Thursday, August 16, 2007

Top ten religious idiots #7

(Previous List)

  1. Wiley Drake: Drake, a 2nd Vice President of the National Southern Baptist Church, was caught again illegally using his tax-exempt pulpit for partisan political activity (this time endorsing Mike Huckabee for president) by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In response Drake calls on his followers for "Imprecatory Prayer" (i.e. a curses) against AU and specifically against the contacts named in the complaint, mentioning Psalm 109, which clearly calls for the death of one's enemies.

    Will one of his followers be inspired by God to directly implement these curses? God does work in mysterious ways, dontcha know.
    (Christian NewsWire; h/t to Orcinus; 16 Aug 07)

  2. Charles Eugene Flowers: The director of the San Antonio, Texas Christian Boot Camp, ironically named "Love Demonstrated Ministries", along with employee Stephanie Bassitt, tied a 15-year-old girl behind their van and dragged her on her stomach. The girl was hospitalized and these Christian paragons were arrested.
    (statesman.com; h/t to digby; 13 Aug 07)


Statistics:
This list: Religion 2, Nontheism 0
Previous List: Religion 10, Nontheism 0
Total: Religion 62, Nontheism 1

21 comments:

  1. Chuck Norris may have taken one-too-many roundhouses to the head in his career, as he accidentally revealed a little too much truth, and may have jeopardized the legal case of the group he serves on the Board of:

    http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?p=4706877#post4706877

    Brian

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  2. Oh man, that's rich!

    I can't use it on the list, though, since it's not documented in a journal of record. :(

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  3. If one of Drake's people decides to "directly" carry out the judgment of God, they would be committing sin, b/c we are not to murder.

    "'Vengeance is mine', says the Lord,"
    and all that stuff.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  4. Rhology: Murder is unjustified killing; clearly Rev. Drake considers killing justified in this situation.

    Vengeance is the Lord's, perhaps, but He has a well-established history of delegating the task to mere mortals.

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  5. Hi BB,

    Murder is the unlawful killing of innocent humans.

    clearly Rev. Drake considers killing justified in this situation.

    He does? Where did he say that?
    It sounds like he said it's OK to do what the Psalmist did - pray that God would destroy God's enemies.
    Not too merciful, true, but it's biblically valid. It's one way to go.

    Vengeance is the Lord's, perhaps, but He has a well-established history of delegating the task to mere mortals.

    Yes, but the command is NOT to murder.
    In the past, in specific instances, God has commanded people to carry out His judgment on sinful men, and that's His prerogative as Creator and Judge. But that wasn't murder. Someone killing a US politician for any other reason than self-defense, time of war, or just execution for a capital crime, would be murder.

    Does that help?

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  6. Well, if it's good for God to kill them, it can't be bad to kill them. As James notes in the other thread, are Wiley's followers constrained by God, scripture or their ethical beliefs from killing those named, or are they merely constrained by the power of the State?

    As I note in the other thread, the fact that Wiley is calling for the death of those who have done nothing but insist on the enforcement of duly enacted laws of the State, the "render unto Caesar" defense seems very thin indeed.

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  7. Laying it all on the table, it is just and good for God to kill everyone. But God exercises His mercy and w/holds His judgment w/ a lot of patience a lot of the time.
    The point is, when He decides to make the death happen, it'll happen.
    Meanwhile, there is a standing commandment on the table not to murder. A human actually carrying out this imprecatory Psalm would be murder and it would be usurping the Lord's prerogative. Which is why God says "vengeance is ****Mine****", as opposed to "vengeance is y'all's".

    So objectively, Wiley's "followers" (whatever that means) are constrained by:
    1) God
    2) the Bible (which is the same as #1, as it is the communication of God w/ humanity)
    3) their ethics (which are, presumably and hopefully, based on the Bible)
    4) the law of the state

    I would argue along w/ Wiley that the law they are enforcing is an unjust law. But it is probably not worth a revolution over, so we should probably obey it.

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  8. ...Though there is sthg to be said for non-violent protest against unjust laws. That seems to have had some success in the past, by commendable means.

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  9. Rhology: Laying it all on the table, it is just and good for God to kill everyone.

    Laying it all on the table, I consider anyone who believes such a thing more contemptible than the worst child rapist and murder.

    You disgust me.

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  10. Haha, tell me how you really feel.

    I disgust you, do I? Sorry to hear that. Why? Can you lay out a logical defense of why it is objectively morally wrong for God to kill people?

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  11. A human actually carrying out this imprecatory Psalm would be murder and it would be usurping the Lord's prerogative.

    This is specious reasoning on two counts.

    First murder is unjustified killing, not necessarily illegal killing. Secular law does not necessarily establish justice (else we could dispense with God). There is nothing in the Bible which specifically commands Christians to absolute obedience to secular law, only obedience which is not otherwise divinely unjustified.

    I hope you would not, for instance, argue that a Christian in Nazi Germany would have the absolute religious obligation to murder Jews.

    If a Christian were convinced that God had commanded him to kill someone, and that his death was religiously justified, one could very easily imagine him concluding that the killing was justified and therefore not murder.

    Secondly, one can reasonably conclude from your comments that it is only the brute authority of the State that prevents you from killing your enemies. If it were, for instance, legal to kill someone who was condemned by a religious authority, you would have no moral qualms whatsoever about killing them.

    One must thus conclude that at a personal level you dissent from secular laws about killing, that killing should be legal if it was religiously justifiable. It's your right, of course, to dissent in word from any laws you please, but I hope you can see that your dissent does not inspire the mutual trust necessary for a peaceful and civilized society.

    Indeed, one must conclude that to the extent that you do want a peaceful society, it would be a peace based on the forceful imposition of religious doctrine, a notion that failed miserably over a thousand years.

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  12. Can you lay out a logical defense of why it is objectively morally wrong for God to kill people?

    Since I don't hold ethical or meta-ethical objectivism, that's not a reasonable request.

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  13. Again, I'll be unavailable the rest of the day. I'll post more this evening.

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  14. Hey BB,

    First murder is unjustified killing, not necessarily illegal killing.

    OK, that's fine.

    I hope you would not, for instance, argue that a Christian in Nazi Germany would have the absolute religious obligation to murder Jews.

    No, b/c that would be an example of the gov't commanding me to do sthg I'm commanded by God NOT to do.

    If a Christian were convinced that God had commanded him to kill someone, and that his death was religiously justified, one could very easily imagine him concluding that the killing was justified and therefore not murder.

    That doesn't wash b/c the standing command from God is NOT to murder. It's right there in black and white. if someone ignores the divine command b/c they heard a voice in their head, well, that's not God's fault or the Bible's.

    one can reasonably conclude from your comments that it is only the brute authority of the State that prevents you from killing your enemies.

    [shaking my head] How?
    Here is a relevant section of what I said:
    So objectively, Wiley's "followers" (whatever that means) are constrained by:
    1) God
    2) the Bible (which is the same as #1, as it is the communication of God w/ humanity)
    3) their ethics (which are, presumably and hopefully, based on the Bible)
    4) the law of the state


    Where do you get that?

    If it were, for instance, legal to kill someone who was condemned by a religious authority, you would have no moral qualms whatsoever about killing them.

    How many times do I have to say that God has proscribed murder?

    that killing should be legal if it was religiously justifiable.

    The only killing that is biblically justifiable is (as I've already said, but I can't tell if you care):
    1) Self-defense or protection of family, etc.
    2) Just war
    3) Execution of someone convicted of a capital crime by a valid gov'tal authority.


    Since I don't hold ethical or meta-ethical objectivism, that's not a reasonable request.

    Yes, I presumed so, that's why I asked it.
    So, just to be clear, your disgust for God's cmdmt is based solely on personal preference, fundamentally. Right?

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  15. That doesn't wash b/c the standing command from God is NOT to murder

    Come on, Rhology. What about God's instructions to the Jews to slaughter other tribes, delivered after the Commandments? If someone believed, as the Jews did, that God had instructed them to murder, then they would, by the logic you've professed, be perfectly justified. You can argue about whether or not God did in fact instruct such a thing, but it's an internally valid defense based on your own construction, and that's Larry's point.

    1) Self-defense or protection of family, etc.
    2) Just war
    3) Execution of someone convicted of a capital crime by a valid gov'tal authority.


    Oh, really? #1 seems right out. #2 seems to be valid if and only if God's prophets, like Abraham, make such a charge (otherwise the secular authorities are violating the Commandment in question). And #3 seems to be an open matter of interpretation subject to the same problem as #2.

    None of which seem to mesh well with your previous invocation of "Vengeance is MINE."

    So, just to be clear, your disgust for God's cmdmt is based solely on personal preference, fundamentally.

    Foul! Straw man. You've got your subjects mixed. Larry has professed no disgust for the Commandment, but for the authority behind it.

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  16. Hi James,

    What about God's instructions to the Jews to slaughter other tribes, delivered after the Commandments?

    "Vengeance is..." *somebody's*. God chose to judge the Canaanites using the Israelites at the time. Which is not happening now - those were specific historical instances.

    If someone believed, as the Jews did, that God had instructed them to murder, then they would, by the logic you've professed, be perfectly justified.

    It's far different, and this should be obvious, when one BELIEVEs that God told him to do sthg, than when God actually does command it.

    #1 seems right out.

    Assertion. On what basis?

    #2 seems to be valid if and only if God's prophets, like Abraham, make such a charge (otherwise the secular authorities are violating the Commandment in question).

    There is a longstanding discussion (stretches back to at least Augustine of Hippo) of the Theory of Just War. Ever read some of it?

    #3 seems to be an open matter of interpretation subject to the same problem as #2.

    To make that stick you'd have to offer an interp at variance w/ what I've presented (which was substantive, as opposed to a bare assertion like what you made) and then see if it stands up under analysis. Can you?

    None of which seem to mesh well with your previous invocation of "Vengeance is MINE."

    I must have missed the part where #s 1-3 dealt w/ vengeance.

    Larry has professed no disgust for the Commandment, but for the authority behind it.

    Fine, for the authority. Based solely on personal preference. Why should it matter to anyone else? Why did he even write the comment?

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  17. I have but a brief moment...

    Keep in mind, we're not trying to convince you, Rhology, of anything. There's no doubt that you can wrap your hateful ideology in sophistic rationalization.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that if you and your ilk had any degree of political or legal authority, we would be subject to the most brutal authoritarian repression seen since, well, the Inquisition. I have no doubt whatsoever that you would take personal pleasure in the suffering, oppression, torture and death, not to mention fantasies of eternal damnation, of everyone who disagreed with the most minute element of your theology.

    What I'm trying to show the world is not only the stupidity, factual and intellectual dishonesty, but also the blatant evil that permeates contemporary religious belief. I want people to be ashamed to be in the same species as you and people like you, much less the same religion.

    And your comments are doing nothing but aiding me in my task.

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  18. I have no doubt whatsoever that if you and your ilk had any degree of political or legal authority...

    My "ilk", eh?
    And when atheistic people have had massive gov'tal power at their disposal, well, we've already seen what happened.
    Incidentally, the Inquisition was carried out AGAINST my theological forebears. Not BY them.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that you would take personal pleasure in the suffering, oppression, torture and death, not to mention fantasies of eternal damnation, of everyone who disagreed with the most minute element of your theology.

    Wow - you can read minds? How long have you been able to do so?

    the blatant evil that permeates contemporary religious belief.

    When you have a worldview that cannot support any objective moral judgment, you have no ability nor basis to call anythg "evil". The worst you can call it is "distasteful to me."

    I want people to be ashamed to be in the same species as you and people like you, much less the same religion.

    I'm glad to be of service. Clearly the difference is quite visible. One of us makes bare assertions and spiteful rhetoric, the other makes arguments and answers assertions.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  19. Rhology,

    It's far different, and this should be obvious, when one BELIEVEs that God told him to do sthg, than when God actually does command it.

    Isn't this just a chicken and egg argument? Someone says "God ordered me to do it" and you say "No, you just believe God ordered you to do it." What you're really saying is, "I don't believe that God is actually ordering people to do such things any more." You haven't a shred of objective proof either way.

    Assertion. On what basis?

    None of Jesus's express instructions, as communicated in the Gospels, allow for self-defense. In fact, he expressly states otherwise: Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV), and Luke 6:27-31 (NIV). These may also be interpreted with regards to #2 and #3, especially Matthew 5:38-42.

    There is a longstanding discussion (stretches back to at least Augustine of Hippo) of the Theory of Just War. Ever read some of it?

    No, since I only spent four years studying theories of warfare at a top tier university under the guidance of Gartner, Jackman, and Goldman, I've never heard of "Just War." Gee, since I excluded it, I must not even have heard of it! Just War is a subset of ethics, not an expressly Judeo-Christian doctrine. I also find Just War thought to be incredibly specious for any number of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with any religious underpinnings.

    To make that stick you'd have to offer an interp at variance w/ what I've presented...

    Please see the "Fringe and Mainstream" thread where I address this specifically in my last comment. I'll not reprint it here. Thanks.

    I must have missed the part where #s 1-3 dealt w/ vengeance.

    The death penalty is about retribution, i.e. vengeance (and to claim a distinction is to split the semantic difference into very thin hairs). Please see comments in the "Fringe and Mainstream" thread for more in-depth discussion. The "Vengeance is mine" statement is widely and easily interpretable as an exhortation, just as the commandment against killing, to not engage in murderous (i.e. slaying someone, just to avoid semantic parsing like you're trying to engage in here) behavior without God (or, under some interpetations, His authority, which the secular government is none) giving express permission.

    And when atheistic people have had massive gov'tal power at their disposal, well, we've already seen what happened.

    Oh, for crying out loud, here we go with the straw men of Hitler and Stalin. Where's that historical context you were talking about in your comments on exegisis? If you really want to get into this, we can. But you're really off-base. For the sake of argument, I'll give you Mao and whatsisname from Albania, who at least made publicly atheistic comments with respect to their policies. But then I get the entire history of the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church. For starters.

    Incidentally, the Inquisition was carried out AGAINST my theological forebears. Not BY them.

    Now that's an interesting line of discussion. Let us then discuss Luther's urgings of the Germanic princes to slaughter the peasants who rose in revolt based on Luther's own teachings (Luther being a disgusting and opportunistic authoritarian). By all means, let us discuss whether or not Protestants are in for a penny, in for a pound...

    I have no doubt whatsoever...

    While I am sure there are many such people, I have interpreted Rhology's comments on imprecatory prayer to imply that s/he would view such suffering as a regrettable but necessary step towards bringing the sufferers' eyes to The Truth (but I may well also be putting words into his/her mouth). I don't think pleasure would enter into it at all, and I think that's probably true for a vast majority of those who would condone or stand aside for such. It's still contemptible, but not in the same way as Larry states.

    When you have a worldview that cannot support any objective moral judgment, you have no ability nor basis to call anythg "evil". The worst you can call it is "distasteful to me."

    Please see Larry's posts tagged with Meta-Ethical Subjective Relativism for a more nuanced understanding of his views; he is quite explicit in how he arrives at ethical judgments, and they are very consistent. Please note that I do not hold MESR myself, but find elements of Larry's thinking helpful.

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  20. Hi there,

    Someone says "God ordered me to do it" and you say "No, you just believe God ordered you to do it."

    Exactly, and the way I know that is that I compare the private "command" to the already-given command of God.

    You haven't a shred of objective proof either way.


    The Scr that expresses this God to Whom Hill appeals lets us know there is a standing command not to murder.

    In fact, he expressly states otherwise: Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV), and Luke 6:27-31 (NIV). These may also be interpreted with regards to #2 and #3, especially Matthew 5:38-42.

    For a right-handed person (like most are) to slap you on your right cheek, it would be a backhand. This is in reference to an insult, particularly how a Roman soldier might humiliate a Judaean from that time. It doesn't speak all that much to straight-up violence at all.
    In protecting yourself from an evildoer, you preserve the possibility of living to provide for your family, which is a lofty purpose indeed (1 Tim 5:8).


    Gee, since I excluded it, I must not even have heard of it!


    You don't have to get mad. It was a simple question. I didn't ask you for your academic credentials, nor did you offer them before.
    And your comment had made it sound like Just War is "open to interpretation", which it is of course, but only to an extent.


    I also find Just War thought to be incredibly specious for any number of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with any religious underpinnings.

    OK.

    The death penalty is about retribution, i.e. vengeance


    That is an assertion on your part. You'd need to show where that is part of the biblical instatement of the DP.

    Please see comments in the "Fringe and Mainstream" thread for more in-depth discussion.

    OK.

    The "Vengeance is mine" statement is widely and easily interpretable as an exhortation, just as the commandment against killing, to not engage in murderous (i.e. slaying someone, just to avoid semantic parsing like you're trying to engage in here) behavior without God (or, under some interpetations, His authority, which the secular government is none) giving express permission.


    Fair enough. But His permission is categorically revoked, so that takes care of that.

    For the sake of argument, I'll give you Mao and whatsisname from Albania, who at least made publicly atheistic comments with respect to their policies. But then I get the entire history of the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church. For starters.

    Not Stalin? OK, whatever.
    W/ Mao we're still at several million dead, maybe as many as 50 million all told.
    Did the Holy Roman Emp and RCC's nefarious activities over time (neither of which I'd claim unequivocally as a forebear) ever add up to even as much as a million victims?

    Let us then discuss Luther's urgings of the Germanic princes to slaughter the peasants who rose in revolt based on Luther's own teachings


    Even if I granted that, I doubt the numbers are anywhere close to that for which atheism is responsible.
    Look, *I* didn't bring this up. I think it's a stupid discussion, personally. I'm cool w/ leaving it here.

    I don't think pleasure would enter into it at all, and I think that's probably true for a vast majority of those who would condone or stand aside for such. It's still contemptible, but not in the same way as Larry states.

    To be fair, unless you're a mind-reader like Larry apparently is, you can't know either way whether pleasure is involved.
    Just FYI, for me it's not.
    As for "contemptible," I'd be interested to know on what basis "contemptible" = anything more or less than "I find it distasteful personally." But maybe that is what you mean.

    he is quite explicit in how he arrives at ethical judgments, and they are very consistent.


    I'll see, thanx. I'm not holding my breath, but maybe he'll impress me. Given his wide-eyed rant about how I'm evil and all that, I rather doubt it, though.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  21. Rhology,

    This is not irrelevant to the topic.

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