Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Difference between Christianity and Islam

Governments in the West, even when the leaders are devout believers, accept some for of the separation of church and state. This has not always been the case, of course. But Christianity never tells you how to run the government. The New Testament was written when Christians had no political power whatsoever. With Islam, however, it's different. That is a religion that is written for people in power.

146 comments:

BeingItself said...

Sure, there are superficial differences between Christianity and Islam. But a property they share is most important: they are both false.

Dan Gillson said...

BeingItself makes a mostly innocuous (and silly) comment, but I'm curious as to when the predicates "true" and "false" became properties of objects. Perhaps he can indulge me, if he doesn't mind going OT?

Karl Grant said...

BI,

Repeating the same atheist punch lines ad nauseum does not make you hip, edgy, witty, cool, smart, clever, etc... More than anything else it makes you look boring, unimaginative, insecure and attention starved. More to the point, since we have all heard what you just said about a million times from hundreds of wannabe pseudo-intellectuals it does not elicit the desired emotional response, namely to shock and piss off believers. The only thing it does generate is boredom and annoyance at the person who is trying to do the same thing for the ten thousandth time.

Either come up with some better one-liners or actually engage in real discussion. I don't care which, because right now you have zero entertainment value and zero intellectual value, so anything else would be an improvement.

valueofsaintliness said...

I actually had an Islamic Studies professor (that was my minor in undergrad) make a similar point. He said that if Muhammad had been killed during the Meccan period, then Islam would have resembled Christianity far more - he preached non-violence, passive resistance, peace, etc. The tenor of Islam changed when Muhammad suddenly was placed in a position of power where he had to make hard decisions about executions, political stability, wars, etc.

This particular professor asked, "If they had made Jesus the actual king of Judea, how would Christianity be different?" It's a thought-provoking question for sure. Would Jesus have rejected this position?

B. Prokop said...

The bedrock, fundamental distinction between Islam and Christianity is their attitude toward the Incarnation. Nothing else matters as much as this one, critical difference.

As usual, Charles Williams expressed this best, in the Prologue to Taliessin Through Logres:

Caucasia fell to the Moslem;
the mamelukes seized the ancient cornland of Empire.
Union is breached; the imams stand in Sophia.

Good is God, the muezzin
calls, but lost is the light on the hills of Caucasia,
glory of the Emperor, glory of substantial being.


Once this "union is breached", all sorts of demons can pour through the gap. There is no impediment to religious tyranny. And I maintain that even Western theocracies, claiming to be based on Christianity (right down to today's so-called "Cristian Right" in the USA) were at their core antithetical to Christianity, since they contradict(ed) the consequences of the Incarnation - that of God's sharing in Humanity's nature, and vice versa. Not so for Islamic theocracies. there is nothing shared between Man and Allah. Nothing to shout "No" to tyranny.

I speak as one with no small amount of personal experience. I've spent a fair bit of time in the Middle East, in Turkey, Kuwait, and Iraq.

B. Prokop said...

"Would Jesus have rejected this position?

Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (John 6:15)

Again, the devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" (Matthew 4:8-10)

And many other places... No, I don't think He would have accepted such a position.

Syllabus said...

Also:

"Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36

Dan Gillson said...

It's unfair to say whether Jesus would or wouldn't have accepted the position, especially if you accept the idea, as I do, that the accounts of Christ's saying have been fudged for cultic purposes. (To be clear, I in no way mean anything perjorative by "cultic".) As a charismatic upstart who challenged the power of the Judean religious establishment, Jesus could have assumed a position of political power, and, I would argue, it is unreasonable to discount that possibility merely because it has been recorded otherwise.

Crude said...

It's unfair to say whether Jesus would or wouldn't have accepted the position, especially if you accept the idea, as I do, that the accounts of Christ's saying have been fudged for cultic purposes.

I think it's entirely fair to say what Christianity teaches based on what has been written and what is accepted to have been written with regards to the faith itself. That happens to be the OP's focus.

What seems unfair is to imagine Jesus doing or saying something radically departing from what He actually said and did for the purposes of some pretty radical alternate world hypothetical scenarios.

Syllabus said...

"it is unreasonable to discount that possibility merely because it has been recorded otherwise."

It seems to me equally unreasonable to put forth a hypothesis that directly contradicts both the only written records we have of the person and the teachings of His subsequent followers for centuries.

B. Prokop said...

Dan,

Sorry, but you've gone clean off the rails here. It's one thing to not think we have the exact words of Christ. (I for one don't think we do.) It's quite another to just make stuff up out of thin air and then say "Well, it's possible, (as long as we ignore the unanimous testimony of the records that we do have)", and from there to come to whatever conclusion you want.

Shoot, let me try. How about this? Barry Goldwater was really a liberal Democrat. Oh sure, we have his so-called "record", and the books he wrote such as Conscience of a Conservative, and all the other things that people said about him... but that could have all been made up by partisan historians. Let's just assume "for the sake of argument" that he said in reality things completely contrary to everything we know about him.

BeingItself said...

Dan,

Christianity and Islam are objects? Huh. My bad.

Dan Gillson said...

I disagree. I think it's plenty fair to speculate against the written record, especially when one labors under the assumption that the historicity of said record is, to some extent, incredible. What I find particularly interesting though, is Prokop's response, which essentially denies the authenticity of the record, while imposing strict limits on the answers to the hypothetical question introduced by valueofsaintliness. Given my and, apparently Prokop's presupposition, I don't find my answer to be out of bounds. But unorthodox? Sure.

B. Prokop said...

Deny the authenticity? Heck, no! You obviously have not been following me on this website. I believe the Gospels to be extraordinarily faithful narratives of what actually occurred. When Matthew says the dead rose at the moment of Jesus's death, I think there's good evidence that he is recording actual events. when John says Christ walked on the water, he is giving eyewitness testimony. When Mark describes Jesus praying in the garden on the night of his arrest, he's telling you what he personally saw and heard. (Mark is almost certainly the young man referenced in Mark 14:51. We now have proof positive that there actually was a Star of Bethlehem. Etc, etc, etc.

BUT... Jesus spoke in Aramaic. the Gospels were written in Greek. So even in the very best of circumstances, we have only a translation of what He actually said, and not His precise words. (As a professional translator for many years, I know well how impossible it is to maintain 100% accuracy when going from one language to another.)

But I absolutely and emphatically affirm the authenticity, faithfulness, and reliability of the Gospels.

Dan Gillson said...

Not putatively, BeingItself, i.e., not the kind of commonplace things you find on your desk, or out in a field, but a grammatical sense. Your silly little one-liner assumes that Christianity and Islam are items whose properties can be parceled out in the same way that we do with other putative objects, and that "true" and "false" function as adequate descriptions for such things. It's a curious supposition on your part, so I thought I'd ask you about it.

Dan Gillson said...

Yes, well, I'm new to the blog, Prokop. Perhaps you'll forgive the error?

B. Prokop said...

No problemo. I just wanted to quash that misconception in the bud!

im-skeptical said...

"Christianity never tells you how to run the government."

I think it's a great thing that the United States government was founded as a secular institution. There are many Christians who don't believe that, and want to impose their own brand of religious-based morality upon everyone. If they get their way, how will it be different from Islamic states?

Crude said...

I find it far more common that people want to impose their own secular morality on people.

It doesn't cease to be an imposition of morality just because the morality is "secular" in nature. (And frankly, as Stanley Fish points out, it's better to call it 'obscure religious' than 'secular' many times.)

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

Are you referring to the laws that require you to hug trees? Or the ones that say you must marry someone of your own sex? Oh, I know ... it's the one that forces women to have coverage for birth control in their health insurance policy. How dare they?

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

Are you referring to the laws that require you to hug trees?

Sorry, what?

Or the ones that say you must marry someone of your own sex?

I wasn't aware marriage was mandatory!

Oh, I know ... it's the one that forces women to have coverage for birth control in their health insurance policy. How dare they?

Oh, I can name plenty of laws in various contexts. Speech codes on campuses and their very interesting enforcement, not to mention speech codes in other "secular" nations. German laws against homeschooling (hey, the nazis got some things right!) Among other things.

I mean, it's funny that you bring up the contraception thing. YOU see nothing wrong with that, and people who disagree with you are wrong as far as you're concerned so hey, end of story. Therefore it's either not an imposition, or it's an imposition but darnit, you think it's the right thing to do so fuck 'em.

Which, of course, is exactly the rationale behind any state where religion is enforced - whether the religion is theistic or secular. And it's also why the complaints about 'theocracies' are so often hypocritical.

Too many people dislike theocracies not because they impose their will on people, but because they impose the wrong kind of will. It's like Stalinists complaining about how oppressive the Nazis are.

Papalinton said...

"The Difference between Christianity and Islam?"

About 800 miles

BeingItself said...

Crude,

What should be the punishment if a man has sex with his wife and uses a condom? A fine? Jail time? Caning? Stoning to death?

Surely such an immoral act deserves severe punishment.

Crude said...

What should be the punishment if a man has sex with his wife and uses a condom? A fine? Jail time? Caning? Stoning to death?

What should the punishment be for refusing to buy condoms for a female employee, BI? A fine? Jail time? Caning? Stoning to death?

Surely such an immoral act deserves punishment. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Ah, it must be an election year.

im-skeptical said...

Sorry. I didn't intend to get into a political debate. My point is that as a rule, religious morality-based law typically imposes restrictions on what people can do. Secular lawmakers tend to favor personal freedom. If you think the sharia law of Islamic nations is bad, you should favor the secular over the religious.

B. Prokop said...

Now that's interesting, im-skeptical, because if you listen to all the talk at the Rebup convention, they say they're all for "freedom" and that it's the godless secular Democrats who are taking it away!

If it's not too late, I say let's start a Clint Eastwood for President campaign!

rank sophist said...

Secular lawmakers tend to favor personal freedom. If you think the sharia law of Islamic nations is bad, you should favor the secular over the religious.

You must be young. I recommend taking a gander at the history of secular law. The amount of oppression would make the average Muslim blush.

Crude said...

My point is that as a rule, religious morality-based law typically imposes restrictions on what people can do.

Any system short of nihilism, whether religious or secular, 'imposes restrictions on what people can do'. That's the problem and my point.

A secular imposition is still an imposition.

Secular lawmakers tend to favor personal freedom.

On what grounds? The grounds that they often (but not always) would repeal the morality that the 'religious' would impose, while choosing to impose rules the stereotypically religious wouldn't?

Do you really want me to point at the impositions of secular governments throughout history, and in the modern day? Do I even have to?

If you think the sharia law of Islamic nations is bad, you should favor the secular over the religious.

And as I've been saying, there's not much of a difference between the two in practice. Should I ban condoms or hijabs? Do we mandate religious training in school or ban homeschooling altogether? Do we outlaw blasphemy or "hate speech"?

The problem is that when a government is bad or oppressive, people are reflexively reluctant to refer to it as secular - it's fascist, or communist, or any other word. But it really is secular, and the instances of secular control, censorship, and imposition are tremendous.

Papalinton said...

"The Difference between Christianity and Islam?"
Just as the squabble between christianity and Islam has been a war of ideas, a battle of competing and irreconcilable interpretations of the same world but from different communities, it is nonetheless the same inextricable competition between disparate, conflictual and incompatible ideas that preceded them, reflected in the earlier internecine squabbles within the Jewish community itself, between those in Jerusalem who held power, and the surrounding disenfranchised Jewish diaspora, out of which christianity was derived. They are descendent from the same squabbles of differentiation that, during an even earlier time, pitted thousands of gods against innumerable other gods well back into pre-history.

None of these theisms are predicated on fact or proofs or evidence for their substantiation as we would normally understand these words today. They are solely derivative interpretations of cultural creation myths accreted over millennia, promulgated throughout a pre-scientific milieu and by a pre-scientific mindset.

That competition of ideas continues to this day. But now the focus is significantly different. No longer is it simply a competition of differing interpretations and cultural imperatives. With the prodigious advances in research methodology, the efficacy of empiricism, the exponential growth in human knowledge and understanding brought about through the social sciences, anthropology, the sciences, neurosciences, humanities, etc etc. Theology, once the primary source of scholarship, information and knowledge in human history, onto which all other forms of discrete knowledge was obligingly appended, now no longer is the gatekeeper of the commonwealth of human knowledge and understanding.

Piece by piece, the edifice of deferential acquiescence to religion, the compliant acceptance of religious tradition and convention as the sole arbiters of social good and worth, is being dismantled and rightsized within the community. As the imposing might of religious dogma that once commanded the centrality of community life diminishes, as a consequence of these other, wider and more powerful forms of knowledge and understanding take centre stage, and their quantum leap in explanatory power, the hegemony of theism dwindles as it rightly should in a modern society shedding itself of the remaining vestiges of superstition and personal incantations that inform public policy. The community has a long way to go but the trends reflecting this change are significant, demonstrable and clearly wanted, despite the reactionary responses of the various religious organisations as the catholic church or the Southern Baptist Convention and the myriad of other religious institutions.

Dan Gillson said...

The trouble with comments like papalinton's is that, although they may be well thought out, they have the infelicitous effect of killing the conversation.

Crude said...

Dan,

Not really. Most of us just ignore him - partly because "well thought out" rarely describes anything he writes. He's kind of the resident "atheist other atheists are embarrassed about".

That said, I stand by my secular comments. People seem to forget North Korea is a secular state, and makes Iran look like Disneyland.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

I'm not talking about communism. I'm talking about the secular nation known as USA. Nobody's legislating a ban on home schooling, or associating with anyone you like, or speaking your mind. The ones trying to codify their morality in the law are religious.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

I'm not talking about communism. I'm talking about the secular nation known as USA.

We're a "secular nation" in a loose sense. We're not a Christian nation. But the country is founded on a broadly deistic/theistic model. Which explains all the prayers and the references to God in our founding documents.

The nasty truth is that America actually was largely founded on the assumption of a common, ground-level belief in God on the part of all citizens.

Nobody's legislating a ban on home schooling, or associating with anyone you like, or speaking your mind.

Yeah, this isn't true. It's not nearly as bad as some other areas of the world, but we do have various problems on this front, with more coming. And there certainly are attempts to curtail these very things. You think homeschooling is popular with all political parties? Let me lob one at you: during Nixon's presidency, do you think "speaking your mind" was a non-issue? How about the past existence, and repeated attempts at reviving, the "Fairness Doctrine"?

The ones trying to codify their morality in the law are religious.

Hahahaaaa no. What you mean is the only people trying to codify morality you dislike into the law are religious. You turn a blind eye to people trying to codify their morality into the law if you agree. You just won't call it morality if your guard is up. You'll call it "fairness" or "equality" or "progressive thinking" or some other such.

Stanley Fish had an interesting piece on this.

Papalinton said...

Dan
Infelicitous? How so? Is there a conversation to be had with purveyors of superstitious supernaturalism agglomerated around the human condition, the human condition that effects every single human ever having the good fortune to have been born, absolutely regardless of their religious or irreligious predilection? There are far more cogent and intelligent discussions that can be had about the travails of the human condition without resorting to or couching them in mythology and superstition. How does one broach the nonsense of resurrection of christian mysticism with the fact that dead putrescent corpses simply do not resuscitate despite all the spells, incantations, shamanism and personal appeals to [putatively] live entities that inhabit another dimension?

Discourse on this site is not a talkfest at some mythology conference or New-Age seminar. These people exhibit behaviours that fundamentally influence their daily lives, a life replete with imaginary beings, demons, ghosts, seraphim, nephilim and other creatures that go bump in the night, indistinguishable to the known and demonstrable causal entities and conditions that can intervene, physically influence and impact on the natural order of things. Even more so great than any human being, these unimaginable omni-max behemoths can not only invoke tsunamis, and earthquakes and floods when pissed, but can answer prays. These people bring their cornucopia of spirits and ghosts and gods into the public policy forum and make decisions based on these ineffable characters.

If my entreaties are conversation stoppers, that speaks more about according unwarranted an undeserved complaisance to a system of beliefs that are clearly anathema to reality, a system of beliefs founded on the fictive nature of folkloric tradition that now seem largely at odds with the community, than it does about what I have written. Of course, you are about to receive a flood of agreement from the believers on this site, with much invective and personal slagging of character towards me. They are impassioned to support anyone that does not, cannot, or simply refuses to challenge or vigorously question the superstitious mythos of their underlying belief structure. Your accommodationism is singularly unhelpful in redressing the balance from fiction toward fact.

B. Prokop said...

Yawn.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

Interesting article. "justice, fairness and impartiality — are empty abstractions." Isstead, our legislators should be more concerned with “notions about a purposive cosmos, or a teleological nature stocked with Aristotelian ‘final causes’ or a providential design.”

Just like the Taliban. Deny people the ability to exercise their free will, because the godly ones among us know what's best for everyone.

im-skeptical said...

Instead, not Isstead.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

Just like the Taliban. Deny people the ability to exercise their free will, because the godly ones among us know what's best for everyone.

Free will? What free will? (Under atheism and materialism, anyway.)

And Fish is not an Aristotilean. He's pointing out that the concept of 'secular values' makes no sense - the only way it does make sense is by smuggling. Aka, bringing in the very religious, metaphysical assumptions that secularism was supposed to be above and without.

Papalinton said...

"But I absolutely and emphatically affirm the authenticity, faithfulness, and reliability of the Gospels."

Yes. Definitely. The bolding indeed emphasizes forcefulness that makes the claim all the truer, factual and proof bound. No equivocation there.

Question:
Which of these represents the authentic, faithful and reliable account of the last words on the cross?:
In Matthew and Mark :
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? [last words]

In Luke:
Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (in response to one of the two thieves crucified next to him)
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
(last words)

In John:
Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (directed at Mary, the mother of Jesus, either as a self reference, or as a reference to the beloved disciple and an instruction to the disciple himself)
I thirst (just before a wetted sponge, mentioned by all the Canonical Gospels, is offered)
It is finished.
(last words)

On another site; "The Last Words from the Cross
The gospels appear to give several different accounts of what Jesus said in the last moments before he died. Here are his last words as reported in each gospel:

Matthew 27:46 and Mark 25:34:
Jesus cried out in a loud voice "Eloi, Eloi, lama, sabachthani?" which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Luke 23:46:
Jesus called out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

John 19:30:
Jesus said "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Matthew and Mark agree, but the statements in Luke and John aren't found anywhere else in the New Testament. Is there a plausible way to explain these differences?"


At this point the story deteriorates rapidly into the conjectural contortions and convolutions of Apologetics with a myriad of commutations and permutations that masquerade as 'authentic, 'faithful' and 'reliable' evidence. See here

Another question:
Who witnessed jesus praying alone in Gethsemane when the disciples had all fallen asleep and jesus' actual words now authentically, faithfully and reliably recorded in Luke?
Of course. Silly me. A miracle no doubt. How can one let facts and evidence get in the way of a good story?




Cale B.T. said...

B. Prokop "When Matthew says the dead rose at the moment of Jesus's death, I think there's good evidence that he is recording actual events. "

You're safe from Norm Geisler, then ;)

BeingItself said...

Crude,

If an employer refuses to provide healthcare mandated by the government, then the employer should be fined.

Since religious beliefs are untethered to reality, the government should not make exceptions for the idiotic beliefs of Catholics or Jehovah's Witnesses or Christian Scientists.

Crude said...

If an employer refuses to provide healthcare mandated by the government, then the employer should be fined.

Of course, BI. Because the government really can do whatever it likes, and impose whatever moral vision it wants. Even when it's entirely religious. ;)

At least, by your standards. So when eventually the government starts to impose moralities you object to - whether Catholic morality, muslim morality, or some other variety - intellectually, you won't have a leg to stand on.

Not that you've ever had a desire to be consistent on such matters. Pity it won't matter. ;)

Crude said...

BTW, BI.

Are you an atheist? Or atheist+? Speaking of mandated moralities and all.

Dan Gillson said...

11Some sage advice for papalinton: http://grammar.about.com/od/essaysonstyle/a/sjohnsonstyle.htm

BeingItself said...

Crude,

I am no fan of Atheism+. It seems to me it's nothing but Humanism + rudeness.

Crude said...

I am no fan of Atheism+. It seems to me it's nothing but Humanism + rudeness.

Oh, right. Because you were very concerned about rudeness previously. Also, trolling.

Still, that rejection sets you up as an antagonist to the great and glorious movement. But don't worry, I'm sure they love dissent from fellow atheists, and have no plans to implement their morality in the government. Much less morality you or your friends are uneasy about.

BenYachov said...

@im-skeptical

>Oh, I know ... it's the one that forces women to have coverage for birth control in their health insurance policy. How dare they?

Women can use their own money(it's not expensive) & on their own initiative buy a rider to their existing insurance.

If someone wants to interfere in their personal life and stop them from doing that then the Law should step in.

But that is not the issue. The issue is the government is forcing me to buy the birth control directly for the woman even thought it is against my faith.

So what is the difference between the government forcing an Atheist employer to buy a Christmas display for their employee? Or telling a Jewish Deli owner he must provide pork products for his customers?

I'm sorry but anyone who supports this policy rejects civil liberties.

The moral difference between Gay "marriage" vs this is even if we don't give marriage licenses to gay couples there is nothing preventing them from having a ceremony & calling themselves "married".

OTOH if I am a Catholic employer I can be fined $2,000 for not buying birth control for my female employee they could buy for themselves at under $10 buck a month.

I thought this was America? I thought liberals where civil libertarians?

I guess Democrates are no longer real liberals.

Ilíon said...

I pretend to be skeptical: "I think it's a great thing that the United States government was founded as a secular institution."

You seem to be confusing the United States of America for the Republic of France.

The Constitution of the United States does not establish a secular government -- the Constitution assumes Christianity, and in particular Protestant Christianity -- rather, it establishes a non-sectarian government.

Ilíon said...

I pretend to be skeptical: "My point is that as a rule, religious morality-based law typically imposes restrictions on what people can do. Secular lawmakers tend to favor personal freedom. If you think the sharia law of Islamic nations is bad, you should favor the secular over the religious."

On the other hand, here is the truth of the matter --

The undergirding philosophy behind "religious" (i.e. Christian) morality-based law it this -- anything not forbidden is permitted

The undergirding philosophy behind "secular" (i.e. anti-Christian) morality-based law it this -- anything not compulsory is forbidden

Ilíon said...

"The trouble with comments like papalinton's is that, although they may be well thought out, they have the infelicitous effect of killing the conversation."

The only really workable solution is to completely ignore any of the bilge that Papalinton posts. The man is wholly uninterested in finding truth. Rather, it's his self-imposed mission in life to obscure truth; he's a typical obscurantist.

im-skeptical said...

Ilion,

Well, you're certainly not skeptical,are you? Can you please quote the part of the US constitution that assumes any form of Christianity? Perhaps you might like to hear the words of its principal author:

"Nothwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, & the full establishment of it, in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Gov' & Religion neither can be duly supported: Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst.. And in a Gov' of opinion, like ours, the only effectual guard must be found in the soundness and stability of the general opinion on the subject. Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Gov will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together;" [James Madison, Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822, The Writings of James Madison, Gaillard Hunt]

Crude said...

Can you please quote the part of the US constitution that assumes any form of Christianity?

I'll leave Ilion to defend the charge that the US government specifically assumes Christianity. But a basic and fundamental deism/theism? You need only look at the Declaration of Independence, the prayers in congress, and the rest.

The US is not a secular government in the modern understanding of the term.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

"The issue is the government is forcing me to buy the birth control directly for the woman even thought it is against my faith."

Not really. The compromise deal with insurance companies was agreed upon by them because it's actually more economical for them to provide those services than if they didn't. Otherwise, they would incur the higher cost of providing pregnancy and birth-related healthcare. In fairness, any company that chooses to deny this kind of coverage to its employees should pay higher premiums for insurance.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

The writings of the founders that support my position are abundant. In support of your position - not so much. Not to mention the actual document of the constitution, which makes absolutely no mention of any deity. Prayers in congress? The founders would have shuddered.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

The writings of the founders that support my position are abundant. In support of your position - not so much.

Except, you know, the Declaration of Independence, various writings from the Founders, the very institutions from that time.

For example, you say...

Prayers in congress? The founders would have shuddered.

In your imagination. Do you know the origin of those prayers? (Are you even aware they take place?)

For instance, read here.

And yet more history.

This reaches back to the Founders. If any objected, they were apparently overruled by other Founders.

And this is sufficient to completely scuttle your claims. Unless you want to argue that prayers to God led by paid preachers to congressional leaders is a secular act. In which case, what do you know... I've got many, many secular acts I think would be great to add on.

Crude said...

Not really. The compromise deal with insurance companies was agreed upon by them because it's actually more economical for them to provide those services than if they didn't.

"It's more economical" doesn't suffice to change what this is: a moral imposition, by law. It's also a petty one: of all things, birth control can and should be something paid for out of the pocket. This act is being engaged in largely as a moral and social turf war.

To which I say, keep at it. We already see the rumblings in the Cult of Gnu to bring in a brand new, far-reaching brand of punishing morality. I think, at least in a social sense, it's going to be damn funny to see atheists being hit with more social pressure to behave and act and think in all the "right ways", moreso than evangelicals or Catholics or the rest ever pushed on them. Religious groups have metaphysical and religious reasons to respect a man's conscience on most things. Secularlists?

Not so much. ;)

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

The Declaration of Independence does not establish any kind of government, let alone a religious one.

I am well aware that congress had prayers. I am also well aware that it was not favored by those who wished to keep such things from creeping onto our secular government. Here's another quote from Madison:
"I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of Religion from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace. This has always been a favorite principle with me; and it was not with my approbation, that the deviation from it took place in Cong. when they appointed Chaplains, to be paid from the Natl Treasury. It would have been a much better proof to their Constituents of their pious feeling if the members had contributed for the purpose, a pittance from their own pockets. As the precedent is not likely to be rescinded, the best that can now be done, may be to apply to the Constitution the maxim of the law, de minimis non curat."

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

The Declaration of Independence does not establish any kind of government, let alone a religious one.

The Declaration of Independence outlines the rationale behind the very founding of the country and the reasons for its breakaway from England. You're not going to be able to divorce the DoI from the Founders.

I am well aware that congress had prayers. I am also well aware that it was not favored by those who wished to keep such things from creeping onto our secular government.

Yes, I too am capable of pressing 'page down' when I go to the very wikipedia link I listed. ;)

Here's the important point: this did not "creep" in. It was established, early, by the Founders. Madison disagreed - he was overruled. We've never been a secular government in the manner you are suggesting. I disagree with Ilion's claim that the US was a "Christian Government". Ours is a government founded on a very broad theism that is compatible with a wide, wide variety of religious beliefs.

Just not atheist.

im-skeptical said...

Just to be clear, I don't claim that the country was founded by atheists. It was mainly a mix of Christians and deists, as I understand it. And they did speak of God, but not in the document that spells out how the government operates. The most prominent founders and early presidents were mostly deist (which is definitely not Christian). It is clear from their many writings that they didn't favor religion in government. The Latin at the end of my last quote from Madison means that he considered the establishment of House Chaplain to be a violation of the constitution, but not worth fighting over.

I can come up with quotes all day long to support my case, and not just from Madison, though he does have some food ones.

im-skeptical said...

Food ones => good ones

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

And they did speak of God, but not in the document that spells out how the government operates. The most prominent founders and early presidents were mostly deist (which is definitely not Christian). It is clear from their many writings that they didn't favor religion in government.

And it's also clear from their mixing of prayers, references to God, ceremonial deism/theism, and otherwise in government, that while they didn't favor entwining any specific religion in government, they did establish the government on fundamentally broadly theistic precepts.

They didn't mix 'Catholicism' or 'Protestantism' into government (Ilion may argue otherwise, and who knows, he may be right - I'll have to see his arguments), but they damn well did mix 'theism' in, from the very start. You should know that rejecting 'religion' is pretty common talk among Deists who nevertheless have pretty strong theistic views. To reject or put aside religion is not, by those lights, to be an atheist. It's not even to have no positive views of God (endowed by their Creator, etc.)

I'll say again: America was never a secular government in the way you are suggesting. It was, from the start, broadly theistic. A Catholic and a Protestant and a Hindu and a Muslim and a Jew and others could all, in principle, find their view of God in line with the American view.

Syllabus said...

Howzabout, in the interest of clarity of dialogue, we define precisely what each person means by "secular"? I think people may be talking past each other.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

I think we agree that there was religious influence in the government from the beginning, and certainly many of the people in government have been religious. It is not surprising that they should immediately set out to establish religion in government. But I'm sure that's not what the founders intended, and it definitely is not supported by the constitution.

"It was, from the start, broadly theistic. A Catholic and a Protestant and a Hindu and a Muslim and a Jew and others could all, in principle, find their view of God in line with the American view."

No room in there any more for people like me? Not if people like George Bush get their way. That's the main problem with your view of government.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

But I'm sure that's not what the founders intended, and it definitely is not supported by the constitution.

The constitution is a document that was written in a certain and clear context - and that context was a broadly theistic/deistic one. It's in this nation's history. It's in our traditions. It is pretty damn explicit and hard to ignore.

Maintaining that we had a secular government (here, loosely, per Syllabus' question: a government that is based entirely on non-theistic principles and intellectual concepts) in light of all that is just impossible to maintain.

No room in there any more for people like me? Not if people like George Bush get their way. That's the main problem with your view of government.

Oh for God's sake.

George W. Bush was a rotten president, but he was not a freaking theocrat. He was quite a liberal guy, and Obama is basically an even more liberal version of him. Just about everything Bush did that was truly excessive (Patriot Act, for example) had bi-partisan support, and has either been continued or expanded by Obama (see: declaring US civilians enemies and having them targeted for assassination).

And it's funny. You say 'no room anymore for people like me?', as if A) what I'm saying is some recent thing, rather than historical, and B) as if you're a victim. I see it differently. I see a long trail of manipulated interpretations of the constitution towards out and out hypocritical abuse of legislative authority, implementing 'morality' on the understanding that so long as you insist your morality is "secular", you can impose it at well, and so long as you insist your opponent's morality is "religious", you can bar it.

"Secular" Americans have made it clear that they want to stamp out any and all dissent from their views in every intellectual forum, public and private, and they have little reservation about enforcing their morality through force of law. Doubly so since 'government as God' happens to be the most popular form of atheism and secularism nowadays.

You have very little standing to complain there's no room for you when you defend an intellectual movement that has very much made it clear there's no room for people like me, even in a nation which, yes, was founded on principles and philosophies far more in tune with a broad theism than some materialist-atheism. The one way to avoid fights like this was to maintain a small, non-intrusive government - instead, most secularists want government involved in every facet of life.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

I'm not defending any 'secular' ideology. Is someone wants to stamp out any and all dissent, it's not me.

And I was referring to pappy Bush. "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Unfortunately, there are many who agree with him. That's what concerns me.

Papalinton said...

"11Some sage advice for papalinton: http://grammar.about.com/od/essaysonstyle/a/sjohnsonstyle.htm

Thanks Dan. They are indeed great words from Johnson. Should your "some sage advice" be a pejorative of my style, a style in need of remediation, then you have not read through to the end of Johnson, ""All this my dear reader, is very strange; but though it be strange, it is not new; survey these wonderful sentences again and they will be found to contain nothing more than very plain truths, which till this Author arose, had always been delivered in plain language*."

Plain truth and plain language are the sole bearers of my message. It is not for me to scurry to obfuscation and obscurantism in discourse over the ancient mythos that presents itself as christianity. It is unfortunate Johnson was a High Anglican and that his perspective could only be guided within the limits of his contemporaneous knowledge and information base, pre Darwin, sans the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule (the German School of biblical criticism), to name but a few seminal moments in the direction and growth in human knowledge and understanding. The Religionsgeschichtliche Schule was the very first genuine attempt to position biblical scholarship on a truly investigative footing through the various methodologies of historical criticism [comprising several disciplines: Source criticism, Form criticism, Redaction criticism, Tradition criticism and Radical criticism], research methodologies far removed from the contrived focus of Apologetical attempts at harmonization and syncretism of the countless disparate, conflicting, inconsistent, contradictory and downright irreconcilable claims in the judeo-christian anthology of 66 booklets [73 if you're a catholic]. Even the claim of inerrancy of god's word in the bible is a ludicrously misplaced theological contrivance, a claim compromised by the simple expedience of whether the extra 7 books constitutes the inerrant word of god or not.

Dan, drawing my attention to this 'sage advice' could be construed as laziness not to respond to the points I have made throughout my commentary. The points I have made are substantial:

1. The shift from religion on religion discourse to a different focus. "No longer is it simply a competition of differing interpretations and cultural imperatives. With the prodigious advances in research methodology, the efficacy of empiricism, the exponential growth in human knowledge and understanding brought about through the social sciences, anthropology, the sciences, neurosciences, humanities, etc etc. Theology, once the primary source of scholarship, information and knowledge in human history, onto which all other forms of discrete knowledge was obligingly appended, now no longer is the gatekeeper of the commonwealth of human knowledge and understanding."

2. The reappraisal of religious tradition and convention as the sole arbiters of social good and worth in today's society, and,

3. A response to "But I absolutely and emphatically affirm the authenticity, faithfulness, and reliability of the Gospels." together with attached questions.

Equally, my query into your 'infelicitous' jibe remains unanswered. Either one supports the charge with substance or one acknowledges that such a charge was proffered purely as a response driven by peeved and selfish opportunism.


Ilíon said...

What fools pseudo-skeptics, such as 'im-skeptical' are.

====
"I'll leave Ilion to defend the charge that the US government specifically assumes Christianity. But a basic and fundamental deism/theism? You need only look at the Declaration of Independence, the prayers in congress, and the rest.

The US is not a secular government in the modern understanding of the term.
"

Dude, that ain't some free-floating Deism, that’s an assumption of Christianity, in general, and generic Protestantism in particular.

As a side note, the reason the RCC in America founded parochial schools is because the public schools of the time were “too Protestant”.

===
For starters, one could point to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Consider Article 3 – “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. …

Religion? Some non-specific religion? There is no such thing. It means Christianity.

Consider the End of the Ordinance – “Done by the United States, in Congress assembled, the 13th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of their soveriegnty and independence the twelfth.

In the year of Who? Who is this ‘our Lord’ of whom Congress speaks?

Now, I pretend to be skeptical -- being a fool, and unwilling to know-and-admit truth -- will try to deflect the above implicit and explicit assumption of Christianity as:
1) merely a cultural expression;
2) enacted under the Articles of Confederation, rather than the present Constitution – never mind that the State in which I was born and the State in which I reside, and three other States were explicitly organized and admitted to the Union under the terms of the Ordinance. As, indeed, indirectly, were all other States excepting the first 13.

Ilíon said...

"The most prominent founders and early presidents were mostly deist (which is definitely not Christian)."

No they weren't. Of the early presidents, only Jefferson was a non-Christian ... and he was in truth a very minor player in the Revolution. Besides being a sneak and a coward and a man of no honor. Also, he was not involved in the writing of the Constitution -- except to oppose it.

Samuel Adams, while never President, was the most important/influential of the leaders of the Revolution -- and he was a Puritan. Adams was so important, there might never have been a Revolution without him. Those stirring phrases of the Declaration, attributed to Jefferson -- Adams wrote the lion's share of them years and decades previous to 1776.

Ilíon said...

"It is clear from their many writings that they didn't favor religion in government."

No, what they did not favor, for they were wise and knowledgably men, is government interfering in “religion”. They wanted, and established, a non-sectarian government – one friendly to, and supportive of, “religion” – while taking no sides in promoting any particular sect. They did not want, and did not establish, a secular government, as in Revolutionary France (or modern America), hostile to “religion”.

Ilíon said...

" I disagree with Ilion's claim that the US was a "Christian Government"."

Well, isn't that just the coolest thing? Especially considering that Ilion never said such a thing.

Crude said...

Well, isn't that just the coolest thing? Especially considering that Ilion never said such a thing.

You said: "The Constitution of the United States does not establish a secular government -- the Constitution assumes Christianity, and in particular Protestant Christianity -- rather, it establishes a non-sectarian government."

I think casting you as saying the US was founded with a Christian government is sloppy, but it's within the ballpark.

But my bad. I put that in quotes as if you said "Christian Government", and you did not. But by all means, make your case.

Papalinton said...

"Ours is a government founded on a very broad theism that is compatible with a wide, wide variety of religious beliefs."

Bunkum. The US was founded on Enlightenment Principles. The founding fathers were men of the Enlightenment. They obviated the need for religious crap to be included into the constitution. Interestingly, the Presidential Oath of Office from Foundation is;
The Oath of Office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

"Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution requires that before presidents can assume their duties they must take the oath of office. The completion of this thirty-five-word oath ends one president's term and begins the next."
The contrived interpolation, 'So help me god" is a later and unconstitutionally unnecessary bit of verbiage.

It falls into the same category as the phrase, "In God We trust" on paper currency;
""In God we trust" was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of 'E pluribus unum', adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782." Wiki

The change from "E plurubus unum" [From many, one] to 'In God We Trust' was a combination of a Billy Graham initiated anxiety-riven and frightened Christian response to the rise of communism in Europe and internally, the concurrent epidemic of violence and intimidation of Christian right-wing inspired McCarthyism that swept through every corner of the nation's body politic. In God We Trust only began to feature on currency notes in 1956.

The theocratic intrusion of 'Under God' into the pledge, 'One Nation Under God', is a 1954 ring-in again the product of christian opportunism to divide the nation.

SEE HERE, here, and here.

kilo papa said...

Our Savior is speaking to us today!

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/jesus-appears-in-a-dog-butt/

im-skeptical said...

For Ilion: I'll be happy to have a civil discussion with you if you ever decide you want to have one.

Ilíon said...

"I'll be happy to have a civil discussion with you if you ever decide you want to have one."

Translation -- "I will be happy to engage in my customary intellectual dishonesty, which it pleases me to call 'civil discussion', if you will agree to never call my lies lies."

Dewd! You don't really know me very well, do you?

rank sophist said...

im-skeptical,

Ilion is nuts. Avoid exchanging more than a stray quip with him. This is good advice even if you're religious.

Ilíon said...

And the only true thing about 'rank sophist' is his handle.

BenYachov said...

>Not really. The compromise deal with insurance companies was agreed upon by them because it's actually more economical for them to provide those services than if they didn't.

I reply: Unless you are a Catholic who self-insures and even if not then I must be forced to offer an Insurance Company that provides this immoral service and I may not choose one that doesn't.

Go to any Rite Aide. Under 9 bucks a month you can buy your own birth control ride. Thus I don't have to be forced to directly participate in mortal sin.

>Otherwise, they would incur the higher cost of providing pregnancy and birth-related healthcare.

This is bogus I don't see how under ten bucks a month you pay out of pocket equals those other moral services must go up?

Unless you are saying the Government is trying to force people to use contraception? In which case welcome to THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF AMERICA. Talk about a RED STATE!

>In fairness, any company that chooses to deny this kind of coverage to its employees should pay higher premiums for insurance.

That is just punishing people for not following your ideology. That isn't freedom.

Sandra Fluke isn't a slut. She's a rich girl cheapskate moche who wants to punish businesses because she's too cheap to shell out ten bucks or get a box of free condoms from PLANNED BARRENHOOD!

I thought this was America!

How can you support setting aside the First Amendment? In the end you just hurt yourself and your fellow Atheist skeptics.

Papalinton said...

"But I absolutely and emphatically affirm the authenticity, faithfulness, and reliability of the Gospels."

Here is the very latest Apologetical retry in attempting to give the 'resurrection' some semblance of historicity. This is in the Year 2012 no less.
The key statement here is:
Diglot [a christian] citing Moltmann [author, biblical scholar and christian]:

"The raising of Christ is then to be called 'historic', not because it took place in the history to which other categories of some sort provide a key, but it is to be called historic because, by pointing the way for future events, it makes history in which we can and must live. It is historic, because it discloses an eschatological future."

In other words, the 'reurrection' is not history-making because it actually occurred but is history-making because it changed the way people thought. Anyone can make stuff up. You can make up your own stuff and call it 'truth' but you can't make up your own facts.

The new interpretation of the re-interpretation of an older interpretation can be read HERE.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

I don't see why having a full range of healthcare coverage is immoral. Remember, you don't have to use it. Nobody does. And neither you nor the taxpayer nor the employer has to pay for it because it IS cheaper when it is part of the service. Believe it or not, it costs less to provide birth control than to have babies. Plus, people DO use it when it's available - even Catholics.

Did you hear Sandra Fluke's testimony in congress? She spoke of a friend of hers who would probably die if her insurance didn't cover the contraceptive drugs prescribed by her doctors. How immoral is that?

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

I don't see why having a full range of healthcare coverage is immoral.

Yeah, because you don't think anything being offered is immoral. The problem isn't whether you think any of the services offered are immoral - it's whether someone else does.

Do you think 'forcing morality' on someone is only force if the person mandating the morality thinks it's wrong? That's self-contradictory.

People should not be made to cover or pay for abortions. People should not be made to cover or pay for contraception. Period. The alternative is forcing them to take part in something they consider immoral.

Remember, you don't have to use it. Nobody does.

So what? We still have to pay into it, and the money we pay is money that's used for it.

And neither you nor the taxpayer nor the employer has to pay for it because it IS cheaper when it is part of the service. Believe it or not, it costs less to provide birth control than to have babies.

We do not think that, in and of itself, paying to deliver a child is immoral. Paying for abortion or contraception, IS. Yes, we are paying for it - it's not as if we suddenly stop paying for it on the grounds that it's cheaper.

Plus, people DO use it when it's available - even Catholics.

The statistic you're probably thinking of is hilariously problematic - and more to the point, it does not matter if some other guy, even some other Catholic, does something immoral. Keep me and my money out of it.

She spoke of a friend of hers who would probably die if her insurance didn't cover the contraceptive drugs prescribed by her doctors. How immoral is that?

Fluke is an activist with a horrible track record for honesty. Notice, however, that Fluke at this point won't defend contraception as contraception - that very example she gives is an extreme outlier case that has to do with hormones balance. In that case, 'contraception' isn't being covered, because it's not even (according to Fluke herself!) going to be used for that purpose.

If the response was, "Okay, if you need to use a contraceptive drug for hormone balancing purposes in a non-contraceptive situation, sure, it's covered. Otherwise, buy your own contraception," would that amended covered be okay? If not, then Fluke's hypothetical example is beside the point.

Oh, by the way. Let's say studies indicate that there's a correlation between Churchgoing and health. Would you therefore accept having to pay the government to sponsor programs to - in a very ecumenical, broad manner - encourage spirituality, church attendance, and more?

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

You're wrong about coverage for medical necessity. It would be gone if these people get their way. And it's not all that rare.

Here are a few things about this law you might not know. It is less restrictive than current law in the majority of states. So this mandated coverage would actually apply to fewer employers than current state law requires. Many religious-based institutions (Catholic hospitals, etc) who don't have to provide this coverage already do so on their own, because it makes them competitive in the job market. One outraged employer, Wheaton college has filed suit against the law, but they already provide this coverage voluntarily.

Sounds like a lot of manufactured outrage to me.

Meanwhile, I spoke of Pres. Bush who would gladly deny my constitutional rights because I'm an atheist. Nobody raised an eyebrow.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

You're wrong about coverage for medical necessity. It would be gone if these people get their way. And it's not all that rare.

And as I said, it's beside the point. There would absolutely be a way to craft the law to cover these people while not covering actual contraceptive use. So Fluke's argument fails on the spot with regards to this topic.

It's a little like talking about abortion in the case of rape and incest. It's a favorite example for people who want abortion legal, period - and if your reply is, "Alright, in the case of rape and incest, it should be legal - and in no other cases", that doesn't settle the matter for anyone.

So this mandated coverage would actually apply to fewer employers than current state law requires.

State laws are exactly that - state laws. Some are worse than others, and you can have that argument on the state level. When it's on the federal level, that's that.

Many religious-based institutions (Catholic hospitals, etc) who don't have to provide this coverage already do so on their own, because it makes them competitive in the job market.

Wonderful! And other religious-based institutions, don't.

The ones who don't and refuse to, will be forced to. Period. That's the whole problem.

One outraged employer, Wheaton college has filed suit against the law, but they already provide this coverage voluntarily.

Even if this is the case, guess what? It's voluntarily. Wheaton can change their mind - and indications are they are doing so, despite being an evangelical outfit.

Do you not see the difference between doing something voluntarily, and being mandated to do it by the government?

Sounds like a lot of manufactured outrage to me.

Sounds a lot like obfuscation on your part. To hear you talk, no one is actually opposed to contraception or abortion on moral grounds, or even opposed to paying for it. Or, better yet, the people who do aren't numerous enough so who cares.

This is a great time to remind you that atheists (as opposed to the merely irreligious) constitute quite the minority.

Meanwhile, I spoke of Pres. Bush who would gladly deny my constitutional rights because I'm an atheist. Nobody raised an eyebrow.

Bush questioned the patriotism of atheists. He didn't say anything about denying atheists their constitutional rights. Meanwhile, you're making it clear that if atheists or people opposed to Catholic or religious morality are in power, they should be able to pass laws that run roughshod over their beliefs because you happen to like the laws.

Give me one reason I should give a shit about atheists' rights given that context? You're trying to at once be the victim (it's wrong to impose one's own vision of morality or law on people!) and the aggressor (I don't give a shit if you think this law is immoral - I think it's right, and that's that.) Choose one, because you can't have both.

If forcing morality is fine, then don't complain if and when someone else's morality is forced on you, or you're discriminated against on the grounds of your atheism and anti-theism.

If forcing morality is not fine, then you should reject any and all forced subsidies for contraception or abortion.

Take your pick.

Crude said...

Just to add some spin to that supposed Bush quote, here's what the (not always accurate) Wikipedia has to say regarding it:

When asked by atheistic journalist Robert Sherman about the equal citizenship and patriotism of American atheists, Sherman reports that Bush answered, "No, I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God."[75][76][33][74] The accuracy of the quote has been questioned, however, as Sherman did not tape the exchange and no other journalist reported on it at the time.[33] However, George H. W. Bush's son, George W. Bush, acknowledged those who do not worship during a November 3, 2004 press conference when he said "I will be your president regardless of your faith... And if they choose not to worship, they're just as patriotic as your neighbor."

Papalinton said...

"Remember, you don't have to use it. Nobody does."
"So what? We still have to pay into it, and the money we pay is money that's used for it."


And yet for the last couple hundred years every citizen of the US who is not a christian has been compulsorily contributing to prop up christianity through uncapped and untied federal grants, company taxation exemptions, income tax exemptions, retail and wholesale tax exemptions; no stamp duty, no property tax, no State taxes to be paid.

The greatest single revenue stream for the religiose is the level of forgone tax revenue drained from the public purse, billions of dollars every year.
There is little doubt the ethical and moral perspective of bible crazies is gone awry when they bitterly complain about providing basic and minimal level of health services to those in the community who most need it, particularly women. It is indeed a sad day when religious-inspired misogyny underlies the vituperative objections to women's health issues, and egregiously more so, when these misogynist objections masquerade as pious christian morality or ethics.

im-skeptical said...

It seems we are at an impasse on this issue. But on a different note, I too think that it is outrageous to make employers provide healthcare services for their employees. How much more competitive would our businesses be if they didn't have that burden. I wonder if there's some way we could make sure that everybody has the healthcare they need at much less cost without burdening the business community. There must be something we could do...

Crude said...

It seems we are at an impasse on this issue.

We're not merely at an impasse. Your stances are hypocritical and inconsistent, and you don't want to have to give any of them up. That's not an impasse, that's a problem you have to deal with.

We can drop it, but what I said stands. Meanwhile, your quote doesn't seem to be as reliable as you suggested.

I wonder if there's some way we could make sure that everybody has the healthcare they need at much less cost without burdening the business community.

Are you aware that government services are paid with, you know -- money? Not unicorn farts and happy thoughts? It's a taxpayer and business burden, no matter how it's sliced. The question is whether it's a burden that should be taken up.

And no, the answer is not obviously "yes", even if you feel real, real strongly about it.

im-skeptical said...

OK, you shouldn't have to support whatever you don't like. And the rest of us shouldn't either. Final result - I don't have to pay to support your institutions. As Papalinton pointed out, religious institutions have been getting a free ride for much too long. Let's end it now. The money we save could be put to much better use.

And regarding how to pay for healthcare, yes it would be supported by taxes. And it would still cost much less than it already does. Need some statistics? Just look at practically every country on the planet.

Crude said...

As Papalinton pointed out, religious institutions have been getting a free ride for much too long. Let's end it now. The money we save could be put to much better use.

Man, you're just grasping at straws at this point.

The "free ride" is tax exemption of (among other things) churches, and this is directly related to the very separation of church and state we've discussed here. The inability to establish prayer in school, pass religious laws, etc in America is directly related to that separation. Once again, you're just proving my point: the 'boohoo, we shouldn't force morality on people!' schtick is just that - a schtick. You'll dive for any law you think will harm religious believers. And then I bet you'll be shocked when people have a low opinion of atheists.

And really, you should think twice before endorsing anything Linton types: first, he's a moron. Second, he's an Australian so his knowledge of America probably equates to your knowledge of Australia, and like most things he discusses, his knowledge of it is the product of typing something into google five seconds after the thought came to his mind, looking specifically for the first result he agrees with. You generally don't want to ape him.

And regarding how to pay for healthcare, yes it would be supported by taxes. And it would still cost much less than it already does.

Even if this were true, it would be true only in an aggregate sense - not an individual sense. It would still be a burden on businesses and taxpayers, because the burden would be relocated.

Need some statistics? Just look at practically every country on the planet.

Because "practically every country on the planet" has universal, single-payer health care? Are you freaking daft?

Not to mention the differences between many of these countries. Denmark, for example. People love to praise it. They forget the population of Denmark is ~6 million, composed of a tiny landmass, with a variety of other differences between us.

Your claim is as inane as saying that if you introduce democracy to a country, the immediate result will be a progressive, liberal government - and totally ignoring the cultures, histories, social makeups, etc of the nations involved.

im-skeptical said...

"You'll dive for any law you think will harm religious believers."

What laws am I driving for? Some kind of healthcare system that works for the people - not just the insurance companies? I'm sorry if that's against your religion. I still support it. But don't flatter yourself by thinking that it's because of you that I support things that you aren't happy with. I actually care about people.

I also support the complete separation of church and state. That does not imply that I should have to pay to support religious institutions.

Crude said...

What laws am I driving for? Some kind of healthcare system that works for the people - not just the insurance companies?

I think it's pretty damn easy to see my reply to you was based on your 'remove tax exemptions' reply.

I'm sorry if that's against your religion. I still support it.

I didn't say it was against my religion - I said that it wasn't as simple as you were suggesting, and explained why. My religion concerns have dealt with abortion and contraception in this thread.

I actually care about people.

Yes, there's that typical misunderstanding. "Caring for people == Voting for stuff you like." And if people don't support your favored policies, clearly they don't care for people.

I also support the complete separation of church and state. That does not imply that I should have to pay to support religious institutions.

You don't pay to support them. They are tax-exempt. Are you paying to support the North Korean regime due to the US not levying a tax on North Korea? Are you paying to support the Queen of England because there's no international royalty tax being imposed? God, what a stupid thing you're saying.

Either way, thank you for proving my point. You rolled in here saying you're against people imposing their morality on others. In the end, you're more than happy to do exactly that - you don't want a separation of church and state. You want church eliminated, and you'll use the state to that end. You want to impose your morality on others as much as any full-blown theocrat does.

And hey, support what you like. Just stop getting all teary eyed and confused when religious people hold very low opinions of atheists, and eventually decide that politics is a game where two sides can't live in peace on this question - and start passing downright explicitly religious laws when they have the power to do so. Because right here, in this thread, you managed to justify the very things you said you opposed. Good job. ;)

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

I think you're reading way more into my words than I am saying. You seem to have a caricature picture of what an atheist believes and wants, and you want to put us all in the same basket. There was only one law under discussion, and you made it into atheists wanting to pass any law that would suppress or harm the poor persecuted religious people.

About separation of church and state. I believe there are laws that govern the involvement of tax-exempt institutions in the affairs of government and politics. They've been in place for a long time. Churches have come to believe in recent years that they can ignore those laws. If they are willing to return to compliance with the law, I am willing to let them keep their tax exemption.

Crude said...

You seem to have a caricature picture of what an atheist believes and wants, and you want to put us all in the same basket.

Actually, I don't. I make distinctions between atheists and the Cult of Gnu, atheists and anti-theists, and more. The only picture here is the one you yourself are providing.

Churches have come to believe in recent years that they can ignore those laws.

You apparently have a poor understanding of what those laws are and what they mandate.

Dan Gillson said...

Papalinton, your "style" is both cumbersome and decadent--like adding too many onions and too much garlic to a broth. You're comments are stinky; add less aromatics, more protein, and you'll be good.

Comments on my writing style are welcome.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

I am not an anti-theist. Nor do I belong to any cult or association of atheists of any kind. Nor do I espouse any ideology of atheism. If you think I fit any of those categories, you are mistaken.

You said I would "dive for any law [I] think will harm religious believers." That's patently false. I asked what laws you are referring to. If it's the healthcare law, I support that because it's good for people, including religious believers. The issue of birth control was never any significant issue until certain parties raised it as a way to garner opposition to 'that man' in the white house that they hate so much.

I also spoke of tax exemption of the church in answer to your objection about supporting the cost of birth control. My point was the tax exemptions for churches do cost me money, because I pay for the services they use.

I don't hate churches in general, but there are some that engage in detestable activities as well as influencing political elections, which is against the law. I don't hate religious people, and I certainly have NEVER advocated any kind of discrimination against them or any kind of law that would disadvantage them or harm them in any way.

I only wish they would show me the same respect.

Ilíon said...

"I only wish they would show me the same respect."

But you're intellectually dishonest; until you solve that problem, you do not deserve any respect.

im-skeptical said...

Ilion,

I don't claim to know everything or that I get everything right. I am willing to listen to criticism. Please explain why you think I'm intellectually dishonest.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

The issue of birth control was never any significant issue until certain parties raised it as a way to garner opposition to 'that man' in the white house that they hate so much.

This is flatly untrue. The issue of birth control became an issue upon the very moment that the White House decided to make clear that churches and organizations that regarded contraception as immoral would receive no dispensation from that rule, despite earlier assurances. In fact, prior to that, a good share of the American bishops' views was that this kind of health care reform was a positive.

Obama decided to carry water for people who want to attack religions that disagree with their views on contraception.

My point was the tax exemptions for churches do cost me money, because I pay for the services they use.

Again, the only way you supported this was with reference to tax exemption. Are you aware of what taxes those things exempt? Do you realize that, by your argument, you support just about everything in the world, because you've defined 'support' to mean 'is not taxed by the US government'?

but there are some that engage in detestable activities as well as influencing political elections, which is against the law.

Like those times where Obama conducts political activities inside of a church?

and I certainly have NEVER advocated any kind of discrimination against them or any kind of law that would disadvantage them or harm them in any way.

You advocated tearing down the separation of church and state and taxing churches in this very thread. Or do you not construe that as harm?

I only wish they would show me the same respect.

If this nation truly was founded on broadly theistic/deist principles, then that's what it was. I do not see the value in changing history just so atheists feel welcome. In fact, if we want to go by that once-popular minimal definition of atheism, there's nothing about that fact that an atheist should find upsetting.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

Lets address contraception first.

The healthcare law was supposed to be a good thing for the people of the US. And it was. It provided minimum standards for the things that should be covered, including contraception. There was nothing new about this. Existing standards for federally sponsored health insurance, for military or civil service, for example, already include this. Also, states include it in their standards for employee health insurance coverage. The new federal law also contains exemptions for religious institutions that are more liberal than many existing state laws. In those states, there are actually more employers exempted than there were before. Hardly a reason to complain.

Aside from that, the vast majority of employers offer this coverage, even if it is not mandated. It simply wasn't an issue until the anti-Obama people decided to make it an issue. But it is hypocritical for employers like Wheaton College to raise this moral objection when they were already offering the coverage on their own. It makes me believe that they have a different agenda.

BenYachov said...

An Atheist Church can be tax exempt. Atheists can get together on a Sunday morning. Celebrate Science and Reason and humanity. Religion doesn't require belief in a God(see certain forms of Buddhism).

It's been done.

I'm sorry im-skeptical but you have no excuse here.

So the Ethical Humanist Society or the First Atheist Church are Tax exempt & that means I am paying for them?

I don't think so. But my kind are being forced to buy birth control by fascists for others who can buy it themselves against our will and against the free exercise of our religion.

You make sad im-skeptical. You seem like a nice person but you are by any objective sense against the First Amendment.

Crude said...

The healthcare law was supposed to be a good thing for the people of the US. And it was.

Great. That's your opinion. I disagree. As do many others, with good reason.

Existing standards for federally sponsored health insurance, for military or civil service, for example, already include this.

Problematic, and when it comes to abortion this is often fought over. But it's also a different situation because in this case it's one of religious organizations and institutions directly being compelled to offer these coverages, despite their moral objections.

The new federal law also contains exemptions for religious institutions that are more liberal than many existing state laws. In those states, there are actually more employers exempted than there were before. Hardly a reason to complain.

Even assuming this is true, it's still bogus because by your own words it's more draconian than yet other states. And best of all, those state standards can be appealed to within the state. Federal standards are a lot more difficult to deal with. (See: Drug laws.)

Aside from that, the vast majority of employers offer this coverage, even if it is not mandated.

Irrelevant, because we're not talking about the vast majority of employers. The vast majority of citizens are theist, ergo laws that inveigh against atheists don't matter, right?

It simply wasn't an issue until the anti-Obama people decided to make it an issue.

No, it wasn't an issue until Obama specifically told the reps of the Catholic Church that they would not be exempted, despite earlier assurances. Many of the Catholics so worked up over Obama's decision were previously supporters of Obama. The idea of the Catholic Church as some great right-wing conservative political organization is some kind of weird liberal/atheist misconception. They repeatedly buck against the GOP, historically, on everything from immigration to, yes, health care.

Your understanding of the history of this issue is simply wrong.

BenYachov said...

>Aside from that, the vast majority of employers offer this coverage, even if it is not mandated.

So what? A large number of people even weak religious people buy porn. That is their free choice.

You are in effect defending a Government that can order me if it wants too to buy you porn against my will if they deem it necessary for Heath(after all it's better to jerk off then to catch AIDS eh?).

You are defending Fascism.

>It simply wasn't an issue until the anti-Obama people decided to make it an issue.

It became an issue because Obama threw out 200 years of religious liberty tradition. The Bishops supported the stupid Health Care Law. But Obama lied to them and mandated Catholics have to buy birth control for heathens against their will. Something they can buy for themselves.

>But it is hypocritical for employers like Wheaton College to raise this moral objection when they were already offering the coverage on their own.

Liberal Catholic Apostates objected to Obama's Fascism because they believe it is there Job to persuade the Pope & the bishop to "change" Catholic teaching. Well that is not going to happen. Never the less even they know it's an internal Catholic matter. It's none of Barry's bloody busness.

>It makes me believe that they have a different agenda.

The only agenda is protecting the First Amendment. Which you are bending over backwards to throw out.

Obama is not worth it.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

Never heard of those organizations. If they are tax-exempt and use any kind of government services, yes we all are paying for it. That's true for any person or organization that doesn't pay a share of taxes proportional to the services they use. Some pay more, some pay less. And that's the way it's supposed to be. There's probably nobody who is completely happy with where their tax money goes.

Anyway, even if you don't think so, I fully support the first amendment. Please note that there isn't a person in the country who is being made to use contraception against their will, and churches are exempt from providing it. This whole argument about restricting your religious freedom is political hogwash.

Crude said...

Please note that there isn't a person in the country who is being made to use contraception against their will, and churches are exempt from providing it.

You can keep saying this as many times as you want, and I will keep pointing out that they are being forced to pay for it against their will, senselessly - it is a moral imposition. And if moral impositions are fine because 'hey, everyone's unhappy with some of what their taxes are spent on', then a whole lot of arguments against various supposedly 'religion-inspired' laws go down the toilet.

Meanwhile, your arguments about tax-exemption are ridiculous, and have an unintended side-effect: considering how long-standing the tax-exemption is (again, back to the founders), then it's clear that the government supporting religious institutions is entirely compatible with the first amendment.

Ilíon said...

I pretend to be skeptical: "... Please explain why you think I'm intellectually dishonest."

I don't play "Prove-it-again"; that's but one more stratagem of the pseudo-civility demand that intellectually dishonest persons use as a trap to derail actual attempts to get at the truth of the matter.

Your behavior in just this thread alone, of all the DI threads in which you have posted – hell! your behavior in this thread just since you made the demand of me – displays your commitment to intellectual dishonesty. It’s right there for anyone to see who wants to see it: you will “argue” ‘A’ and in the next breath ‘not-A’, whatever sounds good for the need of the moment.

im-skeptical said...

"they are being forced to pay for it against their will, senselessly - it is a moral imposition"

I'm not sure who you are referring to. It's not churches, because they don't pay. If it's taxpayers, I can't argue that point, but it is not a constitutional violation. We already talked about this. I pay for all kinds of things through my taxes that I find morally repugnant, but that doesn't excuse me from paying my taxes. It would be absurd to suggest that people should not have to pay taxes for things they don't like.

im-skeptical said...

People seem to think that the healthcare law violates their religious freedom, and that my position is hypocritical because I support it and still maintain that I support the first amendment. I have tried to explain how I think the law doesn't violate the first amendment. Anything more I say is probably pointless. We simply disagree.

I know that it's virtually impossible to argue persuasively against someone political convictions, and clearly this discussion has moved to the political arena. I doubt that it's worth keeping such a debate going. What do you think?

Papalinton said...

"Papalinton, your "style" is both cumbersome and decadent--like adding too many onions and too much garlic to a broth. You're comments are stinky; add less aromatics, more protein, and you'll be good.

I am saddened to read your comment, Dan. I would have thought a fresh perspective from a new commenter was in the offing. But it seems not. Borrowing your analogy, your above comment has the protein level about that of lettuce and seems a typically suggestive response of a child following a stinging rebuke from a parent. And if you are a 'born-again' christian, then I can understand the level at which your are pitching your argument. The petulant nature of your opinion is revealing. Equally, I am disappointed that the substance of my discourse remains uncontested, despite efforts of encouragement for you to rise to the challenge.

Religionists on this site, even the good Dr Reppert, know full well their belief in superstitious supernaturalism can sidestep scrutiny only for so long outside its self-prescribed boundaries of the 'sacred', before hurriedly retreating behind claims of insensitivity, persecution, victimization and discrimination. As Professor David Eller, anthropologist, University of Colorado, summarizes;

"Science trespasses on the boundary of the sacred not because it is opposed to the sacred but because it has no concept of sacred at all. 'Sacred' is a religious concept, not a scientific one and not a natural one. To science nothing is sacred, because 'sacred' is not a part of its vocabulary. So when science ignores religious boundaries, it handles religion roughly - like any pithed frog or pinned butterfly. And when science finds facts that refute religious claims - about man, about society, about the universe, or about god[s] - it comes as a tear of the skin that no religion welcomes or can withstand."

I am interested in the substantiation of your assertions of, 'cumbersome', 'decadent', 'stinky', or do you stand by your comment as you have written it, representing the pinnacle, the exemplar of reasoned debate?

BenYachov said...

>Anyway, even if you don't think so, I fully support the first amendment.

No you don't. You support forcing Catholics to buy birth control for others against their will and against their faith. Birth control these people can buy for themselves.

It's that simple.

>Please note that there isn't a person in the country who is being made to use contraception against their will,

No they are forcing me to buy it for someone else against my will when they could buy it for themselves.

Will you still think it's a good idea when you are forced to buy someone a Crucifix against your will?

>and churches are exempt from providing it.

But not all church organizations & the government gives itself the power to decide what is nor is not a religious organization.

Also faithful believing Catholics are still under threat of fines and imprisonment for refusing to buy birth control for others.

>This whole argument about restricting your religious freedom is political hogwash.

No it's Civil Liberties 101. Once upon a time there where true liberals who would have screamed bloodly murder if you suggested a Democratic President much less the first African American one would deny a group their civil rights.

Those liberals have died out which is tragic.

BenYachov said...

Some more errors.

>People seem to think that the healthcare law violates their religious freedom,

Technically the Law doesn't do that per say.

If President Obama would not have abused his executive powers & mandated contraception had to be covered & or gave a broad unlimited religious exemption then Bishops and Catholic liberals wouldn't have said boo. Plus conservatives wouldn't have this stick to hit him with. But he choose to listen to the anti-religious leftists in his inner circle.


I have tried to explain how I think the law doesn't violate the first amendment.

Not really. Can you explain why this is OK but it's not OK to force Kosher restaurants to sell pork products?

Or do you believe the state can force Kosher Restaurants to sell pork products?

How is this a liberal position?

BenYachov said...

I may not be a liberal but nobody who supports this evil policy of forcing people to buy birth control is a liberal either.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

OK. We disagree. I don't think your religious freedom is being violated by this, and you do. And by the my tax money has paid for crucifixes and a lot more that I'm not particularly happy about.

Crude said...

I don't think your religious freedom is being violated by this, and you do. And by the my tax money has paid for crucifixes and a lot more that I'm not particularly happy about.

I like how you set yourself up as deciding whether or not my religious freedom has been violated. I can tell you it's immoral, I can point at the longstanding teachings of my faith, I can give the arguments. But, nope, you don't care, you don't think there's a problem here, so end of discussion.

In reply, you mention buying crosses. Except A) what crosses have been bought, and B) what, exactly, is offensive to atheism about crosses anyway? Atheists, until recently, always went on about how atheism was mere lack of belief, not a belief itself. Is it the fact that you personally dislike it? That you think it's immoral?

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

I'm not sure what you expect from me. We could keep arguing endlessly, but for what purpose? I tried to make a case for what I believe. It didn't sway you, and I think there's absolutely nothing I could say that would change your mind, or Ben's. That's fine. We don't have to agree. Please don't get upset about it. I understand that people get emotionally engaged in these things, and I'd rather not let it get out of hand. There's plenty more that we can talk about.

Crude said...

Who's getting emotionally engaged? I'm pointing out argument flaws, and flaws of comparison.

I'm saying that, according to pretty popular (in some quarters) interpretations of atheism, there's no obvious violation of atheist morality or belief that comes from having government money spent on a cross, even if the cross is expressly religious in nature.

BenYachov said...

>And by the my tax money has paid for crucifixes and a lot more that I'm not particularly happy about.

Sorry no only in the remote sense. If I give you money I owe you I can't control how you spend it nor am I morally responsible for your spending.

Catholics have to pay taxes & if the government misuses the tax money for immorality then said Catholic are remote material participants in evil. Which is not a sin. Making me buy you a condom directly or provide an insurance policy that provides contraception is a direct material participation in evil. Which is a sin.

It's civil liberties & freedom of choice 101.

But making you buy a crucifix directly against your will. That is fascism.

im-skeptical said...

Ben,

That's kind of what I've been saying. You are certainly not directly paying for anyone's birth control under the health care law. Just as I don't think my morality is being violated by the government purchasing religious materials, I don't think it's too outrageous if the government subsidizes health services that you wouldn't buy yourself.

BenYachov said...

>That's kind of what I've been saying. You are certainly not directly paying for anyone's birth control under the health care law.

Sorry no, I must under threat of fine and or prison buy a plan for my employee that contains birth control instead of one that does not.

It's like being mandated I must buy them Cable TV that includes so called Adult Channels. Excuses like "Well they don't have to watch them" don't fly. I am being forced against my will to directly buy it.

>Just as I don't think my morality is being violated by the government purchasing religious materials,

Sorry no you are not buying it the government is buying it.

You are not being ordered to provide crosses to your employees directly. I am being ordered to provide birth control to mine directly.

>I don't think it's too outrageous if the government subsidizes health services that you wouldn't buy yourself.

You are being obtuse if not in direct denial. Nobody is protesting the government buying you Birth control. We are protesting the government forcing me to buy you birth control that you can buy for yourself.

You are against the first amendment. You are creating all these compartmentalizations to evade that simple truth.

im-skeptical said...

Sorry. I thought that's what you were protesting all along, because you don't have to buy a policy that includes contraceptives if you find it so morally repugnant. I was talking about this earlier.

im-skeptical said...

The exemption I'm referring to applies to religious employers, those to which first amendment considerations would be applicable, and has been extended to all religious affiliated organizations. Even still, the Catholic church is protesting. I am convinced their opposition is purely political.

Papalinton said...

"In reply, you mention buying crosses. Except A) what crosses have been bought, and B) what, exactly, is offensive to atheism about crosses anyway?"

Ahhh. Brings to mind Lenny Bruce, American comedian and satirist, and quite an aficionado of the expletive, I'm told. Bruce noted:
"If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses."

And indeed it is; the cross was the instrument of choice for execution in Roman times just as the electric chair is the one of the contemporary methodologies favoured by proponents of capital punishment in our midst today, the biggest majority of whom are religious.

"A 2010 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found support for the death penalty was very high among white evangelicals. Much of these differences were due to race or ethnicity. Three-quarters of evangelicals favor the use of capital punishment. White Mainline Protestants had a similar level of support. Only 60 percent of Catholics approve of the death penalty, but this lower level of support is due to Hispanic Catholics. (only 43 percent support). Black Protestants are the most opposed to the death penalty, with only a third approving of the death penalty.
Many Americans say their views on the death penalty are shaped by their religious beliefs."


See HERE.

Dan Gillson said...

Yes, papalinton, I stand by my comment. Your tendency is to overwrite, which is why I included a link to Samuel Johnson's "The Bugbear Style." Now, my criticisms of your writing aside, I think that you're a smart fellow--in fact, I'd bet that your intelligence well exceeds my own. That, however, doesn't make your comments interesting--or, at least, interesting enough for me to respond to. I'm here to dash off arguments, when I have them, not to dig through some pedant's turgid remarks. If you want me to respond to you, then write for your audience. And: no, I'm not a Christian, much less a born-again one.

Crude said...

Now, my criticisms of your writing aside, I think that you're a smart fellow--in fact, I'd bet that your intelligence well exceeds my own.

As someone who googled around and turned up your other past comments on other sites out of curiosity - no, don't sell yourself that short. Especially in this specific comparison.

Papalinton said...

Dan
"And: no, I'm not a Christian, much less a born-again one."

Are you culturally Jewish then?
As you may well have gleaned, I am a Naturalist with little proclivity towards envisioning religious superstition as a useful explanatory tool for describing and confirming the universe and humanity's relationship in it, especially when contrasted with modern and contemporary conceptions of 'reality', whatever that term might mean. But I do hold a deep fascination for theism [christian theism in particular simply for the reason it pervades and influences my sphere of life] and the psycho-social impact of this primitive memeplex.

I note in your bio that you studied Theology - Biblical Languages at Concordia. Now that would have been interesting.

Papalinton said...

Pay no mind to poor old crude. He struggles to put two syllables together let alone two words.

B. Prokop said...

"Another question:
Who witnessed Jesus praying alone in Gethsemane when the disciples had all fallen asleep and Jesus' actual words now authentically, faithfully and reliably recorded in Luke?
Of course. Silly me. A miracle no doubt. How can one let facts and evidence get in the way of a good story?
"

Been away from my computer for the past three days (Wonderful experience - I recommend it to all!), but I wanted to thank Papalinton for proving an earlier comment of mine where I said he never actually reads a person's postings before responding to them. In this case (quoted above), he would have seen that I had answered his question in the very posting that he is lamely (and unsuccessfully) attempting to ridicule. As I indicated, the witness to Jesus's words in the garden is the "young man" mentioned in Mark 14:51. No miracle required.

As to my bolding, I wanted to make sure no one was led astray by Dan's inadvertent and innocent mischaracterization of my position on the subject.

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Do you support the idea that pacifists should be exempt from paying taxes to support the Defense Department?

BenYachov said...

>Sorry. I thought that's what you were protesting all along, because you don't have to buy a policy that includes contraceptives if you find it so morally repugnant. I was talking about this earlier.

That is untrue. The administration has mandated that employers must buy policies that include contraceptives and they may not buy policies for employees that's don't cover it.

>The exemption I'm referring to applies to religious employers,

Except the government gets to define what is religious vs what is not. But never the less I always have constitutional rights and I must always have the right to not buy health insurance that contains coverage of contraceptives.

Or I have no rights.

>those to which first amendment considerations would be applicable, and has been extended to all religious affiliated organizations.

That is not true either Obama in fact instituted his original plan his "compromise" was all smoke and mirrors.

>Even still, the Catholic church is protesting. I am convinced their opposition is purely political.

You need to believe that in face of the facts. Otherwise you must admit you are against the 1st amendment. The bishops for the last 50 years are hyper liberals when it comes to economic matters.

They loved this bill till they where told Catholics and Catholic institutions would be forced to buy birth control then they saw they where screwed and the rest of us with them.

You are against the first amendment if you force me to buy you birth control. No and's, if's or but's.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BenYachov said...

>Do you support the idea that pacifists should be exempt from paying taxes to support the Defense Department?

Swap out defense department with Planned Parenthood and ask if it is moral to not pay taxes.

Actually you can pay taxes as a Catholic since you do not directly control how the Gov spends it's money so you don't sin and you do not directly give money to Planned Parenthood or are forced (yet) to buy their services.

A pacifist can be exempt from military service and should be.

Papalinton said...

""As I indicated, the witness to Jesus's words in the garden is the "young man" mentioned in Mark 14:51."

This is nonsense, of course. The only time the young man is mentioned is at Mark 14:51, well after the little fracas when jesus was taken into custody and one of the arresting men had his ear sliced off. At that point all the disciples buggered off except for this young kid lurking at the periphery. They tried to nab him but he escaped by slipping out of his gown. Earlier in Gethsemane, the only ones close enough to possibly have heard jesus pray were Peter, James and John who he took further away from the where he had asked all the other disciples to wait. And when Peter, James and John were asked to keep vigil while jesus separated himself a little further away to pray alone, they fell asleep. End of story. Absolutely no one was there to witness let alone record what jesus said.

And any convoluted notion that the young man might have been Mark himself is pure Apologetical conjecture. Indeed the young man persona is a controversial and disputed point of departure among biblical scholars with his appearance in the narrative firming as a much later literary inclusion.

Here is a little further information on the 'young man':

"... in an article in the Journal of Biblical Literature [1973] by Robin Scroggs and Kent I. Groff make a case that the young man who fled naked from the scene of Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane and the young man (reappearing?) in the tomb to announce Jesus’ resurrection were originally created as symbols of the baptism ritual for new converts to Christianity.

The young man having his linen cloak (σινδόν / sindon) snatched from him is substituted by Jesus who is entering into his “baptism” of suffering, death and burial — as depicted by Jesus himself being wrapped in a σινδόν/sindon for burial. The young man then reappears in the tomb, sitting on the right side, clothed in white like Jesus at the transfiguration. These narrative scenes find their meaning in the baptism ritual of early Christians: the initiate first removed his garment and entered the baptism naked and was then given a new robe to symbolize a new life in the resurrected Christ.

Scroggs and Groff dismiss the likelihood that the detail of the young man fleeing naked from Jesus’ arrest is a genuine historical report or an autobiographical detail by the author:
What is described makes no sense as an actual incident.
1. Why were not others seized as well?
2. Would it be likely that on an early spring night one would have on only one article of clothing?
3. In and of itself it is a trivial scene, and the Marcan author clearly is not interested in reporting trivial scenes.
4. It is incredible that the moment signaled by the narrative itself as most important, the loss of the garment, would have been considered an important historical fact by the framers of the tradition.

No one today can take seriously the suggestion that the author of the Gospel was an eyewitness."


No eyewitness. No evidence.

Crude said...

Meanwhile, one party wants to add public-funded abortions to the list of government services. But don't worry - they want to make abortions rare, at least.

Oh, wait. They removed talk of making abortions 'rare' from the party platform.

But hey, remember: it's the religious people who want to force their morality on others. Non-religious people just want to... pass laws which not everyone may agree with.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

This shows why I'd rather not get into political discussions in this forum. It's misinformation from a biased source. If you wanted to be skeptical about you read, you might notice that the platform says no such thing. You might also take note of the picture of the angry black man, darkened to make him look blacker.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

If you wanted to be skeptical about you read, you might notice that the platform says no such thing.

The platform says: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay."

Are you denying that's in the platform? Download it from Huffington Post if you're under the impression that it's not in there.

So unless the DNC just endorsed self-treatment with a fucking coathanger, no, I think specifically citing "regardless of ability to pay" can only cash out as "public funding".

You might also take note of the picture of the angry black man, darkened to make him look blacker.

The fact that you find particularly dark-skinned blacks to be real, real scary doesn't matter to me.

It's not "misinformation from a biased source". It's a full quote and a pretty reasonable interpretation.

im-skeptical said...

The only place it says publicly funded abortions in on your propaganda site. What it really says is that they support current law as affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Crude said...

The only place it says publicly funded abortions in on your propaganda site.

Alright, im-skeptical. I'm going to give you a great opportunity here.

Again, the platform says: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay."

Tell me what you think is meant by "regardless of ability to pay" in that context.

Are you going to deny that the DNC, their platform or Obama favors taxpayer-funded abortions?

Is it that they believe pregnant women should use their power to concentrate really, really hard in order to terminate their pregnancy on their own, without any doctor or medication? (Warning: This ability does not exist.)

Please, what does it mean when the statement is that the DNC supports the right of a woman to choose an abortion, regardless of her ability to pay? Is the DNC defending the right for a woman to decide to have an abortion, even if she can't afford one, in which case, tough shit?

Crude said...

By the way, I just want to point out the great and glorious contrast here.

On the one hand, im-skeptical is suggesting that a DNC party platform statement defending the right of a woman to have an abortion "regardless of her ability to pay" not only does NOT mean that they're defending government funded elective abortions, but that it's crazy and propagandish to even suggest that as a reasonable reading.

On the flipside, he's able to suss out racism because he personally thinks the brightness setting on the picture of Obama is too dark - which im-skeptical associates with racism, because he finds there to be a correlation between how black a man is and how tightly he clutches his wallet when he walks by them.

I'm sure the 'prone to misinformation and bias' issue is something im-skeptical has detected in others on top of it, rather than, you know... he himself.

im-skeptical said...

"Tell me what you think is meant by "regardless of ability to pay" in that context"

It means access to Planned Parenthood and other things the Republicans have vowed to kill. It's all in the platform. All you have to do is read it.

Sorry if I sound a little angry. All these lies tend to get to me.

Crude said...

It means access to Planned Parenthood and other things the Republicans have vowed to kill. It's all in the platform. All you have to do is read it.

I'm reading it, im-skeptical. See, you're put in the unenviable position of having to argue that the DNC doesn't support government funding of abortion services, and that talk of a "right" to an abortion - regardless of ability to pay - not only does not mean support for government funding of abortion, but that it's ludicrous to even suggest this is what it means.

I think what's getting you angry is having the party you're beholden to cast in a bad light - especially when it's true.

But I'm having fun here. Let's lob a couple more questions your way.

Using government money to pay for abortions: are you in favor or opposed? You personally.

Requiring abortion coverage offered with insurance: are you in favor or opposed?

im-skeptical said...

Neither of those things would bother me personally. But neither of those things are in current law or in the democratic platform.

Crude said...

Neither of those things would bother me personally. But neither of those things are in current law or in the democratic platform.

They are suggested by the platform, quite a bit more plausibly than your alternative, strained interpretation. The entire section about "Protecting a Women's Right to Choose" says nothing about Planned Parenthood - that comes in the previous section.

The facts as it stands: the DNC Platform on abortion expressly defends a right to an abortion, "regardless of ability to pay". That very easily implies support for the government paying for abortion, or requiring abortion coverage in insurance plans. It's certainly 100% compatible with such.

You can get as angry as you want for this being pointed out. It doesn't change the DNC Platform statement or what's implied by it.

im-skeptical said...

It says what it says.

Papalinton said...

Roe v Wade is the highest ideal and the finest example of the precision balance between a woman's right to privacy, the right of the fetus at viability, and the public responsibility of all State legislatures. Roe v Wade is a decision sensitively brought down by the SCOTUS. It is all laid out in clear unambiguous language in the Court's explanatory findings for the plaintive, and characterizes the finesse of the court's decision. Brought down in 1973, it has batted off every attempt by religionists over the past 40 years, itself a testament to its efficacy in representing the wishes of the largest swathe of the population.

Here is an interesting piece:

" .... This is why many people who do not personally approve of abortion still strongly identify as pro-choice. Many women will get angry...and vote accordingly. In 2004, NOW [National Organisation for Women] organized the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC. With 1.2 million participants, it was the largest DC mobilization in U.S. history--larger than the March on Washington, larger than the Million Man March. And this is while abortion is legal. The Religious Right as we know it today exists because abortion was made legal, and it has delivered the presidency to Republicans for five of the last seven presidential elections. Want to take a guess at how the national political landscape would change if Roe were overturned? Yeah. Neither do conservative politicians, which is why--despite winning the aforementioned presidencies--Republican administrations have done nothing concrete to ban abortion. Even though conservative Republican presidents have appointed seven of our nine current Supreme Court justices, only two of these justices have expressed an interest in overturning Roe v. Wade." [Scalia and Thomas] http://civilliberty.about.com/od/abortion/qt/roe_wade_whatif.htm






BeingItself said...

Suppose my employer pays me $100,000 a year, $10,000 of which I use to purchase health insurance, which covers the cost of my birth control pills.

Now suppose instead my employer pays me $90,000 a year, and also provides me with health insurance which covers the cost of my birth control pills.

Is my employer "paying" for my birth control pills in both cases? Am I violating the religious freedom of my employer when I use my paycheck to buy stuff he does not like? How is that different from using the health care he provides to acquire stuff he does not like?

Ilíon said...

Suppose my employer pays me $100K. And suppose I freely decide to use $10K of that pay to hire a hit-man to murder an old flame.

Is my employer liable to criminal and/or civil prosecution alongside me for that murder?