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Shi’ism and Social Protest

Shi’ism and Social Protest

by Juan Cole and Nikki Keddie
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Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord?

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Posted on Dec 5, 2011
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

At times like these I hear the voices of the saints who went before us. The suffragist Susan B. Anthony, who announced that resistance to tyranny is obedience to God, and the suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who said, “The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.” Or Henry David Thoreau, who told us we should be men and women first and subjects afterward, that we should cultivate a respect not for the law but for what is right. And Frederick Douglass, who warned us: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” And the great 19th century populist Mary Elizabeth Lease, who thundered: “Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master.” And Gen. Smedley Butler, who said that after 33 years and four months in the Marine Corps he had come to understand that he had been nothing more than a gangster for capitalism, making Mexico safe for American oil interests, making Haiti and Cuba safe for banks and pacifying the Dominican Republic for sugar companies. War, he said, is a racket in which newly dominated countries are exploited by the financial elites and Wall Street while the citizens foot the bill and sacrifice their young men and women on the battlefield for corporate greed. Or Eugene V. Debs, the socialist presidential candidate, who in 1912 pulled almost a million votes, or 6 percent, and who was sent to prison by Woodrow Wilson for opposing the First World War, and who told the world: “While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” And Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who when he was criticized for walking with Martin Luther King on the Sabbath in Selma answered: “I pray with my feet” and who quoted Samuel Johnson, who said: “The opposite of good is not evil. The opposite of good is indifference.” And Rosa Parks, who defied the segregated bus system and said “the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” And Philip Berrigan, who said: “If enough Christians follow the Gospel, they can bring any state to its knees.”

And the poet Langston Hughes, who wrote:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.

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Or does it explode?

 

And Martin Luther King, who said: “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ And there comes a time when a true follower of Jesus Christ must take a stand that’s neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must take a stand because it is right.”

Where were you when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there to halt the genocide of Native Americans? Were you there when Sitting Bull died on the cross? Were you there to halt the enslavement of African-Americans? Were you there to halt the mobs that terrorized black men, women and even children with lynching during Jim Crow? Were you there when they persecuted union organizers and Joe Hill died on the cross? Were you there to halt the incarceration of Japanese-Americans in World War II? Were you there to halt Bull Connor’s dogs as they were unleashed on civil rights marchers in Birmingham? Were you there when Martin Luther King died upon the cross? Were you there when Malcolm X died on the cross? Were you there to halt the hate crimes, discrimination and violence against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and those who are transgender? Were you there when
Matthew Shepard died on the cross? Were you there to halt the abuse and at times enslavement of workers in the farmlands of this country? Were you there to halt the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Vietnamese during the war in Vietnam or hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan? Were you there to halt Israel’s saturation bombing of Lebanon and Gaza? Were you there when Rachel Corrie died on the cross? Were you there to halt the corporate forces that have left working men and women and the poor in this country bereft of a sustainable income, hope and dignity? Were you there to share your food with your neighbor in Liberty Square? Were you there to become homeless with them?

Where were you when they crucified my Lord?

I know where I was.

Here.

With you.


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By Ed Romano, February 6, 2012 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Ozark, There are a number of isms in the running for the title of ” ultimate p[olitical sin”. Right at the top I could mention governments that allow unbridled capitalism to dominate a society.  Ed R

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By elisalouisa, February 6, 2012 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Response to Ozark Michael 1/31 at 10:43 am post

“Speak out for those who cannot speak” That is the action that Bonhoeffer asked of the church. The Pietism he saw was dead. It was his intent to bring it back through serious worship and living the Sermon on the Mount.

Bonhoeffer aspired to visit Gandhi in India, knowing that Gandhi was part of a community that lived by the teachings set forth in the Sermon on the Mount. No consumerism there. No accumulation of wealth due to the forced sacrifice of others. How would your teabaggers respond to this?

Providing support for those who camp out at OWS is the action of a Bonhoeffer. Such are the likes of Chris Hedges and others who are arrested standing up for those who are tired, hungry, homeless and cannot speak for themselves.  Yet, you revile both the Occupiers and those such as Hedges who give them support and encouragement Michael. You are not only with Wall Street, you are Wall Street personified.

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By OzarkMichael, February 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

OM, you do not engage in honest dialog and do not have anything close to an objective manner.  To repeat my previous response, “OM, I don’t answer your stupid questions because you don’t ask them in good faith.”

Actually i asked in good faith, which is not to say that i was going to let you walk all over me. I would have kept challenging you. Whats wrong with that?

Too late now though. You should prepare some more baseless accusations for next time. Catch ya on the next thread!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

To OzarkMichael’s comment of February 5 at 8:10 am:

To the particular segment that reads, “...........because I wanted to know what you meant. I was going to listen to what you had to say….......” has my side hurting I’m laughing so hard. 

OM, you do not engage in honest dialog and do not have anything close to an objective manner.  To repeat my previous response, “OM, I don’t answer your stupid questions because you don’t ask them in good faith.”

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By OzarkMichael, February 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Ed said:

Dear Folks, How about some concrete examples of what you’re talking about?

I second that motion. Especially since so much is said and repeated about my ‘fascism’.

Fascism is the ultimate political sin, so I would like to know what i have said that is fascist. I would like some proof, some evidence, but none is ever presented, merely the accusation is repeated over and over and over.

Fascism is such an important accusation, one should really offer proof against the individual, otherwise its the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, and McCarthyism in reverse.

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By Ed Romano, February 5, 2012 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Dear Folks, How about some concrete examples of what you’re talking about? Give us an example of religious facism….an argument that goes toward proving that Jesus was left leaning pacifist… Why someone who calls themselves Christian really isn’t ....etc. etc…..Just a suggestion. Ed R

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By elisalouisa, February 5, 2012 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Was Jesus not an historical figure? Does not a body of work in his name survive? Can one not approve of his position without buying into the religious fascism of some who preach in his name without a clue?

Absolutely Ardee. As you well know many Atheists/Agnostics don’t acknowledge Christ. 

Organizations have a way of veering away from their initial core values, becoming something foreign as to the intent of the founders. I believe the Evangelicals are one such group.

Is that the best you can do Mr. H?

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By OzarkMichael, February 5, 2012 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

My question, from the first time I asked it, involves your comparison of extremism between the Muslim and the Christian. Why is there a difference between the one and the other? Why is one “on steroids” and the other isnt? I never heard such a statement before and I wanted to know what causes the difference. How did it come to be that way? It was not a simple question. It required some knowledge and creativity to answer. 

If you had any intellectual curiousity you would have figured out that I was inviting you to explore the problem you were talking about, but all you did in response to my question was produce a torrent of insults as you grasped at superficial meanings instead of tackling a hard question.

I was giving you a chance to make a prolonged and clear attack because I wanted to know what you meant. I was going to listen to what you had to say even though it was an attack on me.

Why? Well, I have that burning curiosity which makes me reckless enough to put my own beliefs on the line. People who disagree with me might be right about something, so i seek from them an intellectual critique upon myself. But all you can provide is insults of the most superficial and useless kind.

Think of this: You eschew faith, so reason is all you have to negotiate the torrents of life. Do you ever use it or are you just being swept along?

Think of this: You eschew faith, and so earnestness should be the quality that motivates you. Yet I was more earnest about what you said, I took it more seriously(I wanted to understand why, and where does that understanding lead? what is the bottom line?) while you had no motivation to investigate your own belief.

It is tiresome for me to be more interested in someone else’s idea than they are. At some point I have to cut you off. Henceforth we will just be trading barbs and insults. You will, of course, consider that at times to be a victory. Yeah, right. Go team!
 
Perhaps you are a young person, in which case i am expecting too much and being too hard on you. Maybe you will grow into these things in time. If you are a young person, the first step to being wise is to stop being so impetuous and confess that you didnt understand what was going on.

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By Anarcissie, February 5, 2012 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

There are many injunctions in the Law and the Prophets to practice charity and welfare, on a community (state) as well as an individual level.  Evangelicals who oppose these practices are not reading their Book very carefully.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 5, 2012 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

To this, “Was Jesus not an historical figure? Does not a body of work in his name survive? Can one not approve of his position without buying into the religious fascism of some who preach in his name without a clue?” I say….hell yes.  Jesus was a pacifist.  He was a leftie if anything.  Let’s look closely athtthe new and old testaments because they are PROOF POSITIVE that the doctrine of the evangelicals is Old Testament, not New.

I criticize the be-Jesus out of these evangelicals who invoke the name of God and Christ at every turn and are then, their deeds don’t come close to measure up to what Jesus taught.  I respect real Christians.  How can this simple position possibly be mis-understood?  Because the evangelicals and other extremists go to great efforts in thier propaganda to make it all a black and white choice.

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By heterochromatic, February 5, 2012 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

elbalouisa—— silly old girl, many left.

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By ardee, February 5, 2012 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

Ardee:Listen, you religious fascist, Jesus would stand in your way too.
So true and surprising ... that the Jesus part…would come from you. 

Was Jesus not an historical figure? Does not a body of work in his name survive? Can one not approve of his position without buying into the religious fascism of some who preach in his name without a clue?

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By elisalouisa, February 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

I did have a relative in Germany in the 1930s, el, a grandfather. He left, joined the British army, married an Englishwoman and moved to the US after the war.

Right, Mr. h. For one thing, in the 1930s German males had to serve in the German Armed Forces and then be part of the Reserve. If you were not in the Armed Forces or Reserve you had to be in the Reichsarbeitsdienst. It would have been next to impossible for a German male at that time to get a passport much less be accepted in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.  If you were Jewish a passport would not have been difficult to obtain. The difficulty for Jews was finding a host country.

Fascism has its ways and trolls have their Waterloo.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

A. No problem with true Christians.  You are NOT a Christian.  Evangelical ‘Christians’ are NOT Christians.  They can call themselves Christians all they want, but they’re not. 

B. Don’t you know what the idiom ‘on steroids’ means?

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By OzarkMichael, February 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

At present his extremist ilk would merely force a woman to carry the pregnancy of a rapist to term, the sharia Muslims would kill her.  There OM, happy?

My question was… why is there a difference? Why arent the Christians on steroids too?

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By heterochromatic, February 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

I did have a relative in Germany in the 1930s, el, a grandfather.

He left, joined the British army, married an Englishwoman and moved to the US
after the war.

whyever do you ask?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

OM, I don’t answer your stupid questions because you don’t ask them in good faith, too ideologically driven, and I’ve judged (heaven forbid?) yes made a judgment that you’re just not objective enough to waste time on. 

Faith?  The quality of your faith?  How about I question the sincerity of your faith, that’s more accurate.  Faith is for when reason can’t be made to work.  It’s not an excuse to act without decency in the name of Christ, disguised behind faith. 

Heterochromatid: don’t buy into the ‘football game theory’ of competing ideas.  If and when ‘Team Born Again’ wins, we go theocracy as Ardee suggests and we no longer have a Democracy.  Experiment over.  It is these extremists, the ultra-born agains, the sharia law Muslims, the ultra-orthodox Jews ‘win’, women and gays lose first,  then anyone who is a non-believer loses.  OM is too coy to admit the obvious about Muslims being evangelicals (born agains) on steroids.  At present his extremist ilk would merely force a woman to carry the pregnancy of a rapist to term, the sharia Muslims would kill her.  There OM, happy?  More stuff like that.  Quit acting like a dumb-@ss, you’re smart enough to figure out what the ‘Muslims on steroids’ comment means.  Think you’re a smartie wasting peoples times I bet.  Huh.

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By elisalouisa, February 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

They would have to be as familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascisms were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans, as Orwell suggested. Hitler and Mussolini, after all, had not tried to seem exotic to their fellow citizens. No swastikas in an American fascism, but Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars) and Christian crosses. No fascist salute but mass recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy.
Robert O Paxton in ‘Anatomy of Fascism.’

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.  Blaise Pascal

Quotes from Chris Hedges book American Fascists. subtitle The Christian Right and the War on America.  (A must read for those who truly care about this country.)


“Why should they not compete and wish to prevail over the other?”
Did you have relatives in Germany in the 30s heterochromatic? I think that’s what they said about Hitler and his fascist Gestapo,


Ardee:Listen, you religious fascist, Jesus would stand in your way too.
So true and surprising ... that the Jesus part…would come from you. 

Ed R Yes, there are those who stood up to the Fascists and they deserve recognition. Thanks.

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By OzarkMichael, February 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Christian conservatives and the left have different visions for America and there’s no reason why they should not compete and wish to prevail over the other.

that’s the deal, Oz.

Thats a good deal, too.

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By heterochromatic, February 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

not the limitation and marginalization of conservative Christians, but the
limitation of their ability to shape law and policy for the nation in ways that
the"left’ believes to be not in the nation’s best interest.

Christian conservatives and the left have different visions for America and
there’s no reason why they should not compete and wish to prevail over the
other.

that’s the deal, Oz.

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By ardee, February 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Yet the fondest wish of many Leftists on Truthdig is the limitation and marginalization of conservative Christians in American civics.

By limitations Ozark refers to the efforts to keep religious zealots like himself from turning this nation into a theocracy. How dare those atheistic progressives!

Do not the vast majority of people understand that Michael and his ilk have all the answers, all the solutions. How dare they stand in his way.

Listen, you religious fascist, Jesus would stand in your way too.

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By Ed Romano, February 4, 2012 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

To elisalouisa, This is not meant to diminish the power of your argument, but there was at least one man who stood up to the nazis and his action deserves to be remembered. In 1943 Franz Jaggerstatter refused to be inducted into the German army. He said he was a follower of Christ and the Germans were waging an unjust war. The clergy who counseled him told him that he was wrong to do this. But Jaggerstatter was not convinced. The Nazis beheaded him. Five or six years ago, the Catholic Church, which said and did nothing to help him or millions of other young Germans at the time, had the gall to enroll him as one of the Blessed a few years ago. This is the last step before his being proclaimed a saint…..and what some call witness while others might say it is putting your actions where your mouth is. Many are called, but few are chosen, Jesus said. This young man was one of the chosen. His story was written by Gordon Zhan in the 1950’s.  Ed R

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By elisalouisa, February 4, 2012 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Yours is a religion of action Michael. Yet, it is in the quiet moments of reflection, meditation and prayer that the authentic self comes into play. It is meeting place of the world’s great religions, and also some non-believers I might add. This non action, by whatever name, reaches out to the authentic self. In finding no use for such ways your Evangelical branch has become the zenith of worldly aggression, consumerism and self-importance bearing no semblance to what Christ lived and taught.  A devil and spit fire religion if you will pardon me. A dangerous religion encouraging endless war so that Christ’s kingdom may be a reality! 

One excuse for such conduct is the “pietists” in Germany who did not stand up to Hitler. Now that’s a revelation. If truth be told, no one stood up to Hitler for a long period of time. Many in Europe and elsewhere found Fascism to be acceptable for more than one reason. Fascism was encouraged by corporate powers even then, more particularly to fight Socialism and Communism which were a real threat at that time. But that is another story. Now you are on the Hitler side in our country, with Right wing neocon Evangelicals determined to be armed to the teeth so that the destruction, devastation and terror they embody may bring about the second coming of the Christ. What a sacrilege.

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By OzarkMichael, February 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

It was a genuine question. I want to make sure that i understand what Ed meant before proceeding to agree with him or argue with him. Its a simple precaution before reacting to someone… first I make sure that i understand what they meant. I dont understand, What is Progress, why you felt a need to attack the question. All Ed has to do is explain. He is a big boy, he can handle it. My ‘misdirection’ isnt going to effect his answer at all.

Perhaps you prefer more challenging questions? Well, some of my questions are quite good and difficult to answer because they are challenging the person to be creative and thoughtful. There is no pre-packaged or canned answer fopr them to resort to. I dont even guess what the person meant.

Apparently that is the type of question you like?

No, you dont like that sort of question. I asked you that type of question after you said:

I’ve made this speech before regarding Muslim extremists, who are just evangelical ‘Christians’ on steroids.

my response was: Thats a fine turn of a phrase there. But please explain what is lacking within Christians that we arent “on steroids”

I asked you a question without any “turd of a piece of misdirection” in it. The field was wide open before you. You could have gone wherever your intellectual creativity would take you.

You ignored that difficult question. Funny, too, after making it sound like “Muslims are just evangelical Christians on steroids” is a concept that you have handled in the past, one would think that an invitation to expand on the details of your theory would be welcomed. But no, like many atheist ‘intellectuals’ you flee from a challenging question and instead throw up a crude attack on my simple question (for someone else!).

You have denigrated the quality of my faith. As much as you are able to evaluate faith(whether it is genuine or not), and as freely and quickly you pronounce your verdict on my faith(which by the way could be the correct verdict)...  it never occurs to atheists that the quality of their intellectual creativity and flexibility cries out to be evaluated by one such as I, and that my verdict could be correct.

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By Ed Romano, February 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

To What Is Progress,  Yes. I tried. But Ozark seems to be interested only in trying to score points. It’s a game with him I suppose. He enjoys the joust. He can play that game with someone else. Keep the faith.  Ed R

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By Anarcissie, February 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, February 3 at 3:12 pm

‘Anarcissie said; “I suppose it’s conceivable that Mr. Phalanxes is actually encouraging physical attacks on the police.  Maybe he’s a provocateur.”

A Right-Winger! Agent provocateur! Why didnt I think of that before?’

Not necessarily a right-winger in the public sense.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

What a turd of a piece of misdirection this is: “But the balance of your post was about Vietnam, which suggests that the banner of war is the one you are really thinking about. In that case, I misunderstood you at first, and in fact you believe that Christians influencing politics is ok.”

Ed Romano, don’t waste your breath on Ozark.  You absolutely get it.  Your points are too pure to bastardize with the likes of OM’s moronic attempt to claim Christ as his savior.  That is, his attempt to use Christ to sanction all kinds of complete BS Jesus wouldn;t have a damn thing to do with.

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By OzarkMichael, February 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said; “I suppose it’s conceivable that Mr. Phalanxes is actually encouraging physical attacks on the police.  Maybe he’s a provocateur.”

A Right-Winger! Agent provocateur! Why didnt I think of that before?  wink

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By OzarkMichael, February 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

So here is an instance where one part of Christ’s body was tearing apart another. Not only a majority of catholics but also a majority of protestants saw nothing wrong with this state of affairs.  ..... What I just described in not merely an “accusation” as you put it. It is an absoluite fact…..You are right to say that citizens of all stripes try to use the government’s coercive power to advance there own interests and beliefs. That is exactly the point I would make. Christians, according to my reading of the testament, are not to proceed under this banner and that is exactly the reason why I say I have met and know very few Christians.

You agree that citizens of all stripes try to use the government’s coercive power to advance their own interests and beliefs.  You then warned that “Christians are not to proceed under this banner”. I suppose you mean Christians should not be involved in the banner of involvment in politics?

But the balance of your post was about Vietnam, which suggests that the banner of war is the one you are really thinking about. In that case, I misunderstood you at first, and in fact you believe that Christians influencing politics is ok.

Please clarify.

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By Ed Romano, February 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Ozark, I’ll try to keep the heat out of this discussion…Here’s an example of what I tried to convey….. In North Vietnam there are many catholics. (I’m not sure but there may also be Pretestants) They have a cathedral in Hanoi and during the war they had a cardinal named Sin. So we were treated to the spectacle of American catholics flying over North Vitenam dropping bombs and naplam on North Vitenamese catholics. The church was silent about this until very near the end of the conflict when tremendous pressure was being put on it to say something about this disgraceful situtation. In the Roman catholic religion there is a concept called the Mystical Body of Christ which grows out of the claim by St.Paul that we are all members of the body of Christ in a mystical but real sense. So here is an instance where one part of Christ’s body was tearing apart another. Not only a majority of catholics but also a majority of protestants saw nothing wrong with this state of affairs.  ..... What I just described in not merely an “accusation” as you put it. It is an absoluite fact…..You are right to say that citizens of all stripes try to use the government’s coercive power to advance there own interests and beliefs. That is exactly the point I would make. Christians, according to my reading of the testament, are not to proceed under this banner and that is exactly the reason why I say I have met and know very few Christians. What passes for Christianity in the country is almost a blasphemy. If Christians do not stand over and against the procedures used by non believers….how do we differ from them? I’m not trying to score points here. There is a homely little saying we hear every time Christmas rolls around… Put Christ back in Christmas…How the hell do we do that when He’s not even in Christianity anymore ?

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By OzarkMichael, February 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Hi Ozark, Would you mind telling me what part of the country you live in?

                            -Ed Romano

I read the rest of your post and it seems that your question was rhetorical and merely an introduction to your accusations. Correct me if i am wrong. Meanwhile:

They believe the government should force everyone to adopt their version of morality and advocate using the coercive power of government to bring this about…

Whenever a citizen recommends a course of action to the government, their own version of morality is being recommended as well. As soon as any law is passed in Congress, someone’s version of morality is forced on everyone. 

Employing the coercive power of government in order to extend one’s personal version of morality seems to be the goal of every political movement. I have not met a single person who refrains from this at some point.

You might protest that your version of morality is benign, but I feel the same way about my own version of morality. You might protest that your level of coercion is minimal, while mine is great. I dont see it that way at all.

You have every right to organize and vote. I dont try to invalidate you, or undermine your participation, or limit it. Yet the fondest wish of many Leftists on Truthdig is the limitation and marginalization of conservative Christians in American civics.

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By Ed Romano, February 3, 2012 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Hi Ozark,  Would you mind telling me what part of the country you live in ? As I read your posts there must be a lot of Christians in those parts. Personally, the ones I’ve run into are few and far between. The organized ( if that is an appropriate word ) ...the organized ones seem always ready to make accomodations with the devil’s progeny. They are among the first ones to support imperialist wars,rail against the poor and campaign for sabre rattling flag wavers. They believe the government should force everyone to adopt their version of morality and advocate using the coercive power of government to bring this about….I have searched through the New Testament and could not find any place where Jesus told his followers to go to ther authorities and make them force everyone else to live according to his teaching. What he DID say was that people would be attracted to the Way ( the message) when they witnessed the love Christians displayed…..Anyone being attracted these days ?

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By elisalouisa, February 3, 2012 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

I suggest you go back and read those hateful posts again if you havent already.

I don’t know if we are reading the same posts Michael, in looking back I actually found some of the interchange quite humorous, laughing out loud more than once.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, February 1, 2012 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa and all, please consider not calling them ‘Christian right Evangelicals’.  If Jesus were indeed as described, would he be endorsing these people?  The right wing evangelicals will continue to call themselves ‘Christians’, but why help them?  Why should we help them steal the term ‘Christian’? 

There are indeed very good people who behave as Jesus preached, and they alone deserve the right to be called ‘Christian’.  Why taint them by lumping the noe-con evangelicals in with them? 

By the way….the requirement to be ‘Born again’ is merely a friend-foe identifier for these rascals.

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By Anarcissie, February 1, 2012 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

I suppose it’s conceivable that Mr. Phalanxes is actually encouraging physical attacks on the police.  Maybe he’s a provocateur.  In any case, it is pretty obvious that the technology of the state is the perfected technology of violence, and activists are not going to get very far contesting the government on its turf.

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By elisalouisa, January 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

Frankly Michael, your comments on January 31 6:14 pm are so outrageous that only one of the lunatic fringe would respond. It is your equally appalling comments of January 31 at 10:43 am that interest me, especially since you proclaim to be a follower of Christ’s teachings.

. . .one must be more zealous to please God than to avoid sin.One must sacrifice oneself utterly to God’s purposes, even to the point of possibly making moral mistakes.

Such comments might lead one to conclude that Evangelicals in this day and age believe that wars that led to the suffering of children from Agent Orange in Vietnam, drone attacks in the middle east and casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and soon-to-be war in Iran are justified. Is this where the Evangelicals and neoconservatives meet? Are you justifying the broken lives and limbs of men and women who return from combat only to be ignored by the government that sent them to that hellhole called war?

Again you say:

one’s obedience to God must be forward-oriented and zealous and free and to be a mere moralist or pietist would make such a life impossible.

Dangerous stuff Michael. Whether or not there will be an armageddon is irrelevant at this time and place in our lives. Encouraging such an event through the support of these continual wars is positioning yourself away, far away from
the God you profess to love. Not only that, it confirms Chris Hedges’ comments that the Christian right Evangelicals are indeed very dangerous.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 31, 2012 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Claiming to be a Christian doesn’t make you one.  An atheist who behaves as Christ taught is a lot more of a christian than many of these new evangelical self-proclaimed Christians.  Face up to it.

I’m sick of people who make a big noise about all their faith and how much better it makes them than the rest of us.  If your ideology is more old-testament than new, then you’re not a Christian regardless of what you say.  Tooth for a tooth, or are you your brothers keeper?  Try it on OM.

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By heterochromatic, January 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

OZ——please we don’t besmirch the prophet because of
the failings of the flock.

Hedges is just a bit loopy, and blaming hostility
toward Christianity from the comments upon this blog on
the Divine Hedges is absurd and unwarranted.

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By OzarkMichael, January 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is our Bonhoeffer, having committed himself to social justice and fighting the great fight against fascism and if you will pardon me fighting those who are part of that movement such as the Evangelicals. Kindly follow link below.

                        —elisalouisa,

The Hedges article you linked to was red meat for the wolves. You can tell how bad the article was by the bad result: atrocious, hateful, bigoted, snarling attacks by Truthdig bloggers against Christianity. Not just one or two Truthdiggers, but many, perhaps approaching a majority… of your ‘allies’ against ‘fascism’ on Truthdig.

I suggest you go back and read those hateful posts again if you havent already. So many vehemently wish to destroy the faith which you claim to love. And you link to it to prove Hedges is like Bonhoeffer? Your modern-day “Bonhoeffer” incites folks to express their prejudice and hatred?

In case you didnt know, I commented on that article, and routinely fight against the tsunami of hate that Hedges invokes.  In my opinion, your modern-day “Bonhoeffer” intentionally stokes the prejudice of folks who hate Christians. He wishes to focus all that hatred against folks like me, while diminishing that hatred towards folks like himself, and yourself. Ah thats a devil’s bargain, and the devil will have his due.

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By elisalouisa, January 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

My conclusion from your comments Michael is that you and Bonhoeffer are miles apart in beliefs and action.

Bonhoeffer believed that Christians should not retreat from the world but act within it and that is just what the German Baptists do. One can be a pietist and also involved in fighting social and economical injustice. Perhaps even more so.  Chris Hedges is our Bonhoeffer, having committed himself to social justice and fighting the great fight against fascism and if you will pardon me fighting those who are part of that movement such as the Evangelicals. Kindly follow link below. 

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_christian_fascists_are_growing_stronger_20100607


Added note: It would be good if you stopped referring to just about everyone on these forums as “Leftists,” with some sort of double connotation adjective preceding that word.  It might lead some to believe that there is prejudice on your part against those who do not see the world through slate colored fascist lenses.

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By Ed Romano, January 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

Hi Ozark, No offense but I don’t give a rat’s ass whether you think I’m being high minded or not. I don’t have any terms to offer. Having lived in the U.S.for close to 80 years I know how useless it is to argue or give advice to folks who have been through the American school system or imbibed the American version of Christianity. Did I sound like I was giving advice? If so I’m sorry. Just a suggestion….You don’t have to surrender to anything.
What harm can it do to think about whether your message is better advanced with reason or vituperation ?  Ed R

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By OzarkMichael, January 31, 2012 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

I’ve made this speech before regarding Muslim extremists, who are just evangelical ‘Christians’ on steroids.

Thats a fine turn of a phrase there. But please explain what is lacking within Christians that we arent “on steroids”.

Meanwhile Ed Romano seems to be calling for a truce. A call for a truce sounds so reasonable, but over the years I have learned to be cautious with these high-minded Leftists. I have learned to ask questions and read the fine print, namely: what are the terms i must surrender to?

So lets hear it, Ed.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 31, 2012 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Christinans who actually emulate Christ are fine by me….the problem is modern evangelicals and other people who do the most ungodly things in the name of Christ. (Or God, etc). 

What happened to the turn the other cheek teaching?  Most of you self-proclaimed Christians aren’t Christians at all, you’re old-testament vengeful, violent SOB’s.  You diminish the word Christian.

I’ve made this speech before regarding Muslim extremists, who are just evangelical ‘Christians’ on steroids.  It’s y’all who want to divide the world into believers and non-believers basically so you can have your ungodly ways of war, theft intimidation and rape with the non-believers.  Old testament style baby.  Jesus wouldn’t have any of it, he was probably a leftie, all that ‘brothers keeper’ jazz.

So yep, all you fake Christians can just stop, we’re on to you.

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By OzarkMichael, January 31, 2012 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

elisalouisa, thank you for placing a good Christian testimony in front of us. Nevertheless, I think Pietism should only be an ingredient but never the mainstay of our lives, especially in America, where we all have a civic duty to participate and be an active part of out government and culture. But why am i telling you that? You already do that, dont you?

The question is whether I can do the same thing. You might not be asking that question, but others here ask it all the time, and I am the one who draws the line against them. It needs to be done publically and with emphasis.

Alow me to explain the eventual result of a society that was saturated with Pietism, which evolved into a nightmare.

Bonhoeffer criticized the German Pietist penchant for self-sacrifice and submission to authority, and he didnt do this merely as theory, but as he observed the Nazis taking advantage of the German Pietist culture.

Bonhoeffer thought that only a deep understanding of and commitment to the God of the Bible could stand up to such wickedness.  ”It depends on a God who demands responsible action in a bold venture of faith and who promises forgiveness and consolation to the man if he becomes a sinner in that venture.” 

Here was the rub; one must be more zealous to please God than to avoid sin.  One must sacrifice oneself utterly to God’s purposes, even to the point of possibly making moral mistakes. One’s obedience to God must be forward-oriented and zealous and free, and to be a mere moralist or pietist would make such a life impossible.

Christianity in America ought not be a cramped, compromised, circumspect life, but a life lived in a kind of wild, joyful, full-throated freedom – that is what it means to obey God. And preserving that freedom for everyone, including future generations, that is the civic and spiritual duty of American Christians. 

I will make mistakes, i am aware of that, but I insist on the same freedom for myself that atheists want for themselves. And by the way i want them to have freedom.

There is a powerful movement to limit the freedom of Christians. Those Leftist people wish to define Christianity as pure Pietism. I reject it utterly. It might be aimed mostly at the conservative Christians, but it will effect you as well. elisalouisa, surely you know of what i speak. You too have resisted being boxed in or having your freedom limited by the atheistic Left. 

This post as based on my rearrangement of a passage from Bonhoeffer: Paster, Martyr, Prophet, Spy,  p. 446.

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By Ed Romano, January 31, 2012 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

Oh Kiddies, Kiddees, Kiddees, Can’t we just agree that we are all hurtling through space on an unknown planet - hanging on for dear life, and it behooves us to stop hurling bricks at one another and begin to figure out how we might get along going forward ? Here’s a little something to think about….I am a person to the LEFT of Karl Marx. I think capitalism is an absolute scourge on the planet, but I also am a follower of Jesus Christ albeit constituting a church of one….. Nobody was ever converted by someone else calling them a fool.  Ed R

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By elisalouisa, January 31, 2012 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

Count me as one of most blatent evangelicals. You obviously prefer the Pietist
types.

Yes indeed Michael. Such “Pietist types” belong to Peace Centers, are Conscientious Objectors preferring a non-violent approach to international issues. Being well educated, many mothers home school their children, are leaders in their community, quietly bettering life for all. I would have to search long and hard to find better people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_German_Baptist_Brethren

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By ardee, January 31, 2012 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

Ozark yet again demonstrates his single minded simplistic approach to debate:

You Leftists want us to sit down and shut up.

You Christians, always so didactic and simple minded in your faith….One stupid generalization begets another!

If you knew leftists, instead of offering typical right wing cartoon-like illogical word pictures, you might understand that no two lefties can agree on much of anything. Although most I know would decry your vapid criticism and note that all we want is for you to practice as you believe but stop trying to impose your own belief system upon everyone else.

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By OzarkMichael, January 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

What Is Progress said:

You might not be among the more blatant evangelical ones, but many, many degrees of ‘faith people’ put their political support together toward non-secular society, and at the detriment of Democracy.

Count me as one of most blatent evangelicals. You obviously prefer the Pietist types, who in their early days had nothing to do with government and didnt care about it, but after a few generations they began to to support secular government. Yeah that sounds like your type of Christian. You Leftists want us to sit down and shut up.

Except… read your history…the home of Pietism was Germany, and in a few generations it was those Pietist German Christians who just sat on their hands when Hitler came along. He was the secular government, and those Christians felt their duty was to follow along and even support the state. Today those Pietist Christians are blamed (rightfully) for not standing up and making some noise.

So I stand up! This society allows all of us(you included) to make noise, and to influence others and the government with our ideals, to stand against it when it is wrong. I can also stand my ground against the likes of you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUTXb-ga1fo

You cannot force us into cowering quietly in a corner and we arent going away. If you cant make peace with that, then you can take your prejudice against Christians and stick it where the sun dont shine.

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By elisalouisa, January 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

Consider this Colin, how can you expand your horizons in any religion that has all the answers? That has captured you hook, line and sinker. Even more, sheltering yourself from others who may not agree with such beliefs limits your capacity and does not lead to understanding. Of course the organized religion that encourages
such behavior is out in front for you have committed yourself heart and soul to that organization which does your thinking for you.

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By OzarkMichael, January 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

You might prefer to think its metaphorical, but the comment about the “metaphorical” phalanx is pretty funny considering that there is video, actually two different videos from different angles, showing the anarchists with a shield wall advancing towards a police line. they did it two or three times in broad daylight. The idea is to confront the police, and possibly get police to back down or, more likely, to get themselves hurt. Its the lifeblood of OWS.

And the anarchists were throwing rocks.

And the anarchists pushed forward a large object

And the anarchists had a bottle of something inside the object which i suspect was to set the whole thing on fire… but the police broke that up.

I will link a video but wonder why I bother. Either you wont watch it or you will fall back on the old “anything bad at an Occupy event was caused by right wing agents provocateurs” defense.

Ok, lets get that over with. Fundamentalist Christians made the shield wall, The Koch Brothers paid for the large object and for the chemicals that would make sure it burned brightly, Newt Gingrich supporters were throwing the rocks, and of course Fox News camara men filmed the whole thing. Right?

The following video is heavily edited to make the anarchists look like they are victims. I figure thats as much as you can handle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WEK6HgXBsQ

But even so, at 22 seconds you can see the Fundamentalist Christian metaphorical phalanx advancing, and at the one minute mark you can briefly see the large wooden device they had pushed up with the jug inside it. of course, the video doesnt show the three advances that came closer and closer to the police line… the video only shows the retreat as the police finally realize that some protestors are doing something to the jug inside the wooden structure. The camara caught that police charge quite nicely. Fascists charging innocent people! and thats what OWS wants in the news.

Unless you go to a conservative website, where they show the whole thing.

Regardless, the shield wall phalanx thing was not metaphorical, I suspect sitting bull saw the same video i did and was giving tactical advice as he cheers the anarchists forward… from the complete safety of his anonymous little spider hole.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 30, 2012 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Colin I may have been a bit rude, and presumptuous to say “(you) won’t be happy until others submit to his beliefs.”  You might not be among the more blatant evangelical ones, but many, many degrees of ‘faith people’ put their political support together toward non-secular society, and at the detriment of Democracy. 

So I only half-apologize.  You personally are on a continuum of people who seem to need faith, and can’t just accept the world as it is.  Y’all seem to need a higher purpose.  A better world beyond this.  Why not just try to make this world a better place and leave the mysticism out of it?  Empowering those who thrive within theocracy is (euphemistically) not going to solve anything.

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By Anarcissie, January 30, 2012 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

The phalanx ceased to be valid military technology several centuries, if not millennia, ago.  So what do you think he’s talking about?

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By heterochromatic, January 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

and offering metaphoric advice on tactical formations?

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By Anarcissie, January 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

I prefer to think that he is speaking metaphorically.

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By OzarkMichael, January 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Wow. Hypocrisy of historic proportions!

Pushing other people forward during a protest that is getting violent is bad enough. Pushing other people forward to violence from the safe distance of the internet is worse. But sitting bull took it to the next level… he is pushing other people forward to violence from the safe distance of the internet and in the complete anonymity of an unregistered commenter.

Wow, does cheap Leftist gutless hypocrisy ever get worse than that?

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By sitting bull, January 29, 2012 at 7:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow.  Historic speech. 

Hey OCCUPY!!!  Work on your phalanx formation.  Forge those shields!

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By colin2626262, January 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

What is Progress, you write that “he (meaning me) won’t be happy until others submit to his beliefs.”  Yet what did I write in the comment before you made this comment?  Did you read it?  I said, “If you don’t have faith in God, that’s your problem.  Or if you don’t consider it a problem, that’s fine as well.”  Does this sound like someone who’s telling others to submit to his beliefs?  We all have the choice whether to seek God or not.


elisalousia, I really like what you wrote, saying that God suffers with us.  “As we suffer, so suffers the Creator.”  If that doesn’t imply God’s love for us, nothing does.  I respect the idea that we have to work together to effect change in society, whether we’re believers or unbelievers.  Most of the time, unless you know someone intimately, you’re unaware of his or her religious persuasion, or lack thereof.  And I’m not saying people who say they’re Christians have not done evil in the world.  But there’s a difference betweeen being a Christian, or being a believer, and saying you’re one, which is why Jesus said not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of God.

I wasn’t trying to offend anyone.  But the reality is that there is a divide between believers and unbelievers.  I wish there wasn’t.  I wish we could all be friends.  I wish we could all love one another.  Then again, in order to love…well, you know I how feel.

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By elisalouisa, January 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Many Christian communities do live the golden rule and also the Beatitudes Colin. When an illness or other misfortune strikes a family, members of the church they are part of quickly volunteer to cook dinner, provide transportation, help with homework, do the shopping, etc. for the family in need. The children are loved and make to feel secure. All this is done in a joyful manner, as quietly as possible with nothing expected in return. I have seen this first hand and marvel at the goodness of such people.

Do such happenings occur in other religions or in communes having no religious persuasion? I would say “yes.”

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

At least it’s more honest to believe in an imperfect God.  After all, God was created by Man, not the other way around.

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By elisalouisa, January 23, 2012 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

A Reconstructionist Rabbi I knew taught that Gnosticism emanated from Judaism. If you scroll all the way down the provided link you will see that as in all religions, understanding of Gnosticism is not effortlessly gained. To have a God that is less that perfect is not readily accepted and that comment may also include the Almighty.

As we suffer so suffers the Creator.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 23, 2012 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Gnosticism? I’ll stick to my initial assessment below.

Colin says, “If you don’t have faith in God…..”  Oh, I dooooo, I have more than faith, I have absolute knowledge that God is a MutherF*cker.  ‘Seeking God’ under the guidance of 99.99% of modern preachers is going to let you justify and participate in all manner of unChristian acts.  It’s ironic…..what is said in the teachings, and what is done in the name of. 

“I am not being sanctimonious by stating these obvious truths.”  These are anything but ‘obvious truths’.  Take one bite of the forbidden fruit of the Gospel, chew it up and let it digest, and eventually you’ll be marching lockstep to ‘Onward Christian Soldier’ facilitating or committing the unspeakable.  Never fear though, it’ll be committed against un-believers. (<:

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By Anarcissie, January 23, 2012 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

There are many varieties of Gnosticism, but the basic idea I’m alluding to is that the Creator is the Demiurge, who, while not exactly the Devil, is not a very nice person.  Of course, if the Creator is evil, then you have the Problem of Good.

The Gnostics were mostly wiped out by Christians and Muslims a long time ago, so it is not really a living religion any more.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 23, 2012 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

Gnosticism?  Haven’t looked into it, but on it’s face, I write it off as another ‘ism’ that lets one feel superior to others outside the ‘circles of enlightenment’.  I’ll look it over with the hope Wikipedia page acceptably accurate.

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By Anarcissie, January 23, 2012 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

What Is Progress—Sounds like you’re ready for Gnosticism.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 23, 2012 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

Colin ‘found his way’, but like many ‘believers’ (emerging fanatics), he won;t be happy until others submit to his beliefs.  All the God driven hell follows from there. 

Do you think radical Muslims aren’t as devout and ‘believing’ as you Colin?  They have the same exact mentality, perhaps to a different degree, but wait and see.  You can be radicalized, you’ve taken the first step, by putting responsibility into Gods hands instead of taking it yourself.  YOU can love without God.  So can I, so can anyone. 

But can we truly HATE without God?  No.  Can you torture someone without the righteousness God provides? No.  Can you go to War just to steal resources?  No, but with God, you can do any hellish thing with justification.  God lets you replace your inborn morality with that of the preachers.

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By colin2626262, January 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

“If you believe that it’s God who gives us the ability to love, how does it follow that God denies us that ability if we don’t recognize him?”

If you are a believer in God and you love God, you will be able to love like God, who loves you and loves everyone.  If you are not a believer and you don’t love God, you will not experience God’s love within you, and you will not be able to give that love to others.  It’s as simple as that.  The point is you do have to recognize God in order to love, since God is love. 

Elisalouisa, you should read 2 Corinthians 6:14 and understand that there is no fellowship between belief and unbelief. 


What Is Progress,

You are very confused about religion and about God, who is not cruel.  Humans can be cruel, but no human is God, and you should realize that God cannot be blamed for humans who do evil in the name of God.  We shall be known by our fruits, as the gospel says.  I am not being sanctimonious by stating these obvious truths.  If you read my earlier comment, I said I needed work on being a true Christian, someone who loves God always and always loves his neighbor as himself.  No one can claim perfection.  Even Jesus said, “Why do you call me good?  There is only one who is good, namely God.”

I’m not here to judge anyone.  If you don’t have faith in God, that’s your problem.  Or if you don’t consider it a problem, that’s fine as well.  But if we want a better society, we have to start by improving as individuals.  If we don’t want to have a society based on greed and violence, we have to look at the alternative, which I have found in religious belief.  I make the claim that it is impossible to love without God because I have experienced what it’s like to forget God, and I’ve seen the contrast in my own soul.  Maybe some of you haven’t seen that contrast yet, the contrast between love and joy and selfishness and misery.  Hopefully you will see it, before you destroy yourselves.

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By elisalouisa, January 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

You are correct colin. I make no distinction between those who believe and the rest.  If one has a reverence for life and works toward preserving the earth and bettering the condition of humanity, well, for me that goes a long way.

Much of what you say is true What Is Progress.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

Given all the nasty, things done in Gods name, how could God possibly not exist?  Oh, I believe in God alright, but I believe he’s a cruel SOB, and those of his followers who go around professing their piety are the most un-godly among us.  It may be true God is Love, but he’s selective about sharing it.  The more a ‘follower’ is sanctimonious and judgmental and better-than-thou, the less love they must have received. 

Let me ask…...who runs a rape camp?  An atheist?  Hell no, it’s some sick son-of-a-bitch that professes their faith and does it in Gods name against those who don’t submit to the same faith.

It’s not ‘sides’.  Get it?  Us against them.  Believers against non-believers.  Blind fool Colin.

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By heterochromatic, January 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

not at all mindless, the nomination was well-considered and truly earned by
yourself.


even your latest comment is foolishly reasoned.  If you believe that it’s God who
gives us the ability to love, how does it follow that God denies us that ability if we
don’t recognize him ?

now I hope you stop returning to your folly.

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By colin2626262, January 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa,

No one is perfect, and that includes believers, who sin by being angry, but we have the option of repenting and returning to God, returning to love.  As far as cherishing life, yes, you can cherish life all you want, yet you also have to recognize where your life came from and what your purpose in life should be.  It seems to me your belief is very weak.  You make no distinction between belief and unbelief.  So you should work on that, before you critize a person who recognizes that there’s a difference between love and hatred, salvation and sin, life and death.

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By colin2626262, January 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic.

I’m glad you’re not an atheist.  However, you seem to side with them.  Am I a fool to believe that God is love?  If you’re a believer in God, and you’re calling me a fool for saying that a person cannot love without God, then you’re not a believer in the God of love.  So what God do you believe in?  You certainly don’t believe in Jesus, who said: “Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”  Before you call someone a fool, you should at least have a reason.  So tell me, how am I a fool?  I’m a fool to believe in the God of love?  The God who gives us the ability to love and have compassion?  The God who helps us not to be selfish?  The God who gives us divine love, which overcomes self-love?  Is this the God you think it’s foolish to believe in?  Please let me know.  Or you can just call me a fool again, without answering.  I hope you have something to say, rather than just a mindless insult.

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By elisalouisa, January 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

I am a believer yet I disagree most vehemently with you also colin.  Love of our fellow man and also the earth, all life in fact, is enough for some people, good people who cherish life.  One can say that the fact that life is so short makes then even more compassionate.  At the same time, many people who say they believe in God are very angry. Among the places you can find them is on other forums on this website.

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By heterochromatic, January 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

I’m not angry, I’m not an atheist, and you’re still a fool

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By colin2626262, January 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

I see I’ve angered a couple atheists.  That’s to be expected.  It’s true non-believers can love, but their love will always be self-love. God is the source of love, so we cannot love others unless we believe in God, who lives within everyone.  One of those atheists called me a fool.  That just proves my point, that people who don’t believe in God are filled with anger and hatred.  But I am not angry at them.  You can only feel sorry for people who deny God.  They are not alive.

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By heterochromatic, January 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

What—-yours was no improvement

and you might benefit by brushing up on this stuff.

http://cullinan.home.mchsi.com/Lesson_1.pdf

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, January 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm….....

Colin states, “.....you can’t be compassionate or loving without a belief in God.”  Can I state a sort of converse?  That you can’t be un-compassionate or hate without belief in God. 

I offer as proof religions sanction of damn near all wars from the dawn of time, lot’s and lot’s of torture, and all the general misery which results from not having compassion from the de-humanizing that only God can sanction upon your heathen non-believers.  ‘Heathen non-believers’ being just a general catch-all for ‘those you want to rape, plunder or steal from’.

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By heterochromatic, January 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

colin, I ‘ll join ardee in saying that you’re a goddamned fool.


how can you even pretend to think and deny that non-believers can love and have
compassion? have you the idea that they’re not loving parents or devoted children
?

a most ill-advised, ungenerous, non-compassionate and loveless comment.

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By ardee, January 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

The point I was making was that you can’t be compassionate or loving without a belief in God. 

This statement is such a crock as to deserve special mention as such.

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By colin2626262, January 22, 2012 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

DHFabian and Antoninus Pius,

I agree with you both.  The point I was making was that you can’t be compassionate or loving without a belief in God.  And yes, some people say they believe in God, or say they’re Christians, but their actions belie this belief, going against the gospel message of love for everyone, especially the poor.  I suppose I should’ve been more specific and written: not enough people in this country truly believe in God, and put their belief into practice.  It’s not always easy, of course.  We have to struggle to have faith and be friends of God.  I wasn’t saying there weren’t enough people who call themselves Christians.  I was saying there weren’t enough true Christians.  But I myself need work on that.

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By DHFabian, January 17, 2012 at 9:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Antoninus Pius hit the proverbial nail on the head: “There are many good Christians, but they need to make more noise!” We’re so geared toward being in conflict with each other (and guarding ourselves from losing such conflicts) that we stop seeing what really matters in life. If we were less afraid of disapproval or ridicule,  we would be less afraid to make the noise we need to make.

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By elisalouisa, January 17, 2012 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is not that sort of threat .  .  .yet.

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By Lumpenproletarier, January 17, 2012 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

If our government were as corrupt as Hedges seems to think it is, he would have been killed for his subversive writing long ago.

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By ardee, January 17, 2012 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic, January 16 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

et tu, ardee? are you going Korky Day on us?

I knew I risked being hoisted on my own petard with that caution, and I figured it would be you doing the hoisting as well…;-)

I just thought that this poster might have something important to say and I will not read such posts as do not make it easy for the viewer.

But, to answer your “question” no I do not descend to the pompous ass level of Ms. Day.

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By heterochromatic, January 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

et tu, ardee? are you going Korky Day on us?

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By ardee, January 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment

Antoninus Pius, January 15 at 10:30 pm

There is this thing known as Paragraphs. Could I suggest that you research and avail yourself of them please?

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By Antoninus Pius, January 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many people has got things completely wrong about this article. Chris Hedges does not talk about religion ideology or all these debates about doctrines. He’s simply telling that the true follower of Christ is the one who has compassion, love, commitment to justice. Christianity consists of two basic things: Love God with all your heart, and Love neighbor as yourself. Jesus has said that anyone who hates a fellow human (and I should add any other living creature, be it a plant, or animal for we are all God’s creatures) does not have God in him. When Mr. Hedges says any person whether he’s Christian, Atheist, or non-Christian can carry the cross, he saying this in allegorical way! What it really means is that no matter where are you from you can practice love, compassion, and justice towards all with no exception. Our deepest moral values are the same. Justice, kindness, love transcends Christianity and Islam, East and West, white and Non-white. These are the virtues and values which we all share. This is what makes a true Christian. Respect and seeing image of divine in all people, regardless of race, religion, or nationality. St Paul wrote that you should never judge an unbeliever, but compel him to good works! ” ...there neither Jew or Greek, bond nor free, male or female for we are all are one in Christ Jesus…” St Paul. Sadly throughout history, those who call themselves Christian rarely practiced those teachings. What passes as Christianity in United States is nothing more than simply a joke and a mockery of Christianity. Apostles had warned about those wolves in sheep’s clothing, the ones who claim to know God and yet by their actions show that they do not. The ones who honor God with their lips, but their heart is far away from him! These are false prophets. Mr. Hedges basically says that if Christian Churches join and support Occupy movement for justice and love, they will redeem themselves and by standing side by side with followers of other religions, Christians can play a big part in healing the world and in bringing peace and reconciliation. If Christian churches do not, then Christians will end up as a morally bankrupt, possible beyond recovery. This is Christianity’s last chance to redeem itself and be a force for good. This has nothing to do with ideology or debates between theists and atheists, which are useless and trivial anyway! This is about doing what is right, and about our common humanity. Practical goodness is what Christianity teaches, and Christians need to show this by their actions. Judging by the comments, too many people has missed the central message of this article! There are many good Christians, but they need to make more noise!

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By martingugino, December 28, 2011 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

And Poland.
Jerzy Popielusko
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerzy_Popie?uszko

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By heterochromatic, December 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

Ed~~~ our large arms sale aren’t usually front-page news, but they’re mostly
publicly-available information…

http://www.businessinsider.com has published a list of our 10 largest arms sales
the international trade in arms is certainly bad news. you’re right about that.


Pakistan is indeed a strange ally, but has no reason to complain about US arms
sales to India, considering that we’ve GIVEN Pakistan $20 billion in military aid to
Pakistan since 2001.

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By Ed Romano, December 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

To Heterochromatic, Thanks for the reply. I should have been more specific. I was talking about numbers of folks killed in explosions…..the point being that we are mostly in the dark when it comes to conventional weapons and where they are being sold.
A short while ago I saw a piece that said Hilary Clinton had negotiated the largest arms deal ever made by thie country with India. That might cause us to understand a bit better why Pakistan is a very cautious “ally”.  Thanks again,  Ed Romano

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By heterochromatic, December 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Ed, people have been killed by nuclear weapons since 1945.

~~~~Radioactive fall-out from the world’s nuclear weapons tests during the
Cold War has killed 11,000 Americans with cancer, according to a new report by
US scientists. Experts say that many thousands more are likely to have died in
other countries.

The report, prepared by the US Department of Health and Human Services
(DHSS) for Congress, is the first attempt to estimate the total number of cancers
caused by the atmospheric testing programme. Between 1951 and 1963, 390
nuclear bombs were exploded above the ground, 205 by the US, 160 by the
former Soviet Union, 21 by Britain and four by France.

The fall-out from these explosions circulated the globe and exposed the
world’s population to radioactivity. Scientists have long assumed that this would
result in extra cancers, but until now no government has tried to estimate how
many.~~~~

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1993-nuclear-test-fallout-killed-
thousands-in-us.html

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By marcus, December 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@anarcisse “Theological exactitude is not something I would expect from Hedges. “

Considering that he attendd the protestant school of divinity at Harvard, me either.

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By Edward Romano, December 26, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Couldn’t find a general e mail address for you so I’m responding to this article…..This past week in the Boston Globe it was reported that Finnish authorities had seized and impounded a cargo ship flying a British flag with 160 tons of explosives and 69 surface-to-air missles. The following day the Globe reported that Germany claimed the ship belonged to them and that there was nothing illegal about it since the shipment was headed for South Korea. They also claimed that there were “no explosives aboard.”
They did not say why the ship was flying a British flag….
  I sent the following letter to the Globe. They usually don’t print letters like this being more
concerned with things like the spotting of a red headed woodpecker on Cape Cod….
  Dear Editor,
  Todays’Golbe reported…..( 160 tons of
explosives etc. etc. )....The American press is usually diligent about reporting arms negotiations as concerns nuclear weapons, but the public knows nothing about the amount of other weaponry being developed and manufactured or its various destinations. This seems strange since not a single person has been killed by a nuclear weapon since 1945 but millions have perished by the use of conventional weapons. 160 tons of explosives. Merry Christmas.
    .....
  Do you ever get thge feeling you landed on the wrong planet ?
                  Ed Romano

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By ardee, December 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, December 22 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Double- and triple- and many-think.  Most people seem to have little difficulty maintaining several mutually inconsistent models of the world in their minds.  It’s probably a useful faculty for survival, prosperity, and sanity.

“Better the illusion that exalts us than a thousand truths.” Alexander Pushkin

“When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority is wrong.” Eugene V. Debs

“You may ruin yourself by your choices; still I would not take them from you.” Shadow’s End by Sheri Tepper

“Do I contradict myself, well then I contradict myself. I am large and contain multitudes.” Walt Whitman

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, December 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Apparently the US census is behind in it’s tally of the number of ‘gods’:
http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html
being in a pessimistic cynical mood, I choose to believe the data that says there are over 7 billion gods: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

People certainly believe in the god they create in their image.  Don’t like your church? Shop for one with a god the most like the one you envision.  Simple.  Then go do what you need/want to do to survive.

7 billion merry christ-masses to each and every one.

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By Anarcissie, December 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

Double- and triple- and many-think.  Most people seem to have little difficulty maintaining several mutually inconsistent models of the world in their minds.  It’s probably a useful faculty for survival, prosperity, and sanity.

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By Lumpenproletarier, December 22, 2011 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Based on observations of how most people appear to live their lives, I would say that very few actually beleive in “god”. Rather, I think that they believe in believing in god, but they don’t actually “believe in god”.

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By DHFabian, December 22, 2011 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

colin, You wrote, “The whole problem with our country is that people do not have enough faith in God. “
The problem is that “belief in God” can mean different things to different people. In our culture, I think it is widely interpreted as meaning that if you state that you believe in God, if only because you were taught to say this, that’s all you need to do. Beyond that, there’s nothing new in our (as a nation) religious hypocrisy.  Writing this from a Christian perspective, consider the fact that our political leadership—so much of which claims to be staunchly Christian—enacted policies that transferred several trillion dollars (since Reagan) to the very richest, while ending our meager welfare to our poorest.  This is a remarkably blunt statement, largely accepted by the American people, that Christ was simply wrong. Jesus wasn’t shy about discussing the moral corruption of wealth and greed.  His comment on the very rich: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” America has a religion that believes just the opposite. Jesus said (paraphrasing) that if we meet a poor person who needs a coat, we should give him our coat, AND our hat and mittens! America says the opposite, that we must give the rich more money to benefit the country, and “get tough” on the poor. Publicly stating a belief in God is mandatory for politicians.  With rare exception, it means no more than stating your support for America, Mom and apple pie.

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By Anarcissie, December 20, 2011 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

colin2626262—see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity.  Or the Nicene Creed.  As for Hedges’s ‘carry the cross’, I’d guess it is some kind of metaphor.  Theological exactitude is not something I would expect from Hedges.

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By colin2626262, December 19, 2011 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

The God that Jesus speaks of in the Gospel, the Father, is a personal God, Anarcissie, not a person.  There’s a difference.  Also, one definition of metaphysical is beyond the physical.  That’s the sense in which I was using the term.

I reread this speech by Hedges.  One problem I have with it is the idea that atheists can “carry the cross.”  Carry the cross for God?  No, they cannot.  They don’t believe in God.  But what does it mean to carry the cross?  To suffer for the sake of God and the truth of spiritual belief.  This is not possible for someone who doesn’t even acknowledge that God exists.  Atheists blaspheme God and Christianity.  And they’re going to carry the cross?  What is Hedges talking about?  The whole problem with our country is that people do not have enough faith in God.

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By elisalouisa, December 15, 2011 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Thank you for your viewpoint on the future of Christianity Sodium- Na. As to darkness belonging to the European Dark Ages, I hope you are correct. In your response to Lumpen you say that “it looks like evil is succeeding against good, I would not bet on that yet.” You are correct in the long term but the short run may be a different matter.

Have a blessed Holiday with your family. Being together with your love ones is right up there with health and reading Chris Hedges as to importance. grin

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