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Bloggingheads
04-11-2008, 04:42 PM

Bloggin' Noggin
04-11-2008, 05:35 PM
This should be fun -- I saw Matt Yglesias's recommendation -- or rather his girlfriend's recommendation of the book -- on his blog a while back.
Uh-oh, look at that! -- the book is available in Kindle edition. I have a sinking feeling I'll be 10 dollars poorer by the end of the diavlog.

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 05:45 PM
BHTV-I love stereotyping! Please bring us more, maybe about Jews or Muslims next time!

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 05:50 PM
BHTV-I love stereotyping! Please bring us more, maybe about Jews or Muslims next time!

I call flaming oversensitivity. This diavlog, in fact, was the antithesis of playing up stereotypes.

Wonderment
04-11-2008, 05:50 PM
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
--Matthew 26:41

Kindle does sound rather bluntly infernoesque, you must admit. I'd go for the cheaper crucifix lollipop, if I were you.

AemJeff
04-11-2008, 05:52 PM
Please help us out. What stereotypes are you talking about?

AemJeff
04-11-2008, 05:56 PM
This seems appropriate. I guess I'll find out what BHTV's policy on posting YouTube videos might be.

It doesn't seem to matter: the embed code doesn't parse properly. Here's the link:

Chocolate Jesus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wfamPW3Eaw).

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 05:56 PM
Great diavlog. One of the best points Daniel made, I thought, was when he said that the principle goal of non-stop preachifying is not to convert the unconverted, but to give booster shots to the already brainwashed.

I grant that he put it more politely -- something like "minister to their own" -- but the bare fact remains. In some ways, this is a hopeful note: it indicates that absent constant reinforcement, the more ridiculous beliefs are purged by the normal human brain.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 06:03 PM
AemJeff:

... the embed code doesn't parse properly.

It's less to do with BH.tv policy than it is characteristic of the tag set supplied by the forum software (vBulletin). I believe that's the whole point of developing a tag set different from HTML: to impose limitations about what will go through.

Good vid, though. Thanks.

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 06:07 PM
Maybe a discussion of Christianity that doesn't look for ways to mock it would be refreshing. But given Bob Wright's predisposition, I won't hold my breath.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 06:18 PM
Maybe a discussion of Christianity that doesn't look for ways to mock it would be refreshing. But given Bob Wright's predisposition, I won't hold my breath.

I did not think all of Christianity was being mocked. I thought certain people who call themselves Christians were being mocked, and rightfully so. But Daniel also presented a much more sympathetic view than one might have expected, especially given his mindset going into the project.

The two biggest complaints I have with zealots for organized religions are their inability to laugh at themselves and their refusal to recognize that professing faith does not automatically make one beyond reproach. If you truly believe in the teachings of Christ, you must acknowledge that everybody is imperfect. If you think your faith is worth anything, you shouldn't be so afraid of criticism or satire.

Lighten up.

By the way, to correct your misapprehension that Bob Wright is predisposed to mock Christianity, you might watch the diavlogs he did with Andrew Sullivan, to give but one counterexample. (Part I (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/144). Part II (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/148).)

tickknob
04-11-2008, 06:45 PM
"We are good, everybody else is evil". Where have I heard that before? Oh, I remember - talk to any liberal.

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 06:49 PM
bj keefe, I don't believe that any religion should be beyond reproach. I just get weary of the characterizations presented by secularists and their enthusiasm for presenting only the negative aspects of Christianity. I don't know what Bob's attitudes are about Christianity; the predisposition I was referring to was that of only approaching the discussion from a secular point of view. I doubt that I'll ever see someone like Richard John Neuhaus or Charles Colson discussing their writing on BHTV.

AemJeff
04-11-2008, 06:58 PM
the predisposition I was referring to was that of only approaching the discussion from a secular point of view.


For Starters:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7656
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/193
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7296
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/408
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9453

-asx-
04-11-2008, 07:00 PM
AemJeff:



It's less to do with BH.tv policy than it is characteristic of the tag set supplied by the forum software (vBulletin). I believe that's the whole point of developing a tag set different from HTML: to impose limitations about what will go through.

Good vid, though. Thanks.

vBulletin does support embedded video, e.g., YouTube, but unfortunately the BHTV overlords have disabled virtually all forum functionality in order to preserve the formatting of the linear comments that appear on the diavlogs pages. Or at least that's the explanation they gave the first few days after the launch of the redesign. In those first few hours/days of the redesign, we had access to many more vBulletin features, but they were causing problems so they were disabled. :(

Example: http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/wells-hall-off-topic-board/307833-clinton-being-derailed-because-she-she-2.html#post4649613

-asx-
04-11-2008, 07:05 PM
But given Bob Wright's predisposition, I won't hold my breath.

Bob is unfavorably disposed towards Christianity? When? I always thought he was pretty deferential and respectful towards it.

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 07:09 PM
Now that I'm thinking of it, Bob, why don't you get Father Neuhaus to discuss his article, "The Politics of Bioethics." That would be a reallly interesting, and thoughtful, discussion.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 07:12 PM
jh:

I just get weary of the characterizations presented by secularists and their enthusiasm for presenting only the negative aspects of Christianity.

I can imagine, considering the negative view many Christianists present of secularists.

I don't know what Bob's attitudes are about Christianity; the predisposition I was referring to was that of only approaching the discussion from a secular point of view. I doubt that I'll ever see someone like Richard John Neuhaus or Charles Colson discussing their writing on BHTV.

Dunno who Neuhaus is. Colson deserves a lifetime of shunning for his behavior while working at the White House, so I hope your doubts are right in this case. I would point out that there have been other Christians invited to present their views in diavlogs almost exclusively focused on religion: Rod Dreher, Amy Sullivan, Chloe Breyer, Peter Heltzel, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Rick Arndt.

[Added] Whoops. Looks like AemJeff beat me to the punch.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 07:16 PM
"We are good, everybody else is evil". Where have I heard that before? Oh, I remember - talk to any liberal.

That goes beyond simplistic. It's purely an asinine thing to say.

On the other hand, the idea that you think there's something wrong with a group of people who value tolerance, equal rights, and a concern for the less fortunate might well demonstrate that the belief you attribute has some merit.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 07:18 PM
-asx-

vBulletin does support embedded video, e.g., YouTube, but unfortunately the BHTV overlords have disabled virtually all forum functionality in order to preserve the formatting of the linear comments that appear on the diavlogs pages.

I stand corrected. Thank you for pointing this out.

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 07:33 PM
"Colson deserves a lifetime of shunning.." BJ, who is being intolerant now? If you look at the accomplishments of Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries, you will see how ridiculous your comment is.

uncle ebeneezer
04-11-2008, 07:35 PM
My favorite moment in this one was the description of demonic places "gay bars, abortion clinics, unitarian churches". Damn, who new that Unitarianism was so cutting edge. I may have to skip my Church of Satan sacrificial, blood orgy this week and check out a Unitarian sermon instead.

This diavlog reminded me of this:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28634

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 07:36 PM
And I do retract my comment about Bob. Sorry, Bob.

bkjazfan
04-11-2008, 08:36 PM
I was not aware of a Christian pop culture. I liked having non-christians (I hope I'm right about that) explaining it to me a lapsed catholic.

John

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 08:39 PM
And I do retract my comment about Bob. Sorry, Bob.

Good man. And I appreciate your making the effort to say so out loud.

rcocean
04-11-2008, 08:43 PM
When is Bob going to have a Diavlog about "Jewish Junk"?
It should star two Christians talking about Judaism.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 08:43 PM
"Colson deserves a lifetime of shunning.." BJ, who is being intolerant now? If you look at the accomplishments of Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries, you will see how ridiculous your comment is.

I don't believe there's anything intolerant about thinking someone has committed serious enough transgressions to merit a life sentence, so I won't apologize for saying he should be shunned forever. I also remind you that being tolerant has its limits, as does any other philosophical point of view.

As for the Fellowship Ministries, I have read enough about this program to have doubts about its worthiness, but I don't want to argue about that. Let it be stipulated that it does good work, and let Colson stick to doing that. He's lost his privilege to any of my respectful attention.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 08:46 PM
My favorite moment in this one was the description of demonic places "gay bars, abortion clinics, unitarian churches". Damn, who new that Unitarianism was so cutting edge. I may have to skip my Church of Satan sacrificial, blood orgy this week and check out a Unitarian sermon instead.

That was pretty funny. On the other hand, I've always thought the blandness of Unitarians was kind of evil myself, much like Wonder Bread, Kraft Singles, and Lite beer.

bjkeefe
04-11-2008, 08:52 PM
bkjazfan:

I was not aware of a Christian pop culture.

You never heard Christian rock? I grant it's become so much like the rest of power pop pap that it doesn't immediately jump out, but come to upstate New York and fiddle with your car radio. You won't be able to escape it.

The funny thing is, the first whack at making Christianity pop-y worked pretty well on me. I used to love the "folk mass," with their acoustic guitars and tambourines. And I still love the old time gospel music. Still love hearing that.

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 11:13 PM
BJ, Statistics bear out that inmates who participate in Prison
Fellowship programs have a significantly lower rate of recitivism than the general population. Open your mind and read Colson's book, Born Again. It might change your view of him-I know it did mine. By the way, I am not a man.

bkjazfan
04-11-2008, 11:18 PM
I liked the Latin masses with Gregorian Chant. However, I never learned that now almost disappeared language.

The only link I have with religion now is watching that national religious station when surfing the channels. I believe they are mostly pentecostal types. There appears to be a lot of emotion exhibited in this kind of religion. Once I saw one of the two authors, Mr. Jenkins, that the blogger mentioned.

Being a catholic the clergy didn't get into the scripture like evangelicals do. When I wanted to learn about catholic apologetics I had to study it independently. In fact, I am sure the litugical service is quite a bit different than the "fire and brimstone" ones. It looks like the people who attend them are having a good time as opposed to the more sedate mass. If memory serves me right the big complaint of teenage catholics is that the services are boring.

Well, I carried on here longer than I anticipated.

John

bkjazfan
04-11-2008, 11:22 PM
I don't think that Colson deserves a lifetime of shunning. He seems to be a sincere and honest man now which is better than the mostly lying, double talking poiliticans we are always discussing here.

jh in sd
04-11-2008, 11:54 PM
rcocean, You pinpointed the reason that this diavlog rubbed me the wrong way. The other reason is that I am really crabby because it has been winter here for five solid months,it is snowing right now, and I am going to jump off a cliff if the sun doesn't shine soon. Also, in relation to the diavlog, Oscar Wilde's words come to mind: "I'm not young enough to know everything."

bjkeefe
04-12-2008, 12:28 AM
BJ, Statistics bear out that inmates who participate in Prison
Fellowship programs have a significantly lower rate of recitivism than the general population. Open your mind and read Colson's book, Born Again. It might change your view of him-I know it did mine. By the way, I am not a man.

jh:

I hate to be a broken record about this, since it seems that I've made this request in too many other threads already, but please, please learn how to reply in context. Either switch to the threaded view and use the "reply" button under the post that you're reading, or at least quote or paraphrase enough of the content to which you're replying so that I might have some idea what you're talking about.

Okay, I remember Colson. But what is this "I am not a man" about?

To treat the second first: I can only guess that you might be objecting to my use of the male singular pronoun in one of my previous comments. If so, I'm sorry. I grant that the English language has its sexist limitations. That said, I cannot always bear to type out "he or she" and I cannot abide "they" as a singular neutered alternative. I appreciate the arguments in favor of the latter intellectually, but "they" referring to one nameless person will forever go clunk in my inner ear.

If I'm off-base in my guess, and this is about something else, please elaborate.

To the more important first part (Colson's Fellowship Ministries):

I. Don't. Care.

Please review what I said before:

... I don't want to argue about that. Let it be stipulated that it does good work ...

I have no interest in this program, and negative interest in entertaining arguments in support of it, and some other number lower than that in hearing about "statistics," particularly ones you don't cite. No, no. Don't go scrambling to supply a link. Reread my blockquote instead.

Here's my point: I don't care if Colson's FM can be argued to be of use. None of that changes what Colson did when he was part of the team running the country. None of his later efforts make up for his earlier crimes. I'm glad to take your word for it that he's doing penance that has a productive outcome, but I have no desire to hear him talk about it. I can imagine reading his book were I trapped by an avalanche in a remote mountain cabin with absolutely nothing else to do, but other than that, sorry: I got no patience for crooks who say they've found Jesus and want to bend my ear accordingly.

I am also sorry if I'm coming off as cranky, but I must say, your defensiveness is provoking it. I am guessing that you're a recent convert of some sort, and I understand this often leads to humorlessness and zealotry, but your hurt feelings fail to win my sympathy, especially as you seem unable to convey any context or reason for your reaction or to grasp fully what I have already stated.

jh in sd
04-12-2008, 01:11 AM
Brendan, I am sorry you don't believe in redemption; we all need it at some point in our lives. I'm just learning the ropes with this blogging stuff, so please bear with me. You said to me, "Good man." Since I am a woman, I stated that I am not a man. That is what that was about. You need to lighten up.

Eastwest
04-12-2008, 01:24 AM
I found the most gruesome part to be the deliberate programming of children into demonizing non-Christians, this before they have developed any critical faculties of their own.

Maybe a spookier part: The "adults" who take on the same demonization-of-others world view (when by then they should know better) involving such extreme judgmentalism and condescension towards those who don't buy the Jesus story.

Let's see, where have I heard this language before?: ... "infidels"... "idolators" , etc.

Hmmm: And this is supposed to be "spiritual"?

As for the accusation that this diavlog was somehow "stereotyping," that's really baseless. This charge is really just defensiveness and embarrassment over the none-too-rare weirdnesses of this movement being exposed to secular view and being shown to be grotesquely strange to the unprogrammed mind.

EW

bjkeefe
04-12-2008, 03:04 AM
jh:

(Quoting out of sequence here ...)

I'm just learning the ropes with this blogging stuff, so please bear with me.

If that's a response to my snippiness regarding your breaking the flow of the thread, will do. Let me also say that I probably overstated my gripe, as I am unfortunately wont to do.

You said to me, "Good man." Since I am a woman, I stated that I am not a man. That is what that was about.

Oh. That.

For what it's worth, there is no warmer praise from those of us of Irish heritage than saying "good man." I would say this is mostly another instance of inherent language limitations, but I did assume your gender. I guessed wrong, and I was wrong for making the assumption. I apologize.

I am sorry you don't believe in redemption; we all need it at some point in our lives.

Okay, now we can get back to arguing for real. ;^)

I'm not sure what you mean by "redemption." Are you using the term here in reference to Charles Colson? Do you mean by redemption a sense of having paid off an obligation, or a more nebulous sense of forgiveness by default, related in part or in whole to time having passed? If this is about Colson, are you saying that either because of his prison program, or because the early '70s were so long ago, he's either made up for his time in the Nixon White House or earned absolution by virtue of time elapsed?

If so, I ask: Who decides if, how, and when he's earned this redemption? Why does your opinion on this matter count more than mine? Because you two share the same faith, and I don't?

As I mentioned earlier, I am unimpressed by someone who has lived a long and deplorable life suddenly throwing on a crucifix necklace and quoting the Bible, particularly when in between those two states, there's the glaring fact that he or she got busted. I do think the occasional person sincerely sees the error of his or her ways only in response to suddenly getting caught, but the overwhelming majority of such born-again types strike me as phonies running yet another con. If you're saying that Charles Colson is redeemed in your eyes, fine. He is not, however, redeemed in mine.

bjkeefe
04-12-2008, 03:09 AM
EW:

I agree with everything you said, particularly the part about programming the children. I have said it before, and I'll say it again: Richard Dawkins was not off-base to say that religion is (I would say "can be") a form of child abuse.

AemJeff
04-12-2008, 10:37 AM
As I mentioned earlier, I am unimpressed by someone who has lived a long and deplorable life suddenly throwing on a crucifix necklace and quoting the Bible, particularly when in between those two states, there's the glaring fact that he or she got busted. I do think the occasional person sincerely sees the error of his or her ways only in response to suddenly getting caught, but the overwhelming majority of such born-again types strike me as phonies running yet another con. If you're saying that Charles Colson is redeemed in your eyes, fine. He is not, however, redeemed in mine.

This probably isn't a fair characterization of Colson. My understanding is that his religious conversion preceded his conviction and by all accounts was completely sincere. He worked within the prison system, and since he was released he's done a tremendous lot of good for a group of people who really don't have many advocates. He's been a great force for good in the arena of prison reform. (And I do think that "arena" is an apt metaphor.)

Lately he's begun to spew a lot of ugly religious-right talking point bullshit, with some interesting spin of his own. For example he blames Enron on "secularism." He's also predictably anti-Darwin, anti-other-people's-sexual freedom, and that whole hackneyed laundry list.

So he's done some spectacular good with Prison Fellowship (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_Fellowship), which, although I wouldn't want to try and quantify against his spectacular sins, ain't nothing - but he's also muddied that with some pretty common nuttiness.

One interesting note from his Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Colson):

On June 1, 2005 Colson appeared in the national news commenting on the revelation that W. Mark Felt was Deep Throat. Colson expressed disapproval in Felt's role in the Watergate scandal and suggested that if Felt could not remain loyal to President Nixon, then he should have simply resigned.

jh in sd
04-12-2008, 11:31 AM
bj-One definition of "redeem" is to "convert into something of value." Redemption does not necessarily have to be understood in the context of religion. It is about the relationship a person has with their time on earth-coming to an understanding that the life being lived is not what was hoped for, and then taking the steps to rectify that situation.

bjkeefe
04-12-2008, 11:39 AM
jh:

Noted. Thanks for clarifying what you meant.

AemJeff:

Thanks for the note about Colson's history.

AemJeff
04-12-2008, 11:43 AM
Yeah, I know you were explicitly waiting for all of that clarification... But, it seemed worth making the point.

deebee
04-12-2008, 11:50 AM
Thanks for opening a door on something unfamiliar in a pretty objective way. Sure there were a few laughs but I didn't feel that the movement was actually being mocked. Some random thoughts:

As I understand it, Unitarian churches are ecumenical in that they attempt to detect the thread of similarity in all religious traditions i.e. Aldous Huxley's Perennial Philosophy. Can't see what's particularly evil about that.

Encouraging to know that the video games discussed encourage praying for one's enemies before destroying them -- guess it would be hard to incorporate unconditional love and understanding into any action video.

Surprised that cross-shaped lollipops are acceptable. I recall a Christian boycott of cross-shaped Easter chocolates a few years ago. Sounds like progress to me.

bjkeefe
04-12-2008, 01:09 PM
deebee:

Surprised that cross-shaped lollipops are acceptable. I recall a Christian boycott of cross-shaped Easter chocolates a few years ago. Sounds like progress to me.

I'm virtually certain such acceptance is not universal among people who call themselves Christians. But I do agree with your larger point: any indication that religious people can relax about the sanctity of trivial symbols is a hopeful sign. And now that I think about it, not just religious people -- people who freak out when, say, a flag touches the ground can be equally irritating.

It's funny about the cross, specifically, though. Due to my upbringing, I was momentarily repulsed when Daniel put the lollipop-cross in his mouth. This vestigial reaction was probably enhanced by another early scarring experience: reading The Exorcist at too young an age. I trust I don't need to elaborate about the crucifix as prop in that setting.

Wonderment
04-12-2008, 04:48 PM
There's no taking away from Colson the honest and profound commitment he has had to prisoners.

I always admire the rare white-collar crook who enters the hell of our prison system, realizes what a torture chamber it is, and emerges to actually do something about it.

Colson will be remembered for caring about the least among us, challenging our racist stereotypes, and preaching that a draconian and dehumanizing "Christianity" is unacceptable and will only lead to what we have today: the world's highest absolute prison population and per capita incarceration rate.

I was very disappointed in Colson's signing on to the religious propaganda that helped sell the Iraq holocaust. THAT will be a bigger blot on his reputation than his Watergate crimes as a young Nixon thug.