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bjkeefe 12-27-2007 12:36 PM

Re: Respinses to Various Posrers:

I am also moved to ask: If saving one soul is more important than than improving a hundred lives, why do you spend so much time agitating about political affairs? Instead of trying to build support for your program of deporting Muslims as a group, shouldn't you be trying spending all your time trying to convert them one at a time?

jmcnulty 12-27-2007 01:26 PM

Response to BjKeefe::
Your snarky comment is beside the point. There are many Christian outreaches to Muslims. I heve not said that ALL Muslims should be converted. I was only asked what I would do (beside waging worldwide war against Islam), and I answered. It seems to me that something besides (1) doing nothing and (2) waging worldwide war ought to be found as a "solution." Otherwise, our grandchildren will be facing this problem. Obviously, you have not read the writings of the Islamists. It is easy to dismiss them as cranks and extremists, but we are STILL dealing with the consequences of Sayyid Qtub, who died 40 years ago. The recent assassination of Benezir Bhutto should give one pause when one considers Ayman Al-Zawahiri with nukes and the fact the Osama Bin Laden has ready obtained a "fatwa" allowing the killing of 10 million American civilians. I don't want to see antheists OR Christians incinerated. At some point, secularists will realize that Christians are not the enemy.

garbagecowboy 12-27-2007 01:36 PM

Re: Respinses to Various Posrers:

The bumptious Gargagecowboy also says that the phrase "Bible facts" is an oxymoron and gratiously gives it a "grade" of "D-." That is fine by me. Whether or not God exists does not depend on wherther or not we believe in Him. I remember a cartoon: Nietzsche -- "God is dead." God -- "Neitzsche is dead." Who is right? If you disbelieve that Jesus was born in a stable and that he was crucified on a cross, why do you bother with believing that we should help the poor? Doesn't one thing depend upon another? He was either telling the truth -- going around saying that he was the Saviour -- or he was an insane religious fanatic with delusions of grandeur. Which is it? You have freedom of choice. No one is going to prosecute you for unbelief. No one in Christianity, that is.

He also says "Who cares if there is no God." No one cares as a legal matter. He adds that being with friends and familly at Christmas time is a wonderful thing. Why? We could just as easily have a long weekend and still be with friends and family. Any "holiday" would do. Call if "Festivus" or "Kwanza" or the "Winter Soltice Festival." Why participate in something that you condemn?
I wasn't the person that said "Bible facts" are an oxymoron. I think that was Wolfgangus.

As for why Christmas is a fun time for an atheist like me, it's because I was raised in a family where my parents were raised in different religions (one a Catholic and one a Jew) and both were unbelievers well before they had children. I never had any form of religious instruction, religion was never discussed in my household, and I became an atheist as a matter of course, not because I was indoctrinated into it. However, despite the fact that we are a family of heathen unbelievers, we did celebrate Christmas as a family for my whole life.

Believe it or not, but Christmas has become for many people a cultural festival as well as a religious holiday. Look at how they celebrate it in East Asia, for instance. Most Japanese are not believing Christians, yet Christmas there is a huge festival.

And sure, we could get together on any given weekend, but my family and those of my close family friends are like many American families far-flung about the whole country due to the historical mobility of Americans following jobs to various parts of the country. As a result, it is not just another weekend dinner party or something; the cultural as well as religious traditions in my family and those of other families and friends that I am close to draw together people who I don't get a chance to see for most of the rest of the year. In addition, the cultural rituals-- the tree, the gift-exchange, the caroling, the egg-nog-- hold sentimental value even if I do not believe (like many of the people with whom I celebrated) that Jesus was God's son who came to earth 2000 years ago.

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year; certainly the best part of the winter, which I consider to be in general the most dreary and gloomy part of the year. Sure, we can get the family together for a long weekend at the beach, but even for an atheist, Christmas can hold a special place in your emotional life. I certainly don't mind public celebrations of Christmas, and I certainly don't begrudge any believers the spiritual meaning they find in the holiday. It just doesn't have to hold that for me in order for it to be a special time of year.

And I most certainly don't "condemn" Christmas. I love Christmas. I just don't believe in God.

Happy New Year!

garbagecowboy 12-27-2007 02:08 PM

Re: Response to BjKeefe::
This post was the first I had hear of Bhutto's assassination. This is a tragedy and a huge disaster; Pakistan was already in a state of turmoil, and this will certainly destabilize things more.

As a "secularist" I personally can avow that I don't think Christians are my "enemy." They are a powerful political interest group whose policies I disagree with strongly, but then again so are the progressives.

The Islamist extremists who wreak havoc all over the world, kill and maim innocent civilians, and would like to kill as many Americans as possible, they are clearly an enemy, and they must be captured or killed.

I'm sure you and I agree more closely on how to deal with the Islamist threat than most of the posters on the board.

On the other hand, for most Americans who don't live in or around New York or Washington D.C. or Los Angeles or Chicago or near a large city at all the possibility of being killed in a terrorist attack is virtually nil. For those of us who do live in areas likely to be targeted by terrorists, the threat is real and dangerous; if some religious nutcase ends up murdering me in a terrorist attack he will almost certainly be an Islamist. But on the other hand, for people who are atheists, the possibility of having to live with laws they strongly disagree with that were generated by political pressure from politically powerful Evangelical Christians is much less remote.

However, I think with the fact that for the foreseeable future the Congress and I bet the Presidency will be controlled by Democrats should allay these fears somewhat.

But the two things are separate; the progressives disagree (and in some cases) hate those who are supporting laws based on a faith they see as imaginary and based on magical thinking. To me, only the hard-core peacenik left does not see radical Islam as a threat, although the degree and manner in which we as Americans believe we must engage the threat varies widely.

So in summation, you should not be surprised that your ideas are being met with skepticism and dismissal in this forum; the demographic is largely progressive atheists. Amongst us atheists, there are varying degrees of animosity towards people of faith in general. I personally probably disagree strongly with many of the things you think the government should do. However, I am friends with a lot of Christians whose religious and political believes I disagree with strongly, just as I am friends with a bunch of atheist lefties whose political beliefs I disagree with strongly. Radical Islam is, to me, anyways, a whole 'nother thing. Fortunately for us Americans, there is not much of a domestic constituency for radical Islam, as there is in Europe.

bjkeefe 12-27-2007 02:40 PM

Re: Response to BjKeefe::


To me, only the hard-core peacenik left does not see radical Islam as a threat, although the degree and manner in which we as Americans believe we must engage the threat varies widely.
I'd probably agree with that, although there are some, like me for instance, who aren't "hard-core peaceniks," who insist that the threat is wildly exaggerated, partly because of xenophobia and partly because of opportunistic politicking. I know you said "degree," but I wanted to emphasize this point.

I also think it's more useful to see the threat principally as a recognition that there are people who are anti-American, who are willing to use violence to express this. Obsessing over the fact that some of them identify their movement with a religion, or use that religion to justify their actions and exhort their troops, is a mistake. For one thing, it results in an aggravation of an "us versus them" mentality. The more we talk about "fighting Islam" or even "fighting radical Islam," the easier it is for rabble-rousers to create sympathy among moderate Muslims, just by saying "America hates Islam."

For another, it distracts people in the US from asking what else might be causing the level of violence directed against the US. This means that we don't critically examine a lot of foreign policy decisions that might tend to piss people off, no matter what their religion might be.

There is little doubt in my mind that much of the resentment of the US by people in the Middle East is far more complex in origin than the idea that they hate us for being infidels. There is no doubt in my mind that we have inflamed these resentments over the past half-decade by acting as though "you're either with us or against us" is a sufficient foundation for foreign policy.

I'm not saying there is no terrorist problem, or that it's all our fault, or that Islam isn't part of what motivates some of the terrorists. I am saying it's stupid to think of the situation solely as a battle against Islamic terrorists.

jummy 12-27-2007 04:21 PM

there's that asthma again
this has become an established theme amongst radical left gentrifiers in off-campus housing.

it seems they move into a workingclass neighborhood in search of cultural authenticity (cheap rent) and immediately identify an asthma epidemic which no medical services previously established there had the acumen to percieve, and which only seems to express itself amongst preteen populations. a nearby factory, factory-like building, or close facsimile thereof is quickly identified as the culprit, and becomes the lens through which the progressives inflict their benevolence upon the local community.

"these racist factories are killing your kids!!!!!!!1111one!!eleventy!!111!!!!"

coincidentally, combatting "environmental racism" is a platform plank of the green party and everywhere a low-rent white hipster enclave develops, there just happens to be some structure within a ten-mile radius that either is or at least looks like a smokestack!

in the pilsen neighborhood of chicago, for instance, there is business which produces large steel castings. when they quench the steel, large plumes of steam are produced and exhausted from a chimeny. but progressives, who believe that people who are browner or poorer than they are stupid, have decided that this steam iis in fact "smoke", and a toxic, asthma-causing smoke at that.

the foregoing is offered as just one example of the phantom asthma crisis. other instances of white slummers' targetting of urban workingclass communities with allinski-ite fear-mongering may be genuine. but for the most part it's their flouridated water. or worse than that, because the pushers of the asthma nonsence know they'rer just pulling stuff out of their butts.

of course once such a community establishes itself within the neighborhood, galleries open, storefronts selling "fair trade" merchandise and cafe's open up. when a resale boutique is able to sustain itself for two quarters consecutively, the community makes the transformation from one which suffers from phantom asthma to one which suffers from "gentrification". "gentrification" - the process by which long-standing land owners are reconstructed as malevolent intruders by white middleclass carpetbaggers - is the final stage of a white progressive hipster enclave before it becomes "yuppy".

garbagecowboy 12-27-2007 05:22 PM

Re: Response to BjKeefe::

I am saying it's stupid to think of the situation solely as a battle against Islamic terrorists.
What is it, then, exactly?

If by it's not "solely a battle" that you mean that we have to win their hearts and minds then that's true (although we disagree I'm sure to what extent), but Islamic terrorists are the main national security threat against American interests that we are currently dealing with.

Yes, the growing tensions with Russia and China are disconcerting, but I think that the growing economic interdependence of the global economy makes intentional nation-state versus nation-state royal rumbles like we saw in the 20th century extremely unlikely, despite the fact that China is doing things like practicing how to destroy American military satellites. I just can't see the Chinese going to war and nuking their economy over something as relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things as say, the Taiwan issue.

And then you've got your rogue nations like North Korea and Cuba and Iran, but I think that North Korea's nukes are mostly a (very dangerous, borderline insane) bargaining chip, and similar to China, I just don't think Iran would commit national suicide by doing something war-like and crazy; and in purely self-defense terms if they were, it would be aimed at Israel, not the U.S.

So I suppose I concede that Islamic terrorists are not the only danger in a dangerous world, but in terms of national security, they are the ones who have little to lose and a perverse world-view for pretty much no reason makes killing American civilians seem like a good thing. Given the opportunity, they are the only threat on the radar screen that would do something nuts like, you know, destroy a bunch of skyscrapers full of civilians.

So maybe you could clarify what you mean.

bjkeefe 12-27-2007 07:03 PM

Re: Response to BjKeefe::


So maybe you could clarify what you mean.
I tried, a couple of times, but it felt like I was just repeating the points I had expressed earlier. If I think of a new way to expound, I'll try to remember to come back to this thread. Sorry I wasn't clear enough the first time.

garbagecowboy 12-27-2007 07:37 PM

Re: Response to BjKeefe::
No worries, mate.

TwinSwords 12-27-2007 08:42 PM

Re: Respinses to Various Posrers:

Originally Posted by jmcnulty (Post 67286)
TwinSwords writes: How dare those Christians think that Christmas belongs to them? I am not aware of anyone trying to restrict the observance of Christmas to believing Christians (not even that noted philosopher Bill "Loofah" O'Reilly). But it is a Christian holiday. How dare those Jews to think that Passover somehow beongs to them. How dare those Muslims to think that Ramadan belongs to them. How silly to make such an argument.

You have completely misrepresented what I said. Was this an inadvertent error on your part? Or are you being dishonest?

For the record, I said Republicans not Christians are trying to take ownership of Christmas.

Epicurus 12-28-2007 05:49 AM

Is Musharraf a dictator?

Originally Posted by jmcnulty (Post 67352)
The recent assassination of Benezir Bhutto should give one pause when one considers Ayman Al-Zawahiri with nukes and the fact the Osama Bin Laden has ready obtained a "fatwa" allowing the killing of 10 million American civilians. I don't want to see antheists OR Christians incinerated. At some point, secularists will realize that Christians are not the enemy.

You don't think this was ordered by Musharraf? Who the US government supports and funds.

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