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View Diary: "A moral obligation": Sanford Bishop (D GA-02) Health Care Town Hall, Albany, GA, 21 August 2009 (20 comments)

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  •  Eh.... (0+ / 0-)

    Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, atheists, and agnostics: do you want to win this debate? Then don't sneer, and do nudge your Christian neighbors to argue the best part of their religion.

    Well, this atheist can't do that with any integrity. After much study it seems to me that "their religion," in its scriptures and historical doctrines, is beset with ugliness, inhumanity, and cruelty. It appears to me that what you refer to as "the best part of" Christianity is in fact a fabrication of modern liberals who fervently want to massage some ugly Bronze Age mythology to make it support liberal principles. I think their efforts are invariably mistaken and frequently mendacious.

    Many of us have left Christianity precisely because we are not willing to advocate arguments that we believe are dishonest. Just as important, some of us aren't willing to support the right-wing frame that religious scripture and doctrine--indeed, specifically Christian scripture and doctrine--is the proper place to go looking for answers to political questions. That frame renders millions of us outsiders to the American community.

    So: in a word, no.

    And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as [Jesus] sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

    And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

    And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

    - Mark 14:3-7 (italics added)

    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

    - Jesus, in Luke 19:27

    Now here is a curious thing. It is believed by everybody that while [the Christian God] was in heaven he was stern, hard, resentful, jealous, and cruel; but that when he came down to earth and assumed the name Jesus Christ, he became the opposite of what he was before: that is to say, he became sweet, and gentle, merciful, forgiving, and all harshness disappeared from his nature and a deep and yearning love for his poor human children took its place. Whereas it was as Jesus Christ that he devised hell and proclaimed it!

    Which is to say, that as the meek and gentle Savior he was a thousand billion times crueler than ever he was in the Old Testament -- oh, incomparably more atrocious than ever he was when he was at his very worst in those old days!

    Meek and gentle? By and by we will examine this popular sarcasm by the light of the hell which he invented.

    - Mark Twain

    •  Thought Romans had iron.... (0+ / 0-)

      Interesting to learn that Jesus lived in the bronze age.

      Anyway, so if you can't urge your Christian neighbors to remind their co-religionists to feed the hungry and visit the sick, maybe you can attend a town hall and speak up with your own reasons.

      Sanford Bishop used "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to almost as much applause as the preacher did his Biblical passage.

      Thomas Jefferson, by the way, was not only the author of the Declaration of Independence, but also the architect and theorist of Manifest Destiny.

      I suppose we could refuse to use Jefferson's words or philosophies, too.  After all, he wrote back in the quill pen age.

      Meanwhile, back to passing universal health care.

      "Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all." --Hypatia of Alexandria, c.400

      by jayskew on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 08:07:46 PM PDT

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      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        Interesting to learn that Jesus lived in the bronze age.

        "Learn"? Where did I say "that Jesus lived in the bronze age"?

        I said that the mythology was Bronze Age--and plenty of it is:

        And God spake all these words, saying,

        I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

        Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

        Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

        Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

        - Exodus 20:1-11

        And myriad folks have been massaging those old superstitions for millennia since.

        You're quite correct that plenty of Christian scripture postdates the Bronze Age. That hardly renders it useful in modern society:

        The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. .... So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

        - Jesus, in Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50

        I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

        - Jesus, in John 15:6

        Thomas Jefferson, by the way, was not only the author of the Declaration of Independence, but also the architect and theorist of Manifest Destiny.

        Wow--touche. That's a cutting point against those millions of crazy people who worship Thomas Jefferson as a god, foretell his imminent return to reward the righteous and smite the unjust, and declare that all public policy must necessarily follow the dictates of the Almighty Tom.

        Except, wait: there are no such people. Jefferson's ideas are only respected and important to the extent that those ideas have earned that respect. Oddly enough, secularists and separationists don't think we should own slaves (and rape them) just because Jefferson did.

        Meanwhile, full-blown "Saviors" are treated somewhat differently, even when they screech about hell (the Matthew and John passages above), push a Republican-style "me me me me me" platform (the Mark passage quoted in my previous comment) and prophesy darkly about massacring those who disagree with them (the Luke passage in that comment).

        Meanwhile, back to passing universal health care.

        Look, pal, you were the one who declared that all of us "Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, atheists, and agnostics"--that is, all of us whose genocide and eternal damnation Jesus gleefully preaches in the Gospels--are obligated to "not sneer" (i.e., dissent) but instead to "nudge your Christian neighbors to argue the best part of their religion."

        Which is to say: getting back to passing universal health care is precisely what your demand prevents. Universal health care, like any other worthwhile public policy, is secular, and we who are religious minorities--we who are promised to be on the business end of Jesus' "bring hither, and slay them before me"--deserve a secular public conversation about it.

        Our human rights do not depend upon religious doctrine, and it is notably unhelpful for you to lend credence to, if not openly advocate, the notion that they do.

        •  Religious Tourette's? (0+ / 0-)

          Guess I'll have to add a poll question on that.

          You said mythology without qualification, which would include Roman times.

          There are indeed people who worship TJ: see George Will; it's a funny thing about old conservatives and dead revolutionaries. Of course, they usually don't mention any parts they find inconvenient.  However, "worship" doesn't have anything to do with it.  I advocated doing, not worship.

          I said nothing about human rights depending on religious doctrine.  I advocated Christians acting on the best parts of their religion, and others urging them to do so.  I advocate you acting on your version of morality or ethics, unless, of course, you think those words apply solely to religion.

          The Fox echo chamber in these parts is reinforced by some people whose understanding of Jesus is, as I mentioned, that the important parts are things he never said anything about. To counter them, it is important to have other Christians call them out.  Bishop's presentation and question answers were 90% secular, as was most of my writeup.  Still, he'd be a fool not to activate the Christian part of his constituency on his side, given that the opposition has activated significant parts of it against him.

          As I said, if you don't support that, find some other way to get out there and do something in support of universal health care.  

          "Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all." --Hypatia of Alexandria, c.400

          by jayskew on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 07:07:19 AM PDT

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