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View Diary: "No True Scotsman" and Jesus: UPDATE (89 comments)

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  •  Another possibility, (3+ / 0-)
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    Nowhere Man, Simian, Catte Nappe

    saying these groups are not true Christians (or, to make it less of a strawman, are not following Christ's true teachings) is precisely a way to attack those groups.  Their legitimacy comes from asserting a combination of  (a) divine inheritance and (b) group identity.  If the root of that is undermined, our politics would improve.  The religious left is not going to -- nor should it be expected to -- engage the religious right on purely secular terms.  If at the end of the day, all sides are standing up for stewardship of the environment, gay rights, economic justice, and so on, what does it matter what reasons or arguments are given.  

    The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

    by Loge on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:01:29 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately that's not (2+ / 0-)
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      Kingsmeg, pot

      how these arguments actually work in real life.  They derail discussion of very real oppression, make righting those wrongs more difficult, and give support (not purposefully, but functionally) to those oppressive groups by making it more difficult to discuss these issues.

      •  you're confusing ought and is. (3+ / 0-)
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        Nowhere Man, Catte Nappe, HeyMikey

        Look, is Rick Warren a Christian?  I suppose.  But just as he doesn't get to define his view of Christianity as binding on his political adversaries, his political adversaries don't get to define his view of Christianity as binding on their allies.  

        As to the empirical point you raise, whether righting wrongs is more difficult, I would submit that churches that advertise being welcome to gays and lesbians have done more to cure oppression than people who wail about the evils of religion on the Internet.  Both in terms of changing the culture, broadly, but more importantly, to providing some small benefit on the individual level.  And if groups like the Church of Christ want to say don't paint religion with a lazy brush, having actually walked the walk, I'm more interested in their point of view than that of a Sam Harris.  

        As to whether that makes discussions more difficult, it takes two to tango.  People on the religious left can make their case well or badly, but shutting them down entirely is not a long-term possibility or sensible short-term tactic.  Declaring critics of the Iraq war Objectively pro-Saddam didn't make it so either.    I'd rather say to the majority of Americans who identify as Christian that they can keep that identity and support social justice, with examples, than tell them that because the loudest Christians are against social justice that they need to shut the fuck up.  In other words, why do you think it's better to engage people on your terms instead of theirs?  

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:18:23 AM PDT

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        •  Inter-faith fights are of (0+ / 0-)

          no concern to me.  I'm only interested in fighting oppression.  You'll also note that I don't tar all Christians with the same brush but quite clear distinguish between conservative and progressive Christians in my diary.

          •  "I'm only interested in fighting oppression" (0+ / 0-)

            must be lonely on the cross . . .

            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

            by Loge on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 11:04:22 AM PDT

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          •  How is this so? (1+ / 0-)
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            Loge

            Interfiath fights are of enough concern to you to make it the topic of your introductory diary. And it seems, from your diary and follow up comments, that you are only interested in fighting oppression to the extent that those fighting along side of you must have the same source of motivation and inspiration as you do, and if they don't they must keep that information to themselves, and not discuss it where you might hear it.

            from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

            by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 12:43:41 PM PDT

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    •  Problem is, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pot

      well, there are a lot of problems with that approach. First, it makes Christianity a matter of good behavior, when, in fact, the only thing that defines a Christian is belief in the Christian god.  Christianity is not about behavior, it is merely about what belief.  

      The corrolary is that it makes 'christian' synomymous with what is right ... and that is very far from the truth.  No sect, much less one with the history of Christianity should be allowed to claim such rightness for itself.  

      •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

        I read it as meaning that Christianity (within limits) is what you want it to be, belief or behavior.  I don't think my comment specifies which one, but since behavior follows belief, there's a "how" one conceives of, and acts upon, the notion of Jesus as the Son of God, etc. that is up for discussion.  

        As to point two, since Christians likely do see Christianity as synonymous with what is right (or else God is imperfect), if one has a view of certain social justice points, why wouldn't one conceive of God as being supportive of that?

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 11:42:53 AM PDT

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        •  Christians cannot agree on what makes a Christian. (1+ / 0-)
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          JosephK74

          Trust me. I'm an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), but when I worship with my wife's family at their Missouri Synod Lutheran church, I'm not allowed to take communion.

          The only honest answer to who is a "true" Christian is that reasonable people (and especially unreasonable people) disagree about that.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 07:32:06 PM PDT

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      •  James disagrees with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama
        Christianity is not about behavior, it is merely about what belief.  
        In fact, a good many Christians would profoundly disagree with you, but here's the James take.
        Isn't it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are "works of faith"? The full meaning of "believe" in the Scripture sentence, "Abraham believed God and was set right with God," includes his action. It's that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named "God's friend." Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?
        James 2:22-24

        from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 12:39:50 PM PDT

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        •  Easy to play that game.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JosephK74
          Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies."  John 11:26
          So there you have Jesus disagreeing with James.  Mere belief trumps everything.  

          Of course,  you can find a Bible verse to support and oppose virtually anything -- which is yet another reason why is it a poor choice for moral guidance.  

    •  Except it is being said to the wrong people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JosephK74, HeyMikey

      Saying it to the people who are being attacked by those groups is derailing their statements about being attacked.

      Saying it to the attacking groups, or the bystanders watching may be a way to combat those actions, and demonstrate that only they should be blamed, but this is not what I see going on very often. The Rick Warren and the Poor discussion is the first time in a very long time I've seen people of faith speaking loudly about people within their faith being 'wrong'.

      "All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality." -Al Gore

      by Geek of all trades on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 11:53:58 AM PDT

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      •  Depends on what precipitates the comment (0+ / 0-)

        saying to people who are being oppressed, don't lash out at all Christians, there's another way forward, isn't derailment. It's an argument in parallel, and if it's being said to people talking from ignorance about religion, tarring it with one brush, all the better.  The same thing needs to be said for different reasons to different people, and certainly doesn't legitimize that which is cast as a disfavored interpretation. a

        The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

        by Loge on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 12:37:58 PM PDT

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        •  If you only say don't lash out at all Christians (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JosephK74

          that is.

          If your comment is focused on another way forward, if it is part of an argument that is going on in parallel, then it may be more part of a conversation.

          Are you listening to their problem and complaint or are you just defending yourself as a Christian?

          "All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality." -Al Gore

          by Geek of all trades on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 01:50:08 PM PDT

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          •  i'm not a Christian, (1+ / 0-)
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            HeyMikey

            but the rest of your comment has too many pronouns to make sense of.  To the extent possible, I do take seriously complaints about homophobia, sexism, etc.  I don't take the diarist's complaint about how to discuss the intersection of these issues and religion seriously at all.  Unless someone is saying Warren and his ilk literally aren't Christians, the whole fallacy isn't implicated, and to the extent someone is saying that Warren and his ilk simply happen to be bad at reading the Bible, and that if they were better at reading the Bible they'd be in more agreement with progressive causes, that's not derailment/cover/whatever you want to call it.  It can be a helpful suggestion on how to engage potential allies.  Or it can simply be a perfectly valid statement of viewpoint or correction of the record.  

            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

            by Loge on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 05:18:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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