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Author Topic: the Hitchens phenomenon
Geneva
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posted 13 May 2007 10:53 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
OK, to sum up:

strongly anti- :

- Nixon & Kissinger
- Mother Teresa
- Bill Clinton
- God

and
strongly pro- :

- Orwell
- Jefferson
- overthrowing Saddam

Eclectic, or incoherent?
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/10/arts/IDLEDE12.php


From: um, well | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 13 May 2007 11:01 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Geneva:
Eclectic, or incoherent?

Surprising.

And thoughtful.

It was amazing how swiftly and completely nearly all of the left turned on Hitchens when he took the position that Islamo-Fascists present a significant danger to the long-term survival of social democracies.

It was like a light had been switched off, regardless of Hitchens other views.

He became, in an instant, persona non grata.

I'll read pretty much anything he writes. I'll disagree with something, agree with others. But, he's a challenging intellectual and a very entertaining writer.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 13 May 2007 11:04 AM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Eclectic, or incoherent?

Drunk, mostly.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 13 May 2007 11:08 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jingles:
Drunk, mostly.

Not to make this a language police issue, but that is unacceptable name-calling. It denigrates people who suffer from alcoholism.

Please see this thread.

[ 13 May 2007: Message edited by: Sven ]


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 13 May 2007 11:23 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It was like a light had been switched off, regardless of Hitchens other views.


I'm afraid that light had blown a fuse long before Gulf War two started. He supported the Bombing of Kosovo and participated in Kenneth Starr's persecution of Bill Clinton. He is a twit, and this new crusade he's joined to try and secularize the Middle East from the outside in just proves that he truly is a boneheaded imperialist.

[ 13 May 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
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posted 13 May 2007 11:26 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
to answer my question: I tend to agree w. Sven

I have not read Hitchens' God book, but by the reviews, interesting but mixed value;
like the rest of his work, no?

he wants to think of himself as a 1990s+ Orwell, combating the then pro-CP, now pro-PC monochromatic Left mainstream

with some success, I think

[ 13 May 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]


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unionist
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posted 13 May 2007 12:08 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:

It was amazing how swiftly and completely nearly all of the left turned on Hitchens when he took the position that Islamo-Fascists present a significant danger to the long-term survival of social democracies.

It was like a light had been switched off, regardless of Hitchens other views.


Not sure which "left" you're referring to, Sven, but I personally find Islam to be as idiotic, hateful, divisive and anachronistic as Judaism and Christianity, and I particularly despise the extremist practitioners of these superstitions.

Hitchens, however, entered my personal rogues' gallery when he supported the bombing of Serbia in 1999, the invasion of Afghanistan, and then the invasion of Iraq - and, generally speaking, his slavish obscene love for George W. Bush.

If you can explain to me how opposition to "Islamofascists" is connected with (for example) supporting the invasion of Iraq, I'd read your explanation with care.

Hitchens is a shameless supporter of U.S. imperialism and its allies. His views on Islam, or bad people who use "Islam" to commit crimes, are of absolutely no interest to me. For all I know, they may be identical to mine.


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ceti
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posted 13 May 2007 12:29 PM      Profile for ceti     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I may not agree with the theology of Mother Theresa nor her shady connections, but I wouldn't go so far as to entitled my hit piece on her, "Missionary Position." It's very poor taste.

Moreover, the whole idea that a contrarian should be respected for contradiction's sake makes no sense, especially when his rhetoric is disingenuous to begin with. His cheerleading for the war went much further than simply supporting the particular policy, but took on a generalized rhetorical support for anything the Bush administration said or did in Iraq.

Like Marc Cooper and Todd Gitlin, Hitchens is a crank -- a nasty piece of work who never met someone he wouldn't stab in the back or tear apart for his own egoism.


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jeff house
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posted 13 May 2007 01:07 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hitchens is far more interesting than those who oppose the use of American power in each and every instance, because he is willing to take into account the complexities of a given situation.

This is always more stimulating than the black-and-white simplicities one sometimes runs into.

For me, though, Hitchens support of the Iraq war, combined with his general trashing of everyone who didn't see it as he did, makes him a right-winger at heart. So I read him, but I rember how wrong he can be.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 13 May 2007 01:22 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:
Hitchens is far more interesting than those who oppose the use of American power in each and every instance, because he is willing to take into account the complexities of a given situation.

Actually, jeff, I see Hitchens quite differently. He has always struck me as a moral fanatic, exaggerating the "correctness" of every position he happens to hold at the moment and scorning all who disagree (even those who hold the positions he held 5 minutes before). This was so when he was a trotskyist, and I feel it is so today when he is a Bush-licker.

In French, we call him "bon" (bereft of nuance).


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clandestiny
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posted 13 May 2007 01:22 PM      Profile for clandestiny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
who cares about hitchen? (once he showed he was a bushevik)? but that bush and the entire overrthrow of liberal society that we've seen needed hitchens, and amis, and gitlin, and horowitz/frum/dershovitz, and ignatief and and and....the and result is that outright criminals now feel safe doing thing that get them put in jail only a decade ago....clinton's nomineee for att. general john baird lost out cuz of an illegal nanny!
and 'chris hitchens' made it possible (that blairbush kill 650 thousand innocents with illegal prefab war etc)

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Stockholm
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posted 13 May 2007 01:40 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I do LOVE his attacks on religion and theism. We need more of that. For too long we atheists have kep a low profile. I'm glad that he along with Dawkins etc... is willing to expose belief in god for the total fraud that it is!

BTW: There is now a movement to find a new word for being atheist that is a bit less "clinical" sounding - like the way we now say "gay" instead of "homosexual".

The new word to use to describe people who don't believe in god is "BRIGHT"


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 13 May 2007 01:44 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
who cares about hitchen? (once he showed he was a bushevik)? but that bush and the entire overrthrow of liberal society that we've seen needed hitchens, and amis, and gitlin, and horowitz/frum/dershovitz, and ignatief and and and....the and result is that outright criminals now feel safe doing thing that get them put in jail only a decade ago....clinton's nomineee for att. general john baird lost out cuz of an illegal nanny!
and 'chris hitchens' made it possible (that blairbush kill 650 thousand innocents with illegal prefab war etc)

Because he presented himself as a leftist for the longest time and then became a mouthpeice for U.S. imperialists. Many left wingers feel that the man betrayed them, which is why he gets so much vitrol spewed at him on boards like this one.

[ 13 May 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 13 May 2007 01:54 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stockholm:

The new word to use to describe people who don't believe in god is "BRIGHT"

Yeah, I toyed with the Brights briefly when they were first established, mostly because they seemed to come recommended by Dawkins and Dennett. But I'm somewhat disenchanted, because:

1. They're afraid of the word "atheist" - they're very much part of the U.S. scene, where life is much tougher than elsewhere if you're not a religious extremist of one kind or another, and you have to mince your words.

2. They seem to think that atheists have more in common than just not believing in the supernatural. That may be true where freedom of conscience is suppressed (such as in the U.S.), but the notion of consorting with other "Brights" seems as relevant as gathering together people who score high on I.Q. tests (e.g. Mensa).

I long for the day when atheism is seen just as one more premise, like Darwin's theory of natural selection, rather than some grand conclusion.


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jeff house
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posted 13 May 2007 02:31 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Actually, jeff, I see Hitchens quite differently. He has always struck me as a moral fanatic, exaggerating the "correctness" of every position he happens to hold at the moment

I think you are right. And it may come from those Trotskyist years, as you suggest.

But he's not following any party line now. So, you have to read him to find out what he thinks.

I can remember, years ago, noticing that Torskyist literature was amazingly predictable. Once you knew the basic schema, you would just apply it to whatever country you wanted, be it Sri Lanka, Paraguay, or Iceland.


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 13 May 2007 02:58 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As an unabashed athiest, I'm not sure I want Hitchens being one of our evangelicals, so to speak.

As Dawkins pointed out, trying to organize atheists is like trying to heard cats, and Hitchens is a good example of why that is.

And there are some that are turned off by Dawkin's stridency, although I am not one of them. And there are athiests that would disavow the Late Carl Sagan's agnosticism ( which is a brand I used to subscribe to and is so close to atheism as to be virtualy indistinguishable) and those who believe that the late Stephen J. Gould's athiesm was too lovey dovey with the Jesuits.


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Geneva
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posted 14 May 2007 03:30 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
another, priestly view:
http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=bffaef89-eefb-44fe-aa39-cdfdd7b11cd5

... . Hitchens' approach is to romp through history, using his cutting literary style to spoof and mock all the absurdities he finds in the world of religion. If Hitchens met a local vicar with bad breath, religion is to blame for halitosis. It's a fun game, but not really an argument.

Hitchens claims that "religion poisons everything" -- including the aftermath of his beloved Iraq War, which was going swimmingly until the mullahs screwed it up--as though without religion history would be free of people doing beastly things.

[...]
With an apparently straight face he excuses the evils of secular regimes, by blaming the Catholic Church for Nazism and classifying North Korea's communist regime as a religious cult. If anti-clerical fascists and atheistic autocrats fall into the camp of religion, then the reader can only wonder why Hitchens doesn't blame the priests for inclement weather.

[...]
Here are some unimportant questions for which a microscope is rather unhelpful in answering: Why are we here? Why is there something instead of nothing? What is the purpose of human existence? Hitchens is so fascinated with what he can see in the skies or in the laboratory that he is blind to the world in which men actually live.

Perhaps he thinks that without religion there would be more peace, wisdom and beauty in a world dominated by politics, science, entertainment and industry. There is no evidence for that claim whatsoever, and good reason to believe that such a flat world would be more brutal to live in.

[ 14 May 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]


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Blondin
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posted 16 May 2007 09:28 AM      Profile for Blondin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Here are some unimportant questions for which a microscope is rather unhelpful in answering: Why are we here? Why is there something instead of nothing? What is the purpose of human existence? Hitchens is so fascinated with what he can see in the skies or in the laboratory that he is blind to the world in which men actually live.

I suppose Hitchens (or Dawkins or you or I, for that matter) could answer some of those questions the same way religion does - make shit up.

Part of the message of the current wave of atheist authors is that we should just admit that there are some questions for which we don't have answers.

For that matter, when it comes to questions like "why are we here" or "what is the purpose of human existence", I would question why there even has to be an answer. If there is a master designer then perhaps there is a purpose and it would be nice to know what that is but the evidence (or lack thereof) seems to indicate that we're here because we're here and we evolve because we can and I don't understand why so many people seem to have a problem with that.

Like Richard Feynman I would rather just admit we don't know the answer to a question than cling to the unsubstantiated claims of some cultist or another.


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jeff house
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posted 16 May 2007 09:39 AM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Here are some unimportant questions for which a microscope is rather unhelpful in answering: Why are we here?

Just because someone can formulate a question does not mean that it has an answer.

I mean, why presume that we are here for a reason?

Another point: How does the writer know that a microscope is unhelpful in answering this question?

What would be more helpful, the Bible? Because that's just a bunch of old stories written when people didn't know any better.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Geneva
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posted 16 May 2007 10:14 AM      Profile for Geneva     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Blondin:


Part of the message of the current wave of atheist authors is that we should just admit that there are some questions for which we don't have answers.

For that matter, when it comes to questions like "why are we here" or "what is the purpose of human existence", I would question why there even has to be an answer. ...


no, that's wrong:
an atheist sez: we KNOW there is no God, and can basically prove it; hence the more offensive and for some, obnoxious stance of atheism, which is insisting on its categorical view

it is a much more aggressive agenda than the agnostic who says: we just do not know the ultimate answers/questions, and no sacred teaching fills the gap


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jeff house
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posted 16 May 2007 12:32 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Those who wish to believe in God simply refuse to accept ANY procedures or methodology by which the question might be decided.

They CERTAINLY don't want to admit that the procedures normally used to prove a proposition should be applied.

You know, like the need for evidence.

So, I find that that radical refusal to agree upon ANY rules to determine the question, is an extremely aggressive attitude.


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Blondin
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posted 17 May 2007 09:46 AM      Profile for Blondin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Geneva:

no, that's wrong:
an atheist sez: we KNOW there is no God, and can basically prove it; hence the more offensive and for some, obnoxious stance of atheism, which is insisting on its categorical view

it is a much more aggressive agenda than the agnostic who says: we just do not know the ultimate answers/questions, and no sacred teaching fills the gap


None of the atheists I know of say that.

Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Dennett, etc are all quick to admit they cannot and have no interest in proving there is no God. They just say (and I agree) that the believers have failed to make a convincing case.

Richard Dawkins on The Agenda - May 11


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contrarianna
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posted 18 May 2007 11:00 AM      Profile for contrarianna     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hitchens, far from being the "contrarian" that he claims to be, is a neoconservative ideologue who has idententified himself with the radical Wolfowitzian/Straussian camp on many occassions.

Like many former Troskyists (including his good friend David Horowitz)he has substituted the revolutionary neocon idea of "perpetual warfare" for that advocated by Trotsky.


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contrarianna
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posted 18 May 2007 11:20 AM      Profile for contrarianna     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hitchens has consistently been the main "intellctual" pundit who has defended the ideas and person of his good friend Paul Wolfowitz. In Hitchens' main propaganda platform, Slate's "Fighting Words" he uttered the following in the lead up to the Iraq war. These are the first words of his new column more than 200 columns ago:

"Machiavelli in Mesopotamia"

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Thursday, Nov. 7, 2002, at 3:05 PM ET

"Part of the charm of the regime-change argument (from the point of view of its supporters) is that it depends on premises and objectives that cannot, at least by the administration, be publicly avowed. Since Paul Wolfowitz is from the intellectual school of Leo Strauss—and appears in fictional guise as such in Saul Bellow's novel Ravelstein—one may even suppose that he enjoys this arcane and occluded aspect of the debate. For those lacking a similar gift for hidden meanings, the best way to appreciate the unstated case for war may be to examine the criticisms leveled by its opponents..."


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Blondin
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posted 18 May 2007 01:58 PM      Profile for Blondin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What a guy, that Hitchens. Something for everyone to love (and hate).
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Tommy_Paine
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posted 18 May 2007 03:25 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Being an athiest just means that you don't invoke magic or fantasy to explain things you don't know.
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 18 May 2007 05:23 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
Being an athiest just means that you don't invoke magic or fantasy to explain things you don't know.

Some christians don't either. Ever hear of the modernists?


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 18 May 2007 05:48 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just what do they believe?
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 18 May 2007 07:22 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Modernists don't take the Bible literally, they do believe however that while the events in the Bible Didn't actually happen(Moses didn't part the red sea, christ didn't walk on water etc.) they can still be used as fables to guide people.
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unionist
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posted 18 May 2007 07:36 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
Modernists don't take the Bible literally, they do believe however that while the events in the Bible Didn't actually happen(Moses didn't part the red sea, christ didn't walk on water etc.) they can still be used as fables to guide people.

I'm a Traditionalist. We believe that all the stories of the Bible (Creation, Moses parting the sea, Christ walking on water, etc.) really happened - but that they have no significance for humanity.


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Tommy_Paine
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posted 19 May 2007 02:53 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, CMOT, one might take the miracles described in the bible with a pillar of salt, but belief that a god sent his only son to be born of a virgin, and that son was killed and resurected, is pretty magical thinking.
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 19 May 2007 08:18 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
but belief that a god sent his only son to be born of a virgin, and that son was killed and resurected, is pretty magical thinking.

I don't think the modernists belive in the virgin birth, I could be wrong though.

When you think about it there are a lot of Biblical stories which don't envolve magic, and could be used in a secular context to inspire and help people. The story of the good semeritan, for example.


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jeff house
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posted 19 May 2007 11:07 AM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Bible has dozens of worthwhile and human stories and images, and so does Christianity.

The idea of equality, which is central to most "left" thinking, certainly has Christian roots.

At a time when Greeks were still talking about some people as being "natural slaves" and confining women to the household, St. Paul was writing this:

quote:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)

You don't have to believe in the divinity of Jesus to recognize that as a pretty significant, and liberating, idea.


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Jingles
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posted 19 May 2007 11:44 AM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
St Paul is talking about their souls, after death, not of the earthly realm. There, slavery was no problem for him:

quote:
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Ephesians 6:5-9

But that's really meaningless, when you consider how slavery was vital to the spread of Christianity. It is a religion of slavery. It wasn't for nothing that slave owners were so keen to force their property to abandon their indigenous beliefs and adopt the religion that told them it was their lot and duty to suffer on earth, and their reward would be in heaven.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 19 May 2007 11:52 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think so, Jeff. From other teachings by Paul, he didn't see people as equal here on earth. In fact, I think that line was "pie in the sky" theological pandering to the status quo.

Paul told slaves to obey their earthly masters throughout the entire New Testament, in Colossians, Titus, 1 Peter, etc. He had absolutely no problem with slavery, and told slaves they should obey their masters as we obey the Lord as our Master.

In fact, in 1 Peter he was particularly egregious, telling slaves to submit not only to kind masters but also to harsh ones. No sirree, Paul most certainly was NOT all about equity.

Don't even get me started on his misogynist beliefs about the second class status of women. Submit to and obey your husbands, as men obey their Lord. Don't speak out loud in worship - instead keep your head covered, unlike those prostitutes on the temple steps. Know your place.

He was all about telling the oppressed to accept the status quo so they can get their pie in the sky when they die. He even sent a runaway slave who became a Christian BACK to his master, telling him that was his rightful place, and writing a letter to the master asking him not to be too hard on him.

A lot of Christian apologists (not you, Jeff, I'm talking actual Christians who want to gloss over the hateful stuff their Bible contains) like to pretend Paul was this great egalitarian.

Don't believe the hype!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 19 May 2007 12:00 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It is a religion of slavery.

According to some interpritations yes. But if I were a minister I would throw out all the intollerent garbage that exists in the Bible(and there are huge squelching piles of it in the scriptures) and focus on the good parts of it that are about charity and mercy.


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jeff house
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posted 19 May 2007 12:04 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the above two posts are arguing that St. Paul "really" believed in slavery, and not in women's liberation.

I'm sure that's true.

I was arguing something different, which is that principles articulated within Christianity have liberational content, independent of what the individual writer may have meant.

So, the idea that everyone is equal before God is an extremely important idea, no matter what else Paul may have written.

Take for example, the idea in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights".

That's a significant idea, right? Does it become less significant to the future because its author, Thomas Jefferson, had slaves?

In fact, the entire Abolitionist movement took the Declaration as its text (along with certain Bible verses).


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stockholm
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posted 19 May 2007 06:03 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Yeah, I toyed with the Brights briefly when they were first established, mostly because they seemed to come recommended by Dawkins and Dennett. But I'm somewhat disenchanted, because:

1. They're afraid of the word "atheist" - they're very much part of the U.S. scene, where life is much tougher than elsewhere if you're not a religious extremist of one kind or another, and you have to mince your words.


The trouble with the word "atheist" is that it is simply the negation of "theist" as opposed to being something that stands on its own merit. To me, it's like having to say "I'm aheterosexual" instead of "I'm gay". (OR for that matter I can say "I'm a New Democrat" as opposed to "I'm a non-conservative/illiberal")When you use the word Atheist - the implication is that "theism" is the default and that one has to define oneself in relation to it.

The burden of proof is on the "theists" to prove their religious fables. I should not be the responsibility of BRIGHT PEOPLE to prove that there is no God. You cannot prove a null hypothesis.

I don't see it that way.


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 19 May 2007 07:47 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why not just use the term secular humanist?
From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Stockholm
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posted 20 May 2007 06:01 AM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Secular humanist" is OK, but it's too long and too much of a mouthful. Imagine if instead of using the term "gay" to describe gay men, we used the term "androphile" (lover of men) - and everyone had "Androphile Pride Day" marches

I like the idea of a quick one syllable word that just says it all.

Question: What's your religion?
Answer: I'm bright

end of story, nothing more needs to be said.


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 20 May 2007 09:22 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think there is anything original in the bible-- which isn't an attempt to insult-- our concepts of equality and justice obviously predate our species. It's something that has been present, with on going refinements, going back to at least our first social mamalian ancestors.

We may be just the first species to attempt to describe it, and that's all the bible, the upanishads, the koran, the talmund and for that matter the communist manifesto are. To name but a few.

quote:
Take for example, the idea in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights".

To me, the spine tingling and awesome part of that quote is what comes before: "We hold this truth to be self evident...". Because it is self evident. So, even though Jefferson and many other founding fathers owned slaves, and meant MEN when they said "men", they really let the cat out of the bag. And perhaps only Ben Franklin fully understood that at the time.

But note that this came about after the shackels of Christianity had been burst.

quote:
But if I were a minister I would throw out all the intollerent garbage that exists in the Bible(and there are huge squelching piles of it in the scriptures) and focus on the good parts of it that are about charity and mercy.

Yes, well, and it's sacrilege to go carving things out of the bible at one's whimsey, isn't it? And it's not an idea anyone would put forward as a Moslem, either.

That's the key, and this is why religion cannot be trusted ever. There is no self correcting mechanism. We don't burn self professed Wiccan's at the stake today, not because it's un-Christian, but because it violates secular law.

Given the riegns of legislative power, there is nothing in any religion that would prevent retrograde steps untill we have slipped right back to the middle ages or beyond.

Religion is about morality. It is a blueprint for people to do amoral things without feeling amoral.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 20 May 2007 10:34 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
OK, I should have said that I would attempt to make inerpritation as humanistic as possible.

quote:
Yes, well, and it's sacrilege to go carving things out of the bible at one's whimsey, isn't it? And it's not an idea anyone would put forward as a Moslem, either.



From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 20 May 2007 10:37 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
God, I wish skdadl were here.
From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 20 May 2007 11:26 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stockholm:
"Secular humanist" is OK, but it's too long and too much of a mouthful.

I like the idea of a quick one syllable word that just says it all.

Question: What's your religion?
Answer: I'm bright

end of story, nothing more needs to be said.


Funny, I was just asked this question last week, in a professional setting that was going on record. And that type of thing I have NOT experienced in decades.

My answer:

Esoteric Philosophy.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Merowe
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posted 20 May 2007 02:06 PM      Profile for Merowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
cool thread
From: Dresden, Germany | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 20 May 2007 04:00 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
OK, I should have said that I would attempt to make inerpritation as humanistic as possible.

That would be an interesting thought experiment. Can a cohesive religion include a self correcting mechanism?

And if you could construct one, how would it look different from science?


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Blondin
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posted 22 May 2007 11:50 AM      Profile for Blondin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Religion is about morality. It is a blueprint for people to do amoral things without feeling amoral.

I've always had the impression that religion is about control. Blind faith = blind obedience.


From: North Bay ON | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 22 May 2007 03:02 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm sure it has that appeal for many, also.
From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 22 May 2007 03:21 PM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've only read "Missionary Position", and don't claim to be a pro on Hitchens' work. I liked that book because it showed a popular icon in a different light.

A lot of writers are pompous and self serving, atheist or otherwise. From what I've read of Hitchens since "MP" has been variable and occasionally contradictory. He was on Maher's show a while back and made very little sense and certainly wasn't funny. He was also profiled in the Western Standard.


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contrarianna
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posted 24 May 2007 10:34 AM      Profile for contrarianna     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is Hitchens' slippery, obsequious portrayal of Bush (whose administration has pandered to the Christian right and given the Christian right greater political influence in government than any previous admin).

.
"Bush's Secularist Triumph
The left apologizes for religious fanatics. The president fights them.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2004, at 10:34 AM ET"

"...George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he—and the U.S. armed forces—have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled. The demolition of the Taliban, the huge damage inflicted on the al-Qaida network, and the confrontation with theocratic saboteurs in Iraq represent huge advances for the non-fundamentalist forces in many countries. The "antiwar" faction even recognizes this achievement, if only indirectly, by complaining about the way in which it has infuriated the Islamic religious extremists around the world. But does it accept the apparent corollary—that we should have been pursuing a policy to which the fanatics had no objection?"


From: here to inanity | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 24 May 2007 10:49 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess Hitchens doesn't remember that many US administrations have deliberately targetted secular organizations by supporting fundamentalists the world over: in Afghanistan, in Palestine, etc.

It would have been a lot easier, with a lot less dead, if the US hadn't opened the Pandora's Box in the first place. It hardly seems fair to credit Dubya when he's just cleaning up the mess of his predecessors. And other Presidents will have to deal with Dubya's mess in Iraq. And so on.

Hitchens seems very Orwellian. And not in a good way.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 24 May 2007 11:15 AM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Question: What's your religion?
Answer: I'm bright

How about "none"?

Or "fuck off".


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 24 May 2007 03:04 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stockholm:
"Secular humanist" is OK, but it's too long and too much of a mouthful. Imagine if instead of using the term "gay" to describe gay men, we used the term "androphile" (lover of men) - and everyone had "Androphile Pride Day" marches.

Well, that wouldn't work. I'm an androphile too - as a straight woman!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 24 May 2007 03:10 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with Bel'tov that Hitchens is being pretty stupid when crediting Bush for combatting religion.

The whole right-wing mindset is religion. This whole article establishes that the more religious you are, the more likely you'll support Bush.

quote:
That pattern held true even for voters who identified themselves as members of the "religious right," a group generally considered part of the Republican base. Bush was supported by 87% of those who said they attended church each week. But his margin plunged 31 points, to 56%, among members of the religious right who attended church less often.

the "Religion gap"

From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 24 May 2007 05:04 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I saw Hitchens on the Daily Show. He gave me the impression that he did much of his thinking and writting while "under the weather", as they used to say.

Odd that he would say that about Bush, because it is so utterly and completely without even one iota of merit.

It's so bad, it's not even wrong.

The whole reason we are in this mess is because the U.S. has handed Islamic fundamentalists one victory after another since the Iranian revolution.

Bush's victory over the Taliban looks likely to be at best partial at this point, more likely just a temporary victory.

And whoever eventually wins in Iraq won't be secular.

Scotch. I'm betting Hitchen's is a scotch drinker.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
contrarianna
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posted 25 May 2007 08:32 AM      Profile for contrarianna     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
I saw Hitchens on the Daily Show. He gave me the impression that he did much of his thinking and writting while "under the weather", as they used to say.

Odd that he would say that about Bush, because it is so utterly and completely without even one iota of merit.

It's so bad, it's not even wrong.

The whole reason we are in this mess is because the U.S. has handed Islamic fundamentalists one victory after another since the Iranian revolution.

Bush's victory over the Taliban looks likely to be at best partial at this point, more likely just a temporary victory.

And whoever eventually wins in Iraq won't be secular.

Scotch. I'm betting Hitchen's is a scotch drinker.


Although Hitch is a heavy drinker, he is still alert enough to know exactly what he is writing. You will see a significant elevation in the sophistication of his arguments in his middlebrow magazine venues: Vanity Fair and The Atlantic.

But he sees the Washington Post's online Slate Magazine as his main propaganda forum for the "unwashed masses"; it is a mistake to think that he actually believes all of his own rhetoric and, as I implied in my first post, as a neocon of the Wolfowitzian/Straussian camp, deception and "occluded" intentions are heartily approved of--and even thrillingly "charming".
This is from the first of over 200 articles he's spewed out for Slate:

"Machiavelli in Mesopotamia
The case against the case against "regime change" in Iraq."
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Thursday, Nov. 7, 2002, at 3:05 PM ET

Part of the charm of the regime-change argument (from the point of view of its supporters) is that it depends on premises and objectives that cannot, at least by the administration, be publicly avowed. Since Paul Wolfowitz is from the intellectual school of Leo Strauss—and appears in fictional guise as such in Saul Bellow's novel Ravelstein—one may even suppose that he enjoys this arcane and occluded aspect of the debate. For those lacking a similar gift for hidden meanings, the best way to appreciate the unstated case for war may be to examine the criticisms leveled by its opponents...."


From: here to inanity | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 25 May 2007 01:54 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
a neocon of the Wolfowitzian/Straussian camp

While I know the idea is sometimes propogated that Wolfowitz and company are Straussians, that is actually very erroneous.

The neo-cons are radical pro-capitalists. Their whole ideology is the one which glorifies the individual and justifies the distribution of wealth on the basis of "merit".

Strauss hated Machiavelli (who Wolfowicz would admire) and most admired Moses Maimonides, who died in the year 1204.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
The_Tom
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posted 25 May 2007 02:16 PM      Profile for The_Tom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:

While I know the idea is sometimes propogated that Wolfowitz and company are Straussians, that is actually very erroneous.

The neo-cons are radical pro-capitalists. Their whole ideology is the one which glorifies the individual and justifies the distribution of wealth on the basis of "merit".

Strauss hated Machiavelli (who Wolfowicz would admire) and most admired Moses Maimonides, who died in the year 1204.


Fair enough, but its undeniable that a huge bundle of that neocon foreign policy shower, including Wolfowitz, studied under Strauss at the University of Chicago. Wikipedia notes Wolfowitz personally made a point of seeking out Strauss. Perhaps he just didn't pay attention?


From: The Hammer | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
contrarianna
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posted 25 May 2007 03:13 PM      Profile for contrarianna     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:

While I know the idea is sometimes propogated that Wolfowitz and company are Straussians, that is actually very erroneous.



Actually in this particular case, the idea is being "propoagated" by Wolfowitz' friend Hitchens, whom he knows well socially. Hitchens has repeatedly identified himself with Wolfwitzian neoconservativsm and has spoken at Neocon central, the Olin Institute, U. of Chicago to claim a "validating schism" between Wolfwitzian neoconservatism and the older, crass, neoconservatism represented by his enemy Kissinger.

Your own impressionistic idea of what represents a neocon is not born out by a little research-- although the sloppy way the term is bandied about in conversation makes that understandable.
---
Where you got the notion that Strauss "hated" Machievelli is anyone's guess. Even those Straussians who claim distance between the two don't make that leap.


From: here to inanity | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Max Bialystock
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posted 26 May 2007 10:39 AM      Profile for Max Bialystock     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hitchens is the establishment's favourite "leftist" - the kind that trashes "the Left"
From: North York | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged

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