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Discussion (64)¬

  1. Rad says:

    Professor Dawkins remarked that perhaps Christianity is the lesser of two evils when it comes to Islam. I note that religious violence is likely to do as much to kill religion as to kill people.
    Many people in the Middle East fear atheism. Egypt’s rulers are thinking of making disbelief in Allah illegal. The more frantic and oppressive the efforts to suppress truth, honesty and freedom, the more obviously valuable those assets are.

  2. Chiefy says:

    It’s true. I’ve been guarded with some of my comments because I don’t want to incite the crazies. There are Christian crazies, of course, but they are seldom as violent as the Muslim crazies.

  3. M27Holts says:

    I still find it astonishing that in the city I grew up in. Girls and young women could be horribly maimed and killed and yet people think that painting bees on a wall is some kind of defiance against the resurgence of seventh century religious barbarism. Mohammed would be pleased with his followers and the multi culturists seem to think that it’s got nothing to do with Islam and it was just some nutter with a nail bomb who didn’t like the decor of the Manchester arena.

  4. Walt Jones says:

    Years ago, on the Daily Show, they compared Islam at 1,500 years old with Christianity at 1,500. Apparently the teen years are as bad for religions as they are for humans.

  5. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Regrettably there are many chickens
    Who’s cowardice really sickens
    Atheists won’t attack
    muslims who will fight back
    atheists, for islam are easy pickins

  6. tfkreference says:

    1,400 years (there are three types of people: those who are good at math and those who aren’t).

  7. Someone says:

    It’s a bit sad that if you are a metal musician and you blaspheme against Christianity, this is considered standard and celebrated.
    Same musician does the same thing against Islam and suddenly they’re treated like a Nazi or some other fascist. Makes no fucking sense.

    And yes, some bands or sub-genres have actual Nazi or fascist beliefs and they can fuck right off. I prefer blasphemy in music to be pure and not political.

  8. pink squirrel says:

    This is clearly not referring to the Xian right in USA

  9. Mohatma Coat says:

    tfkreference, there are ten kinds of people in the world – those who understand binary arithmetic and those who don’t.

  10. M27Holts says:

    Couldn’t you be a soft shoe nazi where your most violent action was to target non Aryan populations with a stern but persistent leafletting campaign?

  11. arbeyu says:

    Is there some equivalent of “Godwin’s Rule of Hitler Analogies” that can be cited in on-line discussions that are even mildly critical of Christianity when someone inevitably writes “You wouldn’t say that if it were about Muslims”?

  12. tfkreference says:

    I like term “fatwa envy,” but arbeyu’s law might work.

  13. FreeFox says:

    I am so tired of that pathetic old trope folks like Dawkins and Sam Harris keep trotting out, how Islam is the more (or even most) dangerous faith on the planet these days. Yes, even many of the moderates are pretty vile misogynists, and the fanatics are disgusting violent thugs – though hardly more so than the disgustingly violent Christian orthodox thugs in Russia, the Ukraine, and a bunch of former Soviet republics. And I won’t even go into the issue how Western foreign policy, mostly but not only British and American, keeps supporting these Islamist thugs, whether directly by arming them or indirectly by again and again destroying many secular societies hereabouts when they form. Because all of that is, frankly, chickenshit.

    https://www.iiss.org/en/publications/survival/sections/2014-4667/survival–global-politics-and-strategy-february-march-2014-e67d/56-1-02-miller-0ca4

    I’m only linking to the IISS article to show that this isn’t some kooky conspiracy theory. The IISS is one of the most well established and respected international think tanks on foreign policy. Dispensationalism as the truly kookiest and by far most dangerous faith is deep within the American political system (and the true reason why the US keep backing an increasingly unhinged and evil Israeli government, it has less to do with oil and nothing with jewish zionism, and all with crazy Christians waiting for Armaggedon.)

    But even the effect Dispensationalist Millennialism has on American foreign policy with its many wars and hundreds of thousands of deaths isn’t the real danger:

    https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2018/02/scott-pruitt-is-gutting-the-epa-because-he-thinks-its-gods-plan/

    Now, compared to the IISS Mother Jones may not be the most restrained and objective of journalistic sources, but just google around and look at the Vice President, at Trump’s entire cabinet, and indeed at George W. Bush’s cabinet. The greatest danger is the insane, deluded belief of these nutjobs that a) God wants them to keep raping the planet, and b) the world will end soon anyway and there is no need to save anything for future generations.

    Think about it: The most powerful people in the world actually believe that they are the last generation on earth and that their only duty is please some idiotic bloodthirsty God that will rain destruction on the world soon enough, and who’s mostly obsessed with evil muslims and gays. No wonder they are shitting on the democratic systems in the US and the UK, tearing up any existing social support systems, and burning oil and destorying the environment any way they can like there’s no tomorrow. They believe that there is no tomorrow.

    Christianity is literally destorying the capability of the planet to sustain human life. No religion is or was ever nearly as evil and dangerous than protestant Christianity.

  14. FreeFox says:

    And you can think about outlets like Vox, Slate, or TYT whatever you want – just listen to the current Secretary of State and former boss of the CIA’s own words on the embedded video clip: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2018/04/pompeo-talks-about-the-rapture-inside-the-cia/

  15. Someone says:

    FreeFox, you make a fair point.

    Islam’s hateful reputation is ultimately more recent than Christianity’s, which has been ruining the world for centuries on end under the guise of salvation, and has been more destructive with cultural appropriation and perpetuation of ignorance.

    As time goes by, the way extreme Christian values are enforced have just become more clandestine in their influence, as they’ve increased political power and know how to manipulate the minds they want to control. This is especially true in the US and other western nations.

    Meanwhile, Islam as we all know has devolved from once being beneficial in terms of science, education and philosophy, and has instead taken the Christian route of destructiveness, inquisition and censorship. Yet the believers of Islam want to be part of the modern world. Because of this, we’re now seeing their version of clandestine influence from the word “Islamophobia”, applied to those deemed too bigoted or ignorant to understand the faith and cultures Islam is strongest with.

    Yet there are plenty of people who are phobic of Muslims because they don’t want to be killed or maimed for voicing an opinion that might reach the ears of the wrong person; a very real possibility. Some of those fearful will thus use the word as a label to accuse others of aforementioned bigotry, unaware of the irony or ignoring it.

    I guess it all boils down to the fact that on the one hand, you have one faith strongly associated with fear, contempt, murder, genocide, rape and other horrible acts that are fundamentally psychotic that are justified as “God’s will” by believers and has thus taken control of the minds and governments of so many nations, that to speak with a rational voice against it will have you labelled, shunned and possibly wounded or worse.

    And then you have Islam.

    People are insane and the more fervent their beliefs, the more insidious their methods become to prove just how much greater their version of God is. Between the two, I can only argue that Christianity is worse as they are more passive-aggressive and have had several hundred more years to learn how to get under people’s defenses. Islam is only doing what has been done before; modern (Western) society is just less accepting of that in an age of technology and supposed enlightenment.

    I do feel a bit sorry for Judaism, though. Not many religions can be both a foundation and a scapegoat for the faiths they inspired.
    And don’t get me wrong, I have issues with that faith as much as any other but between the three, the Jews seems the least insane. And their religion is the basis for the Old Testament. Figure that out.

  16. M27Holts says:

    Freefox. Perhaps I should tell the father of a girl who died hideously of nail shrapnel injuries. That her short life was due to evangelist Baptists then shall I?

  17. Donn says:

    Reading these timelines of the ebb and flow of the worst aspects of religion, it just pops into my head that it may not be so much about the religion, per se. The region most notable for Islam these days is infected with an extremely toxic value system, and surprise surprise, they’re trouble. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims in Indonesia? hardly hear about it, not that the Indonesians are a saintly people, they just aren’t quite as screwed up, and apparently the Muslims of the medieval era weren’t quite screwed up as their descendants. Christians in Russia, now we find out, or back in the dark ages … The way it seems to add up, religion deserves neither blame nor credit, unless you want to blame it for adding an institutional fabric that helps hold together societies that ought to have died at birth.

  18. M27Holts says:

    Indonesia has plenty of ISIS supporters and merchants of jihad. Islam requires martyr death as a given and hatred of non Muslims is a requirement of the truly pious. Are people still thinking that Islam is a religion of peace? If so why?

  19. Laripu says:

    It isn’t that Islam is a religion of peace; of course not, no religion is, because religion isn’t about peace, it’s about using falsehoods to control population through social pressure.

    I see the problem faced by some Muslims as one of cognitive dissonance. If you believe that Islam is revealed divine truth, then Allah should be rewarding true adherents in tangible ways. Instead, Islamic countries have not accomplished much, compared to Europe, America, and (most irksome) Israel. How is that possible, a fervent and slightly stupid believer must think? – Only if the plans of Allah are being subverted by Satan, in the form of America. Or, it’s a secret plot by the Wise Men of Zion. In any case, once it’s understood to be Hidden Evil that robs the Islam of the worldly acknowledgement it deserves, it’s not difficult to rationalize violence. Then, the concept of “submission to the will of Allah” can be used to manipulate people.

    Christianity has a mental framework of meekness and turning the other cheek. Despite that, even Christianity gave birth to Crusades, witch burnings, pogroms, religious war and Holocaust, because at times it also suffered from cognitive dissonance, and because it’s always about control.

    I remember, in childhood, hearing the phrase “god helps those who help themselves”. It is a property of all religions that this can either be used to motivate productive work, or to motivate destructive acts of violence.

    I think I’ll help myself to some breakfast. God wants that for me … d’you believe that? 😀

  20. FreeFox says:

    There is another thing I wanted to talk about. In recent weeks I have noticed a very unsettling development here. The Cock & Bull has always been a lively place and arguments can get heated, sometimes even vicious, but so far at least amongst the regular patrons arguments have for the overwhelming majority of cases always been made in good faith. But that seems to be changing.

    There is an old quote by Jean-Paul Sartre on arguing with anti-semites that seems to sum up what I mean. This sort of behaviour has already taken over groups like men’s rights and has been infiltrating the sceptical movement, and apparently now it has reached our pleasant watering hole (cue Cheers theme song.)

    This sort of person isn’t arguing in good faith. Oh, they’ll claim the protection of the rules of civilised, democratic discourse, but they do not grant them in return. The rules only apply when they can hide behind them, not when they need to attack their enemy. This has been cropping up in all the usual discussions from talks about transsexuals to xenophobia. Any place to vilify the “other”.

    This sort of person will use good arguments where they can – there is indeed a worrying trend of growing Islamism and Islamist violence in Indonesia – but just as shamelessly use emotional “think of the children” pseudo-arguments when they have nothing better. Responses are rife with whataboutism, straw-men, false dichotomies, emotional appeals, and all manner of fallacies, often several in one argument, while always the first to hide behind the rules when encountering opposition.

    This sort of behaviour is extremely destructive to the entire atmosphere of a conversation. It is the conversational equivalent of a bully hiding behind ribbing or “can’t I even say my opinion anymore”? You know the type, who on the schoolyard keeps punching kids on the arm or calling them hurtful names only to claim it’s all “in good fun” when called out. And because it is so insidious, too often people are willing to go along with each individual step when this person seems to be on their side (who doesn’t enjoy a wingman in an argument), but I want to point out that such a person is on nobody’s side but on the side of strife and discord. Because that is the true aim.

    That is why they won’t engage in an actual argument, and why you cannot actually win an argument against them. Arguments go by rules, but they do not. After all, truth does not matter. They can cherry pick their response and play games designed to provoke emotional responses only to then turn around and point at the anger they have intentionally woken to discredit their opponent.

  21. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Freefox. Your point is well-made. But (you knew there was a but coming, yes?) Isn’t “whataboutism” just exactly what you yourself (and now me, myself) are doing?
    The fact that Christianity is bonkers is hardly a defence of Islam. What is becomming increasingly obvious is that the quantity of bonkers in the human population is something close to constant.
    I remember those halcyon days when I used to agree with Dawkins and Hitchens (senior, not his idiot younger brother) that all we needed to do was stop being so silly, and religion would go away. That was before I knew family members who converted to Islam, so I could watch this happen up close.
    That was before I read of the 20K women a year converting to Islam in the UK. Not Saudi Arabia, where they are forced. The UK. And don’t get me started on the response of the left to all this–they are as culpable and duplicitous as the right…
    Like it or not, a lot of folk seem to actively seek oppression and ignorance, and get rather upset when its denied to them. Stick an obvious authoritarian con-artist in front of them and they will go “at least he’s our con artist”. Now, alas, we know exactly who the “some of the people” that you can “fool all of the time” are. And its about 35-40% of us.
    This is a rather depressing conclusion, because it imples that all our pious wishes for dismantling the absurd top-down institutions of religion and oppression are likely to be undone by vigorous grass-roots desires for exactly that sort of oppression.

  22. M27Holts says:

    Freefox. Your lengthy post was full of whataboutisms? Emotional arguments that follow an ethical “do no harm” stance are acceptable? No?

  23. Yadvak says:

    Freefox

    Interesting post on dispensationalism. Reminds me of the time George Bush used Gog and Magog to justify invading Iraq to a perplexed french president.

    Cant seem to add a link to article but a google search will bring up a motherjones article

  24. FreeFox says:

    Hey, HelenaHandbasket (one day I must ask you about the reason for that particular handle, btw) I don’t really think so. Whataboutism “attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument”. The argument I was responding to was Rad‘s comment on Dawkins, and by (my own explicit) extension Sam Harris’s talking points how Islam is either the most dangerous doctrine on the planet or at least much more dangerous than other religions. Harris usually follows that up with his somewhat facetious comparison with Jainism. And it is a point that quite explicitly is being made regularly in the comments of this forum. Not that Islam is dangerous, or evil, but that it is much more so than other religions.

    I even explicitly point out that Islam is at best uncomfortably sexist and at worst indubitably disgustingly violent (“even many of the moderates are pretty vile misogynists, and the fanatics are disgusting violent thugs” to quote myself exactly) because in no way did I intend the comment as a defence Islam – let alone a defence of Islamist violence.

    I was however making a point that IF we are comparing the dangers and damage done by religions, current dispensationalist Christianity through its influence on the US government is not only by comparison much more dangerous and damaging for the lives of all humans on the planet (even taking Sam Harris’ scenarios of an Iran with nuclear arms or al-Quada with a dirty bomb into account), it seems more dangerous than any ideology in the history of humanity.

    That’s not whataboutism. Now, if I had said “yeah, so some Muslim’s blew up some girl with a nail bomb? Well, what about Pruitt and Pompeo?!” – that would have been whataboutism. Just like saying “So they are trying to end the world, but what about the grieving father of a little girl killed by a nail bomb?!” is whataboutism. And appeal to emotions. And a straw-man.

    On the other hand, when I say: “As for the claim that Islam is more violent than Christianity, I think literally working towards Armageddon and intentionally sabotaging attempts to ensure the habitability of the planet for humans is much more violent,” I think that’s really just an argument which one can try to refute with a counter-argument.

  25. FreeFox says:

    Also I don’t see where your own comment would contain any whataboutism, HelenaHandbasket, as you seem to imply yourself. Pointing out a possible flaw in an argument – such as, “aren’t you doing the exact thing you are criticising” – is still referring to the very argument under examination. It’s just that, a criticism. To which the other party can answer. The problem with real whataboutism is that it attempts to smear the original commenter with the blemish of bigotry without actually providing a counter-argument. That is what I mean by arguing in bad faith. When any logic is applied even trying to bring up a single victim of a terrorism attack against the potential extinction of the human race in an argument about the comparative evil of different religions doesn’t make sense. But it isn’t about the argument, but about the emotions – a grieving father, a dead little girl, the image of rusty nails tearing through innocent flesh. It is there to paint the other as despicable and the act of daring to argue in face of such “barbarity” as blasphemous.

  26. jb says:

    According to a very interesting recent book, human reason evolved not to discover truth, but to justify one’s behavior and win arguments, and is therefore intrinsically biased in favor of confirming whatever an individual already believes. A consequence is that people are remarkably bad at noticing when they themselves are talking bullshit, but much better at noticing when other people are doing so.

    IMO people rarely argue in bad faith, and almost always actually believe the bullshit they are spouting. The book goes on to argue though that reason, when it works at all, works best in a social setting, where group members can shoot down each other’s bad arguments so that the least bad argument can rise to the top. This only works though when the group is sufficiently coherent that it’s possible for a consensus to be reached. So the question is, how coherent is the pub? Is this a place where people might be persuaded, or simply a venue for crafting and trying out arguments?

  27. Yadvak says:

    Freefox

    There was also Blair justifying war on Iraq by saying God told him to do it.

    Very valid point. Jb

    As i see it religious ideas were early human attempts at understanding their world. They are the primitive theories of science which modern humans haven’t been able to discard. But i do believe the authors of your book are conflating reason with rationality.

  28. Son of Glenner says:

    jb: “So the question is, how coherent is the pub? Is this a place where people might be persuaded, or simply a venue for crafting and trying out arguments?”

    Preaching to the choir, or the blind leading the blind?

    Me, I just like getting drunk.

  29. Yadvak says:

    The symposium of the ancient greeks were philosophical discussions that took place aided by wine. These were a managed affair to ensure people did not get drunk. As the discussion progressed they would dilute the wine accordingly.

    Recommend to watch Bettany Hughes “Bacchus uncovered: ancient god of ecstasy” still available on bbc iplayer for 7 days. With or without your favourite tipple.

    Bacchus aka dionysius was said to “give mens minds wings”

  30. M27Holts says:

    Well the sun is out in my Manchester suburbian garden. And I am enjoying a Henry westerns vintage cider . At 8.2abv, a few and I will be spouting all kinds of bullshit! Bottoms up everybody!

  31. M27Holts says:

    You Anyway my argument is that when I was a kid violence was part of life. I was involved in all kinds of football related violence in the seventies and eighties. I didn’t go looking for it, but non the less it sometimes found you and I have had to hurt people seriously as they were trying to hurt me. But such violence was all young men fuelled with testosterone and with no war to fight they battled at the football. But that violence was expected in those times. The act of immolation amongst little girls is violence on a different level and requires religious brainwashing to achieve!

  32. two cents' worth says:

    HelenaHandbasket, you wrote, “…I read of the 20K women a year converting to Islam in the UK. … Like it or not, a lot of folk seem to actively seek oppression and ignorance… .” I don’t know about seeking oppression and ignorance, but I suspect that one of the reasons why people turn to religion is because they are lonely. In a world where more and more people have no close friends, joining a religion may be attractive because it provides many opportunities to gather in person with other people that share something meaningful in common, such as the belief that God loves them. Instead of converting to a religion, people could relieve their loneliness by joining a group that promotes a cause that they care about, engages in activities that are important to them, or pursues a goal that they value. It seems to me that religions devote more resources to outreach activities than other social or volunteer groups do, so it’s not surprising that religions outdo those other groups when it comes to recruiting members.

    Another reason why people may find religion attractive is that living in a complex world causes them anxiety, and they are more comfortable following the rules of a religion or a religious leader that they trust. Making decisions of any kind takes energy; leaving at least some decisions to the clergy may come as a relief.

  33. I want to recommend this video to the discussion. This former Playboy model converted to Islam because “I like the way Islam respects women.”
    That must seem incomprehensible to most of us. It seems incomprehensible to me. But when I think about the way a Playboy model is probably treated by most men, I can see how it would drive a woman to a religion that segregates women from men. I can also see how the vacuous Hollywood drugs and club scene woud feel very empty after a few years.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9rB6LWt7eo
    I’m tossing this in because the discussion about which religion is the worst seems pointless. They are all silly. The ideologies are ALL stupid. But obvioiusly they give some people what they are looking for. I’d like to see a triumph of reason and rationality, but it doesn’t seem to be likely. So I have to accept that most people are involved in some religion or other, and that most people are fundamentally descent.
    I don’t get it. It’s not for me. But I have my shot of scotch now and am feeling mellow.
    I hope the video stimulates some discussion, and gives some idea of why women might convert to Islam.

  34. Some Dude says:

    Many points to discuss today. I’d like to be brief (even though I might not achieve it).

    About the issue of which religion is the worst, or the most violent, @Someone said: “Islam’s hateful reputation is ultimately more recent than Christianity’s, which has been ruining the world for centuries on end under the guise of salvation”… I’d say that Islam’s bad reputation is more recent *in the West*, mainly because a large number of foreign Muslims have migrated here and we’re now more aware of its existence. However, Islam has been no strange to violence since its very beginning, and Muhammad himself was pretty successful when expanding his faith through military attacks. That doesn’t make it worse than Christianity per se, since Christianity has it own history of violence, but, to be fair, the message of the central figure in Islam (i.e. Muhammad) is fairly different that the message of the central figure in Christianity (Jesus), as the latter is by far more peaceful.

    @Freefox: about your point on how Christianity has a greater impact on people’s lives, I don’t think you can deem such impact as a direct consequence of Christian doctrine. I think you’re exaggerating a bit.

    @Freefox: About the point on meaningful discussion, I think the great thing about the C&B is that it’s a place where we can share our ideas freely, and if, as you say, somebody from time to time uses invalid arguments, it won’t be hard to refute them, right? I just wouldn’t want them to stop expressing their views, however ridiculous they might be.

    @jb: very good point.

    As always, great strip, Author.

  35. Some Dude says:

    @DH: I didn’t expect the video to be that long, so I just watched some parts of it to get the overall idea.

    You’ve brought up an interesting topic to discuss here. The reason why a western woman would convert to Islam still puzzles me but, as you say, sometimes religion gives people what they’re looking for. If you –as a woman– have been treated all your life as a mere sexual object, I can understand that the idea of converting to a religion that obliges you to cover your whole body is attractive to you. However, the fundamental flaw of some of the arguments this woman was giving in the video is about the idea that Islam “respects” women. Islam does not respect women, it just regards them as fundamentally sinful and as the property of men, so that they have to be covered in order to avoid any impure thoughts on men. There is a J&Mo strip about it from some months ago that illustrates what I want to say:
    http://www.jesusandmo.net/comic/tool/

  36. M27Holts says:

    Well I’m off to monton village where I expect no Islamic nobbyfication. Just english/german/Spanish ale and women wearing next to nowt coz it’s at least 22 degrees and the sun is shining. I will keep my blimping to a minimum coz my mrs is coming with me! Prost! Skol! And Cheers!

  37. FreeFox says:

    Hey Darwin Harmless, hope you’re well. The video is interesting, and yeah, I think it clearly shows how such a conversion might make sense in the context of a deeply unhealthy life. In her case it may be the lesser of two evils and a crutch to escape a certain form of toxic identity. In a way she seems like an alcoholic going teetotaler. Abstinence may be better than lying in your puke under the table every night, but that still made Prohibition a crap social policy. And perhaps that is one of the tragedies of Islam – because it is superficially so focused on this sort of sexual purity it speaks loudest to people who have massive issues with their sexuality and gender identity. And so its most vocal proponents are predisposed towards having very toxic personalities.

    As for your remark that the discussion about which religion is the worst seems pointless, be honest. Would you come out and make that same statement when everybody would be just standing around agreeing how Islam is inherently more violent and vile? Because, I have to tell you, that has happened several times here, and I never heard you speaking up then. So, are you certain that isn’t Western fragility speaking out of you there, trying to wipe an uncomfortable conversation under the table when it gets to close to home?

    I have a similar reservation for your objection, Some Dude. When you say I cannot be certain that the impact is due as a direct consequence of Christian doctrine, well, no, I cannot be absolutely certain. Can you be absolutely certain that Islamist violence is solely due to Islamic doctrine? The majority of Muslims are not terrorists, and maybe it’s the effect of colonialism, and of poverty, and a few misguided extremist leaders seducing disaffected young men without perspective or it’s all some weird CIA-Zionist-Reptilian Alien conspiracy. But it does seem a fair bet that Islam has something to do with it.

    And when the head of the EPA claims that God wants humans (and especially Americans) to use all the resources God has given us, when the Secretary of Education actively dismantles public schools while supporting evangelical Christian charter schools instead and is in favour of “teaching the controversy”, when the Secretary of State and former CIA boss promises he will continue to fight “until the rapture”, when Evangelical preachers finance super-PACs to elect politicians that see environmentalism as the greatest threat to Christendom (next to the Gay agenda) and support a philandering President as long as he pushes through environmental deregulation and against all economic sense supports coal, oil and fracking over wind or solar energy, when Congressmen that are part of the majority party officially state they know that climate change cannot be true because God has promised them in the Bible that He wouldn’t repeat the Flood until the End Times (and then it’s okay because it is part of God’s plan), and when established (even conservative) think tanks see Christian eschatological doctrine as one of the main causes behind the destructive, irrational foreign US policy in Israel and all over the middle East… I think it is rather safe to say that all of this has a LOT to do with Christian doctrine, and that the impact of this religious doctrine cannot only be felt by every child on the planet but will massively (and negatively) impact their lives in the future.

  38. Dr John the Wipper says:

    M27:
    I will keep my blimping to a minimum coz my mrs is coming with me!

    Uhm. In those circumstances, MY lady points ‘m out to me if she sees ‘m first (which is quite regularly, because she tends to look better (as in: more accurately) than me.

  39. FreeFox says:

    I really cannot stress enough how much I’m afraid I am not exaggerating at all, Some Dude. I know this goes a bit off-topic from the purely religious discussion, and personally I really wouldn’t have to worry much because I think we’re mostly safe for the next 15 years and I won’t get to experience any negative fallout beyond that (and probably much less than that), but I happen to be responsible for a bright, lively 9 year old, and his life will be more than impacted by this. The largest coral reef complex on the planet is showing increasing signs of a massive collapse due to global warming and may be beyond saving. This winter the Gulf Stream, one of the biggest heat, oxygen and nutrient pumps on the planet and vital for the existence of the North American, European and Atlantic ecosystems, has been weaker than ever before, and might be years away from collapse. Desertification is progressing at faster rates than ever before, is part of the cause of the current upheaval in the Middle East and northern Africa, and within a few years cause migration on a scale that will make the current European immigrant crisis look like a quaint foreign student exchange program. I know that American Evangelical doctrine is far from the sole cause for all of this – though a very good argument can be made that capitalism and the industrial revolution themselves owe more than a little to Calvinism, Lutheranism, and other puritanical protestant forms of Christianity (see Max Weber, et al) – but I am convinced I am not overstating that eschatological thinking of current Evangelicals is the main roadblock in all attempts to course correct and minimize the damage. We cannot undo the damage any longer, but we might still have the chance to keep it from causing human mass-extinction, and Christians are actively and successfully preventing that at the moment. Intentionally. Because they want Armageddon and the Rapture.

  40. FreeFox says:

    Blimping – (1) That sexual act of forcing air into the rectum, via mouth to rectum. Orally, bicycle pump, compressor, balloon. Hindenburging, Zepplining, air hogging; (2) (v) The act of surfing the internet while taking a shit. Similar in concept to a blumpkin. The proliferation of laptop computers and wireless internet has created a need to define this act, which is growing more commonplace. —Urban Dictionary

    I know it’s been ten years since I left the UK, but… wut…? o_O

  41. M27Holts says:

    Blimping in Swintonese is a colloquial term for a person looking at people they find sexually attractive. Isn’t English a fascinating language when looked at as living developing means of communication! Cheers!

  42. Dr John the Wipper says:

    FF, M27:

    You may be assured that my wife and me ONLY adhere to the M27 variant…

  43. M27Holts says:

    I prefer a good book. But checking up on internet whilst defecation is taking place is possibly far more common nowadays!

  44. M27Holts says:

    I’m with the free fox on the dangers of rapture expecting Christian loon bombs….imagine if a group of them managed to take over norad? The end days would be here sooner rather than later!

  45. FreeFox says:

    I don’t know what to tell you, M27Holts, but the former head of the CIA and current Secretary of State is a fundamentalist, evangelical, rapture-expecting Christian. I’m pretty certain that he has access to NORAD. Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry are all evangelical Christians. Trump’s cabinet meets weekly for Bible Studies under an evangelical pastor.

    All the President’s cergymen, Trump Cabinet Members and their Christian Faith, Sonny Perdue becomes the 9th Evangelical to join the Trump cabinet, Trump cabinet is attending weekly Bible studies led by a conservative Pastor

  46. FreeFox says:

    Tried to respond, M27Holts but apprently used too many links to news sources and got put into moderation. ^_^

  47. Donn says:

    Having above pushed the idea that religion is superficial and simply adapted to the egional/national character of its adherents, I guess I have to admit, here in the US, denial and irresponsible exploitation are indeed fundamental traits of my people, and combined with a severe deficit in critical thinking, that’s enough to explain everything. I don’t have any inside track that gives me a clue to what’s really going on, but my feeling is that the Christian theology we’re talking about here is more window dressing than a principle driver.

  48. Some Dude says:

    @Donn: What do you mean exactly by “window dressing”? As a non-native English speaker I fail sometimes at getting the meaning of certain expressions. I guess by the context that you mean that Christian theology is more like an image to deliver to the audience rather than a genuine sentiment.

    P.S.: Sorry to go completely off-topic but, can anyone tell me how to write in italics here? And can you write in bold too? Thanks in advance 🙂

  49. HaggisForBrains says:

    To write in bold, you need to enclose the word or phrase inside <b> and </b>. For italics, replace the “b” with “i”. For underlined use “u”, and for striked use “del”. If you use Firefox (up to 57) or Waterfox as your browser, you can do all this and more using BBCodeXtra add-on. Edit: the underlined one doesn’t seem to work here.

  50. Son of Glenner says:

    Some Dude: I think you’ve got the meaning of “window dressing” more or less correct. What is your mother tongue and does it have a similar expression?

  51. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Hi Freefox. As to my name, I took it from my mothers side (The Hampshire Handbaskets. I have a cousin, Helena Handkart who I’m told looks very like me).
    After re-reading, I think I had misunderstood your point. If you were pointing out that having someone whose religious beliefs require him to actively want the world to end, and thinks this armaggedon should start in the middle east, and is (literally–and I mean literally in the literal sense, not in the sense a DJ might use the term) a heartbeat away from the power to bring this about (Step forward Mike Pence)…then gawd–yes.
    Christianity in its “I actually believe this crap” rather than the Church of England version (say) is a very scary prospect. Have you ever spoken to evangelicals about this? They are quite open about the fact that they see Trump as a prophet leading them to the promised land and giving them concessions (e.g. a Supreme court justice who will roll back Roe vs Wade) along the way. They know (and don’t care) that he’s a worse Christian than I am (even on my best day I can only manage three or at most four seven deadly sins before I get fatigued). He’s delivering them exactly what they want–its no accident that (e.g.) Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders are devout christians and perfectly happy to lie because the end justifies the means.
    He’s their John the Baptist–preparing the way (through baptisms of sex-worker urine, perhaps?) for the True Savior. At which point–gawd help all of us.

  52. HelenaHandbasket says:

    This article on Pence-in-Waiting is quite good on the topic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/gods-plan-for-mike-pence/546569/
    TL;DR, Pence is keeping himself clean while waiting in line for the inevitable (?) impeachment/indictment/assassination by secret services/hanging from a lampost ending that the regime is headed for. Then he becomes god-emperor by default.

  53. FreeFox says:

    No relation to Chandler Bing’s parent then, HelenaHandbasket?

  54. Some Dude says:

    @HaggisForBrains: Thanks a lot! 😉

    @Son of Glenner: Thanks. Yet another expression to write down in my notebook. I’m glad that you asked, my mother’s tongue is Spanish. And yes, here we have a similar expression, namely: “de cara a la galería”, which literally translated would be something like “facing the gallery”, meaning that someone does something hypocritically, or pretends to think a certain way in front of other people, only to please them and earn a good reputation.

  55. Donn says:

    Yes, it’s always a worry. Full, uncompromising belief in religion would be, practically, not much different from insanity. Most of the religious who can function in the normal world manage the real miracle of religion, they deal with reality while maintaining their faith on some other level – don’t ask me, it’s just what’s left if you take them at their word that they really believe.

    It would be natural to expect a few people to trip over this never-discussed caveat and follow the path of religious insanity, but we tend to hopefully assume, don’t we? that anyone who can function well enough to rise to power, will not be among those.

  56. HelenaHandbasket says:

    FF_ I have no idea what you are talking about…just dont put “Its raining men” on the stereo again, please…

  57. Donn says:

    Nice expression, de cara a la galeria, but as you say its meaning has more to do with honesty, compared to how I understand window dressing. The window in question is a streetfront shop display, where the shopkeeper presents merchandise to its best advantage, and the window dressing is there to add some appealing visual context. Whatever dishonesty there is in the practice, it’s certainly at about the slightest level. Per se. The dishonesty comes in, when a superficial, decorative element is presented as fundamentally important – which isn’t inherent in the term, though it’s likely to be found in its usage. Just to over-elaborate on this semantic fine point.

  58. FreeFox, you get no argument from me. And if I gave you the impression that I was picking sides in the “which religion is the worst” discussion, it was not my intention. I don’t see much to differenciate the Quiverful movement from the ultra-orthodox Hasidics, or the Islamist terrorist from the Alt Right terrorist.
    In short, we park our cars in the same garage.
    But if your claim is that Christianity is the worst because of the joyful anticipation of the end times, and the attempt to hurry thejm along, I’m totally willing to give you the point. I’m not much attached to Western culture, though I don’t see another one I’d like to adopt. Not quite sure what youi meant by “western fragility”, but I am feeling rather fragile these days.
    Oh yes, I’ve never been better, thanks for asking. Though in truth I’ve had more potential.

  59. Laripu says:

    HelenaHandbasket, about Pence-in-waiting.

    I’ve got some doggerel.

    Sing a song of sick Pence.
    “The POTUS will be me!”
    Forty-‘leven prosecuters
    will not let that be.
    When those who’ve been indicted
    All begin to sing,
    Pence and Trump and Kushner
    will pay for everything.

    And while we’re on the topic:

    Humpy Trumpy wants a big wall,
    Or so he exclaimed on the National Mall.
    Kushner and Trump-corp can’t get enough bail
    To keep Trumpy’s fat, wrinkled ass out of jail.

  60. HelenaHandbasket says:

    Well, if its a song you want…
    https://twitter.com/EricIdle/status/993578692495396865

  61. M27Holts says:

    You can’t beat those wacky python boys…..I’m still waiting for their hilarious sequel to life of Brian….carry on shagging that camel which would be set in the middle East circa 7th century CE…

  62. Laripu says:

    HelenaHandbasket, thank you for that link. Eric Idle makes it seem effortless. And the song is so light, while joyfully going for the jugular. He’s a treasure, not just of the UK, but of the entire English speaking world.

  63. HelenaHandbasket says:

    It’s part of my role on this sublunary sphere to spread a little happiness as I go by…

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