.  I later learned from Air Force Academy chaplain MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran who was forced to observe from the choir loft, that no priest, rabbi or mainline Protestant had been permitted to participate. 

I no longer recognize the Air Force Academy as the institution I attended almost four decades earlier.  At that point, I had no idea how invasive this extreme evangelical “cancer” had become throughout the entire military, that what I had witnessed was far from an isolated case of a few religious zealots.

In order to better understand this shift to a religious ideology at this once secular institution, I called the Academy Association of Graduates (AOG).  Its response:  “We don’t get involved in policy.”  What I didn’t know was that the AOG, like the academy, had affiliations with James Dobson’s and Ted Haggard’s powerful mega-churches.  When Dobson’s Focus on the Family “campus” was completed, the academy skydiving team, with great ceremony, delivered the “keys from heaven” to Dobson.  During some alumni reunions, the AOG arranged bus tours of Focus on the Family facilities in nearby Colorado Springs, Colo.  I also learned that the same Monday night Bible studies discussed at orientation were taught by bused-in members of these evangelical mega-churches and that some spouses of senior academy staff members were employed by these same religious institutions.  It seemed that my beloved United States Air Force Academy had morphed into the Rocky Mountain Bible College.

The academy chaplain staff had grown 300 percent while the cadet population had decreased by 25 percent:  from six mainline chaplains to 18 chaplains, the additional 12 all evangelical.  The academy even gained 25 reserve chaplains, also nonexistent in earlier times, for a total of 43 chaplains for about 4,000 cadets, or one chaplain for every 100 cadets.


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By Dan Williams, December 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We will not lie, steal, or cheat. ...”
  —Air Force Academy honor code

The code actually is:

“We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.”

Other great military colleges are similar:

“A Cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” — Virginia Military Institute

“A cadet will not lie, cheat and steal and not tolerate those who do.” — United States Military Academy

Now, what is your code of honor?

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By Jeremiad, February 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

On 6 February, Gen Dana Born, a self proclaimed born again evangelical and signatory of the now infamous Academy Newspaper Ads proclaiming Jesus as the only true answer (contact one of us!!) hosted three “faux” terrorists whose purpose was proselytize—which they did! 
http://www.gazette.com/articles/islam_32850___article.html/terrorism_academy.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/us/07muslim.html

Gen Regni and Gen Born were warned in advance that other universities had refused to allow these evangelical “faux” terrorists on their campus, and yet the Academy allowed this event to again soil the reputation of the Academy.

Additionally, the Naval Academy Superintendent, a 3 star admiral, was overruled by his evangelical chaplains when he ordered them not to dip the American Flag before the altar during services.  This practice continues… and the admirals response.. he has conceded defeat to the evangelical powers and refuses to attend services. 

In other words, the evangelical chaplains at the Naval Academy have overruled the commander!!!!

The “cancer” continues to metastisize.

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By J, January 21, 2008 at 1:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(This is a personal commentary only, not an Air Force Academy, Air Force, or DoD stance.)

As a current USAFA cadet, I have not seen many of the outrages Mr. Antoon writes about…well maybe the overuse of the word “warrior,” but that hardly smacks of religious intolerance. 

Religions (and by that, I mean a multitude of them)are not pushed upon cadets.  I have, however, seen the academy staff correct themselves and apologize for using semi-religious phrases like “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” 

The chaplains I have met usually stated what beliefs they held.  They offered to help anyone of any faith, or help cadets find a chaplain of their faith, if we didn’t feel comfortable talking to them.

I can’t speak for the past, but the kind of Academy Mr. Antoon describes is not the academy I am at.

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By Luis Cayetano, November 29, 2007 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“- That is what being a “Christian” is.”

Strange that some of the most devout Christians I know accept evolution with no problem. But please, tell us how these people aren’t “really” Christains (if being a Christian means being utterly gullible and clueless, then I guess they’re not really Christians). A bit of a bigot, aren’t you? What’s that you were saying about me being hateful again?

“Do you base your opinion on any study? Research?”

What do you base your opinion that evolution is a religion on? Any study? Research? Do you know the first thing about evolution (answer: no)? Or do you just mindlessly accept everything your pastor tells you (that would at least be consistent with your mindless acceptance of everything in the Bible, so there’s no shame in admitting it now)? It isn’t for someone like you to talk about “study” and “research”. You detest these things. You are in fact a shameless hypocrite, but because you’re a PIOUS hypocrite, you presume that others are somehow obligated to furnish you with a semblance of respect for being such. Ain’t gonna happen, my deluded, ignorant friend. You’ll need to get used to that from now on; the cozy days where religion was off limits to criticism are long gone, and they’re not coming back (unless the fascists succeed, that is). From now on, you’ll need to provide actual REASONS for your beliefs. Otherwise, expect not to be taken seriously. This advise if far more useful than any your pastor will ever give you, because unlike him, I’m at least trying to wean you off from sucking at the teat of collective mypopia so that you can learn to live in the real world like an adult. But apparently, you prefer to be treated like a child, because your delicate ears can’t handle too much reality. It’s almost amusing how you tie yourself in logical knots everytime you try to defend yourself, because you have NO IDEA how to think independently.

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By Luis Cayetano, November 28, 2007 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rowman says:

“Luis Cayetano:
I see you are full of hate and that blinds your perspective. I hope that whatever you believe in brings you peace and that one day, you can dialog with someone that has differing views.”

Strange, isn’t it, everyone, how Rowman didn’t actually refute any of the arguments I put forward, but simply fell back on accusing me of “hatred”. This appeal to hurt feelings and offence is typical of those whose worldview is built on a house of cards so unstable and flimsy that it is liable to collapse at any moment unless those who oppose it are branded as “God haters” or some other such rubbish, so that the actual arguments on offer don’t have to be looked at and the underlying belief system left unmolested.

Rowman, you wish me “peace” and that I can one day engage in dialog with those of who have different views to my own. To that I say: I wish that you will one day be capable of engaging in reasoned argument, rather than hiding behind a blanket of self-imposed ignorance and then having the nerve to tell other people what’s what. You only make yourself look like a reactionary bore; I hope this will change in the future, and that YOUR hatred - your hatred for rationality - will one day give way to something more life affirming and positive. Until then, you will be looked down upon, and rightfully so. But then, what else did you expect? You inult other people’s intelligence by making yourself out to be better informed than they are, yet what is your source of “knowledge”? An archaic, Bronze Age text written by pre-scientific nomads. And to top it off, you don’t even bother to educate yourself. So who’s really being “hateful”? What “dialog” are you even talking about?

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By bigjimbo, November 18, 2007 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

to rowman,
Did you notice that I wrote “literal inerrant word of god”? I would refer you to one whom I believe is a sincere Christian, Jimmy Carter. He broke with the southern baptist convention because they insisted on a literal interpretation, which he, as a scientist, knew to be rediculous. Evolution is a fact! The earth is over 4 billion years old. The creation of genesis is a fairy tale—this in no way contradicts Christianity. The old testament is in part justification of the jew genocidal massacre of the ameklites—god mad us do it. The old testament god is a cruel genocidal monster—and a homophobe to boot—read it for yourself.

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By bigjimbo, November 18, 2007 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

for clayr,

I thank you for your service. I was commissioned via ROTC before the first USAFA class graduated and am now retired (as you expect). The Air Force provided me with wonderful opportunities for education and personal growth. I am color blind and was not flight qualified, but served as a weather officer. My undergraduate degree was in engineering. My first year in the Air Force was at NYU to become a meteorologist. After 3 years at base weather stations, the USAF sent me to MIT where I received MSs in meteorology and aero-astro. I took aerodynamics from a young pretty TA named Sheila Widnall. She was the Secretary of the Air Force about 10 years ago. Three of my military classmates at MIT walked on the moon during the decade following graduation. I was assigned to Goddard SPFC for two years after I graduated. So you have great opportunities ahead of you. While you are getting a special education at USAFA, remember that you are also leading a cloistered existence. I was once in charge of ROTC at a major university. A USAFA graduate I never met had a significant influence on me and one of my cadets.  His name is James Rice, class of ‘80. He was released from military prison a few years ago. While attending pilot training,he assaulted and injured one of my graduates. He was wearing a ski mask, but a few weeks later, Rice made another attack on a fellow student and was caught in the act of murdering the student. I understand there were assaults committed at USAFA during Rice’s tenure. His was the first class with females. I am surprised that your biology class never mentioned evolution since evolution is the basis of modern biology. My advice is not assume that you are automatically superior for attending an academy. Sadly, the grad of all the academies span the entire spectrum from outstanding to worthless. Good Luck!

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By rowman, November 18, 2007 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

#114248 by bigjimbo
“I believe that one can not be a Christian and believe that the bible is the literal inerrant word of god.”

- That is what being a “Christian” is. Do you base your opinion on any study? Research?

“The old testament advocates slewing those who mix fabrics, eat shellfish, or speak back to thier parents. The old testament describes a psychopathic, genocidal mean-spirited monster.”

Clearly, you have never read it and have no idea what you are talking about. Simply put, your summation is incorrect.

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By Clayr, November 18, 2007 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read this article, and as a current cadet at the AFA, found it very interesting.  It is likely, almost certain, that I’m in the Academy class (or the one right after)that Mr. Antoon would have been in had he chosen to attend here.

(Disclaimer: Please note that my words are my own and do not reflect the views of the Academy, the Air Force, or anybody else.)

I read through most of the comments…for a group of people who don’t attend USAFA you have an awful lot of absolute opinions on it. 

Notes to those who commented or had questions on the following topics (there were a lot and I don’t remember specifics, sorry).

- There’s just one core biology class at here.  Nothing on creation is taught, be it evolution or intelligent design.  We learn about how the human body works, and how to stay healthy.  We did some stuff looking at lab procedures too, like growing staph and knowing what it would look like.

- The talk I got from the Chaplains was something along the lines of “I’m a Protestant Christian, and if you ever want to talk about something you can come to me, no matter what you believe.  Also, I can put you in touch with a Chaplain of your faith if you like.  Oh yeah, free food once a month or so care of all of us.”  I never asked to talk to a Chaplain and I never had to.  (I hardly even remember when any of the church services are on Sunday because I’d have to go looking for the information.)

- The only times religion was brought up in any of my classes were when: 1) My chemistry teacher was making comments about what he thought of people who believe in God, though he also said, but what should you care what I think?  Believe what you want. (He wasn’t military, he was a civilian.)  2) In Law we have a section about religious freedom and on freedom of speech.  To the person who said military members can practice freedom of speech as much as the next man: wrong.  We can’t, and we know it.  You do give up some freedoms while you’re in the military, or order to protect those of others. 

- I asked my roommate, who essentially has views opposite of mine, having attended to Catholic school her whole life.  She can tell when her teachers are or are not Christians, simply because of the way they behave.  They don’t do anything offensive, she can just tell.  But that’s kind of how it goes.  For example, one of my teachers knows what I believe, even though we’ve never discussed it - it’s never even come up in class.

These are some thoughts from someone actually here, and who feels that no matter what I believe, everyone can believe what they want.  If they want to discuss it with me, that’s cool, but they don’t have to explain themselves to me just because of their beliefs.  I’m not going to judge them based on them, but will decide how I interact with them based on how they act.

Lastly, I am puzzled by something.  If this is based on an experience from my class’ incoming or before (I’m in my third year here) why is he only posting it now?

Thanks for your time and consideration in reading this.

C.

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By Nabih Ammari, November 18, 2007 at 8:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:#114251 by Douglas Chalmers on 11/17 at 11:30 pm.

Douglas,

I am not going to go through quote and unquote.please
forgive my laziness.Response to your last paragraph:

-As usual, your admired broad knowledge seems to go
hand-in-hand with your sarcasm.Keep them coming,but
take it easy with others.

-I certainly DO NOT care to have in my arms,when in
the mood,NO BODY ELSE EXCEPT my wife of 40 years of
marriage!!!! Of course, your sarcasm sounds better.

-This one is very serious: I am for total nuclear
disarmament world wide,starting with US and Israel,
so the US will not appear hypocritical when it demands that a country like Iran should refrain from
even thinking of producing nuclear weapons.

-The answer to the last question is a “BIG YES”.

Douglas,have a good day or pleasant evening,depending
on where you live.PEACE.
Sincerely,
Nabih

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 18, 2007 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

#114248 by bigjimbo on 11/17 at 11:14 pm: “I believe that one can not be a Christian and believe that the bible is the literal inerrant word of god. The new testament describes Jesus’ teaching on compassion and foregiveness. The old testament advocates slewing those who mix fabrics, eat shellfish, or speak back to thier parents. The old testament describes a psychopathic, genocidal mean-spirited monster….”

I’ll agree with that! So, since the old testament is based on the Torah, why continue to politically or militarily support Jews??? Who is the fool?!?!

#114176 by Nabih Ammari on 11/17 at 10:45 am; “...-The Persuasive Kindness of Jesus when he saved an
adulterous woman from being stoned to death by the
crowd…. “Ama Al-Yateema Fla Tunhar”. Translation: “But The Orphan;You Must Not Condemn/Reject”....”

For the first part, Jesus did not judge her. For the second, Jesus had also said, “As you do it (good or bad) to the least of these, so too do you do it to me.” Thus we are ALL harmed or benefitted eventually by the results of our actions.

Thank you again for your kind thoughts, Nabih! You see, America, the children of Israel would be safe in Nabih Ammari’s arms. Why, then, the need for weapons??? Is it not Israel who condemns…...?!?!

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By bigjimbo, November 18, 2007 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

I believe that one can not be a Christian and believe that the bible is the literal inerrant word of god. The new testament describes Jesus’ teaching on compassion and foregiveness. The old testament advocates slewing those who mix fabrics, eat shellfish, or speak back to thier parents. The old testament describes a psychopathic, genocidal mean-spirited monster.

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By Nabih Ammari, November 17, 2007 at 11:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:#114117 by Douglas Chalmers on 11/17 at 12:45 am.

“Thus loving kindness is not to be found in any book
but in people’s hearts.Some unable to manifest this.
Why?-because they have not evolved spiritually….”.

My Dear Douglas,

To me,loving kindness needs not to manifest itself by
written words as in the “Ten Commandments” or in the
“Islamic Hadeeth”.It can manifest itself by PAINTING
fascinating stories such as what comes to mind and
off the cuff and without checking references or details:

-The Good Samaritan in the Bible.
-The Persuasive Kindness of Jesus when he saved an
adulterous woman from being stoned to death by the
crowd.

And while writing this to you I have just remembered
the following written Arabic Verse from the Qura’an:
(sorry,Douglas,I have no Qura’an available to me right now to provide you with the Verse number,but
blieve me it is there in the Qura’an):

“Ama Al-Yateema Fla Tunhar”.

Translation:

“But The Orphan;You Must Not Condemn/Reject”.

What is the implication of the foregoing Qura’anic
Verse??? Answer: It is instructing Muslims to be kind
to orphans by providing them with food,cloth,shelter
and love.

But,at the end,you are right:all of the forgoing
loving stories and quote may be meaningless if the
loving kindness is absent from the deep corners of
people hearts.

Douglas,you are one of the very few bloggers I look
forward to read his/her blog.I seldom have a real
disagreement with what you post.I do not even consider what is outlined above,in the slightest sense a disagreement, but rather an exploration for
further understanding where humanity might end with
no good hearts and loving kindness.

Best Regards,
Nabih

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By robert m puglia, November 17, 2007 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

# 113931; “We are a country that believes in religious freedoms…”
we are a country which claims to believe in religious freedoms, not quite the same as believing in them. i do not mistake this tout for the reality of things.
as you note, this article has elicited a protracted argument about whom is more holy than who. casuistry, semantics, nonsense and lies are intended to distract from the simplicity of the golden rule because there is no profit in the golden rule, or at least not enough profit. what is variously referred to as original sin or the human condition is neatly summed up by katherine ann porter in “ship of fools”. these are the ruminations of one disillusioned passenger;
“she had always believed so deeply that human beings wished only to be quiet and happy, each in his own way. but there was a spirit of evil in them that could not let each other be in peace. one man’s good must always crowd out another’s and one must always take his own good at another’s expense or so it seemed. god forgive us all.”
from memory. it’s been a while since i’ve read it. i do leave the house daily so i have reason to believe her intent survives any unintentional paraphrasing.
human beings are no more capable of piety than they are capable of flight- not because they are born bad but because they are not birds.
be a good neighbor, all else is commentary.

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 17, 2007 at 1:54 am Link to this comment

#113891 by Nabih Ammari on 11/16 at 12:09 am: “...Believing in God and the bible means believing in peace,love your neighbor and even love your enemy etc…”

Oh, I wish only…....!!! Sadly, proven to be NOT so.

The essential quality is not what you believe in as it is an external subject to each individual’s interpretation. Rather, it is your own thoughts and feelings - and what you actually do yourself…..

Thus, loving kindness is not to be found in any book but in peoples’ hearts. Some are unable to manifest this. WhY? - because they have not evolved spiritually….....

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By John Rhoe, November 16, 2007 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#113867 by Mike Schaefer:
There are several factual errors and it destroyed the credibility of this article. It comes across as nothing more than a Christian bash then digressed into Ernest, roman and others debating religion or the lack thereof.

We are a country that believes in religious freedoms and I fully support that right. Any attack on this should be an insult to every American. Those in support of this article are picking the wrong fight.

Has the air force academy morphed into a bible institution? I can tell you with certainty it has not. In every organization there are those who do freely express their religious position or lack of one. But to force a religious position of lack of one, is contrary to the constitution we swore to protect.

For those who blindly accept this author’s position as truth, I challenge you to visit the academy and verify for yourself. He has made a mountain out of a molehill. In fact, there is less God speak today then there was several years ago. You see this in our other educational facilities and it is no different at the academy.

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By Nabih Ammari, November 16, 2007 at 5:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:#113684 by cyrena on 11/15 at 2:01 am.

cyrena,

The more I read your posts,the more I realize that the
horizon of your vision and envision has a remarkable
capacity to digest,absorb and assimilate provocative
thoughts and ideas as long as they make sequential
logic or what is commonly called “COMMON SENSE”.

Your honest and straight forward comments are highly
appreciated because of what I post is the distillation of
mind and heart.Nothing more, nothing less.William
Shakespeare once said/wrote:

“No legacy as lasting as honesty”.

cynera,thank you for being what you are.

Sincerely,
Nabih

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By Nabih Ammari, November 16, 2007 at 1:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:#113672 by Douglas Chalmers on 11/14 at 11:14 pm.

Douglas,

I am well aware of the arguments involved about the
Creation(Big Bang) and,of course,the Evolution.

What I was trying to convey to those who believed in
the teaching of the New Testament they could not have
it both ways:

-Since the person I addressed the post to seems to me
as a passionately Christian and strong believer in
God and the bible,I have to respect his belief which
is the least I could do in my attempts to accommodate
his argument.I have no problem with that.
-Believing in God and the bible means believing in
peace,love your neighbor and even love your enemy etc
I have no problem with that also.In fact I have a
profound respect to the idea of believing.It is much
better than not to believe in anything.

My problem is with the huge contradictions between
of what they believe and what they do:Supporting the
war in Iraq.For what? OIL PLUS…...
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Mike Schaefer, November 15, 2007 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Erik Prince is not a Naval Academy graduate.

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By Erica, November 15, 2007 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Yet the conservative credentials of Strauss have been vigorously questioned, in light of his perceived rejection of history, his apparently unabashed admiration for liberal democracy, and his skepticism about the political value of revealed truth.”

Seems there are a few that hold dear and close with this man. I say this because of their repeated rejection of History, unabashed admiration for liberal democracy no ability to see the value of revealed truth

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By JasonR, November 15, 2007 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t expect much more from our departments of “defense” when they are committed to everything but that.

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By Scott Thomason, November 15, 2007 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yup, gotta laugh at the evangelicals, that perniciously uniformed, hyper-judgmental, zealous group of rapturites. An evangelical is actually half the reason I left the Navy. Our base changed its commanding officer from a fairly benign fellow to a self-righteous jackass. He felt it his Christian duty to enforce the “no visitors in the barracks after midnight rule.” Translation: no chicks allowed after hours. This rule was enforced with late night room searches, at which time half of the surrounding city’s female occupation was accounted for. Suffice it to say, that was enough for me—with the navy and the evangelicals.

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By Mare Tranquil, November 15, 2007 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is evident that Napoleon made the statement that “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” in private to a confident(s). He was describing his own contempt for religion and we can extrapolate that this line of thinking by the elite was pervasive all the way back to Constantine’s Rome and likely further. Religion as opiate for the masses. “Do not rise up against my tyranny or you will suffer eternal damnation for your selfish desires.” Or as one might say “you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

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By cann4ing, November 15, 2007 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Grant H., show me where I said Strauss was a “conservative.”  His and other “neoconservatives” expouse a philosophy that is far closer to the philosophy expounded by Karl Schmidt, Hitler’s chief jurist.  I do not regard the hard-right movement which presently occupies the White House as “conservative” or even, as John Dean has characterized them, as “conservatives without conscience.”  The word “fascist” would appear to be a far more apt and accurate a descriptor for Leo Strauss and his neocon followers, though the operative portion is not “neo” as in “new” but “con” as in “con-artists.”

I am intrigued, however, by your use of the word “vomit.”  I cited the work of a renouned political scientist, Shadia B. Drury, whose academic examination of the Leo Strauss fathered neoconservative movement is regarded in most, but not all, academic circles as providing an insightful and profound analysis.

Aside from your confusion as to the difference between conservatives and neoconservatives, and your mistaken belief that I was critiquing the former, is there a substantive source for your use of the pejorative “vomit” or is “vomit” simply a word you like to pop off with whenever someone hits you with a thought your mind has never before processed.

To R. Harrel:  I can agree with you that every office has a sworn duty to the constitution and should disobey an unlawful order.  But, since the constitution expressly forbids any religious test for holding any federal office, your insistance that every officer must “answer to God Almighty” violates the very Constitution you say the officer took a solemn oath to uphold.  It’s called separation of church and state, and it is amazing how difficult it is to get those blinded by their faith to read and comprehend this fundamental secular tenet of our constitutional democracy.

I am an atheist who served in Vietnam.  I am certainly open to any suggestion that I might not have been completely true to the constitutional oath I took when I participated in a war many felt was illegal.  But I can’t accept the idea that I violated the oath I took to the constitution simply because I don’t believe in “your” God Almighty.

P.S.  I am living proof that the claim “there are no atheists in foxholes” is a lie.

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By Leefeller, November 15, 2007 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

rowman,

I was referring to several of your posts prior.  Am I supposed to be impressed that the you read C.S. Lewis?
Since I chose not to respond does not mean he does not exist.

You completely ignored   Napoleon’s quote and as usual danced around onto a side show, blathering about his claim to fame and asked why I would use his quote. His quote is Relevant to the subject at hand, my hope that you would engage his quote, fell on the seemingly endless space under your hat.

Your real world would still be flat and “The Chronicles of Narnia”  would be a true story?

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By rowman, November 15, 2007 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

That makes no sense Leefeller.

First, I did not attack his fame. It is true. Napoleon’s biggest influence in the military sphere was in the conduct of warfare. How exactly is that an attack? Seems a bit ironic that you would draw on the wisdom of one whose fame is largely attributed to war while at the same time, criticizing one who currently wages war.

Secondly, you seem to disregard the quotes from C.S Lewis – or are you saying he did not exist?

Finally, your “fairy tale” theory ignores hard evidence as noted in several posts prior.

“Missing the context of a conversation, seems to serve you well” – that must be a personal reflection of yours that you misdirected to me.

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By Grant H., November 15, 2007 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I urge caution in what you vomit Ernest.

Since the end of the Cold War, the meaning of conservatism has been the subject of intense debate. This debate has coincided with a revival of interest in the ideas of Leo Strauss, whose political philosophy has influenced American conservatism in particular. Yet the conservative credentials of Strauss have been vigorously questioned, in light of his perceived rejection of history, his apparently unabashed admiration for liberal democracy, and his skepticism about the political value of revealed truth.

What is conservatism? Is it simply an older version of liberalism? Which traditions do conservatives “conserve” in an age of modern change? Is conservatism populist or elitist, democratic or aristocratic? Does it support imperialism or isolationism? Which religion, if any, is most compatible with conservatism? Since the end of the Cold War, these traditionally academic questions have drifted into the political arena and often pitted conservatives (especially in the United States) against each other. To date (2004), the American conservative movement’s divisions have forced a return to the question of the very meaning of the doctrine.

In the same time period, the ideas of political philosopher Leo Strauss have increasingly become part of this debate over American conservatism. For Strauss and his many students have been credited with (or blamed for) the direction of the conservative movement since the collapse of communism. Some critics on the left have branded Strauss as the major conservative influence on the American intellectual right. Strauss is the “godfather” of American neoconservatism.

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By Leefeller, November 15, 2007 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Missing the context of a conversation, seems to serve you well rowman.  Even if Napoleon was a drag queen, the quote is food for thought, your attack on his fame, shows at least you understand that he was a real person, but refuse to acknowledge the importance of the quote.  Quoting from real people should be grounds for solid debate, opposed to quotes from fairy tails.

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By R Harrell, November 15, 2007 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gentlemen:  Do not mistake an Air Force chaplain, Hagee, Bush or anyone else as the spokesman for the world wide Christian Church—whose leader is Jesus, and whose commandments can easily be found in the Bible. Every officer in the armed forces must be true to the Constitution, disobey illegal orders, and answer to God Almighty.  Ignorance is no excuse. Authority is tempered with responsibility. God will not be mocked.  Therefore—pledging loyalty to the US Government is something a true Christian cannot do.  The US Government thinks it is god and to most serviceman it is.

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By Thomas Jefferson, November 15, 2007 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom… was finally passed,... a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”—Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:67

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By cann4ing, November 15, 2007 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Well, Leefeller, Napoleon’s observation was very close to that of Leo B. Strauss, the father of neoconservatism. 

As revealed by Shadia B. Drury, Strauss believed that “human beings are too evil to be expected to behave honorably unless they are in the grip of some lie or pious fraud about rewards and punishments in the afterlife.”  Because truth is dangerous when made available to the masses, it must be left within the confines of an elite group of philosophers who would use religion in order to impose a “pious fraud” necessary to maintain order in society.  Strauss’s view, as advanced by disciple Alan Bloom, is that “education must inculcate the values of society as absolute and inviolable, while teaching the truth to a small elite intended to govern society indirectly through the influence it exerts on the powerful.”

As forcefuly noted by Drury, neoconservatism is a philosophy which is “eager to cultivate an elite that makes a virtue of lying and dissembling” and which perniciously creates “an elite that is not fit for power because it is neither wise nor good.  It is not wise because it cannot defend its beliefs before the tribunal of reason; it preaches to the converted.  It is not good because it is a manipulative elite that eschews the truth in favor of lies and deceptions, and because it exempts itself from the moral standards it imposes on others—and this is the road to tyranny.”

It is this calculated form of schizophrenia that explains why the neocons can tout the teachings of Jesus “the-meek-shall-inherit-the-earth” Christ even as they set about to bomb the Middle East into the stone ages.  Christianity is the pious fraud they use to lead the masses into the abyss but they know it doesn’t apply to them.

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By rowman, November 15, 2007 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Napoleon? Who’s biggest influence in the military sphere was in the conduct of warfare. I would think that you would be opposed to such a man.

“Those who would most scornfully repudiate Christianity as a mere “opiate of the people” have a contempt for the rich, that is, for all mankind except the poor.”

“Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn’t have guessed. That’s one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It’s a religion you couldn’t have guessed.”

“A great many of those who ‘debunk’ traditional…values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process.”


“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”

“When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all.”

All credited to C.S Lewis of course.

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By pennsie, November 15, 2007 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Folks,

My tenure in the US Air force was tulmutious, creative, challenging and hard.  Except for a very few B.S. NCO’s, and officers, it was a great experience!  I do remember the first Air Force Academy at Lowry AFB in 1956.  What a great feeling it was to meet these future leaders. Seems not so in today’s Air Force.

I loved the Air Force, but the chicken stuff,. . . well, you know!
This appended URL with a quote from the article is an important read. 
Seems not is all as it was, nor will ever be till . . . . ?

Cheers
Raymond
http://www.artflight.us

*    *    *    *    *    *    *   
from . . .
http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/20071107_the_cancer_from_within/

” . . . These were some of my thoughts on the day my son had to decide whether or not to accept his appointment to the Air Force Academy.  It was a time in my life when fatherhood and truth were confronted with faux nationalism.  With tremendous courage and sadness my son declined his appointment and ended his dream—and my dream for him—to attend the Air Force Academy. Though deeply saddened, we were not sorry. . . ”

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By Leefeller, November 15, 2007 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Warm fuzzy comfort of a god is the perfect crutch for the ignorant.

“Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
~ Napoleon

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By rowman, November 15, 2007 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Cyrena:
same G-d. They just put extra “rules” around Christianity. For instance, Jesus preached a one to one relationship (him and you). Catholics have a you and them and them and G-d relationship. The concept that you have to go to a catholic priest for confession is supported nowhere. Jesus is the high priest. He said “come to me”.  Not to them first. Just one example….


Purplewolf: Good thought but all you prove is something being created from something. Not something from nothing. Jim provides further insight.

G-d is the uncaused cause, the Alpha and the Omega.


Luis Cayetano:
I see you are full of hate and that blinds your perspective. I hope that whatever you believe in brings you peace and that one day, you can dialog with someone that has differing views.

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By Daniel M. Ryan, November 15, 2007 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s an interesting parallel between the movement this article protests against and a similar social trend in the U.K., as decried in this Guardian article: http://tinyurl.com/2xz7ff . The main difference is that the other article protests against the Church of England moving into primary-education institutions.

Here’s the parallel:
- In America, evangelicals moving en masse into a government institution, the military.
- In the U.K., the “Church Established by Law” moving en masse into a government institution, the primary education system.

My own home country of Canada, if you count born, raised but lapsed in the figures, has Roman Catholics in a thin majority. (If only practicing ones are counted, then it’s a plurality.) I haven’t seen any similar trend in Canada, as yet.

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By cyrena, November 15, 2007 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

Well, I agree with Nabih on this. Matter of fact, I’ve never heard it explained better.

•  #113527 by Nabih Ammari “...God did not create man.On the contrary,Man created God, or rather the concept of God…...

And so, it is. This is FAR more likely to be the real deal. And, it’s perfectly OK. I have no problems with this explanation at all. Makes perfectly good sense to me.

Now rowman, I know I’m sort of a ‘glutton for punishment” here, but what the heck. I needed a break anyway, from reading about all the religious violence that marked the creation of these United States. (actually, racism was the real cause of the violence, but they used the standard ‘religious’ ideology to make it acceptable to God, by first Satanizing the Native Americans, and then Christianizing them. Otherwise, they couldn’t be ‘human’)

So, since you said this:

•  Catholicism introduces additional “books” to Christianity.  You must be careful of this because it alters Christianity at its core and led to the subjugation many of you refer to here so you cannot hold Catholicism up as a model of Christianity.

And, since you believe in God, can you tell me if the Catholics have a different God than everybody else? I’ve always been led to understand that if there is a God, there’s only ONE God. So, how does this all work out?

My agnostic thinking has always recognized a number of Prophets, and I count among them; Jesus the Christ, Mohammed, the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, and more recently, Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m sure there are others that just don’t come to mind right now. But, I always figured there was only ONE (non-human) God. So, how many do you think there are, and why wouldn’t the same one be in the Catholics as in anybody else?

Ernest, you’re right. Youth is wasted on the young. That’s why I occasionally threaten to take theirs away from them. Bill Cosby style. wink (It’s just a threat though - I’d never follow through with it)

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By cyrena, November 15, 2007 at 2:56 am Link to this comment

Well, I agree with Nabih on this. Matter of fact, I’ve never heard it explained better.

•  #113527 by Nabih Ammari “...God did not create man.On the contrary,Man created God, or rather the concept of God…...

And so, it is. This is FAR more likely to be the real deal. And, it’s perfectly OK. I have no problems with this explanation at all. Makes perfectly good sense to me.

Now rowman, I know I’m sort of a ‘glutton for punishment” here, but what the heck. I needed a break anyway, from reading about all the religious violence that marked the creation of these United States. (actually, racism was the real cause of the violence, but they used the standard ‘religious’ ideology to make it acceptable to God, by first Satanizing the Native Americans, and then Christianizing them. Otherwise, they couldn’t be ‘human’)

So, since you said this:

•  Catholicism introduces additional “books” to Christianity.  You must be careful of this because it alters Christianity at its core and led to the subjugation many of you refer to here so you cannot hold Catholicism up as a model of Christianity.

And, since you believe in God, can you tell me if the Catholics have a different God than everybody else? I’ve always been led to understand that if there is a God, there’s only ONE God. So, how does this all work out?

My agnostic thinking has always recognized a number of Prophets, and I count among them; Jesus the Christ, Mohammed, the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, and more recently, Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m sure there are others that just don’t come to mind right now. But, I always figured there was only ONE (non-human) God. So, how many do you think there are, and why wouldn’t the same one be in the Catholics as in anybody else?

Ernest, you’re right. Youth is wasted on the young. That’s why I occasionally threaten to take theirs away from them. Bill Cosby style. wink

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By Luis Cayetano, November 15, 2007 at 12:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Luis Cayetano:
There is much science that is real and valid.”

And in order to decide what counts as “real and valid”, you compare it to what the Bible says. If it conflicts, then all the worse for the science. Yet you use the fruits of science to spread your hypocritical message.

“No where do I disagree with this. The “origins of man” is not a proven fact. Evolution supporters apply a scientific theory to explain it and that is fine with me – you can believe what you want to.”

Funny how you present this as a matter of what people “want to believe”. That’s really rock-bottom, redneck ignorance. You can’t stoop lower than that. It’s so obvious you know absolutely NOTHING about the science.

“A Christian applies the word of God to explain the origins of man. These are two different approaches.”

Yes, one that is based upon investigation (science) and one that isn’t (religion). What’s your point?

”If you assert that “evolution” is the only answer, you are stating that “creation” is wrong.”

That’s because it is wrong; there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate any of its claims, and there is a mass of evidence to substantiate evolution.

“In turn, you are forcing a religious position.”

I’ll say this again because you seem incapable of retaining information for longer than a few minutes: evolution is a scientific theory, not a religious position. You should learn the difference. That way, you’d sound less ridiculous to everyone and not be such an embarrassment to those who think like you.

“Do you not see the hypocrisy in your position?”

The only hypocrisy is that coming from you. It’s people like you who force religious positions onto impressionable young children, who spread lies about science and atheism, and who use emotional blackmail to win adherents. Your whole enterprise is founded on lies, hypocrisy and ignorance. You expect to be taken seriously, yet all you provide is belief and emotion, as though that should be enough.

Nothing you’ve said is even remotely compelling. It smacks of an infantile urge to misunderstand and distort. Lame, dude.

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 15, 2007 at 12:16 am Link to this comment

#113632 by purplewolf on 11/14 at 5:53 pm: - Rowman # 113348: “Something cannot bring itself into existence.” Really. Then you explain to us how duckweed came into existence….... Take some of this water that started out as drinking water and put in under a microscope and check out all the life in there.Where did it come from as it wasn’t there to begin with….... This is called proof of evolution-something evolved or came into existence that was never there before or existed in that container to begin with. So saying something cannot bring itself into existence isn’t necessarily so….”

This is something which merely appeared within a known evolutionary framework (on the surface of this Earth), purplewolf, but that does not explain the creation of the Universe.

Where did God come from? Well, we are only a product of Its creation, so how can we ever know? It is impossible - like presuming that you can know more than your Creator, whatever That is!

#113527 by Nabih Ammari on 11/14 at 9:08 am: “...God did not create man.On the contrary,Man created
God,or rather the concept of God…... when the President of the US claims that he communicates with God,it is time to challenge such claim and demand WHOSE God???...”

Well, yes and no to the first part, Nabih Ammari, as there was a “creation” (the big bang) and then an “evolution” on Earth (and elsewhere?). Thus we are all part of the one Creation.

But GWB is more likely subject to possession like whats-her-name from The Exorcist and I bet hardly any of you can see it. So too was Hitler according to some who knew him.

#113647 by Jim on 11/14 at 7:54 pm: “You ask who caused God? Perhaps he is the singular cause…... To prove it, you would have to show something originate from a completely void source. No such source exists….”

Perhaps you were addressing me, Jim, and this is as broad a topic as we wish. Talking about the perfect singularity, all must ultimately come from One Source, as you assume.

Lets say that the big bang was the origination and manifestation of the first Light and darkness was the Original Potential (Yang + Yin). From then, space and matter were all created.

But we are also talking about more than three dimensions. More like seven - or multiple sets of dimensions. There is a place we all come from before we are born and a place we all go to after we die. Its there but we never seem to think about it much.

So the Force was what brought the original Creation into being through the big bang phenomenon. But the Source of that was the Original Cause, whatever that is - and It must be outside of or beyond its own material creation. That is a level we do not have any consciousness of…...... to us it is unmanifest.

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By cann4ing, November 14, 2007 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

The cancer from within entails not only the proselytizing of a captive audience—young cadets—but the hypocrisy of the proselytizers. 

There is, of course, the infamous call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez by that man-of-the-cloth, the billionaire flim-flam man, er televangelist, Pat Robertson.  In an E-mail touting his new film, “The Assassination of Hugo,” Greg Palast presents an interesting take on it.

“Robertson has a tough time separating Church and Hate.  But when the vicious vicar declared it was time to take out the President of Venezuela, he was simply channeling the wishes of the Supreme Authority, Dick Cheney.”

Why take out Hugo?  Palast asked, rhetorically.

“The answer is right under Chavez’s feet.  Oil.  How much?  According to inside documents that just fell in my hands from the Department of Energy—LOTS of oil, five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.”

For the Christo-fascists this clap trap about turning the other cheek is just food for the masses.  What they really worship is that black sticky substance.  That’s why they have to take out Chavez.  The man is standing between them and their real God.

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By cann4ing, November 14, 2007 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena, youth is wasted on the young.

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By Jim, November 14, 2007 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I forgot to mention that under the “cause” argument, you must have a singular cause. Something that started it all. Skimming through comments I see reference to evolution but that would not apply here. Different subject all together.  The individual who posted this, framed the argument correctly.
If you were to line up everything in existence, into their sequential ‘causes’ you would require an enormous singular cause to be able to cause the subsequent causes. Follow?
You ask who caused God? Perhaps he is the singular cause. Who knows.
It’s worth the study if you have never delved into the subject. I devote a couple weeks to it and my kids are always fascinated by it.

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By Jim, November 14, 2007 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not getting into the middle of your argument and I don’t read comments here but could not miss this one as it was at the top and of particular interest to me.

As a biology teacher, I am very familiar with the “cause” argument but your example does not stand up to it and certainly does not prove your point. Ironically, your example has actually been used to support the argument. One reason is that your experiment relies on a light source.
To prove it, you would have to show something originate from a completely void source. No such source exists.

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By VillageElder, November 14, 2007 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

We seem to have conveniently digressed from the “cancer within” to a discussion of an arrangement of superstitions from the Abramic traditions, which at best have been described as a dreary mythical concoction.  Despite the pleas from the apologists the historical record does not support their major stories.

Acting as true believers their belief trumps reason and faith trumps facts.  By repeating the dogma loudly and in a different manner they attempt to make the scales fall from the eyes of others while they remain blind.

There is a real danger from this cancer when belief trumps reason and faith is over fact then the dark ages grow stronger.  Already through the lies told by the fundamentalists evolution is thought of as just another “false” religion from which people may be converted.  Undoubtedly many of us may hold other heretic beliefs.  When will “Christ’s Warriors” come for us that we may return to the “true faith?”

People have the right to their beliefs- but not the right to impose them on others.  When our constitutional rights are taken through a fascist movement in combination with religious zealots we have real problems temporal and philosophical (and probably legal too)!

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By purplewolf, November 14, 2007 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

Nabih: You’re welcome.

Doug: thanks for the comment about rowmans comment,I missed it.

Rowman # 113348: “Something cannot bring itself into existence.” Really. Then you explain to us how duckweed came into existence. If you do not know about this look into it. You start out with plain already sterilized drinking water and set it in a container, can be indoors or outdoors, add more sterile water as needed due to evaporation and after about a year you will observe these little floating green water plants covering the surface. They were not there to begin with, nor were they added, wait long enough and they will appear. Also diatoms will start long before the duckweed. Take some of this water that started out as drinking water and put in under a microscope and check out all the life in there.Where did it come from as it wasn’t there to begin with. This is called proof of evolution-something evolved or came into existence that was never there before or existed in that container to begin with. So saying something cannot bring itself into existence isn’t necessarily so.

Also where did God come from?

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By Leefeller, November 14, 2007 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

Earnest,

Yes one doest grow weary, the deluded provide nothing to hang a hat on.
So many times I see real topics being blindsided by shrills.

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By cyrena, November 14, 2007 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

•  #113425 by Ernest Canning
Careful now, Cyrena.  54 sounds young to me.  I can remember in the 60s when we said, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” Boy, were we naive!
Well Ernest, I think it probably ‘sounds’ a lot younger than it ‘feels’. But, that’s one of the areas where I allow myself to be deluded, since there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of choice. I’ve gotta fashion a whole new career. So, I’ll just keep pretending that it’s young. The kids say that I don’t ‘look’ my age – ouch! I think they intend it as a compliment, but I’m not pressing my luck to further question them on exactly how old/young they think I ‘look’.

Meantime, while I definitely don’t ‘miss’ my youth, and surely am not inclined to ‘go back’ in time, I’d give just about anything right now, for a slice of those ‘60’s. There’s no possible way we could have imagined then, what we would be living now. At least I couldn’t, and I have a fairly active imagination. Who would have thought we’d have gone this far backwards, after moving in a somewhat forwardly direction back then? How much progress has been undone in the past 7 years? More than I can bear to consider. It’s worse than just standing still and stagnant. It’s flippin’ going back in time!!! This worst sort of ‘regression’ imaginable.

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By cann4ing, November 14, 2007 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

To Mitch, Jack and Roy, all unregistered posters.  The next comment we see posted from any of you containing a modicum of substance will be the first.  Take all the shots you want, but until you have something of substance to offer, your numbers do nothing to alter rowman’s irrationality.

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By cann4ing, November 14, 2007 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

Don’t know who you work with Mitch, but if you have something of “substance” to add to the colloquy, I am all ears. 

It is not a matter of trying to push anyone down.  After a time, I simply grow bored with repetitious chants of religious dogma.  There are a large number of posters with whom I do not agree but with whom I have enjoyed intellectual dialogue.  Poor rowman, thoroughly brainwashed by the tenets of Christo-Fascism, is not one of them.

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By Mitch, November 14, 2007 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lmao!
Ernest – i work with a guy just like you. He thinks he is the smartest man on earth but he can never rise above the crowd on his own merits. To compensate for this, he always tries to push people down to make it appear that he is above them. He does this with the same tactics you tried on poor roman.
Who do you think you are fooling dude?

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By rowman, November 14, 2007 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Ernest,
You have offered no solid reasoning, only attacks. That is not a trait indicative of the intellectual you profess to be. Quite opposite actually.

Best wishes to you. May your journey bring you peace.

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By Jack Nemith, November 14, 2007 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Self appointing yourself as an intellectual is snobbery. I fail to see how you can claim to be one anyway. Nothing you have written lends itself to that. Your opponent is much more composed and provides substance. Your replies are nothing but put downs and meaningless ranting. Grow up please.

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By Roy, November 14, 2007 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very inspiring roman. I have not heard some of the things explained the way you have and I appreciate your comments. It has caused me to ponder some of my own thoughts and I think that I will research this Christianity thing some more.

I was going to say, pay no mind to some of these people- they treat everyone this way. But then I realized that you would not have been able to convey this information to me.

Thanks!

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By cann4ing, November 14, 2007 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

I, for one, will not submit further responses to the poor deluded fool who goes by the name rowman.  His continued irrationality in the face of solid reasoning from numerous posters reflects that his mind is impervious to science or rationale thought processes.

I don’t want to sound like an intellectual snob, but his utter lack of logic makes further interaction with him less than intellectually stimulating.

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By Mare Tranquil, November 14, 2007 at 10:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“That is only assuming that humans were “created” for no reason, MT. The fact is that humans as a race have failed to find the real reason for their own existence. Or, more to the point, they have failed to make themselves useful to their Creator!!!” - Douglas Chalmers

You don’t understand. You are the one assuming they were “created”. The fact is one cannot find what is not there. And failure is the only outcome of performing to an empty house. The balcony was always closed. They have simply failed to make themselves useful.

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By rowman, November 14, 2007 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

Ernest:
It is ok to say you can’t answer the questions. There is no need to deflect or try to change subject. They are tough questions to address. Atheism crumbles when truly studied and applied. I know because I was one. In fact, it is the very point Douglas brought focus to that led me on the journey to where I am today. I stopped off at every major religion and “school of thought” with my book of questions ready to study. Only one answer fit and did not contradict itself. Christianity.
I say Again, you cannot lump all Christians in one bucket. Not all are republican, not all support Bush and most definitely, not all supported the war.

Cyrena:
I have never met someone I could not get along with and I am sure you would be no exception. Catholicism introduces additional “books” to Christianity.  You must be careful of this because it alters Christianity at its core and led to the subjugation many of you refer to here so you cannot hold Catholicism up as a model of Christianity. Stick to the core texts as they have been vetted. The “books” I allude to have been rejected.
The one question I have not heard is who chose the “New Testament” Christian writings and why? It is very valid and important to understand this and I will provide additional resources should anyone be interested.

RAE:
Much proof available, My G-d does meet this standard and I have provided some here. Archeological evidence is very tangible. It’s a matter of where you want to start.

Luis Cayetano:
There is much science that is real and valid. No where do I disagree with this. The “origins of man” is not a proven fact. Evolution supporters apply a scientific theory to explain it and that is fine with me – you can believe what you want to. A Christian applies the word of God to explain the origins of man. These are two different approaches.
If you assert that “evolution” is the only answer, you are stating that “creation” is wrong. In turn, you are forcing a religious position. Do you not see the hypocrisy in your position? Would you if the tables we turned?

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By Nabih Ammari, November 14, 2007 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:#113381 by rowman on 11/13 at 6:17 pm.

rowman,

Please do not assume or conclude that I am what the
comments given below may convey the impression to
you that I am because I am something else.I wish to
claim that through a life long experiences with all
major religions known to men/women,I have reached the
following conclusion:

God did not create man.On the contrary,Man created
God,or rather the concept of God.

And I repeat once more,I am not what the above two
statements may convey;and I hold the religious
literatures,or rather writings,of the Old Testament,
the New Testament and the Qura’an,yes the Qura’an
in high esteem,but not necessarily a believer in their contents.

rowman:My intention,here,is not to challenge/confront
your belief in or adherence to the teachings of the
bible,but rather to show you in a small way,if you
permit me,that there is an infinite World of logical
thoughts outside the confines of the Old Testament,
New Testament and Qura’an.And indeed,the dimensions
of such infinite world of thoughts/thinkings cannot
possibly be confined by the rules of the Christian
churches or Jewish synagogues or Islamic mosques.

Therefore, when the President of the US claims that
he communicates with God,it is time to challenge
such claim and demand WHOSE God???

Therefore,when we conquer,destroy and occupy Iraq,a
country which has done no harm to us;and murder,yes
murder and maim its innocent women and children,it is
time for every self-respecting American to demand,
from a President who claims he talks to God,WHOSE
God???

And more therefore,the question raised by Ernest
Canning is not ridicules and it is not rhetorical
and it is not boring.and I repeat it again and again
for the whole World to see and the war and bloodshed
stop:

“rowman,tel me,who would Jesus have bombed?”

The above question becomes even much much more valid
and,indeed, more legitimate when an Evangelical
preacher appears on a TV talk show and tell you in
a straight face that Jesus justified violence when
he stormed into the Temple with rage and kicked out
the merchants and money changers from the Temple and
called them:“The Sons Of Serpents”.Yes it was said
with NO SHAME,but with a STRAIGHT FACE just to justify Bush’s and his God’s war!!!!!

We need another God to help all of us.

Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari,
An Independent in Ohio

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By Nabih Ammari, November 14, 2007 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:#113248 by purplewolf on 11/12 at 11:44 pm.
(306 comments total)

purplewolf,

Thank you for the suggestion.I have appreciated your
graciousness.I tried what you suggested.I got a column
embodied in it a list of options I simply did not
understand.And I let it go and stopped there.No sense
in manipulating things I do not understand.
Again,thank you.
Sincerely,
Nabih

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By Shenonymous, November 14, 2007 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Chalmers – I was making a point for the benefit of rowman and I quite agree, there is only now, and a succession of nows is what makes up one’s existence.  Because now is so slippery it is more than difficult to grab onto it, actually impossible.  And somehow there is a gossamer residue of our nows, persistence of memory, it is called, sort of like the overdrive in a car, and we remember nows that have slipped away and anticipate nows to come. And in this mess of nows we notice an objective world, and to continue our now we learn to negotiate it by participating with that objective world.  Carpe diem. 

So what can we do now about the evangelical slugs that have commandeered our Air Force?

Time for a cup of Leefeller’s coffee!

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 14, 2007 at 3:15 am Link to this comment

113354 by Tim on 11/13 at 2:18 pm: “Christianity is not the enemy, Christianity is not a cancer and Christianity has a place in the USA. I would be far more worried about Muslim recruits, Muslim scientists and Muslims in sensitive and strategic positions. Plus I am very concerned about the continued training in US tactics of Muslims in IRAQ, Bosnia and the PLO (& else where)...”

Interesting that you should mention Bosnia. The atrocities in the assembly of independent states once known as Yugoslavia was started by the Christians. It was consequent upon their ancient hatreds of the Turkish empire and earlier…...

#113353 by Shenonymous on 11/13 at 2:13 pm: “Actually there is no now!  Just try to grab ahold of it and it slips right through your fingers as if, what? it doesn’t exist!  It is the case that either there is no now, or there is nothing else but nows, no past, no future….”

You just said it, Shenonymous, but you don’t seem to realize it, ha ha. There IS only “Now”. You can live only now…... you can only act in the “Now”. It is in the fullness of “Now” in which we all exist!

#113348 by rowman on 11/13 at 1:42 pm: “...Therefore, the universe had a beginning.  Something cannot bring itself into existence.  Therefore, something brought it into existence…...
What brought the universe into existence?  It would have to be greater than the universe and be a sufficient cause to it.  The Bible promotes this sufficient cause as God.  What does atheism offer instead of God?  If nothing, then atheism is not able to account for our own existence….”

At last, you are getting to the point, rowman!

#113331 by Laura on 11/13 at 11:54 am: “What an amusing rant by an obviously deeply (mentally) disturbed individual…... When did members of the military BECOME MEMBERS of CONGRESS?...”

What “Congress”? What “members”? What “Constitution”? There IS only the military in the USA. Bush has been raving again about having the generals tell Congress what to do…...

That is what you get with a president who is the “commander of the armed forces”, a president who is an ex-military person and a dominant military-industrial complex!!!

That is NOT a “separation of powers” doctrine in government. It is a de facto military government. So, what then is “free speech”, Laura? Its illusory!

#113352 by Mare Tranquil on 11/13 at 2:10 pm: “Goodness is a human concept equivalent to the positive charge of a battery. That charge is neither good nor bad for the universe. The beginning and end of human existence is of no consequence outside of itself. It is a closed loop. It is minuscule, precious and never to be repeated….”

That is only assuming that humans were “created” for no reason, MT. The fact is that humans as a race have failed to find the real reason for their own existence. Or, more to the point, they have failed to make themselves useful to their Creator!!!

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By cann4ing, November 13, 2007 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

Careful now, Cyrena.  54 sounds young to me.  I can remember in the 60s when we said, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.”  Boy, were we naive!

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By cyrena, November 13, 2007 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

#113270 by rowman on 11/13 at 5:48 am
• 
cyrena,
I do appreciate you, your passion and this dialog. I have no doubt that you and I would be friends in person. I was very much like you in my youth and held many of the same beliefs.

Actually rowman, I’m thinking probably not. (that we would be friends in person) but that’s OK…who knows? Hard to say though, that you were ‘like me’ in your youth, because you don’t know me. You only know what I write on this blog. And, that would only be what I want you or any other person to know. (since it is a public forum). So, yours is your own ‘interpretation’ of whatever I might present here, which I think is a pretty clear indication of who I am and what I believe, and all of that. Still, it would depend on an individual’s interpretation of that. Not all interpretations are created equally.

I should also add that I’m not ‘young’ myself. I’m 54 years old. I’m also very acquainted with the Christian doctrine, as it happens, since I attended Catholic schools for grades k thru 12, and many of my own family members continue to practice it, well religiously.

That said, there just isn’t a whole lot that you can tell me about Christianity, that I haven’t already learned, at least enough to form my own personal and independent belief system. So, while I would generally accept that there is a ‘higher power’ than mankind operating in our environment, I don’t have a name for it, and I’m not inclined to restrict my understanding of it to a religious text. I can find it in any (and nearly all) places.

So, “something” far larger than any of us, has created a solar system, and the Oceans, and the Earth, and all the rest of that stuff. Then there is knowledge, which is infinite, and we can only even begin to scratch the surface of it in any mortal lifetime. Some get further than others, but we’ve all got our own individual DNA, and so that alone, is God enough for me. If you or anyone else wants to call or consider God by another name, that’s fine with me.

If I had to have a ‘religion’ it would be the Constitution, not because it’s perfect by any means, but because it gives us a basic system from which we can all navigate. I’m pretty fond of the underlying principles of a constitutional democracy as a form of government, as decided by the people for whom are to be governed.

I mentioned in another post, that I’ve always been particularly enamored with the last sentence of our Pledge of Allegiance, which pledges to “…liberty and justice – for ALL.” Now it would seem that I’m part of a dwindling collection of people who are in fact really sincere about that, and hypocrisy does bother me. (sometimes more than others). But, liberty and justice for all is a fairly straightforward principle, and the living Constitution gives us the tools by which to achieve that. So, I figure we can’t go too wrong, as long as everybody has their copy, and understands it, as well as their individual and collective responsibilities to uphold the principles of it.

For everything else, refer to the most recent post by Prof. Ernest Canning, (that’s just what I call him, - Prof-  since he doesn’t present himself with that title but it works well enough for me. -  #113396 by Ernest Canning) because he generally does such an excellent job in articulating most of my own basic thinking, which saves me the work. No point in everybody duplicating the same work over and over, especially if one does it better than another, at any given point in time. (several other posters do as well, which is why I enjoy and learn from them)

Regards

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By cann4ing, November 13, 2007 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Wrong again, rowman.  It is a rather basic fact of science that one does not prove a negative.  If for example you claim there is life on the planet Venus, it is not for me to prove there is no life on Venus.  Instead, it is for you to produce evidence in support of your claim. 

In this case, while you “claim” there is a God, you cannot point to a single piece of objective evidence that verifies the validity of your “belief.”

Your come back was precisely the flight from logic that I had predicted.  Your suggestion that God has perfect knowledge of what I will do tomorrow means that I cannot do anything other than what God knows I will do.  If I did chose to do something other than what God knows I am gonna do, then God would be wrong, but that is not possible because, in your view, God is infallible. 

The entire Judeo/Christian concept of God is wracked with contradictions precisely because it is a concept erected by human beings.  It can only be accepted “on faith.” 

Getting back to the original purpose of this article.  Our nation is not a Christian nation.  It is a secular nation which constitutionally protects your right to believe as you chose and my right not to believe.  While the free exercise clause guarantees freedom “of” religion.  The Establishment Clause ensures freedom “from” religion by separating church and state.

Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or the tooth fairy really doesn’t bother me, but when a president of the United States attempts to take this nation to war expousing that God told him to carry on a crusade, I get concerned, especially since there can be catastrophic consequences when a man who is that delusional has his finger on the nuclear trigger. 

That gets me to your belated response to my original question, who would Jesus have bombed?  Your answer appears to be no one.  If that is the case, and if, for the moment we accept “your definition” of “God’s will,” the only logical conclusion I can reach is that the man whom you and other right-wing Christians support, the man who ordered an unprovoked invasion of Iraq, is working “against God’s will”—at least as you have defined it.  And since you support the President in that endeavor, it appears you have also betrayed your God.

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By Luis Cayetano, November 13, 2007 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rowman, some of the things you’ve said are so off the mark it’s not even funny, just sad. You give the distinct vibe of being utterly ignorant.

“Asserting that we evolved from apes, conflicts with my beliefs and forces a religious perspective on me and others.”

Actually, it does absolutely NOTHING of the sort. Evolution is a SCIENTIFIC theory, not a religion. You clearly have no idea how science works (or how this little thing called evidence comes into play, but then, critically assessing information isn’t exactly your forte); it’s no wonder, as you’ve been trained to think of science as “just another opinion”, ignoring the fact that you’re using a computer. (are quantum mechanics and atomic theory - the things that make your hypocritical use of modern technology -just “opinions”? Do you REALLY think that the scientists and the engineers who use the science are just brainless idiots who don’t know what they’re doing? And you dare to imply that we’re the ones being arrogant?) What you’re saying is “I want to act like an arrogant jerk who doesn’t have to accept reality because of my Christian beliefs. Gawd said it’s okay, and who are you to argue with Him?” You know what? Too bad. If you don’t want to accept what modern science has shown again and again and again (sorry if this conflicts with what your all-knowing pastor has told you; I must remember to start getting my science from know-nothing demagogues from now on, as they clearly understand more about science than the people who actually bother to study it) that’s your business. You’re free to wallow in your self-imposed ignorance and religious stupor as much as you like. You’re even free to say how proud you are of it. But don’t expect anyone else to go along with, or for everyone to be cowed by the religious special pleading that has gotten a free pass until now.

“Many of you say this view must be taught, you don’t want the Creation view forced on you but you fail to see how you force your own viewpoints.”

Okay, I have an idea. Since so many people like you want creation “science” and other superstition taught in the science classroom, we should also have Darwinian evolution taught in Sunday school and in Church. You know, for the sake of “fairness”. Would that be alright with you? Hypocrite. You want your poison taught in science classrooms, when children are already being pumped full of it at home.

Perhaps if you educated yourself a bit in science instead of hiding under your selfish comfort blanket of ignorance and whining about how evolution is a “religion” (and I’m sure that gravitation, electromagnetism and plate tectonics are also “religions”), you’d see why the rest of the Western world is LAUGHING at you, not admiring you. You’re a shining example of why America has become a laughing stock. Get this through your head: no one respects what you’re saying. It’s completely unworthy of respect, and I suspect that by now you know it.

I’ll address your other points later on; they look like the standard, tired old religious “arguments”, so that shouldn’t be difficult at all. Believe me, I’ve had a LOT of practise refuting these lame substitutes for thought, and I’ve witnessed, countless times (as I fully expect to see repeated here, for all to see) backtracking, special pleading, word play and obfuscation in the furtherance of myth. Not only do fundamentalists not have anything useful to say, they also have no moral credibility to speak of, because their whole enterprise is based upon lies.

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By RAE, November 13, 2007 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

rowman posted: “I am of the opinion that if you believe in something, it should be defendable, worthy of defending and one should be capable of defending it.”

I fully agree, rowman.

However, being “defendable” includes having indisputable PROOF that what’s being defended EVEN EXISTS!

Your G-D does not meet this standard. You argue brilliantly on a premise that, while cannot be proved FALSE, equally cannot be proven TRUE.

All arguments past this point are moot. And arguing for argument’s sake is just so much hot air.

Examples:

“Undoubtedly, G-d has a plan.”
“We know that in the beginning, there was no suffering.”

Unless you have sources that have escaped my attention in the past six decades, these statements, as you said, express YOUR OPINION. They are NOT FACT. So please quit presenting them as such.

You not only do not know if G-d even exists, you do not “know” if he/she/it has a “plan.” Similarly, there is no possible way to substantiate a claim such as “We know that in the beginning…”. YOU DO NOT KNOW ANY SUCH THING… you don’t even know if or when the “beginning” began let alone what conditions existed at the time regarding suffering.

So PLEASE spare us the BS. Just stick to FACTS… if nothing else, that should shorten your diatribes considerably.

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By rowman, November 13, 2007 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

Ernest,
I don’t think I do have it backwards. The burden of proof would lay with the individual in support of his/her position.  I am of the opinion that if you believe in something, it should be defendable, worthy of defending and one should be capable of defending it. After all, why believe in something if you can’t satisfy these three items?

To your additional questions , I submit my responses below:
It is a common misconception to conclude that if G-d knows everything that we will choose, that we somehow did not have the freedom to be able to make the same choices. G-d definitely knows all things past, present, and future. He does not guess. He knows what our choices are going to be.

If I were to place a bowl of ice cream and a bowl of rocks at the dinner table in front of my child, I know exactly which one my child will eat. Even though I knew exactly which one the child would eat, knowing it did not remove the freedom of choice from my child.

G-d’s predestination does not mean that we cannot make free will choices.  G-d predestines in and through our choices because G-d is all knowing and all powerful.  He knows what we will do because he knows all things.  He cannot not know all things.  So, whatever you choose to do out of your own free volition is known.  But his knowing doesn’t mean you don’t freely choose.

Having this freedom means that we can rebel against G-d and make choices that are contrary to His desires. Since we can say that evil is anything contrary to G-d ‘s perfect and holy will, then anyone who chooses anything contrary to G-d ‘s perfection is committing evil. But this is the risk of being able to have freedom of choice. 

G-d allows evil to occur partly for reasons we do know and partly for those we do not.  We know that G-d uses evil to discipline people (Prov. 3:11) and to teach them (Prov. 15:32). But we cannot know all the reasons that G-d has for allowing evil and suffering in the world.  It is not logically necessary that since G-d has not stopped evil and suffering in the world, that He cannot.

Undoubtedly, G-d has a plan. Since G-d knows all things He is not surprised by the presence of evil and sin in the world that brings about suffering.  But if G-d knows all things from all eternity, then He is perfectly capable of using suffering in the world in His greater plan. The best and simplest example of this is the suffering of the Messiah.

We know that in the beginning, there was no suffering. Disobedience entered in and there was/ is. But we also know that he has promised to end this suffering at His chosen time.

So, to address your question of who would Jesus bomb, we must apply the above. Clearly, Jesus would have no need to use a man made device. It is of man, by man and used by man. Man chooses to use this, not Jesus.

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By Nabih Ammari, November 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PART TWO
========

(5)Whatever the defect/defects of Darwin’s Theory
and in spite of the negative reactions expressed by
some Christian leaders,the theory is basically regarded
sound and plausible because of its capacity in explain-
-ing the evolution of living species.The negative reaction of certain Christian quarters can be attributed to concern related to the possible loss
of control over the masses upon whom they depend on
making luxurious living.If they fail in keeping the
masses in constant fear of the wrath of God,they will
lose not only their grip on the masses but also any
political influence and power they have accumulated by
hook or crook,through the years in which they have
succeeded in convincing the masses that only through
them can they be saved from the wrath of God because they
know the “Absolute Truth” and what is good for them(the masses).

(6)All what we call “Truths” are relative except TWO:
-The “Constant Change” we experience in our lives is
an “Absolute Truth”.
-“Death” is an “Absolute Truth”.
Both “Absolute Truths” give profound support to the
Darwin’s Theory as the following sketch explains:

Birth———Adulthood———Old Age———Death.

The CONSTANT CHANGE we experience since we are born
until we die enhances the “Plausibility” of Darwin’s
Theory.And this may add more persuasive power to
those who wish to challenge the pushers/propagandists
of Intelligent Design at all levels where-ever
they may encounter them.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

 
                                                                                              .

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By bigjimbo, November 13, 2007 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Christianity as practiced by those in the mainstream is not a problem. The problem is due to christianists who exploit Christianity for their own selfish ends. Christianists include the redneck bigot fundamentalists who credo is one of hatred. Included are dobson, falwell, haggard and other snake handling elmer gantry’s.

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By cann4ing, November 13, 2007 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Rowman, I think you have it backwards.  The burden of proof is not on those who question the existence of God to prove He does not exist, but instead is on those who worship Him to prove He exists.  For those of us grounded in reality, scientific truth is derived via examination, hypothesis, theories and testing of those theories by empirical data.  When those theories prove less than accurate, they must be modified accordingly, and, in some cases, discarded altogether. 

The concept of a Deity is not subject to verfication via the scientific method.  It cannot be tested against observable facts.  A belief in a deity flows from faith and not from reason.

Since you want to get in over your head and play some games that utilize the application of logic, here’s a couple of exercises in logic that test the fundamental precepts of the Judeo-Christian concept of a Deity.

1.  God is said to be all good.  God is said to be all powerful.  Evil exists in the world despite the fact that God is all powerful and therefore in a position to prevent it.  Ergo, either a) God is not all good, for He permits evil to exist, or b) God is not all powerful because He is incapable of preventing evil from existing, or c) there is no God. 

2.  God is said to have perfect foreknowledge.  Man is said to possess free will.  But if God has perfect foreknowledge, then He knows today what it is that I will do tomorrow.  I cannot do anything tomorrow differently from what God knows I will do.  Otherwise God would be wrong about what it is that I will do tomorrow, and that is impossible within the Judeo-Christian concept of a deity possessing perfect foreknowledge.  Ergo, either (a) man does not have free will because his every action is predetermined by what God knows, or (b) God does not have perfect foreknowledge, or (c) there is no God.

(If you chose to respond, please don’t give me the usual religious nonsense that God is all good, all powerful, possesses perfect foreknowledge yet choses to provide man with free will so that man can choose between evil and the path of righteousness.  A God who is all powerful and yet all good could not permit man the choice to do evil.  If God has the ability to prevent evil, yet creates the possibility that evil will be chosen by man instead of the path of righteousness, it is God who is responsible for creating the conditions giving rise to evil.  That would make him an accomplice.  Moreover, it seems a rather silly game for an all-powerful Deity to play given that his perfect foreknowledge establishes that He is aware of the choice that will be made in advance.)

Such is the illogic of the concept we refer to as Christianity.

And no, Rowman, you still have not answered my question.  Don’t quote biblical passages.  Since you support the murderous Bush regime, just tell me.  Who would Jesus have bombed?

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By robert m puglia, November 13, 2007 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

faith, by definition, is in lieu of proof. by whatever means we have arrived- descended of apes, jettisoned from flying saucers or floated through the rushes in a basket- it has been a wasted trip for one who claims to know.
in the theory of apes none but the ape has any grounds to claim insult.
a thing is as it does. the religions of humankind wreak calamity. hillel said;
be a good neighbor. everything else is commentary.

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By Tim, November 13, 2007 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It never ceases to amaze me that people see Christianity more of a threat than Islam! Christianity is not the enemy, Christianity is not a cancer and Christianity has a place in the USA. I would be far more worried about Muslim recruits, Muslim scientists and Muslims in sensitive and strategic positions. Plus I am very concerned about the continued training in US tactics of Muslims in IRAQ, Bosnia and the PLO (& else where) and sale of USA military hardware to Islamic states, including Pakistan and Turkey. Do we never learn from history, Roman trained many of the armies that turned against her! Under Islam there are no chance for pleasant debate, leftist politics, Christians beliefs or the constitution! There is only mind numbing boredom or death, by war. Wake up people. And a message for David Antoon, the 5th column is ultimately never appreciated by either side.

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By Shenonymous, November 13, 2007 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Couldn’t help noticing en passant, rowman, your comment to Canning.  Actually there is no now!  Just try to grab ahold of it and it slips right through your fingers as if, what? it doesn’t exist!  It is the case that either there is no now, or there is nothing else but nows, no past, no future.

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By Mare Tranquil, November 13, 2007 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Goodness is a human concept equivalent to the positive charge of a battery. That charge is neither good nor bad for the universe. The beginning and end of human existence is of no consequence outside of itself. It is a closed loop. It is minuscule, precious and never to be repeated. Intelligent humans have repeatedly predicted the demise of the collection of chemical processes we call “life” not from the inspiration of a universal life form but from the preponderance of lifeless evidence.  Life as you perceive it is but a single organic entry in an inorganic cosmos that will run out like the charge of a battery and return to what it was. Cosmic dust without observer. Jesus or no. Air Force Academy or no.

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By Shenonymous, November 13, 2007 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

rowman, et al…How can you even trust your own perceptions when what they are about is history by the time you actually cognize them in your consciousness, let alone Christian biblical tales that were written 5 – 6 or more decades after the alleged death of Jesus?  Your 99.5% pure evidence is even later than that.  What you are citing are actually third and fourth hand; not even one of the gospels (believed to have been originally written in Greek) anyway are first-hand knowledge of what Jesus said and everyone knows how much is lost in translations.  The credibility of the old testament (uh, the Torah) as being the “word of god” is even disputed – you are invited to take a look at Chabad.org Ideas & Beliefs, especially The Murky Truth About Truth.  That all of these religious accounts are still so disputed after about 3000 years is proof that nothing is settled.  And the fact that oral traditions preceded the written text around 200 CE.  These are recent religious traditions considering Homo sapiens roamed Africa about 130,000 years ago.  Why would god wait 127,000 years to show up?  Then Jesus another 2800 years after that?  What’s with these alpha males?  And orators and ancient orators in particular and historians, particularly ancient historians, are not known to be paragons of truth tellers.  By the way, where did you get that 99.5% figure?

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By rowman, November 13, 2007 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Ernest Canning,
Hope I answered your question. I noticed you brought up the topic of Atheism and having been down that path, I have some questions I would like to pose to you as well:

1.  Atheism is an intellectual position.  What reasons do you have for holding that position?  Your reasons are based upon logic, and/or evidence or lack of it.  So, is there any reason/evidence for you holding your position that you defend?
2.  If you say that atheism needs no evidence or reason, then you are holding a position that has no evidence or rational basis.  If so, then isn’t that simply faith?
3.  If you say that atheism is supported by the lack of evidence for God, then it is only your opinion that there is no evidence.  You cannot know all evidence for or against God; therefore how can you say there is no evidence for God?
4.  If you say that atheism needs no evidence to support it because it is a position about the lack of something, then do you have other positions you hold based upon lack of evidence…like say, screaming blue ants?  Do you hold the position that they do not exist or that you lack belief in them, too?
5.  How do you account for the laws of logic in a universe without God?  The laws of logic are conceptual by nature and absolute.  Being absolute, they transcend space and time.  They are not the properties of the physical universe (since they are conceptual) or of people (since people contradict each other, which would mean they weren’t absolute).  So, how do you account for them?
6.  Everything that was brought into existence was caused to exist.  Can you have an infinite regression of causes?  No, since to get to “now” you’d have to traverse an infinite past.  It seems that there must be a single uncaused cause.  Why can’t that be God?

Other thoughts to consider:

If atheism is true:  The universe has laws.  These laws cannot be violated.  Life is a product of these laws and can only exist in harmony with those laws and is governed by them. Therefore, human thought, feelings, etc., are programmed responses to stimuli and the atheist cannot legitimately claim to have meaning in life.

The universe exists.  Is it eternal or did it have a beginning?  It could not be eternal, since that would mean that an infinite amount of time had to be crossed to get to the present.  But, you cannot cross an infinite amount of time (otherwise it wouldn’t be infinite).  Therefore, the universe had a beginning.  Something cannot bring itself into existence.  Therefore, something brought it into existence. 

What brought the universe into existence?  It would have to be greater than the universe and be a sufficient cause to it.  The Bible promotes this sufficient cause as God.  What does atheism offer instead of God?  If nothing, then atheism is not able to account for our own existence. 

The universe cannot be infinitely old, or all useable energy would have been lost already (entropy).  This has not occurred.  Therefore, the universe is not infinitely old.

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By Laura, November 13, 2007 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What an amusing rant by an obviously deeply (mentally) disturbed individual.

To the author who is apparently unfamiliar with the actual text of our Constitution’s First Amendment, I offer the following: “CONGRESS shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING the FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; OR ABRIDGING the FREEDOM of SPEECH…”

When did members of the military BECOME MEMBERS of CONGRESS?

Where in the First Amendment does it state that military members MUST FORFEIT FREEDOM of SPEECH?

You wrongly state “The undermining of the Constitution, especially by senior military officers, must end.” IN FACT, the aforementioned individuals ARE EMBRACING the CONSTITUTION by EXERCISING FREE SPEECH!

You DON’T HAVE to LIKE IT and YOU CAN’T STOP THEM! Have a great day!!!

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 13, 2007 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

#113005 by cyrena on 11/11 at 9:43 pm• “...And for those who say the Bible is the word of God, that is also hear say,did anyone actually see God write it down,of course not,is it the original words of God, highly doubtful, or did some person claim it was? Is the Bible of today exactly word for word as its original rendition. No. Then it cannot be the word of God, but of man….. This has been my question (and so long ago answered) since I was about 7 years old. Who says God wrote the Bible? Who claims to have this ‘in’ with God, so as to speak for Her, and write all of this stuff down…?”

You must know that you are right there, cyrena. As I recall, there is actually a short statement printed inside the cover ofthe St. James version of the Christian bible which acknowledges that what is in the bible is the “inspirations” (intuition) of a number of individuals.

The Christians of 100’s of years ago obviously already had difficulties with that and so too has Islam and every other religion. Only Buddhism seems to differ in as much as it is quite happy to add on the later knowledge from various masters or prophets who were themselves acknowledged to be enlightened (Je Tsong Khapa, etc, etc).

That doesn’t change the Buddha’s teachings but simply adds to the breadth of understanding. After all, we must all tread the same path of learning and realization. Its those who don’t want us to progress (or not faster than them) who insist on dry dogma and a once-written-never-to-be-questioned-or-added-to blind and thus unenlightened approach.

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 13, 2007 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

#113248 by purplewolf on 11/12 at 11:44 pm: - # 113020 Doug:- “...Sorry, but Cyrena commented on my article #112967 so you should had made fun of me and not her and no I don’t plan on writing my own version of the bible(haha). But if I did,it would say from start to finish:“Do what you will least it harm none.”

Oops, sorry, purplewolf - these blogs are so rudimentary that I overlooked that. Perhaps I should have just commented on yours as well back then - so I will now. But first, “Do what you will least it harm none….” is a misleading combination of two different statements with differing purposes…..

One is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” attributed to Alestair Crowley, a supposed black magician, who was plumbing the depths of self-seeking and self-righteousness. It is in total disregard of the REAL LAW of Karma.

But “harming none” is actually pre-Christian and comes from the Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism of ancient India. The Jews and even Jesus certainly never had any exclusive claim to “god’s teachings”, uhh. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahimsa

#112967 by purplewolf: “Every time I have tried to have faith and believe in anything, be it God or another person, I have been highly disappointed with what I have experienced. But then people like you will say “well you didn’t believe hard enough”. Me, I will take proven scientific fact and testable observation over ancient superstition hear say…”

Maybe so, but it is really a matter of having “faith” in your own intuition and thus your connection with “Universal knowledge” - not some other person. That becomes an active link eventually. Following another, unless they are more enlightened than yourself is folly! But science is often inaccurate too just as much as what is “ancient” is not all superstition.

#112967 by purplewolf: “Now according to the Old Testament-I am certain you fully believe as the whole truth and not a fabrication- that God put Adam into a deep sleep and remove a rib from him to create Eve right…?”

I see that you were discussing “cloning” but, as I understand it, this passage for the old testament (Jewish dogma) actually was the limit of some ancient person’s ability to describe their intuitive perception of DNA and genetics to an audience who were quite primitive and ignorant then anyway.

A “rib” is what you see with the strands of DNA in the “double helix”. Of course, this has been widely misinterpreted to suit a patriarchal society. In fact, the male XY is merely a genetic variant of the female XX chromsome anyway. Science has rescued us all on that one - if we would only listen!

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By rowman, November 13, 2007 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Thanks Leefeller. It is nice to know that we can dialog on a level of mutual respect. I have no dislike for you and I respectfully disagree with your position.

To think I woke up one day or was born a Christian would be an incorrect assumption. I am the last person you would have ever thought to be one. I struggled with it for years, was ostracized by family but to me, the truth is the truth. I worked through the tough questions, facts and distortions.

In your view, you do see this as a “fairy tale”. But how do you reconcile this with evidence?

Non Biblical accounts of events from Flavius Josephus, Tacitus (Roman historian), Thallus, Pliny (governor of Bithynia in Asia) and Lucian for example.

Archaeological Evidence:
It could be said that the Bible is a book of history—and it is. The Bible describes places, people, and events in various degrees of detail.  It is essentially an historical account of the people of God throughout thousands of years.  If you open to almost any page in the Bible you will find a name of a place and/or a person.  Much of this can be verified from archaeology.  Though archaeology cannot prove that the Bible is the inspired word of God, it has the ability to prove whether or not if some events and locations described therein are true or false.  There isn’t a single archaeological discovery that disproves the Bible in any way.

A very important issue is whether or not the documents have been accurately transmitted from the original writings down to the copies that we have today. Yes, they have been accurately transmitted to us.  The truth is that the New Testament documents are 99.5% textually pure.

How about the Jewish process for ensuring accurate texts:

The Torah was originally dictated from God to Moses, letter for letter. From there, the Midrash (Devarim Rabba 9:4) tells us:
Before his death, Moses wrote 13 Torah Scrolls. Twelve of these were distributed to each of the 12 Tribes. The 13th was placed in the Ark of the Covenant (with the Tablets). If anyone would come and attempt to rewrite or falsify the Torah, the one in the Ark would “testify” against him. (Likewise, if he had access to the scroll in the Ark and tried to falsify it, the distributed copies would “testify” against him.)
How were the new scrolls verified? An authentic “proof text” was always kept in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, against which all other scrolls would be checked. Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sages would periodically perform global checks to weed out any scribal errors.
To eliminate any chance of human error, the Talmud enumerates more than 20 factors mandatory for a Torah scroll to be considered “kosher.” This is the Torah’s built-in security system. Should any one of these factors be lacking, it does not possess the sanctity of a Torah scroll, and is not to be used for a public Torah reading.

We could go on and on about this. Truth is there are facts to substantiate this. It is not just a fairy tale.

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By Nabih Ammari, November 13, 2007 at 10:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PART ONE
========

Since the excellent article entitled"The Cancer From
Within” by Colonel David Antoon stimulated a great
deal of comments about the infiltration of the ominous
Christian-Fascists into the Air Force Academy and
else where in the American institutions and since
some of the comments had touched on Darwin’s Theory
and the supporters of Intelligent Design and since
the heat of discussion had cooled down,perhaps it
would be in order now to outline some important
points and add them to the discussion:

(1)Intelligent Design supporters have failed so far to discredit the basic premises of Darwin’s Theory
of Evolution.The term “Intelligent Design” seems to
me as a slick attempt to give genesis of creation, as
spelled out in the Old Testament,a phony scientific
respectability.It simply will not do.

(2)As to Darwin’s Theory,it must be said that all
theories are subject to strict prerequisite of
applicable and tangible observations which may or may
not enhance the final standing of the theories.The
theories which pass the application of well planed
testings may become “Plausible Theories”.

(3)Darwin’s Theory can be considered “Plausible” or
“Implausible”,depending upon how profound one’s
biological education and related fields and also on
one’s mental horizons which may allow to comprehend
the intricate elements involved in each each possible
evolution.

(4)The obvious comparison which certainly exists
between the physical shape and even in social family
behaviors of the human-beings and monkeys provide
the Darwinians a great deal of credence and indeed
“Plausibility”.On the other hand,the absence of an
equivalent evolution from crocodiles to something
else;meaning a parallel to monkeys/human-beings
relationship poses a question,however small,to the
“Plausibility” of the theory.

Will continue in PART TWO,if TRUTH-DIG permits.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
an Independent in Ohio.

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By Leefeller, November 13, 2007 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

rowman,

Be noted, this is not that I dislike you on the contrary, it is I disagree with you attempted arguments.

Your acceptance of 2000 year old fairy tales and quoting them shows why you cannot think or decide for yourself.  If I quoted from the “wizard of Oz” or “Harry Potter”  as you do from your bible, you would probably not believe my quotes to be true, only because you were not force fed them on a regular Sunday diet while growing up.  If you were raised in another place you could be spewing the Koran, or another time gleefully burning heretics at the stake, maybe you still do that?. 

Molding the minds of people in the military is part of the program, couple military discipline with cultist beliefs we see something so heinous as this article.  Should I believe in the tooth fairy, I would not evangelize the fact out of respect of others, nor would I fit in the air force. 

Since I refuse to quote from the Wizard of Oz, I will just say this, blind faith is just what it is, blind.  Now I understand your previous posts quite well, an inherent inability to use reason and perform abstract thought are absent in your life, tunnel vision seems to be the norm, so you are not alone.

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By Shenonymous, November 13, 2007 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

The question “who would Jesus bomb?” is a rhetorical question and is always offered that way.  No one seriously thinks that Jesus, if he was what a lot of people think he was/is, would even consider bombing anything let alone anyone.  If Jesus were a Christian is also a rhetorical hypothetical, but if Jesus were a Christian, and a powerful god, as Jesus is supposedly the incarnation of, then instead of thinking about bombs, why wouldn’t all-benevolent Jesus-god stop all the evil in the world?  Why put it to mankind to have evil at all?  What is all this divine need for totemic contrition?  You who cite Biblical verses might cite the whole reference, paraphrase it, then in your own words to demonstrate your understanding of what they are saying, because just to give the chapter/verse and reliance on the supernatural for help is quite fruitless… and boring.

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By devildog6771, November 13, 2007 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#112698 D Chalmers:

” People talk blithely and glibly about “democracy” in comparison to “religion” but they fail to understand that the same thing essentially happens. ONE party is chosen and the effect is a “one-party rule” for the other 49% of the population.

That is NOT freedom! And it is NOT “freedom from” the one-party states systems the USA is/was so fond of criticizing such as Russia once was and China still is. No wonder that the USA now has Blackwater and the USAF’s “Holy Warriors for Jesus” supporting fascism, etc etc…... “

This sounds like a fair argument until you stop to look at one key word:“ONE party is chosen!” But not to worry, because the socialist have managed to turn America into a country where the majority are forced to accept the beliefs, in politics and religion [I consider atheism a religion too in its own way]of the individual! That, in itself, defies the very principle of socialism, elevating one above the level of the “masses!” So we have the confused socialists and the dogged fascists
both corrupting our democracy.

Also, you did a good job of discussing democracy and its fallacies, but you did not clearly relate, in my opinion, the two- democracy and religion. Perhaps I mis-read your post?

One final point, the “Crusades” were a three century effort to recover the “Holy Land” from the Muslim conquest in the region. My source states this left a bad taste in the mouth of the Muslims toward Christians. It did not say anything about how the Christians felt about Muslim conquest of the Holy Land. I suppose that might be because the “Crusades” was self-explanatory!

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have a common point of origin, in the beginning, back to the time of Abraham. The split occurred with Abraham’s two sons. Personally, the I feel the Holy Land belongs to all three. It ought to be made independent of all three and any nation. It ought to be set up much like the Vatican, as its own city state with the three divisions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each having an equal religious leader presence there equally maintaining and preserving the sanctity of the region.

What we have now is it’s mine you can’t have or if I can’t have it no one will. The whole thing reminds me of three siblings fighting over the estate of the recently deceased parents!!

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By Rick, November 13, 2007 at 7:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a retired Navy veteran, I am going to need to change my opinion of the Air Force now that they are remembering history and taking their charge seriously.

They are warriors again!

And they remember their LORD!

All I can say is hallelujah and amen brothers and sisters!

How awesome is that!

John 14:6, translated means that any other god, including allah is an idol.

I didn’t write the rules, God did and I just try to live by them.

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By rowman, November 13, 2007 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

cyrena,
I do appreciate you, your passion and this dialog. I have no doubt that you and I would be friends in person. I was very much like you in my youth and held many of the same beliefs. I explored everything searching for answers. Everything – for good or bad. It was ironically, C.S Lewis and J.R. Tolken that changed my views on this subject. Many may not know that they are Christian and offered to me some of the most enlightening reading. I highly recommend to anyone that they read Mere Christianity. It is a wonderful book regardless of your perspective.

Purplewolf, The question you pose is very valid - Why did G-d instruct Adam/ Eve to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge and Evil? He is G-d and knew exactly what we would do with that information. He gave us paradise and we traded it for wars, suffering, corruption, greed, pride, etc.

The position I submit is that too many people try to assign a label to all Christians and point to a few groups or people as their spokesperson. Christianity has been distorted, hijacked by some and abused by others. For instance, no Christian I know supports Pat Robertson. He is a loon and his doctrine is wacked out. He claims Christianity but does not necessarily hold to the word. It is not for me to judge him for I do not know what is on his heart but I do know that in many situations he has caused more harm than good. He is one of many but you have to look at Christianity for what it is.

It is hard for someone with a secular perspective to be able to distinguish a Christian from an imposter. This was why I did post some verses. To show what is really said and try to illustrate what a true Christian is supposed to represent. Now I do not proclaim that all Christians adhere to this all the time. We are human, will and do error and I am just as guilty as anyone else. He has touched my heart and drastically changed me as a person and I am thankful for the grace he has for me. I do the best I can do to bring honor to Him.

It is hard for someone from a secular perspective to understand why I believe what I believe. The apostle John said this best “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” G-d has made promised to us, has proven this to my forefathers and the writings you find in the bible stand as a testimony of this to me.

For those who believe in evolution, I do not criticize you but neither should you criticize me for not. Asserting that we evolved from apes, conflicts with my beliefs and forces a religious perspective on me and others. Many of you say this view must be taught, you don’t want the Creation view forced on you but you fail to see how you force your own viewpoints. Be careful of the hypocrisy trap.

For those who pose the question “who would Jesus bomb”?  This seems to be a ridiculous question but it is systemic from the issue above. Are bombs and wars not mans will? Do you really think Jesus needs man made bombs to carry out his will?

Again, I implore you to not group all Christians as one and to view Christianity for what it is- not what you thought it was. There is much disinformation out there. Don’t let the Mormon, Jehovah Witness, (insert cult group) be your view of Christianity.

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By purplewolf, November 13, 2007 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

# 113020 Doug:
Sorry, but Cyrena commented on my article #112967 so you should had made fun of me and not her and no I don’t plan on writing my own version of the bible(haha). But if I did,it would say from start to finish:“Do what you will least it harm none.”

# 113040 Nabih:
I am no computer geek but you should have a spell check icon on your toolbar to help with your spelling, just click on it.


#113203 Shenonymous:
You have a great idea. Lets deploy all those evangelical clergy and chaplains preaching to the AIR FARCE cadets and drop them anywhere, maybe without the parachute, into a really hostile war zone area-after all that’s where they are really needed to preach the word of love and peace and leave them over there until they have converted all the people in Iraq to their view of the one true religion(radical Christian) rather than the religion(false religion)* practiced now. When peace has won out and everyone loves one another only then can these radical clergy people claim MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, and be allowed to come home, provided they are still alive.

* not my words, but words I have heard in religious teaching numerous times.

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By Shenonymous, November 12, 2007 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

Antoon clearly describes the problem.  What does Capital Hill have to say about this?  It has been well-defined, more or less, in these 145 comments, but what to do?  Awareness is one thing, articulating the situation another, and doing something about it the third and most important.  Somehow all evangelical clergy and chaplains associated with the Air Force should be deployed and flown right into Bhagdad?  The rest of the religious clergy can watch the war from the choir loft of the AFA cadet chapel on closed-circuit HDTV.  Seriously though, surely something can be done to remove the toxins?  What can be done at all about the evangelicals and their diseased minds anywhere, everywhere?  Something has to be done.

The other armed services agencies, Army, Navy, Marines, all have air corps.  Seem young Altoon made a valiant choice, but doesn’t he have a few other choices if it’s military flying he wants to do?

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By ocjim, November 12, 2007 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

113113 RON:

http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/004458.php

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By Ron, November 12, 2007 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, as a veteran, I was enraged at the sight of Dick Cheney laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington Cemetery on Sunday (while the Shrub cooled his heels at his Texas ranch), especially since he is responsible for the deaths of so many young GIs buried at Arlington. That slug should not be permitted to enter those hallowed gates. I hope America wakes up before it’s too late to do anything about this mess.

On another subject - earlier, there was the following post which is the first I’ve heard of this - could someone give me a link to the source of this information? I know about the cross country transport of the Nukes, but had heard nothing about the “suicides.” (Thanks, CNN):

#112493 by Pat Williams on 11/08 at 9:04 pm
(Unregistered commenter)- writeon- What is even scarier about the illegal crosscountry transport of six nukes is the series of deadly “suicides” and “accidents” which have befallen personnel from both the air bases during the past two months.

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By cann4ing, November 12, 2007 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Luis Cayetano:  Upon reading your post, I was tempted to shout, “Amen!”  But then, as an atheist, I realized it would be rather hypocritical for me to do so.  Instead, I will simply extend my thanks for hitting the nail on the head.

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By ocjim, November 12, 2007 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

I thought I was beyond shock, but this piece indicates that even the informed—which I consider myself to be—do not know the depths of infection brought by this fascist regime. I interact with people in my daily activities who blithely go about, totally oblivious to the spreading cancer. The problem is that the departure of Bush might not end this nightmare if more people don’t wake up. There is evidence that distortion and lying has caught on with the leading Republican contender, Rudy, and the other Republicans tout the war and spread fear just like BushCo. So the cancer could continue and spread.

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By cyrena, November 12, 2007 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

#112994 by Luis Cayetano

Luis,

This is such a delightful post. The entire thing.

•  ....” It’s absolutely PATHETIC. I want every atheist, agnostic and secular Christian reading this to shout down the roof whenever they see fundamentalist interference of this sort…”

I will DO this, and I’ll make sure to bring all of my atheist, agnostic, and secular Christian buddies and cohorts. We’ll shout down the roofs and holler up from the basements, whenever ANY of this interference shows itself. 

•  “…..The evangelical fascists want to take over the sources of power in the country because they know that more and more people are onto them; people are starting to realise, more than ever, that Bible-thumpers are full of shit. They therefore see it as their duty to shut down critical minds so as not to be challenged by the interludes of modernity and science…..”

Yep, they are indeed full of shit, and thank GOD, (and modern technology) more and more people are starting to figure it out. Because, we will NOT be ignorant, and we will continue to embrace modernity and science, and encourage each other to use our minds in such a way as to collectively advance the interests of humanity at large.

So THERE!!

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By Nabih Ammari, November 12, 2007 at 4:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:#112969 by rowman on 11/11 at 6:01

rowman,

I have appreciated your prompt and sincere attempt in
answering the question raised by Ernest Canning.Your
quote from the Bible written by Luke has been even
more appreciated.But,what can I say when the very same
Ernest Canning raises his very very legitimate question
all over again in his Post#112980 addressed to you as
such?:

“So again,I ask,rowman,who would Jesus have bombed?”.

 

please answer him directly and I will follow-up your
interesting dialogues and I will intercede if I feel
my intervention may provide more substance to your
constructive(I hope) your exchange of views.Thanks.

By the way,I apologize for spelling your name and the
first name of Ernest Canning incorrectly,in my last
post before this one.Typing is a frustrating task for
me.I type with one finger.At the top of that,I am an
illiterate in computer manipulations and just do not
know what to do as I discover my typing mistakes.So,I
e-mail ny comments with the typing mistakes,trusting
the intelligence of the Bloggers to read my comments
as they were intended to be typed correctly,in the
first place.Sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio

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By Verne Arnold, November 12, 2007 at 3:46 am Link to this comment

#112822 by robert m puglia on 11/10 at 5:19 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

smug adherence to the dogma which is proffered as christianity makes me doubt evolution but completely discount intelligent design. the issue is never about one’s beliefs but about making a big stink about one’s beliefs, about bludgeoning the non-believer into submission or out of existence. humankind cannot bear much reality.

Bullseye!

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 12, 2007 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

#113005 by cyrena on 11/11 at 9:43 pm: “...Also in the Old Testament, God forbid Adam and Eve to eat not of the fruit from the tree of knowledge. How come…?”

The “tree of knowledge” is more or less the same as saying “the path to Enlightenment”. Once you have trodden that path, the “fruits” will be known to you - and you can then write your own bible, ha ha!

Of course, nobody wants you to. Either they want to control you, as you said, cyrena, or they want to limit you to their own level of ignorance. Achieving Wisdom (the “fruits”) and thus confronting TRUTH can be the most frightening thing that a person can ever encounter.

That is because “Truth” is ALL KNOWLEDGE and so many people are merely living a pathetic shallow existence in total denial of their full potential and utter refusal to change in any way. FEAR is their master - and they sadly become loyal servants.

Quote: “The Buddha gave teachings in order to share with us the path to enlightenment that he had actualized himself. These teachings are practical, give us the tools to deal with difficulties, and show us how to live a meaningful life…...

The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-fold Path are one way of formulating these teachings. The Gradual Path to Enlightenment is another. These two are compatible, and knowing both enables us to look at the same thing from different perspectives. In the early eleventh century, the Indian Buddhist master, Atisha condensed essential points from the sutras and ordered them into the text, “Lamp of the Path”. These were then expanded upon in the fourteenth century by the Tibetan Buddhist master, Lama Tzong Khapa into the text “The Great Exposition on the Gradual Path to Enlightenment”...” http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPathToEnlightenment/index.html

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By Claire M, November 11, 2007 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s appalling that, in the 21st century, religious brain-washing continues to grow and thrive after all we now understand about belief, the human brain, and the evolution of mythology within cultures.

Some human survival mechanism actually works against us—people frantically cling to ancient mythologies as if true.  The fact that Dobson has been so successful is a testament to the effectiveness of brain-washing.  People give their power away to evangelists and let them tell them what to think, how to interpret ancient folklore like the Bible, etc. 

Paul was an amazing cultural engineer—he had brain-washing and mass hypnosis down to a science.  Just like Mohammed.  Very frightening it still happens in modern times.

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By cyrena, November 11, 2007 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

#112964 by rowman

Roman, (intentional, as in Roman soldier) all of your bible quotin’ and totin’ is totally wasted on me. I have absolutely NO USE for the Old Testament, and very limited use of the New. What I do need to know from it, I already do, and it’s nothing like what you’ve been sprouting. Purplewolf has overwhelmingly articulated my exact posture on your biblical references. So, you should re-read this.

#112967 by purplewolf

•  Also in the Old Testament, God forbid Adam and Eve to eat not of the fruit from the tree of knowledge. How come? Wouldn’t it make more sense for God to want his “creations” to grow and learn and become independent? What good could come of the purpose of keeping people ignorant, other than it is easier to control those who are uneducated. Once they know things they are free to think for themselves, it is harder to control them and this is a bad thing because they then would be able to judge for themselves what is right or wrong and control their own lives as they see fit over letting the “churches and dictators/rulers” of the world do it for them.
This is exactly why the Bible and other forms of organized religion are still in use as we speak and write. TO CONTROLL PEOPLE, AND KEEP THEM IGNORANT!! That’s why all of the slaves (black and Indian) were ‘Christianized) even before the formation of this nation state, and it’s why slaves were prohibited from learning to read or write. (except the bible)
•  And for those who say the Bible is the word of God, that is also hear say,did anyone actually see God write it down,of course not,is it the original words of God, highly doubtful, or did some person claim it was? Is the Bible of today exactly word for word as its original rendition. No. Then it cannot be the word of God, but of man.

This has been my question (and so long ago answered) since I was about 7 years old. Who says God wrote the Bible? Who claims to have this ‘in’ with God, so as to speak for Her, and write all of this stuff down? (I mean, besides georgie boy, who can’t read, write, OR speak any better than YOU – roman)

For every single person that has read or listened to someone else read the bible, there is an interpretation. And, NOBODY can verify that one interpretation is any more accurate than the other several billion. Now, if a collection anthropologists, archeologists, historians, or other scholars are willing to share any of their own knowledge (via research and collaborative investigation) about the bible, I’m always glad to learn, or at least consider what they have discovered.

However, I don’t need to read a book that’s a few thousands years old, with no verifiable authors, to know God, or the difference between what’s right and wrong. Now Jesus sounds like the ideal person, IF we can take that much from the Bible, and accept it, if not as fact, than at least as very good wisdom. I’m thinking at this point though, that he probably wishes he could change his name, so as not to be identified with these loonies that have named their ‘movement’ after him.

I’ll leave you with the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “We like your Jesus, but we do not like your Christians”.

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By Luis Cayetano, November 11, 2007 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The founding fathers would be absolutely disgusted with the filth and corruption and God-soaked politics that have engulfed America, and the legions of stupor-faced, wide-eyed zealots who act as the power base for this despicable rot.

And yes, evolution is a fact. If you don’t like it, it’s your problem. It’s no wonder America has become the laughing stock of the Western world: the country that put men on the moon is now beholden to ignoramuses whose knowledge of the natural order hasn’t moved much beyond medieval times. It’s absolutely PATHETIC. I want every atheist, agnostic and secular Christian reading this to shout down the roof whenever they see fundamentalist interference of this sort. The cancer isn’t so much a sign of strength, though; it’s a sign of deep insecurity and weakness. The evangelical fascists want to take over the sources of power in the country because they know that more and more people are onto them; people are starting to realise, more than ever, that Bible-thumpers are full of shit. They therefore see it as their duty to shut down critical minds so as not to be challenged by the interludes of modernity and science. This means a police state ruled by confessional decree, a complete subjugation of science in the furtherance of religious dogma (in other words, useless crap that bares no resemblance to reality and that will be useless for tackling the problems that confront humanity) and a destruction of America’s literary and dissident culture. You know, like the Inquistition, except in possession of nuclear weapons and F-22s.

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By cann4ing, November 11, 2007 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Great, rowman, you have a Bible and can quote from it.  Now explain how your understanding of those Biblical passages squares with your support for a regime which has killed more than one million innocent civilians in Iraq and indiscriminately tortures innocents caught up in its dragnets?  Not exactly “turn the other cheek,” now, is it?

So again I ask, rowman, who would Jesus have bombed?

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