The Battle of T-Dot

If it was enough to bring Chet back to the keyboard, it is certainly enough to prompt a little mid-hiatus commentary from me.

The apocalyptic combination of sweltering heat, thunderstorms, earthquakes, floods and tornadoes was a fitting meteorological accessory to the past shitstorm of a weekend in the city formerly known as “Toronto The Good” (though “Toronto the Cowed” might be more appropriate at this point).  The buildup of manic hyper-security ahead of the G20 Summit reduced downtown Toronto to a grim and fearful shell and fomented much resentment among city-dwellers and those who planned to take part in the demonstration that inevitably accompanies these multinational wingdings wherever they’re held.  The stage was set, the goonery that followed was predictable, and I am only surprised that, apart from assaults to civil liberties, nobody was seriously injured during the “festivities”.

While thousands protested peacefully, the spotlight was grabbed by a brain-damaged few who trashed businesses and cop cars.  The battered cruisers prompted speculation that they were purposely abandoned in order to lure the minority of violent protesters into doing what comes naturally to such lint-brains. In this case, what came naturally was leaping atop the vehicles, doing a fandango on the light-bars and setting the things ablaze in fires of such brainless magnitude that the images were astonishing people around the globe within seconds.

I don’t buy the “agent provocateur” meme that’s burning (metaphorically speaking) through the blogosphere at the moment, which is not to say it’s inconceivable. But unless the guy who took the first kick at the windshield was actually a cop in disguise, I don’t see an empty car as “provocateuring”.  And I’m decidedly uneasy with attributing the fault for the acts of violent dingbats to anyone but the individuals themselves: it kind of overlooks that whole free choice and personal responsibility thing.   Look at this guy, he didn’t need no stinkin’ provocateurs:

If the cops wanted evidence of property damage, they already had it.   Maybe not in as pyrotechnically-impressive a configuration as the Flaming Cop Car model, but reflective of the same general spirit of malevolence and utter human dumbness.

Which brings us to the police.  These guys –

— and their attitude that the citizenry they are supposedly sworn to Serve and Protect can be subjected to jeering ridicule and disrespect and even physical beatings at their whim.  Whether they acted as agent provocateurs or not, they behaved like degenerate thugs with the moral turpitude of rabid hyenas and the brains of common garden slugs, compromising civil rights in a dizzying array of ways from attacking peaceful protesters and even journalists covering the event to “pre-emptively” arresting people without cause.

The cops have a lot more to answer for than gifting the small criminally insane wing of the demonstration with a few 2-ton toys to play with.   The real issue is the aggressive brutality that was imposed on a largely peaceful demonstration, and the fact that such brutality is nothing new in Copland:  the past weekend was just the Cherry Beach Express on Steroids.  When 4 cops can basically summarily execute a man for the crime of getting lost and running mildly amok at the airport, we shouldn’t be too surprised at what transpires when 20,000 of them get together — Authoritariapalooza!:

Well-meaning anti-gun absolutists take note:  are you sure you want these guys to be the only people in Canada allowed to possess firearms?

Tremble with righteous rage, demand inquiries and Blame Harper if you will, because his decisions contributed to how this all went down. But the police mentality that allowed the weekend’s fascist police-state thuggery to prevail pre-exists Harper by many years, and history shows it’s non-partisan.  The real problem isn’t ideology as much as the fact that while we were sleeping we gave the government the right to bring its considerable coercive power to bear on us. I’d like to see a change in the governing party as much as anyone, but to think that such a change would alter the culture of police thuggery is, for lack of a better word, a “cop-out”.

71 Responses to “The Battle of T-Dot”


  1. 1 Brian Monday, June 28, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Come on… The cops didn’t “summarily execute” Robert Dziekański. It was tragic, it was unnecessary, but it was not an attempt to end his life.

    “Are you sure you want these guys to be the only people in Canada allowed to possess firearms?” Uh, that would be just them and the petty criminals…

    “The real problem isn’t ideology as much as the fact that while we were sleeping we gave the government the right to bring its considerable coercive power to bear on us” almost sounds like the idea, “The government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.”

    I sure would like to know what it was that triggered that police line to advance. Pre-planned? They saw something in the crowd that had been decided in advance would change them from standing to advancing? (Like someone with a rock or whatever.) The whole line essentially advanced at once. Very odd.

    I have a friend who has been incarceratedsince September 2004. He was accused of 38 felonies, but the DA tried to get him to agree to one count of second degree assault, which is not a felony. He had been charged with kidnapping, child rape, and first degree assault, and they wanted to plea bargain one second degree?

    He was found not guilty on all but one charge. The jury clearly didn’t know what to do on the last charge, because they asked the judge for clarification. The judge refused.

    In closing arguments, the prosecutor lied to the jury about what the law says, and the judge did nothing about that.

    The supposed victim’s mother tried to tell the prosecutor that her daughter had lied about the events, and the prosecutor would not allow her to speak (that was in a non-courtroom setting).

    Now, on appeal, the one conviction does not stand, yet he is still being held in the prison, pending what the DA decides to do (re-try him on the one count or not).

    It is not just the police who are completely out of control, though that would be bad enough.

  2. 2 croghan27 Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 3:35 am

    “Well-meaning anti-gun absolutists take note: are you sure you want these guys to be the only people in Canada allowed to possess firearms?”

    Good point – disarm the police, take their magnums and tazers. They are rarely used anyway. If they are needed, a special order can be quickly utilized.

  3. 3 barklee Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 6:00 am

    While I agree that the G8/G20 summit was a ridiculous waste of resources, I think that the following situation would have been a lot worse if the homeowners had weapons.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/06/26/police-booth-raid426.html

  4. 4 Bleatmop Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 6:56 am

    I’ve been quite disturbed by this. There are a lot of unanswered questions, especially how the black block were allowed to rampage for 1.5 hours without being touched. This video is a good show of that:

    There is also some serious questions of how detainees were treated while in captivity, including threats of being raped or gang-banged, sexual assault and general intimidation:

    I found many people on twitter, mostly through AntoniaZ’s twitter feed, that were journalists covering the event live. My twitter feed:

    http://twitter.com/Bleatmop

    This guy, who apparently has a tv show, has a great feed starting 5:36 pm on june 26. It reads, to me, as a story of a journalist going out to see what’s up and having his eyes opened to police brutality.

    http://twitter.com/spaikin

    Disturbing stuff, and this is just scratching the surface of all the stuff that is available out there. It seems to me that things have changed a lot with the social media and how this information gets disseminated. There was already documented evidence readily available to the public of use of tear gas and rubber bullets while Chief Blair was denying the ability to know during his press conference.

  5. 5 Sparky Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 9:09 am

    THanks for putting into words exactly how I’m feeling about all this
    Nicely done!

  6. 6 JJ Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Brian

    Come on… The cops didn’t “summarily execute” Robert Dziekański.

    I will fight for the right to indulge in occasional hyperbole :lol: (and I think most readers recognize it as such).

    Uh, that would be just them and the petty criminals…

    You got that right. Nothing will ever stop criminals from using firearms, since little is being done to stop them while we instead worry about which farmers have shotguns and which have 30-30s.

    I sure would like to know what it was that triggered that police line to advance.

    The end of the song. It looked very well-organized, almost like the cops and protesters choreographed it together.

    In the coming days, the cops will have plenty to say about all the “rocks” that they saw about to be thrown, etc., but it’s all bullshit. Most of the protesters were peaceful, no rocks, no violent behaviour. The few nutbars who were whooping it up in a violent way were pretty much allowed to continue for awhile, while the cops ignored them.

    Lots of questions, but really, none of it surprises me at all.

    It is not just the police who are completely out of control, though that would be bad enough.

    Your friend’s story is weird, but not that unusual: another victim of the legal meat grinder. Having consorted with the (non-governmental) “criminal element” for so many years, I could write a book.

    At the risk of sounding a little teabaggy, I worry far more about the police and the legal system than I do about criminals.

  7. 7 JJ Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Croghan

    disarm the police, take their magnums and tazers

    Can’t say I disagree about the tazers, which they are far too loose with. But if everyone including cops is disarmed, you must know what that would mean.

  8. 8 JJ Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 10:46 am

    barklee

    the following situation would have been a lot worse if the homeowners had weapons.

    Notice how those kinds of situations always happen in the city, but never out in rural areas? In areas where the homeowners routinely have weapons, cops are a lot more careful about invading other peoples’ space in an aggressive way.

  9. 9 JJ Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Bleatmop – Thanks for the links. As time goes on and video evidence is compiled, this will almost certainly look worse and worse on the cops (and their brainless chain of command).

    I sincerely hope there’s an in-depth investigation into this whole deal — not that I expect anyone to be punished or anything to change, but just to further expose the real face of the state goon squad. For a lot of people, this has been a pretty rude awakening, but they needed it.

  10. 10 JJ Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Sparky – Well, thank you for reading & commenting!

  11. 11 Janus Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 11:49 am

    “Come on… The cops didn’t “summarily execute” Robert Dziekański. It was tragic, it was unnecessary, but it was not an attempt to end his life.”

    Bullshit it wasn’t. Four cops completely out of control, and one of them was the one who was supposed to be “in charge” of keeping the other three in line. How else would you describe repeated, unnecessary applications of deadly force, except as an attempt to end his life?

    “The end of the song. It looked very well-organized, almost like the cops and protesters choreographed it together.”

    Yeah, no kidding! I thought it looked like somebody off camera (maybe the director?) had yelled, “Ready, set GO!”

  12. 12 AnonCoward23 Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Yeah, that guy in the image didn’t need any provocation. Because he’s himself a police agent:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19928

  13. 13 JJ Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Anon – A troofer site… hmmm… :lol: :lol:

  14. 14 Brian Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 9:34 am

    barklee

    the following situation would have been a lot worse if the homeowners had weapons.

    Notice how those kinds of situations always happen in the city, but never out in rural areas? In areas where the homeowners routinely have

    gardens…

    I really think the relationship between police action and how far from the city a family lives is much more associated with population density that gun ownership per capita. Police generally don’t avoid raiding a given residence based on the likelihood of the presence of guns. If they think there are guns they just bring more cops.

  15. 15 Bleatmop Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

    JJ – My wife thinks that heads are going to role and whatnot. I expect a tidy little investigation and a declaration that the cops did nothing wrong, Rodney King style.

  16. 16 Brian Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    The cops didn’t do anything wrong in the Rodney King case.

    There were 3 or 4 people in the car when it was stopped.  All but Rodney were arrested without incident.  Rodney had been the driver of the car, and had attempted to elude the police.  Then, after the car was stopped, he was violent toward the police.

    Rodney, a seasoned football player physically charged at the cops.  They tasered him — many times — in an attempt to subdue him.  Hey Janus, if using a taser is using deadly force, why isn’t Rodney dead?

    At one point, there was a cop standing over him, hitting him in the back of the legs with a baton.  Rodney stops moving, and right away that cop transfers the baton to his left hand, and reaches for his handcuffs behind him with his freed-up right hand.  Rodney starts to get up again, and the cop transfers his baton back into his right hand.

    That cop’s goal was to arrest Rodney, not to beat him.

    At another point in the video, Rodney is on his stomach on the ground, with his head toward one of the cops.  In a split second he was in a crouch “exploding” (a football term) toward the cop in front of him.  (Football player train on “exploding out of the hole” or “off the line.”)  He covered about 5 feet before the cop holding the taser could trigger it again — I mean, if you blinked, you missed it.  If the cop holding the taser had been a split second slower, Rodney would have tackled the cop in front of him.  His speed was stunning!

    Rodney was a very big, very powerful young man (25 years old, I believe).  Had he gotten hold of one of the cops, he could have killed that cop before the other cops could rescue the cop.

    At one point, over the noise of helicopters, you can hear an officer shouting “Stay on the ground!”  Had he, there would have been virtually no incident.

    Most of the video of the incident distributed, shown on TV, etc., was the end only of the video, editing out the belligerency of Rodney.

    If the cops really had wanted to hurt Rodney, they could have “accidentally” hit him in the head anytime they wanted.  But they hit him in muscle groups, trying to impair his ability to fight.  Several times a cop from behind Rodney places his foot on Rodney’s upper back, and shoves, to get Rodney onto the ground.  The cop does not kick him.  This show their intent and restraint.

    But the part of the video everyone has seen is very useful for the Mainstream Media (and agitation media) to rile people’s emotions, which is their stock in trade—it sells commercials.

    I just went and looked at several YouTube videos.  Many times I heard about the racial makeup of the jury from the reporter or anchor.  It is a repetition of this balkanizing idea that only blacks can judge blacks (“judge” as in what a jury is called on to do), only women can judge women, only immigrants can judge immigrants, and so on.  This is such a common thread in the minds of journalists that they just can’t help themselves.

    Police brutality is one thing, a specific thing, a horrible thing.
    Police force exercised in trying to subdue an individual who is resisting arrest often looks the same (police using violent methods), but it is an entirely different thing.  It is often the case that justified violence crosses the line into brutality, but that does not establish that police using violence is brutality.

    From what I have seen, the police behavior at the G20 was completely across the line.

  17. 17 JJ Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Brian – I’m just saying that in areas where people are prepared to self-defend against intruders, cops have to give their strategies more thought — ie. is it really necessary to kick the door in? — and put a little more work into making sure they’ve got the right place.

    They kick lots of doors in out here too, but always the right ones.

  18. 18 JJ Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Bleatmop – I don’t expect anything to come of this, least of all heads rolling. There will probably be a token investigation, after which the police will be declared to have acted appropriately, and Miller and McGuinty will be blamed for not allowing the cops to crack black bloc heads. Bet on it.

  19. 19 Willy Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    JJ you are correct, this is the thuggery that I witnessed, experienced and felt as a disenfranchised youth. It took me a couple decades to change my attitude towards the police, apparently as demonstrated in Toronto last weekend, theirs hasn’t.

  20. 20 Brian Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I wish I could say my attitude toward police has changed.   I really, really want it to, because I realize how atrocious things would be without them.   But I just can’t shake seeing them as the enemy, despite how badly I want to feel otherwise.   It is fortunate for me that the police see my enemies (criminals) as their enemy also.

    My earlier post about the Rodney King stuff only shows my unwillingness to be unfair even with those I see as the enemy;  I still see them as the enemy…

  21. 21 Cornelius T. Zen Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Good morrow, all!
    What strikes me as most passing strange is that none of the conflict in Toronto need have happened at all. The Gee Whiz could have simply done video conference, or they could have simply met in secret, in a remote location, with absolutely no publicity, and nobody would have been hurt, arrested, teargassed, bludgeoned, or as much as sneezed on.
    What caused the rioting was the publicity of the meetings. Somebody, who wanted to turn a buck, or make a point, made a big thing about overpaid, overfed, overindulged mandarins meeting in a crowded city.
    If the Illuminati, or the Bilderburg Group, or whatever passes for the Powers That Be, wanted to meet in secret, and do their secret thing, they could have, would have, and should have done so, and not a drop of blood would have been spilled, and not a penny of property damage would have been done.
    Somebody WANTED those riots, somebody WANTED that conflict, somebody WANTED to set poor against rich.
    If you’re not paranoid, you’re not paying attention – CTZen

  22. 22 JJ Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Willy – The attitude of boot-stomping-on-face authoritarianism has prevailed among Our Police for as long as they’ve been around. I have seen too many people grabbed and pushed around just because the cops happen to be feeling extra aggressive that day and know that the inevitable push-back will allow them to make an arrest for something like “Obstructing Police”. I’ve also seen Our Police pack up with Our Court System and send innocent people to prison for 10 or 20 years for crimes they weren’t guilty of. My attitude towards The Law hasn’t changed and never will :evil:

  23. 23 Norman Rogers Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Oh please.

    Act like a drama queen much?

    So a few rabble rousing anarchists got their heads caved in. So what?

  24. 24 JJ Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Norman – That’s the point — which you would know if you had given this story more than a passing glance — NO rabble-rousing anarchists got their heads caved in. The rabble-rousing anarchists were allowed to trash storefronts and cop cars while the cops went after the peaceful dumb hippies with signs.

    You might want to make sure you know what you’re talking about before you start flapping your yap.

    But thanks for the input :)

  25. 25 Cornelius T. Zen Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Good morrow, all!
    If it were not for rabble-rousing anarchists (that is to say, ANYBODY who dares question Authority) we would still be walking on our knuckles and picking fleas out of our neighbors’ pelts.
    Kiss ass much, Norman? – CTZen

  26. 26 Norman Rogers Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    “peaceful dumb hippies with signs”

    The scourge of humanity, then.

    Well, excellent news. We must have law and order, else we will have flower children throwing up on the pavement, sick from excess and overindulgence.

  27. 27 Norman Rogers Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    “we would still be walking on our knuckles and picking fleas out of our neighbors’ pelts”

    Not true. Thanks to the church, to organized religion, and to the civilizing influence of authority, civilizations have endured since the dawn of time. The orderly march of society and culture weeds out the tendencies of the lawless, the absurd, and the chemically impaired and leaves their bones strewn in the wilderness.

    Stand next to a thousand year-old cathedral sometime. It does wonders for your ability to see that the freaks have always lost. Freaks don’t build cathedrals. Freaks build falling-down hovels and sleep where they poop.

  28. 28 hemmingforddogblog Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I’ll tighten this up for you Norm:

    “Thanks to the church, to organized religion, and to the civilizing influence of authority, civilizations have endured since the dawn of time”

    In spite of the church and organized religion and the threat of heavy handed authoritarianizm (sp?) civilizations have survived.

    Yer welcome!

  29. 29 Norman Rogers Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    “In spite of the church and organized religion and the threat of heavy handed authoritarianizm (sp?) civilizations have survived.”

    Really? Based on what understanding of human history?

    I would point you to a simple text that will refute all that you believe.

    “How the Irish saved Civilization”

    For hairy-legged liberals to denigrate the importance of books, well, that is a heady brew. Without the church, there are no books. Without the meticulous work of monks, there is no propagation of books (i.e., libraries). Without the guidance of the church, books are put to the torch everywhere (except in Ireland, where they were preserved and hidden). Without Augustine, there is no codification of the early Christian orthodoxy. Expand that down through the years–the Gutenberg Bible, universities throughout the world based on orderly instruction in the classics–what would it all be worth if we just got high and rolled around in our own eliminations all day, indulging every whim and eating spoiled food?

    The world was saved by people who put their heads down and did what they were told and worked hard every day. The world has been nearly lost many times over by freethinking freeloaders and their dippy like.

    But, go on. Refuse to learn. Use drugs. Slap another doobie up to your jawline and ride the train of ignorance on down the rails.

  30. 30 AnonCoward23 Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    “Without the church, there are no books”

    Aha? Newsflash: The church actually /destroyed/ a lot of books. It’s only because of the Arab nations that we still have the classical treatises by the ancient Greek, for example. While the “western” world was neck-deep in the dark ages, burning knowledge left and right, the “eastern” world preserved said knowledge.

  31. 31 Norman Rogers Friday, July 2, 2010 at 2:44 am

    “The church actually /destroyed/ a lot of books.”

    Oh, that’s a lot of mularkey.

    The “eastern” world was too busy sticking women into burqaas and hitting the opium pipe to notice that the western world was in the ascendancy. After we stole algebra from the Arabs, we built skyscrapers and industry and printing presses and the Model T.

    Western civilization won, so get over yourself.

  32. 32 Brian Friday, July 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    C.T.Zen, your point about their ability to meet in secret sure is a good one. As I read, sitting here alone in my living room, I said out loud, “Wow! Good point!”

    I don’t know that it makes the case for your conclusion. These are politicians; publicity is a necessary thing for them to keep their jobs. Therefore, when the opportunity presents itself methinks, they make a lot of noise about what they are up to.

    I think they would be inclined to ignore warnings that their making this public could get a lot of people hurt, thinking “That’s what we have police for.” That is not as malicious as wanting riots to occur. Same result, but different motive, in my view.

  33. 33 Brian Friday, July 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    If it were not for rabble-rousing anarchists (that is to say, ANYBODY who dares question Authority) …

    Come on! It wasn’t anarchists (those who advocate no authority structure whatsoever) who advanced man out of the caves. Perhaps individuals who ignored the existing authority structure, (though I am skeptical about even that). But anarchists per se. I don’t think so…

  34. 34 Brian Friday, July 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    The church actually destroyed a lot of books.”

    Perhaps (though the quantity represented by “a lot” is in question). But Norman’s point is that even those books that were burned came about in the first place through the influence and inventiveness of the church. It was monks who spent endless hour copying & recopying texts as the medium upon which they were written deteriorated. They might not be the only influence (you mentioned the Arabs, for instance) but they are far and away the more influential.

    From Wiki, regarding the codex (modern book):

    Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement of the scroll, the dominant form of book in the ancient world, has been termed the most important advance in the history of the book prior to the invention of printing.  The spread of the codex is closely associated with the rise of Christianity which has been using it as the exclusive book format of the Bible almost from the beginning.  First described by the 1st century AD Roman poet Martial, who already praised its convenient use, the codex achieved numerical parity with the scroll around 300 AD, and had completely replaced it throughout the now Christianized Greco-Roman world by the 6th century.

    This is why there were books (as opposed to only scrolls) for anyone to burn.

    Citing the negative things done in the name of the church is not really an answer to the charge that the church has done good (data is not the plural of anecdote). A more robust analysis is required.

    It is my opinion that, on balance, the church has far more benefited and advanced civilization than hindered or harmed it.

    The most beauty and value is to be found in systems of freedom within a form, than in sheer chaos. Christianity has stood as a form within which much freedom has flourished.

  35. 35 Cornelius T. Zen Friday, July 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    Especially you, Brian – you’ve made a happy man very old.
    Was it not “The Church” which insisted that women were inferior to men, and were required to remain subservient to men? Do you agree with this philosophy?
    Norman: “How The Irish Saved Civilization” The Irish are pagan at heart, in spite of hundreds of years and millions of sermons thundered from the pulpit. All the invasions from 1070 forward have failed to quell that rebellious spirit. (Interesting that some guy named Norman should cite the Irish as being a civilizing influence, since the Normans spent a lot of time spilling a lot of Irish blood, since they considered the Irish most UNcivilized…but I digress…)
    I stand by my philosophy. It was not in bowing down and tugging the forelock to Authority that mankind has advanced, but in looking up at the stars and saying to Authority, “Do they not belong to us as well?”
    As below, so above. As within, so without – CTZen

  36. 36 Janus Friday, July 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    ” Hey Janus, if using a taser is using deadly force, why isn’t Rodney dead?”

    Not everyone who gets shot or stabbed is dead, either, but guns and knives are still considered to be deadly force.

    You are correct about Rodney King, by the way. I saw the video before it was editted and “sanitized,” and I was appalled that it became a statement on police brutality, which the Ridney King episode actually wasn’t. But the killers of Robert Dziekanski were not dealing with a Rodney King. They were beating up on a bewildered and isolated foreign visitor who spoke no English, so they punished him for not obeying their screamed commands and for not reading their panicked minds. Did you not watch and listen to the part of the tape where one of them asks Robinson, “Do we…(something muffled)…use tasers?” as they were jogging past the guy with the camera?

    Well, well, well, lookee what we got here…a new bug for the pinning board…”Norman?” is it?

    “Stand next to a thousand year-old cathedral sometime. It does wonders for your ability to see that the freaks have always lost. Freaks don’t build cathedrals.”

    Define freaks. Then tell us who built Stonehenge.

    “The “eastern” world was too busy sticking women into burqaas and hitting the opium pipe.”

    ROTFLMAO!!! OMGWTFBBQ! Are you <serious???

    “Without the church, there are no books.”

    Oh, bullshit. Books have been around long before your precious church.

  37. 37 Brian Friday, July 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Books, that is codexes (or whatever the plural is for codex), have not been around far longer than the church.

    And books of that sort were refined through the volume of them (no pun intended) produced by Christians, most notably monks.  You don’t have to agree with their thinking to credit the fruit of their labors.

     

    Books, as in scrolls, have been around longer though.

  38. 38 Brian Friday, July 2, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Was it not ‘The Church’ which insisted that women were inferior to men, and were required to remain subservient to men?  Do you agree with this philosophy?

    It depends on what you mean by church. There is the universal and largely invisible Church, which is the collective body of all believers. There are local congregations, which are called church (usually without the article). Then you have a variety in between those two ends.

    In Genesis 1:27 it says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” That use of the plural is significant.

    Genesis 5:2 says “He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.” Again, the plural-ness is significant. And Jesus quotes this verse in Matthew 19:4.

    This noting that both male and female were created in God’s image eliminates any possibility of inferiority for either gender.

    It is true that some Christian groups have not embraced what the Bible has to say about this, and have indeed held that women are inferior. These individuals get a lot of historical (hysterical) “press.” Their behavior is what we hear about the most. But it is not the orthodox (lower-case “o”) teaching, nor is it what the Bible teaches. Therefore it is not the Christian position, despite the take some Christians have on it.

    In other words, the Christian position is the position that is derived from the Bible, despite errors Christians have made in apprehending it. For instance, according to the Bible, salvation is by grace alone (you cannot merit salvation), through faith alone (you cannot earn it) in Jesus alone (and not because of anything one can add to what Jesus has done). Some believe that by repenting (for instance), you somehow get God’s notice; but that is not what the Bible teaches. There are numerous other examples that can be described.

  39. 39 Torontonian Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Brian

    The plural of codex is codices. Just like index
    and indices.

  40. 40 Cornelius T. Zen Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Are Norman and Brian trying to say that bookbinding defines “book”? That the fairly-recent technology of binding pages together between covers means that Christians “invented” books? That anything written prior to Jesus, in scroll form, on clay tablets, on papyrus or parchment, unless it is authorized by liturgical administrators and sold by Doubleday, does not constitute a book?
    “The Method” by Archimedes was erased and overwritten by a monk who had run out of parchment for a prayer book he was inscribing. Now that was blasphemy. Archimedes had invented calculus, nearly two millenia before Isaac Newton, and had done work on what is now called the Fibonacci sequence.
    Brian: How energetically did the church of its day seek to end slavery? It was a highly religious man named Wilberforce (he wrote “Amazing Grace”) who, AGAINST the orthodoxy of his time, strove to end slavery in the British Empire. He lived just long enough to see it. How much help did he get from the religious establishment of his day?
    “Christianity has stood as a form within which much freedom has flourished.” Really? Freedom for whom? Women? Gays? People of color? Anybody who doesn’t look like you?
    Nobody is free until EVERYBODY is free.
    Conservatives have a simple philosophy: You either own property, or you ARE property.
    Either this world belongs to all of us, or it belongs to NONE of us.
    How much simpler can I make it? – CTZen

  41. 41 Brian Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I wouldn’t presume to say what it is that Norman is saying.  I prefer to speak for myself.

    No, of course I am not saying that “bookbinding defines ‘book?’ ”  I even said that.  And I did not say that Christians invented codices [thx, Torontonian].  I rather doubt it is known who it is that actually did that.

    But it is clear that Christians were responsible for the widespread implementation of that technology.  Had they not been, it seems a safe concept that someone else would have; yet it was the Christians who did.

     ‘The Method’ by Archimedes was erased and overwritten by a monk who had run out of parchment for a prayer book he was inscribing.  Now that was blasphemy.

    Blasphemy: blasphemous language (expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred)
    Sacred:       made, declared or believed to be holy;  devoted to a deity or some religious ceremony or use (“The sacred mosque”);  worthy of religious veneration.

    So you think Archimedes was God, and or was to be worshiped?

     

    Regarding Wilberforce and the question: How much help did he get from the religious establishment of his day?

    Slavery was a world-wide institution. Everybody was doing it.  Those who opposed it were not fighting against the established church (as if to say there was “just the one”) but against everyone.

    Wiberforce was not alone, he was prominent.  He was the leader of a movement to end slavery.  You cannot have a movement without a lot of followers of it.

    His push against slavery were as a result of becoming a Christian in 1785.  In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists.  They persuaded him to take up the cause; he didn’t come up with it on his own. Christians — including William Wilberforce — are a persistent thread throughout the abolition movement and its successes.

    This idea of the “established church” is again one of individuals not holding to the Bible.  The Bible does not speak against slavery per se, but it commands loving your neighbor as yourself, and makes it clear that all are your neighbor with respect to this commandment.  So, to be a righteous Christian in the first place would require treating slaves you held as neighbors you love, and so ensuring they had adequate quarters, adequate food, keeping their families together, and so on.  But then, as that concept continues into the warp an woof of your thinking, it would lead to freeing them.  “Establishments” that did not see things this way — whether churches, governments or guilds — would be establishments at odds with the Bible.  (Governments are not required to be in harmony with the Bible, of course. Just an observation that they would not be.)

     

    Really? Freedom for whom? Women?

    Women enjoyed an absolutely unprecedented elevation in their existence with the advent of Christianity.  For example, some in the Jewish leadership (and society) held that a husband could beat his wife for the most minor of infractions, such as burning toast, a belief that continued sufficiently long to still be in practice widely enough to be mentioned in Fiddler on the Roof.

    The fact that the Lord revealed Himself first to women on the day of His resurrection did not go unnoticed by the early Christians.  The New Testament mentions women who had churches in their homes, and speaks of women evangelists.

    The early Christians (already as the Bible was being written) set up charities for widows. No one else at the time were doing any such thing.  Widows were forced to fend for themselves, and were largely ignored outside the fledgling church.

    Later the Roman Catholic Church started adding rules and establishing positions which cannot be supported by the Bible.  But by that very reason, they are rules & positions that are not synonymous with Christianity.

    Again & again, polls reveal that Christian wives have generally more sexual fulfillment than their non-Christian counterparts, and are generally more satisfied with their lives.  This is not universal, it’s a trend, so don’t go blowing smoke out of your ears.

    Homosexuals have complete freedom as Christians except to participate in homosexual activities.  Men (or women) who find children sexually appealing have complete freedom as Christians, except to have sexual contact with children.  Alcoholics have complete freedom as Christians, except to drink to excess.

    Homosexuals, pedophiles, alcoholics, et al., have complete freedom & acceptance, and are loved by their bretheren within Christian circles. Many behaviors are not accepted, but those who are burdened with the desires to do those behaviors are completely accepted & loved by those who adhere to the Bible’s teachings and commandments.  If they participate in these behaviors, their behavior is not accepted.  But no one in this community has unacceptable behavior accepted, so homosexuals, alcoholice, et al., have the same freedon all others in the community have.

    My sibling sisters are both alcoholics, and I am happy to say, both sober now.  I love them both.  I have a first cousin who is a professional dancer (having at one time danced in Suzanne Summers’ troupe) and a homosexual.  I love him as I love my other family members.  When I went to Resurrection Lutheran years ago (I have moved since then so I go there no longer) there was a prominent individual in the worship service personnel (a musician), who was known by all to be a homosexual, and who was completely accepted by all (at least, I never ever heard a disparaging word about him to his face or behind his back).

    I have never seen in any of the Christian activities I have been involved with —— worship services, retreats, seminars, Bible studies, lay-leadership boards — any negativity toward anyone as a function of that person’s skin color.  Yes, complete freedom for people of color or those who do not look like me.  Why, if someone is already burdened with looking like me, would I add to their trials?  That hardly seems loving…

     

    Nobody is free until EVERYBODY is free.

    How asinine!  Do you also think no one is rich until everyone is rich?  Is no one enslaved until all are enslaved?  What a stupid assertion.

    I certainly could understand & respect the idea that no one should rest until they have done everything within their power to free any still enslaved;  but that doesn’t fit on a protest sign as well, now does it?  But are you going to guide your life by protest sign slogans?  That would certainly be a sad state of affairs…

     

    Conservatives have a simple philosophy: You either own property, or you ARE property.

    What an asinine, uninformed, moronic thing to say!  Did you forget to take your medication today?  Did you go make a sandwich while one of your grand kids sat down at the keyboard?  You’re posting slogans as if they were axioms.

    “How much simpler can I make it?”  Yeah, well: that’s the problem.  You’ve made it so “simple” that it has become simplistic, and you are appearing to be a simpleton — rather uncharacteristic for you.

  42. 42 Janus Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    “So you think Archimedes was God, and or was to be worshiped?”

    That’s not what he said, or even inferred. In your own definition, blasphemy includes disrespect for “something sacred.” And yes, Archimedes’ discovery and writing on higher mathematics is considered to be sacred by scientists. And “sacred” can be defined as “worthy of respect or dedication; devoted exclusively to a single use or purpose.”

    And not all gods want or need to be worshipped. I don’t.

    “Women enjoyed an absolutely unprecedented elevation in their existence with the advent of Christianity.”

    Huh. “Elevation” (however you describe it) does not mean “equal.”

  43. 43 Cornelius T. Zen Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Good morrow, Brian!
    No, Archimedes was not God, nor was he to be worshipped.
    What he had done was discover incredibly important mathematical concepts centuries ahead of their time. Had Newton had the full benefit of Archimedes’ discoveries and inventions, technology would have leaped light-years ahead of where it is today.
    “Women enjoyed an absolutely unprecedented elevation in their existence with the advent of Christianity”
    So, all those influential familial matriarchs in Roman society did not exist before Christianity? So, all female slaves and indentured servants were suddenly set free?
    “Again & again, polls reveal that Christian wives have generally more sexual fulfillment than their non-Christian counterparts, and are generally more satisfied with their lives” Seriously, like they’re gonna tell you otherwise? I trust the finding of polls like I trust used car dealers.
    “Homosexuals have complete freedom, except…” Then it’s not complete, laddie. Anytime you use the words, but, however, or except, you put the lie to whatever comes ahead of it. If gays are not free to marry each other, and adopt children, and live freely and without fear of violence and discrimination, they are not free. Mote, meet plank.
    So, it is asinine to say that freedom is supposed to be universal and unconditional? That it’s okay to discriminate, or restrict, or enslave? How very…what’s the word I’m looking for? oh, yes…Christian of you.
    Regarding my statement about property: Fine. Opinions vary, and that’s all you have to offer. If I’m wrong, prove me wrong. All I hear is “assine” and “idiotic” without a cogent rebuttal. If you can’t think of anything better, hey, I’m willing to wait until you find something.
    Good night, and may your God go with you – CTZen

  44. 44 Brian Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 10:25 am

    “Huh.  ‘Elevation’ (however you describe it) does not mean ‘equal.’ ”

    Progress rarely happens all at once.  But the point you chose to miss is that the most prominent advance for women to date has been due to the spread of Christianity, an influence most often cited on the left as being singularly responsible for opression.

  45. 45 Janus Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Brian, I didn’t “miss” any “point.” Without the dubious “help” of “Christianity,” women wouldn’t ever have been unequal in the first place!

    And it’s woefully shameful that anyone would think of equality as “progress,” instead of a birthright.

  46. 46 Brian Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Had Newton had the full benefit of Archimedes’ discoveries and inventions, technology would have leaped light-years ahead of where it is today.

    Or fluxioms were the extent of Newton’s abilities, and he would have contributed little.   I mean, I suspect that you are right, but the reality is that we don’t know what it is that Newton would have accomplished in an environment he never was in, since we have not seen him in that environment.

     

    So, all female slaves and indentured servants were suddenly set free?

    I repeat: Progress rarely happens all at once.   But the point you chose to miss is that the most prominent advance for women to date has been due to the spread of Christianity, an influence most often cited on the left as being singularly responsible for oppression.

     

    So, it is asinine to say that freedom is supposed to be universal and unconditional?   That it’s okay to discriminate, or restrict, or enslave?

    No.   It’s asinine to assert that while freedom is not universal, no one at all has it.   You clearly are just being deliberately block-headed to take what I said that way.   That makes it apparent to me that you would rather make sport of me by misapprehending what I say than discuss with me the point at hand.   This, in my view, makes all your intellectual posturing a sham.   You present yourself as having a more refined, realistic, informed & enlightened view — like you are above it all.   Then you act like the 5th grade bullies I remember from school, the ones who would make sport of someone’s name, or who would answer with witty retorts like, “I know you are, but what am I?”

    I actually said, “I could understand & respect the idea that no one should rest until they have done everything within their power to free any still enslaved,” answering your question “So, it is asinine to say that freedom is supposed to be universal and unconditional?” before you even asked it.

     

    How very… what’s the word I’m looking for?   Oh, yes… Christian of you.

    You’re such a snot.   Being snotty is not very Christian.   Seems a bit hypocritical to find fault with me for not being very Christian, while doing so in a not-very-Christian manner.

     

    Then it’s not complete, laddie.

    All right, sure:  It’s not complete in an absolute sense.

    Absolute freedom is not possible.   I will never have the freedom to jump off a tall building without something to control my fall (parachute, et al.) without dieing when I “land.”   I will never have the freedom to superglue shut the mouth of individuals I disagree with (if I even wanted to).   (I suspect) I will never have the freedom to marry my neighbor’s wife while I am still married to my current wife, and/or my neighbor’s wife is still married to my neighbor.

    I am thoroughly convinced that no one actually wants to see complete freedom implemented.   We all want some things prohibited.   Even anarchists want rules prohibited (functionally, if not officially)…

    Given that, your point merely makes me yawn, kind of like: “OK, yeah — it’s not complete freedom.   So what?   No one wants it, and it’s unobtainable.   Why are we even talking about it?”

  47. 47 Brian Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Without the dubious ‘help’ of ‘Christianity,’ women wouldn’t ever have been unequal in the first place!

    If that’s what you think, then you are operating under the burden of being ignorant of history.   I won’t be able really to help you with that here in a medium like this.

     

    And it’s woefully shameful that anyone would think of equality as ‘progress,’ instead of a birthright.

    It is a questionable undertaking to attempt to reason with you.   Your most frequent rejoinder is the the second half of the model “Am not!” “Are to!”   But others listen, too.   So here goes:

    If someone’s birthright is being completely denied to them, then restoring their ability to enjoy their birthright more fully AT ALL is progress.

    If their enjoyment of their birthright is being curtailed AT ALL, change that allows them to enjoy their birthright more fully, TO ANY DEGREE, is progress.

    “Progress” generally has more of a connotation of movement toward a goal than of attainment of that goal.

  48. 48 Cornelius T. Zen Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    “Absolute freedom is not possible.” Neither was the abolition of slavery – until it was done. Neither was allowing women to vote – until they got it. Neither was the granting of civil rights to people of color – until it was enacted.
    “Every great truth starts out as a heresy.” – George Bernard Shaw
    Absolute freedom includes abslute responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.
    What exactly is YOUR personal objection to homosexuality, gay marriage, adoption by gays and other simple civil rights for them? I’m not talking about how much Jesus hates fags, I’m asking why YOU do. And if you don’t, say so. No if’s, and’s or but’s. If you don’t like them, please explain why.
    I mean, if you are offended at the sight of two men or two women, sharing the same displays of affection in public that straight couples, happiliy in love, do, then have the spine to say, “I am offended.” If the thought of two men, or two women, pleasuring each other in the privacy of their home, or in some private location, offends YOU, say so. If asked why, you can refuse to elaborate, surely, that is your right and privilege. But, surely, you have an understandable reason.
    “You’re such a snot.” For pointing out that your Christian charity is limited and conditional? That your contempt for anyone not like yourself is in itself contemptible?
    The older I get, the more I realize that, if something is not my problem, it is also not my business. If abortion, or homosexuality, or “illegal” immigration, is not your problem, then what makes it your business?
    You have every right to offer your opinion on any subject under the sun, and like my hero Voltaire put it, I will defend to the death your right to make your opinion known.
    Being a Christian does not make you better, or smarter, or kinder, or more positively influential than anyone else… unless that were the very reason you have become all those things. Of course, that would be for others upon which to offer opinions.
    If I were to ask anyone who knew you before you became a born-again, what would they say about you? No need to answer now. Just think about it.
    You strike me as both highly intelligent and deeply impassioned about any number of topics. You can call me whatever you like. Sticks and stones, and all that.
    Those who trust their God, do not fear Him.
    Those who fear their God, can not trust Him.
    I bid you peace – for now – CTZen

  49. 49 Janus Monday, July 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

    “If someone’s birthright is being completely denied to them, then restoring their ability to enjoy their birthright more fully AT ALL is progress.”

    Now it’s you who are missing the point. You say that Chritianity is responsible for all the “progress” for the equality of women. But it was Christianity that removed that equality in the first place!

    That’s like baking “enriched bread,” doncha think? You make that awful stuff by stripping all the wheat germ and husk from the wheat berries before milling them into white flour. Then you separate out a lot of the vital nutrients from the germ and husk — sell it to feed lots and pharmaceutical companies, and put a tiny amount of it back into the flour as an “additive.” And then you call it “enriched.” Which you wouldn’t be able to do (or find it necessary) if you had left the damned wheat berries alone in the first place!

    You do not strip anyone of their freedom and then dole it out piecemeal at your own leisure, like a prize for good behavior, and call yourself a liberator. You’re still a despot. Just one with an agenda.

  50. 50 Brian Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

     ‘Absolute freedom is not possible.’  Neither was the abolition of slavery — until it was done.

    Slavery hasn’t been abolished;  there are still slaves.  Not nearly as many, to be sure, but there is an unfortunately large market in slave trading, even today.  Would you equally say “No slaves are free until all slaves are free?”  If so, you will need to retract your assertion, cited above, that slavery has been abolished.  If not, then by analysis your statement that none are free until all are free is without any support.

     

    What exactly is your personal objection to homosexuality, gay marriage, adoption by gays and other simple civil rights for them?

    I reject the 2 specifics you provided as “civil rights,” and I do not object to, nor oppose, civil rights for homosexuals.

    If marriage recognition by the government were a civil right, the government would not be able to regulate it as they do.

    Now, the overarching point that drives my following answers is concern for the children involved.  To me, that trumps any other single consideration.

    If adoption were a civil right, the government would not be able to regulate it as they do.  Children are not a commodity the government is obigated to distribute evenly.  This is children we are talking about, and the whole concern needs to be the benefit of the children involved.  Only choices with equal benefit to the specific children involved should even be on the table.

    Children do better when they have both a male and a female adult in the house.  Of course, specific examples of bad parenting by members of both genders exist — many of them — but all other things being equal, children do better with one of each.  Indeed, one of each, with both being merely adequate is better for children than just one parent with that one being better than merely adequate.

    Therefore, children being adopted out stand a much better chance to develop well if they are put with a male/female married pair.  Even putting a child instead with an adoptive single person in a bid to do some social engineering is abusive, because it ignores the benefit to the child for the purpose of an agenda.

    Homosexual couples, by definition, are not composed of one member of each gender, and therefore are not the optimal choice for the developmental health of the children some might want to place with that couple.  But I would not press this to the level that children should be removed from a home where they are with one of their parents, and that one parent is a practicing homosexual.  The reason for removing a child from their biological parent must involve imminent threat to that child.

    Homosexual couples currently can contractually obligate themselves to each other.  And I firmly believe that they should be able to bequeath their inheritance to one another, and to have such freedoms as hospital visitation, insurance sharing and so on.  Their life’s possessions belong to them, and they should be able to leave them to anyone or anything (pet, foundation, et al.) they choose — that’s no one else’s business.  When one is hospitalized, if they are well enough to have any visitors at all, it is none of the hospital’s business whom it is they are visited by.

    But when the state officially recognizes marriage, it does so from a compelling interest they enjoy on the behalf of children as a class.  Marriage is an institution that is important for the benefit of children.  The state officially recognizing — and even giving preferential treatment to — heterosexual marriage benefits children.  Their giving preferential treatment to married heterosexuals makes it more likely that there will be more heterosexual marriage, and that those marriages will be less likely to end in divorce.  This benefits children, as a classs.

    Official recognition of homosexual coupling (ie, homosexual marriage) recognizes such a union as exactly equal, that is, synonymous with, heterosexual marriage, which is untrue.  It is not lesser, it is different.  Part of that difference (the gender makeup of it) makes it less desirable — less effective and less beneficial — as an environment for raising children.  I am quite sure that homosexual marriage is as important to the people participating in such as heterosexual marriage is to those participating in that.  But that is not the whole picture — there is more to marriage, as an institution, than the way the participants feel about it.

    Homosexuals marrying does not affect my marriage.  But it affects the institution of marriage, and the likelihood of children being adopted into the environment that has been demonstrated to be not the best for them.

  51. 51 Brian Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I’m not talking about how much Jesus hates fags.

    Jesus doesn’t hate fags.  In fact, Jesus doesn’t hate sinners of any stripe.  He hates sin, to be sure, but not those who commit them.  If Jesus hated sinners, H would not have gone through what it is that He went through to provide salvation for them, now would He have?

  52. 52 Janus Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

    “Children do better when they have both a male and a female adult in the house.”

    That has been recently disproved. But even if it had not been put to rout, one needs to ask: “better” by whose standards?

  53. 53 Brian Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:29 am

    … then have the spine to say …

    You think I lack the spine to say what I think?!?   If so, you just haven’t been paying attention.

    I mean, if you are offended at the sight of 2 men or 2 women sharing the same displays of affection in public that straight couples, happily in love, do, then have the spine to say, “I am offended.”  If the thought of 2 men, or 2 women, pleasuring each other in the privacy of their home, or in some private location, offends YOU, say so.

    It offends me.  Rap “music” offends me, too.

    I do not advocate passing laws against everything that offends me.  My opposition to homosexual marriage and homosexual adoption are due to reasons other than that I am offended by homosexuality.

    Before you go off, please note that I am offended by a variety of sexual perversions, but that does not translate to fearing them, or having a phobia about them.

  54. 54 Brian Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:32 am

    “… your contempt for anyone not like yourself [sic]…”

    I do not have contempt for “anyone not like me.”  I have contempt for some not like me, to be sure, but not any and all.

  55. 55 Brian Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:38 am

    If I were to ask anyone who knew you before you became  a  born-again, what would they say about you?

    Many told me that they could not believe the transformation that came over me — they professed astonishment.  I did not become a Christian because I thought it would change me, but because I came to believe that Jesus was who the Bible says He is, and I came to trust in the Lord, and to love Him.  Nonetheless, according to those who told me so, it apparently did change me quite a bit.

  56. 56 Brian Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

    You say that Christianity is responsible for all the “progress” for the equality of women.  But it was Christianity that removed that equality in the first place!

    I don’t say that it is responsible for all progress in equality for women, only for a lot of it, and therefore for setting the stage upon which more has been accomplished.

    But your assertion that Christianity removed women’s equality in the first place is simply historically inaccurate.  Your grasp of this aspect of history is inaccurate — actually backward from the truth.

    CTZen pointed out matriarchal families in Rome, and there certainly were some.  Those matriarchs participated in the oppression of women-other-than-themselves right along with the men who were doing so.  Those matriarchs held slaves, just as their male peers did.

  57. 57 Cornelius T. Zen Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Good morrow, all!
    Umm…what was the original topic again? Oh. yeah. Right. How the police behaved, protecting the poor, defenceless finance minsters, as they strove to make life better for the common man. But wait! I have a bridge for sale, too!
    Brian: “The institution of marriage…” And we all know what kind of people wind up in an institution!
    Marriage was originally instituted to establish three things:
    Property, paternity and posterity. Whose camels, whose children, and which children get the camels when Pops shuffles off.
    Times have changed, and so has the nature of marriage.
    “Gay marriage threatens the institution of marriage.” Well, with nearly 50% of all straight marriages ending in divorce before either partner shuffles off, how much worse would one expect things to be? Are you, Brian, expecting gay men to compete with straight women for the attention of straight men? Or do you believe that us guys are so easily led astray?
    “Many told me that they could not believe the transformation that came over me — they professed astonishment”
    Mother of heaven, you must have been a REAL pain in the ass before you found Jesus. Maybe we’re all lucky to know you now.
    Any form of sexuality, and how it is expressed, may be regarded as perverse by somebody, especially those who tend to dwell upon it with an, shall we say, unhealthy degree of attention.
    My goodness, we have drifted off the original, by a few light-years or so.
    I find it hard to believe that any Intelligent Deity, in charge of some 41 decillion odd cubic light-years of space, time, matter and energy, over a period of some 14 billion earth years, would get Its cosmic knickers in a knot over such things.
    But, hey! that’s just me.
    Oh, well, just another cross to bear – CTZen

  58. 58 Janus Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    “It offends me. Rap “music” offends me, too.”

    So take your offense and go home. I like rap music — it’s creative and energetic, and I can dance to it. And gay marriages do not threaten you or denigrate marriage, and homosexuality has nothing to do with you. Unless you’re in the closet and sneaking out for a cuppa once in awhile and afraid you’ll get caught by your friends who hate gays…

    “CTZen pointed out matriarchal families in Rome, and there certainly were some.”

    Matriarchal societites have all been Pagan, not Christian. Christians established a patriarchy. Women needed not apply.

  59. 59 Brian Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    … we all know what kind of people wind up in an institution!

    Well, mentally challenged people wind up in a mental institution.
    Teachers and students wind up in a learning institutions.
    Things of a wide variety wind up in the Smithsonian Institution.
    Scientists wind up in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    But in this case we are talking about “a significant practice, or relationship in a society or culture.”  Do try to perceive the context.  That would so enhance communications.

     

    Marriage was originally instituted to establish three things:

    Times have changed, and so has the nature of marriage.

    Haven’t you read of Jacob & Rachael, and how he loved her? That is found in Genesis, a very old book, by any measure.  As a historical document, it indicates that love — real, passionate, strong love — was a component of marriages even back that far (Genesis is thought to have been penned around 1450-1410 BC — more than 4,000 years ago — and speaks of times earlier than that).  Perhaps not all, just as today not all marriages are for love.  But it is not a novel thing to marry for love, not some new innovation.  Approximately 2,000 years ago the commandments “Husbands, love your wives” (Col. 3:19) and “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church…” (Eph. 5:25) and “husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies” (Eph. 5:28) were given to Christian men.  Do you think this inspired them to wonder what that might mean, as if it were some new concept?  There is no mention there regarding property, paternity or posterity.

     

    Well, with nearly 50% of all straight marriages ending in divorce before either partner shuffles off, …

    This is untrue.  It is one of those “statistics” repeated so many times, people think it is true.

    For instance, the 2004 US Census indicates that only 22% of adult Americans have ever divorced.  It also indicates that 72% of US adults have married at some point in their life.

    This means that 70% of US adults who ever married are still married to their first spouse, or stayed in that first marriage until their spouse died.

    Now, some of that 22% who have divorced at least once in their lives have actually divorced several times.  But this doesn’t really say much about marriage per se, so much as it says something about those who serially marry & divorce.

     

    Are you, Brian, expecting gay men to compete with straight women for the attention of straight men?

    Why would I think something like that?  Or perhaps more to the point, why would that be something you would need me to clarify for you?  What I mean is, did I somehow give you that impression, or are you importing it into your profile of me (you import much with respect to me)?  Straight men, by definition, are not accessible to homosexual men.  And as far as that goes, I cannot imagine why I would even care if homosexual men competed successfully for the attention of straight men.

    I, myself, might let a guy buy me dinner and a few drinks, but I would never go home with him.

     

    Mother of heaven, you must have been a REAL pain in the ass before you found Jesus.

    I have no hopes for a square deal from you, and you do not disappoint.

     

    Any form of sexuality, and how it is expressed, may be regarded as perverse by somebody, especially those who tend to dwell upon it with an, shall we say, unhealthy degree of attention.

    True enough.  And devoid of any significance, as well.  The fact that “there’s always someone who” carries no actual weight in making a point.  That “someone” (whoever it might be) isn’t in the conversation to make their point nor defend themselves.  So this seems somewhat like the “argument” “Everybody knows that…”

    And may I point out that it was you who introduced the topic of homosexuality the morning of July 3rd (the post beginning with “Are Norman and Brian trying to say that…”, and reintroduced it 7 hours later in the post starting “No, Archimedes was not God, nor was he to be worshipped.”  Are you perhaps confessing that you are one of “those who tend to dwell upon it with an, shall we say, unhealthy degree of attention?”

     

    I find it hard to believe that any Intelligent Deity, in charge of some 41 decillion odd cubic light-years of space, time, matter and energy, over a period of some 14 bil. earth years, would get Its cosmic knickers in a knot over such things.

    Now wait just a minute!  I thought it was 42.3 decillion cubic light years!  Are you sure it’s just 41 LY^3?

    The Deity (“It,” eh?) who is so busy that He would not be able to concern Himself over such things also has no time to care about you, either.  There would be no reason to Pray to such a One, as He would rarely if ever deign to hear you, let alone look with favor on your request.  And why would One like that care about worship from such insignificants as us?  Or care about reverence of any sort from such as us?

    This Deity of which you speak is no Deity at all, but is functional atheism.  Not to be cherished, loved, or ever even contemplated, except perhaps as an intellectual distraction.  Just some Big Guy, off over there, doing whatever it is He does, unconcerned about me or my planet — Gee!  I hope He doesn’t forget I’m here and accidentally park a supernova in my pocket.

    Perhaps you could shorten that to just “I find it hard to believe.

  60. 60 Cornelius T. Zen Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    They seek him here, they seek him there
    Them Christians seek him everywhere
    Is he in Heaven?
    “No, he’s going to Hell!
    He’s a damned, elusive Liberal!”
    – from The Scarlet Liberal by Baroness O’Really
    Good morrow, all!
    Brian: Hello again. I can recommend a good dermatologist. Skin as thin as yours needs looking after, as I’m sure you can appreciate.
    Yes, Jacob loved Rachel…but he had more childen by Leah, her elder sister, his first wife. After all, he had to
    do something while he waited for Rachel to be allowed to marry him. Took about fourteen years, and the result was Joseph and Benjamin (which means, in Hebrew, son of Jamin, or Jacob) What?
    He ran out of names after eleven elder sons? Two wives? How romantic – not to mention what a paperwork nightmare the will must have been.
    Oh, dear, a closet romantic. What you WOULD not do, others SHOULD not do. That sound about right?
    I have been reading the Bible longer than you’ve been alive. The more I read it, the more I’m convinced that the Bible libels God. It portrays him in the Old Testament as something resembling Zeus on steroids, complete with the rages and mood swings, and the taste for barbecue.
    He tells the Israelites “Thou shalt not kill.” Then He has them slaughter everybody in the Holy Land who might stand in their way of claiming back the territory. Ummm, consistency?
    In the New Testament, he’s a Greek chorus to His Son, only chiming in every now and then with “Listen up! This is My Boy! Clean out them ears, homies!”
    Then, you got the big battle with the Anti-Christ. Hmmm, so much for omnipotence.
    I don’t see God in the Bible. I don’t think of the Bible as the Word of God. Maybe it’s because I’m looking up at countless stars, and all the possibilities they illuminate. Like the old prophet, I hear His Voice in the gentle breeze. I feel His Presence when I hug my mother, or kiss my wife.
    And I wonder, what’s with 1700 years of payback? Ever since Constantine saw the sign in the Heavens – In Hoc Signo
    Vinces – By This Sign Shalt Thou Conquer – Christianity has been anything but Christian toward non-Christians. Not an inspiring track record, and not exactly what Jesus had in mind. They can’t even get along amongst themselves. (the Crusades, the Inquisition, the troubles in Ireland) Then again, I could be wrong.
    And why, oh, why, are today’s Christians so thin-skinned? To listen to them kvetch, oy vey, if they only made better
    chicken soup…and as fundamental as they claim to be, what’s with the bacon double cheeseburgers, nu?
    Even Jesus was observant in that respect. He kept kosher. And today’s Christians don’t because…?
    It’s a wonder Baruch Hamesh doesn’t sue. Then, again, where would He find a lawyer?
    You tell me I don’t believe. In whose estimation, and by what standard of measurement?
    Good night, and may your God go with you. – CTZen (aka The Scarlet Liberal)

  61. 61 Brian Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Oh, dear, a closet romantic.  What you WOULD not do, others SHOULD not do. That sound about right?

    There you go, importing again.  I never said that, and I never implied that — nor have I ever felt that.

     

    I have been reading the Bible longer than you’ve been alive.
    Yeah, I still got it: You’re old… Congratulations.

    The more I read it, the more I’m convinced that the Bible libels God.

    I reiterate, then, even more emphatically: You can shorten your observation “I find it hard to believe that any Intelligent Deity, in charge of some 41 decillion odd cubic light-years of space, time, matter and energy, over a period of some 14 billion earth years, would get Its cosmic knickers in a knot over such things” to the statement “I find it hard to believe.”  The Bible is the source book of Christianity, and about ¾ of it is the source book for Judaism. You speak of God (albeit with the pronoun “It”), and laud the “teachings of Jesus,” and you despise the source document revealing Him.  You find the Bible libels God, yet you have spent more time reading this libelous document than I have been alive.  Curious, that.

      

    He tells the Israelites ‘Thou shalt not kill.’  Then He has them slaughter everybody in the Holy Land who might stand in their way of claiming back the territory.

    Nice deception on your part.  Lying is not a very honorable way to debate.  You have been reading the Bible longer than I have been alive, so it is beyond belief that you do not know that the commandment is not “you shall not kill,” but “you shall not murder.”  Therefore I do not believe that you don’t know that.

    Murder is a deliberate act, operating under your own decision making processes.  Killing in warfare is a completely different undertaking, as is that of an executioner.  Different as well, the decision to pull the plug on someone having their metabolism sustained by machines.

    Let me try an analogy here.  I’m not very good at them, but I’ll try.

    I am a computer programmer (when I have a job).  Let us presume I am such a master, that I create a really high-functioning artificial intelligence program.  I tell it, you may do what you will, except you are forbidden from erasing code.

    Later, I decde a certain part of the code is never used, and another part is performing wrong. I correct the malfunctioning part, and I erase the part that never gets used.  Think of the error in judgment if the code get its knickers in a twist that I have forbidden erasing code, but then erased code.

    But, of course, that is mistaken; I did not forbid erasing code, I forbade code from erasing code.

    Because your perspective is anthropocentric, you Find it criminal for humans to be killed.  From God’s perspective, all are going to die, the only question is when, and for what reason(s).

    I don’t see God in the Bible.

    Yes, I know that.

    I don’t think of the Bible as the Word of God.

    Yes, I know that.

    Like the old prophet, I hear His Voice in the gentle breeze.

    Do not be deluded.  You don’t hear His voice when He speaks plainly;  you certainly do not hear it in any gentle breezes.  Since you have been reading hte Bible that you believe is not the word of God longer than I have been alive, then you ought to know better than I do that only one time did only one prophet hear God in a gentle breeze, in 1 Kings 19:12.  It is an egregious mistake to use a historical reference (this happened at this place at this time) as being normative.

    Ever since Constantine saw the sign in the Heavens – In Hoc Signo Vinces — By This Sign Shalt Thou Conquer — Christianity has been anything but Christian toward non-Christians.

    You are entirely mistaken.  Some groups going by the name of “Christian” have at times behaved in the way that you imply is consistent throughout history.  But that implication is historical revisionism, as your lie about the commandments was textual revisionism.  No one fully lives up to the calling of a Christian.  But neither do all Christians (that is, all who call themselves Christians) behave as hatefully as you imply.

     

    …and as fundamental as they claim to be, what’s with the bacon double cheeseburgers…

    The dietary laws came in with the Mosaic Law, after the exodus, up to the resurrection, and they were incumbent upon Jews and Proselytes only.

    Jesus rendered the entire Law of Moses inoperative.  Why is it that you don’t know this, having been a reader of the Bible longer than I have been alive?  I haven’t been reading it as long as I have been alive—indeed, I have only been reading it 19 years—and I know these things.

    Plus (I thought you would know this?), the avoidance of dairy products (cheese) with meat (hamburger & bacon) was a Jewish addition, something never contained anywhere in Scripture.

    They reasoned that perhaps one might cook milk in a pan, and when it was cleaned, leave a little behind.  Then later, they might cook meat in that pan, that just happened to be the offspring of the mother from whom the milk came, and thereby they would be guilty of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk, which was prohibited in Exo. 23:19 and 34:26,and Deu. 14:21.

    Fundamentalist Christians do not follow the Law of Moses, as it has been set aside, rendered inoperative.

     

    Even Jesus was observant in that respect. He kept kosher.

    No, actually, He did not keep kosher, He followed the Mosaic Law as written.  In fact (funny you don’t know this…), He was upbraided on more than one occasion for not keeping Kosher.  The Law of Moses was in effect until the Resurrection, so Jesus lived in the Dispensation of the Mosaic Law.  (Funny — I thought you would know all this, having spent so much time reading the Bible…)

  62. 62 Brian Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I am not sure this posted, so I am re-submitting it… I apologize if it is a double post…

    Oh, dear, a closet romantic.  What you WOULD not do, others SHOULD not do. That sound about right?

    There you go, importing again.  I never said that, and I never implied that — nor have I ever felt that.

     

    I have been reading the Bible longer than you’ve been alive.
    Yeah, I still got it: You’re old… Congratulations.

    The more I read it, the more I’m convinced that the Bible libels God.

    I reiterate, then, even more emphatically: You can shorten your observation “I find it hard to believe that any Intelligent Deity, in charge of some 41 decillion odd cubic light-years of space, time, matter and energy, over a period of some 14 billion earth years, would get Its cosmic knickers in a knot over such things” to the statement “I find it hard to believe.”  The Bible is the source book of Christianity, and about ¾ of it is the source book for Judaism. You speak of God (albeit with the pronoun “It”), and laud the “teachings of Jesus,” and you despise the source document revealing Him.  You find the Bible libels God, yet you have spent more time reading this libelous document than I have been alive.  Curious, that.

      

    He tells the Israelites ‘Thou shalt not kill.’  Then He has them slaughter everybody in the Holy Land who might stand in their way of claiming back the territory.

    Nice deception on your part.  Lying is not a very honorable way to debate.  You have been reading the Bible longer than I have been alive, so it is beyond belief that you do not know that the commandment is not “you shall not kill,” but “you shall not murder.”  Therefore I do not believe that you don’t know that.

    Murder is a deliberate act, operating under your own decision making processes.  Killing in warfare is a completely different undertaking, as is that of an executioner.  Different as well, the decision to pull the plug on someone having their metabolism sustained by machines.

    Let me try an analogy here.  I’m not very good at them, but I’ll try.

    I am a computer programmer (when I have a job).  Let us presume I am such a master, that I create a really high-functioning artificial intelligence program.  I tell it, you may do what you will, except you are forbidden from erasing code.

    Later, I decde a certain part of the code is never used, and another part is performing wrong. I correct the malfunctioning part, and I erase the part that never gets used.  Think of the error in judgment if the code get its knickers in a twist that I have forbidden erasing code, but then erased code.

    But, of course, that is mistaken; I did not forbid erasing code, I forbade code from erasing code.

    Because your perspective is anthropocentric, you Find it criminal for humans to be killed.  From God’s perspective, all are going to die, the only question is when, and for what reason(s).

    I don’t see God in the Bible.

    Yes, I know that.

    I don’t think of the Bible as the Word of God.

    Yes, I know that.

    Like the old prophet, I hear His Voice in the gentle breeze.

    Do not be deluded.  You don’t hear His voice when He speaks plainly;  you certainly do not hear it in any gentle breezes.  Since you have been reading hte Bible that you believe is not the word of God longer than I have been alive, then you ought to know better than I do that only one time did only one prophet hear God in a gentle breeze, in 1 Kings 19:12.  It is an egregious mistake to use a historical reference (this happened at this place at this time) as being normative.

    Ever since Constantine saw the sign in the Heavens – In Hoc Signo Vinces — By This Sign Shalt Thou Conquer — Christianity has been anything but Christian toward non-Christians.

    You are entirely mistaken.  Some groups going by the name of “Christian” have at times behaved in the way that you imply is consistent throughout history.  But that implication is historical revisionism, as your lie about the commandments was textual revisionism.  No one fully lives up to the calling of a Christian.  But neither do all Christians (that is, all who call themselves Christians) behave as hatefully as you imply.

     

    …and as fundamental as they claim to be, what’s with the bacon double cheeseburgers…

    The dietary laws came in with the Mosaic Law, after the exodus, up to the resurrection, and they were incumbent upon Jews and Proselytes only.

    Jesus rendered the entire Law of Moses inoperative.  Why is it that you don’t know this, having been a reader of the Bible longer than I have been alive?  I haven’t been reading it as long as I have been alive—indeed, I have only been reading it 19 years—and I know these things.

    Plus (I thought you would know this?), the avoidance of dairy products (cheese) with meat (hamburger & bacon) was a Jewish addition, something never contained anywhere in Scripture.

    They reasoned that perhaps one might cook milk in a pan, and when it was cleaned, leave a little behind.  Then later, they might cook meat in that pan, that just happened to be the offspring of the mother from whom the milk came, and thereby they would be guilty of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk, which was prohibited in Exo. 23:19 and 34:26,and Deu. 14:21.

    Fundamentalist Christians do not follow the Law of Moses, as it has been set aside, rendered inoperative.

     

    Even Jesus was observant in that respect. He kept kosher.

    No, actually, He did not keep kosher, He followed the Mosaic Law as written.  The Law of Moses was in effect until the Resurrection, so Jesus lived in the Dispensation of the Mosaic Law.  (Funny — I thought you would know all this, having spent so much time reading the Bible…)

  63. 63 Brian Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    You tell me I don’t believe.

    Actually, you tell me that you don’t believe.

    In whose estimation, and by what standard of measurement?

    You don’t need me to read your conscience for you; you know the answer to that question very well.

     

    But, since you asked (please note once again, that I do not go calling on Scripture unless I am asked):

    Why are the nations in an uproar
    And the peoples devising a vain thing?
    The kings of the earth take their stand
    And the rulers take counsel together
    Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
    “Let us tear their fetters apart
    And cast away their cords from us!”
    He who sits in the heavens laughs,
    The Lord scoffs at them.
    Then He will speak to them in His anger
    And terrify them in His fury, saying,
    “But as for Me, I have installed My King
    Upon Zion,
    My holy mountain.”

    (No, I am not equating you with the kings of the earth.  But they are as human as you, and the same delusion afflicted them as afflicts you: not recognizing God.)

    The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness & unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them;  for God made it evident to them.
    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
    For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    Now, I know that you are familiar with this passage, and its specifitude about sexual perversion.  But that perversion is action stemming from the more general mindset described, a mind set that you share.

    Paul’s observation that both that which is known about God is within them, and that God’s attributes are understandable from what has been made answers the arguments, “But I have never had someone teach me these things,.”  “God cannot hold me accountable for what I do not know”  and so on.

    The end of the passage describes your current condition.  I will paraphrase here to show you what I mean: You have become futile in your speculations, and your foolish heart is darkened.

    It need not stay that way though.  You still have time.  Please don’t delay waking from your self-induced stupor.

    “Unless you believe that I am He [the light of the world and the Light of life He has described Himself as in verse 12], you will die in your sins.”
    So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?”
    Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning?”

    But you do not believe, sadly.  I am quite fearful for you that you will be in the same boat as these ones:

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ ”
    “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ”

    These are not those who have lost their salvation.  Jesus tells them that He has never known them.  They thought they were saved — to the point of being willing to argue with the Lord about it! — but were never saved in the first place.

  64. 64 Cornelius T. Zen Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Good morrow, Brian!
    As I’ve said before:
    Those who trust their God, do not fear Him.
    Those who fear their God, cannot trust Him.
    You’re quite right. I do not believe in the God that is portrayed in the Bible. Mostly because He comes across as
    sociopathic, bipolar, neurotic and in desperate need of worship.
    God made the world. Right? And He saw that it was good. Any argument there?
    Men wrote the Bible. Men, who cowered in fear of what they could not understand. Men, who believed that there was Someone they must appease, in order not to be struck down with lightning or cast into fire.
    But faith that is based on fear breeds resentment, and we stiff-necked tend to resist what we resent.
    Faith that is based on trust is another matter altogether.
    I trust God to be better than me, wiser than me, more understanding in all ways, and isn’t that what we would all prefer God to be? Not ourselves, simply writ much larger and with a bigger reach, but Someone better.
    You have your beliefs, I have mine. I don’t mind being wrong, since my skin is rather thick and my ego is not on the line.
    If I’m not saved, that’s my cross to bear. The reason that I’m not worried is not because I don’t believe in God.
    It’s that I don’t believe God plays favorites, no matter how fervently we pray.
    You’re right, it is thou shalt not murder. Is not the slaughter of helpless or defenceless people murder, which is what God did demand of His People, not long after Sinai?
    Okay, I can almost write your own response to this: “hah! exactly! which is why abortion is murder!”
    So, light the candle instead of cursing the darkness, and adopt an unwanted child. Would that not be what Jesus would recommend?
    When you’re not part of the solution…
    You may thunder from your pulpit with all your heart, and all your soul and all your mind, and all your strength…but if you are without charity, to anyone, you are that tinkling bell that Paul mentioned in his letters.
    God is, by definition, omnipotent (all-powerful) omniscient (all-knowing) omnipresent (everywhere and in everyone and everything) and, with any luck, omnibenevolent.
    I trust God. I know He will hold you softly in the palm of His Hand, all the days of your life, and all the days that follow.
    I think you can trust Him, too. Not because you believe, but so that you believe.
    Perfect love and perfect trust belong together. And so…
    I bid you peace. Blessed be – CTZen

  65. 65 Brian Friday, July 9, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Those who trust their God, do not fear Him.
    Those who fear their God, cannot trust Him.

    The problem here is the “their” part. Any god who is not god of all is not God at all. People are willing to believe all manner of things. Because of that, there needs to be something more to go on than “Well, I believe…” It matters greatly why a given thing is believed.

    But again, you seek to make your point with a slogan. (Granted, I gave you one in return.) This is, again, simplistic. It is possible to trust and fear someone at the same time, the more so with the meaning of fear that the Bible takes. This is not fearing as in the Wizard of Oz, cowering and trembling. It is an intense respect, making you control yourself, out of unwillingness to cross one you hold in such esteem.

    But, of course, I know that you take a perverse delight in deliberately taking a meaning not intended, and jamming against the person you are misconstruing.

     

    Men wrote the Bible.

    The evidence is against this allegation. It is comforting to many to whistle this tune as they go past the graveyard, but the allegation does not stand up to objective scrutiny.

    Men, who cowered in fear of what they could not understand.

    I’m sorry, but the text simply does not read this way.

    Men, who believed that there was Someone they must appease, in order not to be struck down with lightning or cast into fire.

    This is more like what you see in animism, not the Bible. This is one of the things that sets the Bible apart: it has an entirely different tone than the religions of Canaan, ancient Egypt, et al.

     

    … and isn’t that what we would all prefer God to be?

    The question is entirely moot. It is like saying that it is not raining, but sunny, for after all, isn’t that what we would all prefer?

    Who God is ought not be answered as the answer to who would we like Him to be. Yes, of course I want God to be wiser than I. But my desire for that plays no role in bringing it about. The only role that desire plays is in making me relieved/happy that God is in fact wiser than me.

     

    If I’m not saved, that’s my cross to bear.

    It needn’t be. The rectification for that is readily available, absolutely free, and is valuable and worth having.

     

    It’s that I don’t believe God plays favorites, no matter how fervently we pray.

    It would only be open to the accusation of God playing favorites if it were not available to any and all.

     

    Is not the slaughter of helpless or defenseless people murder?

    Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. What establishes it as murder or not isn’t the action, but the motive and the authority under which the action is taken.

     

    So, light the candle instead of cursing the darkness, and adopt an unwanted child. Would that not be what Jesus would recommend?

    I actually cannot say with certainty what Jesus would recommend, though I suspect that His recommendation to each person would differ, in accordance with their means, particular situation, and so on.

    Adoption for those who can is a good idea, but it is a straw man as well. There are more people looking to adopt newborns than there are newborns to adopt, but that is not curtailing the number of abortions.

    It is also a false dilemma. The implication is that if I am not willing (or able) to solve the problem personally, I ought not have any say at all.

     

    I trust God. I know He will hold you softly in the palm of His Hand, all the days of your life, and all the days that follow.

    Question: This god of your invention, does it ever condemn anyone? For anything?

    If so, in your belief, who is it that gets condemned? What does it take to cross that line.

    If not, why not just act with complete disregard for others, stealing whatever you see that you like? I mean, you’ll be alright in the end, and you will have had a really fun time while here.

     

    I trust God. I know He will hold you softly in the palm of His Hand …

    I am curious why you switched to a personal pronoun? Would you be willing to tell me?

  66. 66 Brian Friday, July 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I am curious why you had nothing to say about my explanations for not following the Mosaic Law. Your points were pretty settled, and I answered them pretty directly. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts following the exchange of concepts between you & me on that topic.

    It is a pretty central theological issue, after all.

  67. 67 Cornelius T. Zen Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Good morrow, Brian!
    Didn’t Jesus say that He was there not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it? Or did I hear Him wrong?
    And weren’t the original Christians, and Jesus Himself, all observant Jews?
    So why would today’s Christians essentially tell the original Christians that they were wrong in this respect?
    Oh. Wait. It’s because they don’t want to be Jews. It’s sorta like honoring your father and mother, but being ashamed of your heritage, in order to impress someone else.
    There is only one God, and, no, He does not condemn. If He condemns anyone or anything, He is admitting that He was wrong to bring such things or people into the world, since He is the source of all Creation. Which means, He is not perfect, which means He is not God.
    We are all created in His Image, but we do not see God in other people because we are looking at the surface only. His Image lies in our creative and imaginative minds, which are unlimited in both power and scope, sorta like You Know Who.
    Some Christians are bitterly disappointed that not all people are Christian. Some Muslims are bitterly disappointed that not all people are Muslim. And, I am sure that some Chinese are bitterly disappointed that not all Americans shop at Wal-Mart.
    Considering how Christians have treated each other, let alone non-Christians, throughout history, no wonder Jesus wept.
    No wonder He said, in his throes of agony, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
    So, go ahead and tell me that, because I do not believe what you believe, that I do not believe. I forgive you, seventy times seven times.
    One God. One Love. Give thanks and praise to the Lord, and we will feel alright. Or is He wrong? – CTZen

  68. 68 Brian Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Didn’t Jesus say that He was there not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it? Or did I hear Him wrong?

    You might have heard wrong, but whether you did or not, He did indeed say that.  I reiterate, Jesus lived under the Law, which was rendered no-longer-operative by His death and resurrection.

    And weren’t the original Christians, and Jesus Himself, all observant Jews?

    Depends on the date.  Prior to the resurrection, they were.  After the resurrection, they vilified those who tried to bring the Jewish Law into Christianity— that is what Galatians is about; you have read Galatians, yes? Having established his credentails, Paul says:

      You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
    …  [D]id you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
      Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
      Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
      So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

    Of course, these are rhetorical questions.  For example, asking “are you now being perfected by the flesh?” is actually stating that they are mistaken to try, because it cannot be done.

     

    So why would today’s Christians essentially tell the original Christians that they were wrong in this respect?

    They wouldn’t & don’t.  They say that you are mistaken because you have not properly regarded the transition that took place at the crucifixion.  You ask about Jesus’ behavior prior to the Crucifixion and then include the period of early Christianity; but a significant dividing line lies between those two times.

     

    It’s because they don’t want to be Jews.  It’s sorta like honoring your father and mother, but being ashamed of your heritage, in order to impress someone else.

    Nice importation.

    But you are mistaken.  Some Christians want to be Jews so badly they over-do it.

    The group that is the most pro-Jew is the Christians.  Christians (by which I mean those who reckon themselves to be saved by faith alone in Jesus’ payment alone, not social Christians) are more pro-Jew — as a group — than Jews, I think.  There are many examples of Jewish anti-Semites, I am sorry to say.

    Also, there are many Jewish Christians, so that alone ought to show that, even if there are some Christian anti-Semites, it could hardly be the whole group.  Yet the whole groupd rejects the Mosaic Law.

    Now, regarding vocabulary, non-Jews cannot become Jews.  When a non-Jew embraces Judaism, he becomes a proselyte.

    I would not want to become a proselyte, because it would be totally ineffective.  Judaism today, because of the advent of the Church (the collection of all believers in all lands of all time following the resurrection) 2,000 years ago, is a religious-themed club.  But I don’t say that because I have anything against Jews, but only because I recognize Judaism to have gone from being a requirement, to being no longer operative.

    If Christians despised the history leading to Christianity, they wouldn’t visit the Holy Land in droves, as they do.

    So, given the evidence, it appears that you are merely looking around for anti-Semites where there are few to none.

    Now, it is true that the Roman Catholic Church was very hard on Jews.  But, as I said, before, when I say Christian, I mean those who reckon themselves to be saved by faith alone in Jesus’ payment alone.  Martin Luther was an anti-Semite for most of his life.  But he became one who reckoned himself saved by faith alone in Jesus’ sacrifice alone, and at the end of his life he no longer was against the Jews.

     

    There is only one God, and, no, He does not condemn.

    I would be interested how you feel you can be so dogmatic as to assert that there is only one God, in the first place — I mean, how can you know this with the certainty you employ?  I further would like to know how you can make assertive statements about Him.  I really hope you will not overlook this question — it seems central to me.

     

    If He condemns anyone or anything, He is admitting that He was wrong to bring such things or people into the world, since He is the source of all Creation.  Which means, He is not perfect, which means He is not God.  …  No wonder He said, in his throes of agony, “Father, forgive them.  They know not what they do.”

    I see two contradictions here.  The first is, since Jesus knew God better than anyone, He would certainly know that God condemns no one (presuming for this discussion that you are right).  So why would He ask God to forgive anyone?  Surely He knows it is already essentially a fait accompli.

    But also, how could there even be anything to forgive?

    Now, let’s look at the part of your statement, “If He condemns anything, He is admitting that He was wrong …  [w]hich means, He is not perfect, which means He is not God.”

    Man!  This sure sounds like God perpetrating a cover-up to protect His image.  You are essentially saying that God is a liar.

     

    His Image lies in our creative and imaginative minds, which are unlimited in both power and scope, sorta like You Know Who.

    Surely there is hyperbole here.  Unlimited in scope and power?  Isn’t this a bit of species-centric self aggrandizement?  A largely untapped resource?  Perhaps.  But unlimited?  Not so much;  surely there are limits.

    I understand our image bearing much more in that we recognize ethics, and honor moral actions, despising immorality — as categories, I recognize the we disagree on the contents of the set named ethics, and the sets named moral and immoral.

    Also, unlike any other creature, we contemplate the past and the future.

    Imagination and creativity to, of course.

     

    Some Christians are bitterly disappointed that not all people are Christian.  Some Muslims are bitterly disappointed that not all people are Muslim.    And, I am sure that some Chinese are bitterly disappointed that not all Americans shop at Wal-Mart.

    True enough, but not suitable for diagnosing whether one of these truth claims is valid or not.  In WWII movies you see fighter pilots aiming their plane at the ground, while a compatriot is shouting into the radio, “Pull up! Pull up!”  They inevitably get the answer, “I’m OK.”  Now, the guy doing the yelling, and the guy doing the dying both feel that they are not in jeopardy of crashing, but one of them is right, and one is wrong.  You cannot tell anything from their certainty of safety.  For the crashing guy to point out that he feels as secure about himself as the guy doing the yelling feels about himself wo0uld sound reasonable enough, but would be ultimately meaningless.

    Yeah, Muslims want everyone to be a Muslim.  But the Q’ran [or however you want to spell it] does not hold up to the kind of objective scrutiny that the Bible does.  So yeah, members of different groups want this and that, but the questions need to center around why they want what they want.  The motives differ.  Christians want people to be Christians out of concern for the future of others.  Muslims want everyone to be Muslims, because they feel it is the destiny of Islam to rule the world, and they are commanded to convert people to Islam — as an end in itself.  I’m not saying that any of that makes one more right or more wrong than any other, only that observing the different groups want similar things doesn’t really mean much, by itself.

     

    Considering how Christians have treated each other, let alone non-Christians, throughout history, no wonder Jesus wept.

    Well, the passage containing the verse “Jesus wept” (the shortest verse in the Bible), provides context before revealing that He did that. But first, a second case where Jesus is reprted to have wept:

    Luke 19:43— 45

        When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you [the city] had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!  But now they have been hidden from your eyes.
        “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, …  “

    John 11:23— 35 (I have shortened this some, and added emphases):

        Martha said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
        Jesus said^ to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
        She said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
        He said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives & believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this?”
        ”Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
        [Then] she went away &called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here & is calling for you.”
        When she heard it, she got up quickly and went to Him.
        Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly & went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
        When Mary came where Jesus was, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
        When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Come see.”
        Jesus wept.

    That “He was troubled” is out of place if this is only about grieving.  And it cannot be about grieving; After all, He is about to raise Lazarus from the dead.

    But He has been telling them & telling them the good news of salvation, life after death, presence with God, etc., and still they grieve as if death is the end of everything.  He is having trouble getting them to believe with the depth that transforms, and it is frustrating, and troubles Him, so He weeps.

    And really, you’re putting the cart far before the horse.  How can Jesus weep about how Christians treat others and each other before there are any Christians in the first place?  And even if it was through His knowing the end from the beginning as God, how would the gospel writers have been able to know that?  So again it appears that you are taking an historical event, and importing into it a component not present, so that you can hoist a banner you like.

  69. 69 Janus Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    “Any god who is not god of all is not God at all.”

    There are two equally good answers to that: (1) Bullshit! and; (2) Then there are no gods at all. And since I know that there are gods, I vote for the first answer.

    “The evidence is against this allegation.”
    :lol: WHAT “evidence?” And no — that was NOT an invitation to cite more goddamned scripture, please and thank you! You cannot use the thing itself to prove its veracity.

    “The rectification for that is readily available, absolutely free, and is valuable and worth having.”

    TOO readily available (tripping over the damned thing, I am; my next move might be to stomp on it if it doesn’t get out of my way), absolutely NOT FREE AT ALL, of no discernable “value,” and defintiely not worth having. Oh…except to you, of course. It’s yours, Brian. Do remember to take it home with you, won’t you?

    “If not, why not just act with complete disregard for others, stealing whatever you see that you like?”

    Just how far do you intend to take your insults?

    “I reiterate, Jesus lived under the Law…”

    Then explain his treatment of the moneychangers in the temple. They were there to fulfill the Law, after all.

    I was gonna comment more, but I’m getting really sick of this topic. And I was gonna kill this comment, but I thought, WTF, stet. I’m done on this thread, though. Brian is just too full of his own misinformation.

  70. 70 Brian Monday, July 12, 2010 at 9:13 am

    WHAT “evidence? And … that was NOT an invitation to cite more … scripture…! You cannot use the thing itself to prove its veracity.”

    If a challenge is being made to an ancient artifact, surely you must examine the thing under question as a part of your investigation?  Of course you do not consider as established fact what the thing says about itself unless the artifacts credibility can be checked.  But I didn’t suggest that.

    OK.  Some evidence:

    Many archaeological sites have been found by using the Bible as an original source.  This is not true of the Q’ran, nor is it true of the Bool of Mormon.  This is one piece of evidence the Bible has in its favor.

    The Bible has predictive prophecy that has come to pass, the Q’ran does not.  Daniel had so many predictions that detractors insisted that the words were put into Daniel’s mouth after the events had happened.  But then a copy of Daniel was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.  These copies were entombed before some of the the events found in Daniel, dashing that argument.

    The Bible is widely recognized as having been written by dozens of authors ranging from kings to virtual paupers, in at least 2 different languages, over more than 1,000 years (closer to 2,000), and yet is without contradiction.  Plus, the whole thing reads with a common feel of authorship.

    Some will say that the reasons for some of this is selective editing over æeons.  But again, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, a copy of Isaiah 1,000 years older than the theretofore oldest copy was among them.  Research showed that between that copy and the previously oldest copy there were 14 discrepancies in total.  Something like 7 of those were from spelling changes over that period (such as theater vs theatre), a few more were due to syntax changes (such as “this needs sugar” vs “this must needs sugar”).  Of the actual discrepancies, none touched on areas of what the book conveyed.  This 1,000 year span was almost entirely during the Christian era, when you would think that pressures to edit would be greater.  In contrast, the Book of Mormon has a disclaimer in it, “In the past minor errors have been perpetuated in the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate in keeping with the manuscripts edited by the prophet Joseph Smith.”  The Book of Mormon is only 170 years old!

    This is just some of the evidence.  There is really a LOT more.

     

    TOO readily available …

    But then charges of exclusivity would seem to have no merit

    absolutely NOT FREE AT ALL

    I am baffled how you can say that.  Exactly what is the cost, then?

     ‘If not, why not just act with complete disregard for others, stealing whatever you see that you like?’

    Just how far do you intend to take your insults?

    What insult do you see in that question?  I am merely inquiring what the basis might be to tell someone that acting with such disregard is wrong?  Or not a good choice, even?

     

    Then explain his treatment of the moneychangers in the temple.  They were there to fulfill the Law, after all.

    The moneychangers were not fulfilling the Law, in fact.  Those running the Temple imposed a “law” that tithing could only be paid in a certain form of money (a stipulation not found in the Law).  Then the moneychangers set up their money exchange businesses in the courtyard of the Temple, and charged high rates for exchanges of money.  That was actually a violation of the Law, and they were committing these transgressions of the Law in the courtyard of the Temple, stealing from the people who came from areas far from the Temple to fulfill their obligations under the Law.  Jesus was rightly enraged that the moneychangers, in collusion with those running the Temple, were using the obligations under the Law to fleece people of their money.

     

    Brian is just too full of his own misinformation.

    Well, naturally when two people disagree, they both think of the other that they are wrong or misinformed.  So telling me that you find me misinformed is not news.

    But I just showed that you are grossly misinformed.  I didn’t prove it, but I showed that to be the case.

    Given that I have done so, if you disagree, your responsibility to make that case would be to show where I have erred.  But you can’t.  All you have going for you is a searing hatred of those not like you.  You malign, insult, swear at, and clearly hate those who disagree with you if they do so in anything but a minor way.


  1. 1 Stoplights: Safety? Or vehicular tyranny? « unrepentant old hippie Trackback on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

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