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A Religious "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy
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Two recent controversies about the religious freedom of public and political officials have provoked similar outrage among my fellow social conservatives. I’d like to respectfully suggest that there’s a difference, and that conservatives are mistaken to equate the two.

The outrage about one of the stories is absolutely justified. The hounding of British Liberal Democratic Party leader Tim Farron from his post by leftist zealots intent on ferreting out his possible private religious objections to homosexuality and abortion marks a new low–if such a thing is possible–in the modern progressive descent into Maoism. Farron, a working-class evangelical Christian who headed a secular, upper-middle-class party that, while centrist on economics, is culturally at least as left wing as Labour, has kept his politics in line with his party’s. He is resolutely pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion rights, pro-green, pro-immigration, pro-EU … doubtless pro-holistic-health and ungendered toys as well. But that wasn’t enough for the Torquemadas of the left. His religious faith made his commitment to the cause suspect, so throughout the recent campaign he was browbeaten by the media to confess if he believed that homosexuality and abortion were sins.

In response, he of course groveled before the inquisitors, recanting a ten-year-old interview in which he had suggested that abortion was “wrong” (though legally sacrosanct), and proclaiming the virtuousness of all things gay. And of course they still demanded his scalp, which they got last week in a resignation in which he stated that “I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader … of a progressive, liberal party in 2017.”

The Farron affair shows that we’ve come a long way (at least in Britain, but most likely on this side of the Atlantic as well) from the days when liberal politicians like Mario Cuomo, Geraldine Ferraro and Jessie Jackson could take a “pro-choice but personally opposed” stance on abortion, or similarly distinguish between their individual consciences and political positions on other moral issues. The radical New Left slogan that “the personal is the political” has now become the dogma of “mainstream” liberals, who demand not just political support but personal enthusiasm for their ideology. As Sohrab Ahmari wrote in The Wall Street Journal, it isn’t enough to support transgender rights, you must “feel in your soul that Chelsea Manning was always a ‘she.’ It isn’t enough to legalize abortion, you…must like it.” Now, even those who don’t claim to be “personally opposed” to abortion or gay sex must be subject to Cultural Revolution-style struggle sessions to determine if, deep-down, they really are.

But I think that Ahmari, Rod Dreher and others are wrong to compare the inquisition of Farron with the other recent religious freedom controversy: Bernie Sanders’ attack on Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, for his statement in The Resurgent last year that Muslims “stand condemned” “because they have rejected Jesus Christ.” (Vought was defending–justifiably, I believe–the action of Wheaton College, an evangelical school and his alma mater, in terminating a liberal professor who had declared that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”) Conservatives like Dreher and David French, and even more liberal writers like The Atlantic’s Emma Green, have accused Sanders of imposing a religious test for office in violation of Article VI of the Constitution. Their argument is essentially that the belief that non-believers are condemned is a crucial if implicit part of orthodox Christianity and many other serious belief systems. Therefore Sanders was forcing Vought to renounce his religion in order to gain confirmation, and thus banishing orthodox believers from the public square.

The damnation of unbelievers may indeed be implicit to any serious religious belief system, but in a pluralist democracy there are good reasons why we don’t explicitly say it. (This discretion may pre-date pluralist democracy. French quotes Christ’s declaration that “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me,” which made the point rather more diplomatically.) The analogy to the left’s attack on Farron would have been if Vought had not explicitly said as bluntly as he did that non-believers were damned to hell (or at least had said it as diplomatically as Jesus did), but Bernie had nonetheless browbeaten him to try to ferret it out because he was an evangelical. In that hypothetical, as in the Farron case, it would have been the left that breached the unwritten rules of decorum necessary for pluralist democracy. In this case, though, I think it was Vought. (I say that regretfully as I presume my politics are much closer to his than to Bernie’s.)

I should make two points here before elaborating further. First, I’m of course not challenging Vought’s right to say what he did. This should go without saying, but at a time when religious and other First Amendment freedoms are genuinely in danger, it doesn’t. Second, as I noted, not just social conservatives but even some religious liberals are to my right on this one. There may be a fundamental gap in not just outlook but comprehension between those of us who grew up in non-religious families, no matter how far to the cultural right we’ve travelled and how sympathetic to religion we’ve become, and those from religious backgrounds no matter how far in the the opposite direction they’ve moved. The concept of damnation may tap this divide.

But the realization of the depth of this chasm just strengthens my view that Vought kicked a hornets’ nest that’s better left unkicked. I have a few close personal friends who are orthodox religious believers, and who I assume, or know, think that I’m going to hell. I think it’s obvious that it would be very unhealthy and presumably fatal for our friendships if they kept telling me so–and that this kind of in-your-face candor about something as delicate as eternal damnation is equally noxious on the societal level.

By the same token, it would also be fatal to my relationships with my friends if I kept hectoring them about it: “You think I’m going to hell, don’t you? Don’t you? How can you think that about me? How can you be friends with someone you think is going to hell?” And this kind of individual encounter session is even more unhealthy when extrapolated to the broader macro level, which is one reason why the left’s treatment of Farron was so poisonous.

The way to avoid this pernicious breakdown on both the individual level and among the citizenry at large is to follow the wisdom of my parents’ generation, which understood that there are some things you just don’t talk about. Don’t ask; don’t tell. This of course requires a certain amount of (shudder!) hypocrisy and (even more shudder) “denial,” those arch taboos of the therapeutic age of authenticity and “letting it all hang out.” If you think about it, how can my friends truly be close with me if they think I’m going to hell? And how can I be friends with them if they do? If you think about it. So we don’t.

Two final points. First, of course Bernie mucks up his argument by harping in hackneyed jargon on “Islamophobia,” allowing Green, the liberal on the other side, to absolve Vought of this cardinal sin of progressivism as if that settles the matter. But neither of them sees that citizens giving full-throated voice to their sincerely held beliefs that a significant number of their fellow citizens are going to hell presents an even deeper problem than mere bigotry.

Second, I’m aware that my defense here of “the unwritten rules of decorum necessary for pluralist democracy” comes a little too close for comfort to the justifications offered by the authoritarian left for the social policing of un-pc speech about sex and race. One distinction is that, to reiterate, I’m not proposing legal restrictions on speech–and I don’t trust the left when it claims it isn’t either but then in the next, Orwellian, breath says that “hate speech,” whatever that is, is not protected by the First Amendment. The more fundamental differences, though, are about the quantity of speech affected and the treatment of those who breach the decorum. The pc left would effectively ban broad swaths of expression. I’m just asking for some restraint on one particularly fraught topic that, even more than sex or race, goes to man’s most fundamental self-concept. And I don’t want to turn Russell Vought into a pariah, mock his faith, sic the Twitter mobs on him, or render him unemployable in the private sector. I just think he should be a little more discreet in discussing his beliefs about which of his fellow citizens will burn in hell for eternity. And if he can’t or won’t I don’t think it’s a totally illegitimate factor in considering his fitness for high public office.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Political Correctness, Religion 
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  1. Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it’s always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize “a different god” than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being … well … God.

    Couldn’t get much simpler.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Couldn’t get much simpler.
     
    In fairness, your lot came after Christianity and explicitly recognised Christ as a legitimate representative of God, so you are barred from saying they don't worship the same God. The same obviously isn't true for Christians.

    Talk of "a different God" is of course a polite euphemism (of exactly the kind the author of the piece above would presumably approve), since it is a foundational truth of Christianity as it is of Islam that there is only one God.
    , @El Geherg

    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it’s always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize “a different god” than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being … well … God.

    Couldn’t get much simpler.
     
    I have to assume you are being intentionally obtuse. The basis for the claim that Muslims worship a different "god" stems from the testimony of the New Testament that those who reject Christ as Lord necessarily reject the Father who sent Him. They are a package deal. Muslims reject Christ as God and therefore reject God as a whole and therefore stand condemned. Couldn't be simpler. I would implore you to read the New Testament, not merely to better inform yourself but because you will find there the words of salvation found only in faith in Christ.
    , @Anon
    I haven't visited Europe of late but when I did visit and Erdogan was visiting at the same time, it was "news" that he counseled "his community" NOT to assimilate, instead to convert the locals to Islam. There are differences between the two religions, and in that context different gods - Christ is a God to Christians, not to Muslims for example. Swedish female friends currently tell me they're trying to live in a living hell, that "they" want to take over. And rape is definitely one way to do it.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    What do you think your god, Allah, God, Yahweh, El or whatever cares about - and why? (And why does it matter if He does?). Why for instance has he gone on ignoring the Hindus and Buddhists allowing them to go on breeding unbelievers in our well stocked world?
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  2. Great article.
    In public life it is best – & correct – to not make an issue about one’s religious or non-religious beliefs. Religion is personal.
    The Tim Farron case is a disgrace. I am not a Christian, but I respect his right to profess such a belief — given he does not lie about or try to thrust such a belief on people behind the cover of “objective” public policy. If we all know where we stand we a democratically free to vote for or against such views.
    I abhor both left & right when views are self righteously not even allowed to be mentioned.
    Example: if some vile turd wishes to say that “child love” is a good thing – fine: just give me a chance to verbally rip him to shreds. (Some will say physically rip him to shreds….but I’ll leave that to a different discussion)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Religion is personal.
     
    Presumably you mean "should be". Clearly it is not personal, in societies in which it is not. Perhaps you just meant that is is that way in our society (though obviously it isn't, given Faarron's experience, and he's far from alone).

    The Tim Farron case is a disgrace.
     
    Well, yes and no. It's hard to have much sympathy for Farron himself, since as far as I'm aware he's never stood up for all the other people harassed, discriminated against and excluded from public life, or even from private employment, for having politically incorrect views, and he has shared and promoted the general politically correct, taboo-ridden modern attitude that ultimately did for him too. And he has spent his career cringing and crouching before people who actively promote behaviour that he obviously knows at some level is straightforwardly morally wrong, and paying lip-service to the idea that those who engage in homosexual behaviour are some kind of special breed of human, rather than just being sinners like the rest of us who just happen to be drawn to sin in particular ways, in order to boost his political prospects.

    In general, it would be outrageous that anyone should be hounded out of a position for private religious belief, but political parties are rather different. The solution to disapproving of the LibDem party's treatment of Farron is to leave the party, or vote for another if you are not a member. I appreciate that it's not quite that simple given the broad political similarity of the establishment parties on most political correctness issues, and the active suppression of real alternatives, but that's the theoretical position. I understand that if you were a LibDem supporter and a Christian then this new position of the party would upset you, of course.
  3. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Isn’t it also relevant to Vought’s flitness for high office that his mind is capable of such bizarre belief that punishment of a person after death is possible? It is true that a man of great intellect, Thomas More, expressed the view in his “Utopia” that it was a socially necessary belief, but aten’t we intellectually beyond such pragmatism?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Isn’t it also relevant to Vought’s flitness for high office that his mind is capable of such bizarre belief that punishment of a person after death is possible?
     
    Quite a sweeping assertion, given the huge numbers of human beings, at all levels of intellect, who believe and who have believed in some form of higher justice, and given the number of perfectly competent holders of high office who have held such a view.

    If the term weren't so discredited by its routine abuse against traditionalists, nativists and conservatives, one might call it bigoted.
  4. A thoughtful and interesting piece on a very topical issue, thanks.

    If you think about it, how can my friends truly be close with me if they think I’m going to hell? And how can I be friends with them if they do? If you think about it. So we don’t.

    Friendship, imo, is too important to let issues such as politics and religion interfere with it.

    All too many people these days do so, and this is one of the means by which the left seeks to exclude those holding traditionalist/conservative/nativist opinions from respectable society (the same occurs in the other direction, of course, but it is the left that is overwhelmingly dominant amongst elites in the societies of the modern US sphere).

    Faith does not mean certainty, and in any event it’s God who determines who goes to hell not humans.

    As for Vought, he raised the issue in a particular context in which it was clearly relevant, so it seems unreasonable to criticise him for stating the position honestly rather than dissembling for politeness’ sake as you advocate. The analogy with talking to your friends is not really appropriate. If you were discussing religion specifically with your friends and the discussion went that way then it could be entirely appropriate to state that the logical consequence of your own beliefs would be that they would finish up in hell (and the converse also holds, of course, presumably). If it were to descend to “hectoring” as you put it then clearly that’s another matter, but grownups should be able to cope with such disagreements otherwise.

    If, on the other hand, you don’t believe in hell anyway then why should it bother you at all that your friend believes you are going to go there? Presumably, if they are friends, there’s no question of their being pleased at that state of affairs.

    Imo, bluntness, directness and honesty is to be encouraged in public discourse. The benefits of a degree of hypocrisy and polite dissembling are limited to a particular level of social engagement – the dinner party level where people are acquaintances but not necessarily friends, and the general rule of avoiding discussing religion and politics is a sensible means of avoiding embarrassing fallings out – or amongst friends except when it is specifically appropriate or necessary to confront an issue.

    In political discussion (defined broadly) there needs to be no constraint (beyond basic courtesy – properly and tightly defined, and not abused as the advocates of political correctness abuse it) on the willingness to state and confront hard truths, and people should be assumed to be adult enough to deal with them (though there might be occasions when public order concerns counsel caution). Otherwise you end up where the left is now, and our societies that are so disastrously dominated by leftist elites: hobbled by political correctness and political intolerance.

    See, for instance, this story I happened to notice yesterday, which is just another illustration of the attitude of the times. Ordinary lower middle class people (the kind that run primary schools) just assume that it is ok (required, indeed) to threaten the employment of ordinary folk merely for attending a demonstration. The story notes that “a suspension in such circumstances is a “neutral” act and will allow the school to investigate footage from the march featuring Mrs Booth”, as though it makes it alright that if the investigators decide the politics of the event and of Mrs Booth are acceptable then she can be allowed to continue her employment unmolested (except, of course, insofar as the process itself is always punishment).

    Dinner lady suspended after Manchester attack demonstration

    That is the reality of where we are now.

    Read More
  5. @pensword
    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it's always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize "a different god" than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being ... well ... God.

    Couldn't get much simpler.

    Couldn’t get much simpler.

    In fairness, your lot came after Christianity and explicitly recognised Christ as a legitimate representative of God, so you are barred from saying they don’t worship the same God. The same obviously isn’t true for Christians.

    Talk of “a different God” is of course a polite euphemism (of exactly the kind the author of the piece above would presumably approve), since it is a foundational truth of Christianity as it is of Islam that there is only one God.

    Read More
    • Replies: @pesnword
    In fairness, your lot came after Christianity

    "Muslim" is just a descriptor of "one who submits to God." Thus, the Prophets of Israel, including Jesus, may be accurately identified as muslim. In addition to defining the Prophets of Israel and Jesus, my "lot" predates both of them by many generations.

    I don't begrudge the professor his "polite euphemism," much as I pity him for his ignorance.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    "euphemism'"? Maybe, but what would God say about it? Presumably "idiocy" as I suspect He thinks He's real and being Abrahamic the one and only Creator. Mind you He has His bouts of idiocy too. Imagine thinking that the sly weasely creature you have set off Evolution to evolve is going to go on buying the crap about the Deity caring for him or their being any reason to care what God wants - or to obey Him.
  6. @animalogic
    Great article.
    In public life it is best - & correct - to not make an issue about one's religious or non-religious beliefs. Religion is personal.
    The Tim Farron case is a disgrace. I am not a Christian, but I respect his right to profess such a belief -- given he does not lie about or try to thrust such a belief on people behind the cover of "objective" public policy. If we all know where we stand we a democratically free to vote for or against such views.
    I abhor both left & right when views are self righteously not even allowed to be mentioned.
    Example: if some vile turd wishes to say that "child love" is a good thing - fine: just give me a chance to verbally rip him to shreds. (Some will say physically rip him to shreds....but I'll leave that to a different discussion)

    Religion is personal.

    Presumably you mean “should be”. Clearly it is not personal, in societies in which it is not. Perhaps you just meant that is is that way in our society (though obviously it isn’t, given Faarron’s experience, and he’s far from alone).

    The Tim Farron case is a disgrace.

    Well, yes and no. It’s hard to have much sympathy for Farron himself, since as far as I’m aware he’s never stood up for all the other people harassed, discriminated against and excluded from public life, or even from private employment, for having politically incorrect views, and he has shared and promoted the general politically correct, taboo-ridden modern attitude that ultimately did for him too. And he has spent his career cringing and crouching before people who actively promote behaviour that he obviously knows at some level is straightforwardly morally wrong, and paying lip-service to the idea that those who engage in homosexual behaviour are some kind of special breed of human, rather than just being sinners like the rest of us who just happen to be drawn to sin in particular ways, in order to boost his political prospects.

    In general, it would be outrageous that anyone should be hounded out of a position for private religious belief, but political parties are rather different. The solution to disapproving of the LibDem party’s treatment of Farron is to leave the party, or vote for another if you are not a member. I appreciate that it’s not quite that simple given the broad political similarity of the establishment parties on most political correctness issues, and the active suppression of real alternatives, but that’s the theoretical position. I understand that if you were a LibDem supporter and a Christian then this new position of the party would upset you, of course.

    Read More
  7. @pensword
    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it's always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize "a different god" than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being ... well ... God.

    Couldn't get much simpler.

    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it’s always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize “a different god” than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being … well … God.

    Couldn’t get much simpler.

    I have to assume you are being intentionally obtuse. The basis for the claim that Muslims worship a different “god” stems from the testimony of the New Testament that those who reject Christ as Lord necessarily reject the Father who sent Him. They are a package deal. Muslims reject Christ as God and therefore reject God as a whole and therefore stand condemned. Couldn’t be simpler. I would implore you to read the New Testament, not merely to better inform yourself but because you will find there the words of salvation found only in faith in Christ.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JoaoAlfaiate
    Exactly. Christianity has Three Gods, but Islam has only One.
    , @pensword
    I have to assume you are being intentionally obtuse.

    You're obviously offended. Which I didn't intend.

    Just for your edification, I was born and raised in a household of Christians who read Scripture regularly. Your advice, as such, comes across as anodyne, though I won't assume you're being "intentionally obtuse."

    So which of the two makes sense:

    1. Claiming that there is only one God while accusing others of worshiping a "different god" or

    2. Claiming that there is only one God, while recognizing that others know Him differently?
  8. As I read all the comments on favoring or disfavoring Vought, it came to mind that a very important criteria for fitness to public office should be enforced. Have all political candidates go through psychological and technological evaluations to determine if they are psychopaths, sociopaths, sadists, narcissists, obsessive/compulsive, insane, of low intelligence, etc.. The results should made public. Then we citizens might make more evidence based decisions on voting, recall elections, etc. Of course, the opposition to this idea would be overwhelming from psychopaths, sociopaths, sadists, narcissists, etc.

    Read More
  9. @Anon
    Isn't it also relevant to Vought's flitness for high office that his mind is capable of such bizarre belief that punishment of a person after death is possible? It is true that a man of great intellect, Thomas More, expressed the view in his "Utopia" that it was a socially necessary belief, but aten't we intellectually beyond such pragmatism?

    Isn’t it also relevant to Vought’s flitness for high office that his mind is capable of such bizarre belief that punishment of a person after death is possible?

    Quite a sweeping assertion, given the huge numbers of human beings, at all levels of intellect, who believe and who have believed in some form of higher justice, and given the number of perfectly competent holders of high office who have held such a view.

    If the term weren’t so discredited by its routine abuse against traditionalists, nativists and conservatives, one might call it bigoted.

    Read More
  10. Would someone please ask Bernie Sanders if he believes that only Jews have souls?

    Read More
  11. *Religious Freedom is our First Freedom*

    Amendment I – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

    As the world threatens to shrink the value of religious beliefs, people of faith show that religious freedom is at the heart of what makes the world a better place. Religious freedom is the freedom of conscience; the freedom to think, act and follow one’s beliefs. In America, it is our first freedom.

    Read More
  12. It’s easy. Every country has an official religion, a worldview that defines good and evil. This is because every country has a law. The law must allow some behaviors and forbid other behaviors. Of course, the law must allow what it considers good and forbid what it considers evil. So a semi-coherent philosophical system that defines good and evil is needed. That is, an official religion.

    In Qatar, the official religion on which laws are based is Islam. In England, it’s liberalism (and its latest version, political correctness). A religion without God, like Buddhism or Taoism.

    There is no neutrality, because the law cannot be neutral. There are always an official religion, which is the public religion, which is the basis of the law.

    In addition, every country has semi-tolerated religions. These secondary religions are tolerated in the private realm as long as they don’t interfere with the official religion. In Qatar, one of these religions is Christianity. Christians are tolerated while they don’t exhibit their faith in public. In England, it’s Christianity, too.

    This Dennis Safran column is a model of hypocrisy and double-think. He wants to eat his cake and have it too. He wants the religious not to have freedom of expression while claiming we live in a pluralist democracy. I understand that Christianity is semi-tolerated in Qatar, but they don’t claim they are a pluralist democracy where all religions are equal.

    He wants for religious people to stop talking about their deepest beliefs (it’s not polite) , while at the same time the liberal religion can be freely indoctrinated in schools, media and everywhere (it’s polite to worship gods like Freedom, Equality, Diversity, Non-Discrimination – it’s polite to say that a man with penis is a woman, which is offensive for most of us). Your beliefs are unpolite and private, while my beliefs are polite and public. All this, while at the same time, claiming there is freedom of speech. Such a blatant hypocrite. He should go to Hell only because of that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    In Qatar, the official religion on which laws are based is Islam. In England, it’s liberalism (and its latest version, political correctness). A religion without God, like Buddhism or Taoism.
     
    The official religion of England is the Church of England of which the Queen is the head. However the Church of England is so tolerant and ecumenical that it has little force as a religion, even though it regularly tears itself apart over issues such as female bishops, same sex-marriages, and gay vicars, chiefly because the African wing of the Church of England is rather more socially conservative and would rather castrate gays.
  13. Sander’s vitriolic lashing out at Vought (see you tube video) is reminiscent of Caiaphas’ condemnation of Jesus. Apparently, both judges not happy with the implicit message within Christ’s ministry here on earth:

    I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Grace Jones
    Sen. Bernie Sanders is basically demanding that he abandon his religion in order to qualify for office, for no appropriate reason. The issue Bernie is hung up about is theological, namely what happens after death, not something practical like waging jihad against unbelievers in the here and now on earth.
  14. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @pensword
    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it's always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize "a different god" than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being ... well ... God.

    Couldn't get much simpler.

    I haven’t visited Europe of late but when I did visit and Erdogan was visiting at the same time, it was “news” that he counseled “his community” NOT to assimilate, instead to convert the locals to Islam. There are differences between the two religions, and in that context different gods – Christ is a God to Christians, not to Muslims for example. Swedish female friends currently tell me they’re trying to live in a living hell, that “they” want to take over. And rape is definitely one way to do it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @pensword
    I haven’t visited Europe of late but when I did visit and Erdogan was visiting at the same time, it was “news” that he counseled “his community” NOT to assimilate, instead to convert the locals to Islam.

    Since I know Turkish, I'd appreciate a link to the actual comments he made in his mother tongue. Until then, I can't accept your word at face value.

    There are differences between the two religions, and in that context different gods

    A logical fallacy on its face.

    Perhaps your "friends" would enjoy a trip to Palestine, Syria or Iraq, where they could meet some of my brothers and sisters, all of whom have experienced tragedy due to an Israeli-driven American foreign policy that you ignore in deference to a mere symptom of the problem.

    If you want to play anecdote poker, you'll need a better hand than that.
  15. @El Geherg

    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it’s always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize “a different god” than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being … well … God.

    Couldn’t get much simpler.
     
    I have to assume you are being intentionally obtuse. The basis for the claim that Muslims worship a different "god" stems from the testimony of the New Testament that those who reject Christ as Lord necessarily reject the Father who sent Him. They are a package deal. Muslims reject Christ as God and therefore reject God as a whole and therefore stand condemned. Couldn't be simpler. I would implore you to read the New Testament, not merely to better inform yourself but because you will find there the words of salvation found only in faith in Christ.

    Exactly. Christianity has Three Gods, but Islam has only One.

    Read More
  16. The ONLY type of Christianity that will be allowed is that which is cast upon the Americans by their jew leaders. Whatever the original jew story is about the Grand Boogieman will be followed. All else are homosexual child molesters and we all know that they will never be worthy of sucking on an infant penis like the Rabbi’s are. Mazel tov!

    Read More
  17. It’s time for agnostics to demand (and receive) the same level of tolerance (and legal protection) for their views that is routinely accorded citizens who profess a position based on religious faith.

    The freedom to remain steadfast and resolute must be expanded. There’s more to morality than the opaque Will of God.

    Yes, let’s continue to tolerate and protect from harm (and censorship) the beliefs of millions who adhere to religious convictions. But ‘faithless’ intellectuals deserve protection for their beliefs, too.

    Tolerance for various religious beliefs is part of our culture and traditions. It is enshrined in our Constitution. But one level of protection for one class of beliefs is unfair. The religious test leaves non-believers out in the cold.

    America’s legally-mandated ‘tolerance’ for religion should therefore be expanded to include beliefs that don’t involve theology.

    Why not give non-religious rationalism an equal spot at the table?

    Millions of science-oriented Americans don’t, for instance, subscribe to any of the miracle-drenched yarns found in the Holy Bible. Yet their secular belief systems deserve protection from government tyranny, too.

    Since Free Speech is under mounting pressure, it’s time to broaden our concept of ‘religious tolerance’ to include intellectual tolerance. Ideas matter.

    Expanding the umbrella of ‘religious protection’ into secular beliefs will give much-needed protection to Free Speech in general. With ‘speech crimes’ are on the rise, this broadened re-definition is sorely needed.

    Why for instance should the freedom to uphold traditional doubts about the ‘equality’ of homosexuality shrink when one steps away from of a church or synagogue? It shouldn’t.

    Agnostics should therefore be granted equal protection for their secular creeds.

    Indeed, why can’t an agnostic in America be allowed to reject any number of modern obligations or views based on his/her personal understanding of evolution or virtue or the betterment of civic life? Unfortunately, steadfast rejection of state edicts is primarily reserved for religious fundamentalists. This needs to change.

    Ironically, since secularists lack ‘religious conviction’, their freedom to say NO to the State is reduced. This leads to unequal treatment under the law.

    Besides, why should ‘matters of conscience’ derive exclusively from the Bible or some other ancient text? This legal loophole is flawed.

    After all, millions of Americans don’t read the Bible or particularly care what the Old or New Testament says about various moral questions. Yet these non-believers need protection for their convictions, too.

    The elevated Constitutional protection accorded God-given dogmas provides unequal protection from the State. Constitutional protections given to ‘religious conviction’ should be broadened to include secular convictions. This broadening will protect intellectual freedom and undermine the rise of speech criminalization.

    Non-believes should be granted an equal place at the political table–not exiled to the back of the bus.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    It's worse than you say. Scientology has been recognised as a religion in the United States since 1993. And think of the tsx advantages offered to loonies.
  18. Tim Farron should have been prepared for the question, but was not. “Are homosexuality and abortion sins?” He avoided the question so he could first consult a priest.

    A simple answer consistent with Farron’s views would have been “To answer that question, you should consult a priest. Homosexuality and abortion are legal and as far as I am concerned they will remain so.”

    The desire to bring down a God-bothering political leader is, however, understandable. Tony Blair disclosed that he had asked God whether he should invade Iraq, and God had replied in the affirmative. The idea that a leader’s perverted imagination can grant divine assent to an illegal war of aggression, and who knows what else, is one that we do not need.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    A simple answer consistent with Farron’s views would have been “To answer that question, you should consult a priest. Homosexuality and abortion are legal and as far as I am concerned they will remain so.”
     
    But the honest answer for Farron would have been: "yes".

    The answer you suggest is dishonest by omission. As such, bearing in mind it is exactly the kind of answer a successful politician would give, it's a good illustration of the inherent dishonesty of our politics.
  19. @imnobody00
    It's easy. Every country has an official religion, a worldview that defines good and evil. This is because every country has a law. The law must allow some behaviors and forbid other behaviors. Of course, the law must allow what it considers good and forbid what it considers evil. So a semi-coherent philosophical system that defines good and evil is needed. That is, an official religion.

    In Qatar, the official religion on which laws are based is Islam. In England, it's liberalism (and its latest version, political correctness). A religion without God, like Buddhism or Taoism.

    There is no neutrality, because the law cannot be neutral. There are always an official religion, which is the public religion, which is the basis of the law.

    In addition, every country has semi-tolerated religions. These secondary religions are tolerated in the private realm as long as they don't interfere with the official religion. In Qatar, one of these religions is Christianity. Christians are tolerated while they don't exhibit their faith in public. In England, it's Christianity, too.

    This Dennis Safran column is a model of hypocrisy and double-think. He wants to eat his cake and have it too. He wants the religious not to have freedom of expression while claiming we live in a pluralist democracy. I understand that Christianity is semi-tolerated in Qatar, but they don't claim they are a pluralist democracy where all religions are equal.

    He wants for religious people to stop talking about their deepest beliefs (it's not polite) , while at the same time the liberal religion can be freely indoctrinated in schools, media and everywhere (it's polite to worship gods like Freedom, Equality, Diversity, Non-Discrimination - it's polite to say that a man with penis is a woman, which is offensive for most of us). Your beliefs are unpolite and private, while my beliefs are polite and public. All this, while at the same time, claiming there is freedom of speech. Such a blatant hypocrite. He should go to Hell only because of that.

    In Qatar, the official religion on which laws are based is Islam. In England, it’s liberalism (and its latest version, political correctness). A religion without God, like Buddhism or Taoism.

    The official religion of England is the Church of England of which the Queen is the head. However the Church of England is so tolerant and ecumenical that it has little force as a religion, even though it regularly tears itself apart over issues such as female bishops, same sex-marriages, and gay vicars, chiefly because the African wing of the Church of England is rather more socially conservative and would rather castrate gays.

    Read More
    • Replies: @imnobody00

    The official religion of England is the Church of England of which the Queen is the head.
     
    If you define "official religion" as the religion laws say that it is official, you are right.

    If you define "official religion" as the religion on which laws are based you are wrong and I am right.

    A rhetorical appeal to the Church of England is useless if your laws are not based on this church, but in the religion of liberalism.

    Watch what they do, not what they say.
  20. @Randal

    Couldn’t get much simpler.
     
    In fairness, your lot came after Christianity and explicitly recognised Christ as a legitimate representative of God, so you are barred from saying they don't worship the same God. The same obviously isn't true for Christians.

    Talk of "a different God" is of course a polite euphemism (of exactly the kind the author of the piece above would presumably approve), since it is a foundational truth of Christianity as it is of Islam that there is only one God.

    In fairness, your lot came after Christianity

    “Muslim” is just a descriptor of “one who submits to God.” Thus, the Prophets of Israel, including Jesus, may be accurately identified as muslim. In addition to defining the Prophets of Israel and Jesus, my “lot” predates both of them by many generations.

    I don’t begrudge the professor his “polite euphemism,” much as I pity him for his ignorance.

    Read More
    • Replies: @imnobody00

    “Muslim” is just a descriptor of “one who submits to God.” Thus, the Prophets of Israel, including Jesus, may be accurately identified as muslim.
     
    According to Muslim distorsion of history. Of course, the Prophets of Israel and Jesus predate Islam by several centuries. Islam wants to claim an ancient history, claiming these Prophets as Muslim, when they were not. This is in the Qur'an, with BS such as Jesus never being crucified (which goes against all the historical record). But claiming something does not make it true.

    Notice too the dishonesty in the language. He uses "Muslim" as "one who submits to God" and the same time he uses "Muslim" as the name of a religion. This way, he can eat their cake and have it too.


    In addition to defining the Prophets of Israel and Jesus, my “lot” predates both of them by many generations.
     
    Claiming nonsense does not make it true.

    I don’t begrudge the professor his “polite euphemism,” much as I pity him for his ignorance.
     
    I don't begrudge pesnword for ignorance, much as I pity him for his religious indoctrination, which makes him unable to cope with the truth and forces him to embrace historical nonsense
  21. @El Geherg

    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it’s always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize “a different god” than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being … well … God.

    Couldn’t get much simpler.
     
    I have to assume you are being intentionally obtuse. The basis for the claim that Muslims worship a different "god" stems from the testimony of the New Testament that those who reject Christ as Lord necessarily reject the Father who sent Him. They are a package deal. Muslims reject Christ as God and therefore reject God as a whole and therefore stand condemned. Couldn't be simpler. I would implore you to read the New Testament, not merely to better inform yourself but because you will find there the words of salvation found only in faith in Christ.

    I have to assume you are being intentionally obtuse.

    You’re obviously offended. Which I didn’t intend.

    Just for your edification, I was born and raised in a household of Christians who read Scripture regularly. Your advice, as such, comes across as anodyne, though I won’t assume you’re being “intentionally obtuse.”

    So which of the two makes sense:

    1. Claiming that there is only one God while accusing others of worshiping a “different god” or

    2. Claiming that there is only one God, while recognizing that others know Him differently?

    Read More
  22. @Anon
    I haven't visited Europe of late but when I did visit and Erdogan was visiting at the same time, it was "news" that he counseled "his community" NOT to assimilate, instead to convert the locals to Islam. There are differences between the two religions, and in that context different gods - Christ is a God to Christians, not to Muslims for example. Swedish female friends currently tell me they're trying to live in a living hell, that "they" want to take over. And rape is definitely one way to do it.

    I haven’t visited Europe of late but when I did visit and Erdogan was visiting at the same time, it was “news” that he counseled “his community” NOT to assimilate, instead to convert the locals to Islam.

    Since I know Turkish, I’d appreciate a link to the actual comments he made in his mother tongue. Until then, I can’t accept your word at face value.

    There are differences between the two religions, and in that context different gods

    A logical fallacy on its face.

    Perhaps your “friends” would enjoy a trip to Palestine, Syria or Iraq, where they could meet some of my brothers and sisters, all of whom have experienced tragedy due to an Israeli-driven American foreign policy that you ignore in deference to a mere symptom of the problem.

    If you want to play anecdote poker, you’ll need a better hand than that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha

    a trip to Palestine, Syria or Iraq
     
    Where they'll find plenty of Christians (especially some of the oldest congregations) praying to "Allah".

    فِي الْبَدْءِ خَلَقَ **اللهُ** السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالارْضَ
    http://www.copticchurch.net/cgibin/bible/index.php?version=SVD&r=Genesis+1

    Wa salaam.
  23. @James N. Kennett
    Tim Farron should have been prepared for the question, but was not. "Are homosexuality and abortion sins?" He avoided the question so he could first consult a priest.

    A simple answer consistent with Farron's views would have been "To answer that question, you should consult a priest. Homosexuality and abortion are legal and as far as I am concerned they will remain so."

    The desire to bring down a God-bothering political leader is, however, understandable. Tony Blair disclosed that he had asked God whether he should invade Iraq, and God had replied in the affirmative. The idea that a leader's perverted imagination can grant divine assent to an illegal war of aggression, and who knows what else, is one that we do not need.

    A simple answer consistent with Farron’s views would have been “To answer that question, you should consult a priest. Homosexuality and abortion are legal and as far as I am concerned they will remain so.”

    But the honest answer for Farron would have been: “yes”.

    The answer you suggest is dishonest by omission. As such, bearing in mind it is exactly the kind of answer a successful politician would give, it’s a good illustration of the inherent dishonesty of our politics.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    The "inherent dishonesty" then in any attempt at governing people. Do you think shamans and witchdoctors even had a verbal or de facto concept of honesty? So, maybe like the Inquistors they should be taken to be totally honest; as honest as certain.
  24. @Randal

    Couldn’t get much simpler.
     
    In fairness, your lot came after Christianity and explicitly recognised Christ as a legitimate representative of God, so you are barred from saying they don't worship the same God. The same obviously isn't true for Christians.

    Talk of "a different God" is of course a polite euphemism (of exactly the kind the author of the piece above would presumably approve), since it is a foundational truth of Christianity as it is of Islam that there is only one God.

    “euphemism’”? Maybe, but what would God say about it? Presumably “idiocy” as I suspect He thinks He’s real and being Abrahamic the one and only Creator. Mind you He has His bouts of idiocy too. Imagine thinking that the sly weasely creature you have set off Evolution to evolve is going to go on buying the crap about the Deity caring for him or their being any reason to care what God wants – or to obey Him.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Second guessing, as you attempt here, an entity defined as infinite in knowledge and wisdom would seem to me to be rather rash.
  25. @Randal

    A simple answer consistent with Farron’s views would have been “To answer that question, you should consult a priest. Homosexuality and abortion are legal and as far as I am concerned they will remain so.”
     
    But the honest answer for Farron would have been: "yes".

    The answer you suggest is dishonest by omission. As such, bearing in mind it is exactly the kind of answer a successful politician would give, it's a good illustration of the inherent dishonesty of our politics.

    The “inherent dishonesty” then in any attempt at governing people. Do you think shamans and witchdoctors even had a verbal or de facto concept of honesty? So, maybe like the Inquistors they should be taken to be totally honest; as honest as certain.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    The “inherent dishonesty” then in any attempt at governing people.
     
    Dishonesty is inherent to the mass liberal democratic system in a way it is not necessarily to others, though human nature and the pragmatic needs of power doubtless mean that dishonesty is prevalent in all human governments.

    Power in our societies goes to those who can most successfully lie to enough people to get the votes they need, and our system powerfully selects for the most capable liars. Hence the rise of people like Blair to the very top.

  26. @Mark Green
    It's time for agnostics to demand (and receive) the same level of tolerance (and legal protection) for their views that is routinely accorded citizens who profess a position based on religious faith.

    The freedom to remain steadfast and resolute must be expanded. There's more to morality than the opaque Will of God.

    Yes, let's continue to tolerate and protect from harm (and censorship) the beliefs of millions who adhere to religious convictions. But 'faithless' intellectuals deserve protection for their beliefs, too.

    Tolerance for various religious beliefs is part of our culture and traditions. It is enshrined in our Constitution. But one level of protection for one class of beliefs is unfair. The religious test leaves non-believers out in the cold.

    America's legally-mandated 'tolerance' for religion should therefore be expanded to include beliefs that don't involve theology.

    Why not give non-religious rationalism an equal spot at the table?

    Millions of science-oriented Americans don't, for instance, subscribe to any of the miracle-drenched yarns found in the Holy Bible. Yet their secular belief systems deserve protection from government tyranny, too.

    Since Free Speech is under mounting pressure, it's time to broaden our concept of 'religious tolerance' to include intellectual tolerance. Ideas matter.

    Expanding the umbrella of 'religious protection' into secular beliefs will give much-needed protection to Free Speech in general. With 'speech crimes' are on the rise, this broadened re-definition is sorely needed.

    Why for instance should the freedom to uphold traditional doubts about the 'equality' of homosexuality shrink when one steps away from of a church or synagogue? It shouldn't.

    Agnostics should therefore be granted equal protection for their secular creeds.

    Indeed, why can't an agnostic in America be allowed to reject any number of modern obligations or views based on his/her personal understanding of evolution or virtue or the betterment of civic life? Unfortunately, steadfast rejection of state edicts is primarily reserved for religious fundamentalists. This needs to change.

    Ironically, since secularists lack 'religious conviction', their freedom to say NO to the State is reduced. This leads to unequal treatment under the law.

    Besides, why should 'matters of conscience' derive exclusively from the Bible or some other ancient text? This legal loophole is flawed.

    After all, millions of Americans don't read the Bible or particularly care what the Old or New Testament says about various moral questions. Yet these non-believers need protection for their convictions, too.

    The elevated Constitutional protection accorded God-given dogmas provides unequal protection from the State. Constitutional protections given to 'religious conviction' should be broadened to include secular convictions. This broadening will protect intellectual freedom and undermine the rise of speech criminalization.

    Non-believes should be granted an equal place at the political table--not exiled to the back of the bus.

    It’s worse than you say. Scientology has been recognised as a religion in the United States since 1993. And think of the tsx advantages offered to loonies.

    Read More
  27. @pensword
    Off-topic, but it never ceases to amuse me that it's always the self-professed Christian who claims that we muslims recognize "a different god" than him.

    We could never claim the same in return, of course. God being ... well ... God.

    Couldn't get much simpler.

    What do you think your god, Allah, God, Yahweh, El or whatever cares about – and why? (And why does it matter if He does?). Why for instance has he gone on ignoring the Hindus and Buddhists allowing them to go on breeding unbelievers in our well stocked world?

    Read More
    • Replies: @pensword
    What do you think your god, Allah, God, Yahweh, El or whatever cares about

    Well, He may not care.

    "I am as my servant sees Me," and if we think He doesn't care, then He doesn't care, because that's how we see Him. He gave us that freedom, the very one you're enjoying in order to see Him as irrelevant.

    – and why?

    He seeks company.

    (And why does it matter if He does?)

    Is there a difference between keeping good and bad company?

    Why for instance has he gone on ignoring the Hindus and Buddhists allowing them to go on breeding unbelievers in our well stocked world?

    Why do you imagine He's ignored them?
  28. @Wizard of Oz
    "euphemism'"? Maybe, but what would God say about it? Presumably "idiocy" as I suspect He thinks He's real and being Abrahamic the one and only Creator. Mind you He has His bouts of idiocy too. Imagine thinking that the sly weasely creature you have set off Evolution to evolve is going to go on buying the crap about the Deity caring for him or their being any reason to care what God wants - or to obey Him.

    Second guessing, as you attempt here, an entity defined as infinite in knowledge and wisdom would seem to me to be rather rash.

    Read More
  29. @Wizard of Oz
    The "inherent dishonesty" then in any attempt at governing people. Do you think shamans and witchdoctors even had a verbal or de facto concept of honesty? So, maybe like the Inquistors they should be taken to be totally honest; as honest as certain.

    The “inherent dishonesty” then in any attempt at governing people.

    Dishonesty is inherent to the mass liberal democratic system in a way it is not necessarily to others, though human nature and the pragmatic needs of power doubtless mean that dishonesty is prevalent in all human governments.

    Power in our societies goes to those who can most successfully lie to enough people to get the votes they need, and our system powerfully selects for the most capable liars. Hence the rise of people like Blair to the very top.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Not disagreeing so much as venting my tendency to quibble at any generalisation - with variation or qualification as much as negation.

    Given the generally acknowledged evolution of lie detection (actually not very good in most of us - but I believe spies are supposed to be good at it) there must be something more complicated in which action isn't all one way. Perhaps a study of mass delusions would be on target. Think of Trumpism as a South Sea Bubble?
  30. @pensword
    I haven’t visited Europe of late but when I did visit and Erdogan was visiting at the same time, it was “news” that he counseled “his community” NOT to assimilate, instead to convert the locals to Islam.

    Since I know Turkish, I'd appreciate a link to the actual comments he made in his mother tongue. Until then, I can't accept your word at face value.

    There are differences between the two religions, and in that context different gods

    A logical fallacy on its face.

    Perhaps your "friends" would enjoy a trip to Palestine, Syria or Iraq, where they could meet some of my brothers and sisters, all of whom have experienced tragedy due to an Israeli-driven American foreign policy that you ignore in deference to a mere symptom of the problem.

    If you want to play anecdote poker, you'll need a better hand than that.

    a trip to Palestine, Syria or Iraq

    Where they’ll find plenty of Christians (especially some of the oldest congregations) praying to “Allah”.

    فِي الْبَدْءِ خَلَقَ **اللهُ** السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالارْضَ

    http://www.copticchurch.net/cgibin/bible/index.php?version=SVD&r=Genesis+1

    Wa salaam.

    Read More
    • Replies: @pensword
    Shukran, akhi, for the reminder.

    In my time spent in the Middle East, I don't recall local Christians using any word other than ALLAH for God.
    , @Anon
    You'll hear Mormons talk about God, but they don't mean the same Being we do.
  31. My Catholic friends used to regularly warn me that I’d go to hell. We didn’t believe in their brand, so it didn’t bother me. Likewise with the fuss over LDS “baptizing” long-dead people of other religions.

    Read More
  32. @Mr. Hack
    Sander's vitriolic lashing out at Vought (see you tube video) is reminiscent of Caiaphas' condemnation of Jesus. Apparently, both judges not happy with the implicit message within Christ's ministry here on earth:

    I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QItHBuwgCdY

    Sen. Bernie Sanders is basically demanding that he abandon his religion in order to qualify for office, for no appropriate reason. The issue Bernie is hung up about is theological, namely what happens after death, not something practical like waging jihad against unbelievers in the here and now on earth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    The issue Bernie is hung up about is theological, namely what happens after death, not something practical like waging jihad against unbelievers in the here and now on earth.
     
    On the contrary, it appears that the champion of the poor and the oppressed is more concerned about the here and now and has recently purchased a third (vacation) home worth $575k, covering all contingencies. The thought of owning a mansion in heaven ('In my father's house there are many mansions') must seem way to far off to wait?
  33. @Wizard of Oz
    What do you think your god, Allah, God, Yahweh, El or whatever cares about - and why? (And why does it matter if He does?). Why for instance has he gone on ignoring the Hindus and Buddhists allowing them to go on breeding unbelievers in our well stocked world?

    What do you think your god, Allah, God, Yahweh, El or whatever cares about

    Well, He may not care.

    “I am as my servant sees Me,” and if we think He doesn’t care, then He doesn’t care, because that’s how we see Him. He gave us that freedom, the very one you’re enjoying in order to see Him as irrelevant.

    – and why?

    He seeks company.

    (And why does it matter if He does?)

    Is there a difference between keeping good and bad company?

    Why for instance has he gone on ignoring the Hindus and Buddhists allowing them to go on breeding unbelievers in our well stocked world?

    Why do you imagine He’s ignored them?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    "He seeks company". Splendid!. That's what I once said to a cardinal when I explained to him that I had worked out why God created the world. As I pointed out anyone eternal, omnipotent and omniscient is going to be lonely and bored. So he sets off the Big Bang and Evolution to watch what happens for his entertainment (it solves "the Problem of Evil" btw). Of course "made in his image" we know something about him and so we know he wouldn't just do it once. There surely are multiverses.

    He may not have ignored Hindus and Bddhists but if he cared about his creatures you would have thought he would have taken the trouble to make sure they got important knowledge about their Creator right.

  34. @Talha

    a trip to Palestine, Syria or Iraq
     
    Where they'll find plenty of Christians (especially some of the oldest congregations) praying to "Allah".

    فِي الْبَدْءِ خَلَقَ **اللهُ** السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالارْضَ
    http://www.copticchurch.net/cgibin/bible/index.php?version=SVD&r=Genesis+1

    Wa salaam.

    Shukran, akhi, for the reminder.

    In my time spent in the Middle East, I don’t recall local Christians using any word other than ALLAH for God.

    Read More
  35. Christians believe in a Triune God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Muslims do not.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey Suzy,

    And neither do the Jews. Which I think is the point being made; we believe in the same God (the God Who revealed Himself to Abraham. Moses, etc.) - but differ on His nature.

    Peace.
  36. @Randal

    The “inherent dishonesty” then in any attempt at governing people.
     
    Dishonesty is inherent to the mass liberal democratic system in a way it is not necessarily to others, though human nature and the pragmatic needs of power doubtless mean that dishonesty is prevalent in all human governments.

    Power in our societies goes to those who can most successfully lie to enough people to get the votes they need, and our system powerfully selects for the most capable liars. Hence the rise of people like Blair to the very top.

    Not disagreeing so much as venting my tendency to quibble at any generalisation – with variation or qualification as much as negation.

    Given the generally acknowledged evolution of lie detection (actually not very good in most of us – but I believe spies are supposed to be good at it) there must be something more complicated in which action isn’t all one way. Perhaps a study of mass delusions would be on target. Think of Trumpism as a South Sea Bubble?

    Read More
  37. @pensword
    What do you think your god, Allah, God, Yahweh, El or whatever cares about

    Well, He may not care.

    "I am as my servant sees Me," and if we think He doesn't care, then He doesn't care, because that's how we see Him. He gave us that freedom, the very one you're enjoying in order to see Him as irrelevant.

    – and why?

    He seeks company.

    (And why does it matter if He does?)

    Is there a difference between keeping good and bad company?

    Why for instance has he gone on ignoring the Hindus and Buddhists allowing them to go on breeding unbelievers in our well stocked world?

    Why do you imagine He's ignored them?

    “He seeks company”. Splendid!. That’s what I once said to a cardinal when I explained to him that I had worked out why God created the world. As I pointed out anyone eternal, omnipotent and omniscient is going to be lonely and bored. So he sets off the Big Bang and Evolution to watch what happens for his entertainment (it solves “the Problem of Evil” btw). Of course “made in his image” we know something about him and so we know he wouldn’t just do it once. There surely are multiverses.

    He may not have ignored Hindus and Bddhists but if he cared about his creatures you would have thought he would have taken the trouble to make sure they got important knowledge about their Creator right.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Very likely His Eminence found himself rendered mute by your "constant stream of conversation", as the saying goes.
    , @pensword
    That’s what I once said to a cardinal

    Very well.

    Since you have your answers already in hand, you won't be needing my assistance.

    Thank you.
  38. @Grace Jones
    Sen. Bernie Sanders is basically demanding that he abandon his religion in order to qualify for office, for no appropriate reason. The issue Bernie is hung up about is theological, namely what happens after death, not something practical like waging jihad against unbelievers in the here and now on earth.

    The issue Bernie is hung up about is theological, namely what happens after death, not something practical like waging jihad against unbelievers in the here and now on earth.

    On the contrary, it appears that the champion of the poor and the oppressed is more concerned about the here and now and has recently purchased a third (vacation) home worth $575k, covering all contingencies. The thought of owning a mansion in heaven (‘In my father’s house there are many mansions’) must seem way to far off to wait?

    Read More
  39. @Suzy
    Christians believe in a Triune God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Muslims do not.

    Hey Suzy,

    And neither do the Jews. Which I think is the point being made; we believe in the same God (the God Who revealed Himself to Abraham. Moses, etc.) – but differ on His nature.

    Peace.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    This is an involved philosophical argument; I think you have the right side in it, but it's not as simple as you suggest.
  40. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Talha

    a trip to Palestine, Syria or Iraq
     
    Where they'll find plenty of Christians (especially some of the oldest congregations) praying to "Allah".

    فِي الْبَدْءِ خَلَقَ **اللهُ** السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالارْضَ
    http://www.copticchurch.net/cgibin/bible/index.php?version=SVD&r=Genesis+1

    Wa salaam.

    You’ll hear Mormons talk about God, but they don’t mean the same Being we do.

    Read More
  41. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Talha
    Hey Suzy,

    And neither do the Jews. Which I think is the point being made; we believe in the same God (the God Who revealed Himself to Abraham. Moses, etc.) - but differ on His nature.

    Peace.

    This is an involved philosophical argument; I think you have the right side in it, but it’s not as simple as you suggest.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Agree that it's a complex issue. Edward Feser had a good write up about it from a Catholic perspective.

    Peace.

  42. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Wizard of Oz
    "He seeks company". Splendid!. That's what I once said to a cardinal when I explained to him that I had worked out why God created the world. As I pointed out anyone eternal, omnipotent and omniscient is going to be lonely and bored. So he sets off the Big Bang and Evolution to watch what happens for his entertainment (it solves "the Problem of Evil" btw). Of course "made in his image" we know something about him and so we know he wouldn't just do it once. There surely are multiverses.

    He may not have ignored Hindus and Bddhists but if he cared about his creatures you would have thought he would have taken the trouble to make sure they got important knowledge about their Creator right.

    Very likely His Eminence found himself rendered mute by your “constant stream of conversation”, as the saying goes.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Actually no. He knew he was being teased and said "i don't think that's quite standard Christian doctrine".

    On another occasion when I effectually raised the problem of evil to argue that the Abrahamic God was an impossibility because the Abrahamic God in all versions cared about His Creation and what we did but neglected to put the heretics right or inform the Buddhists, Hindus etc. he said "but He did give us free will". As it was a social occasion I chose not to bore on with "but it's not much use giving us free will if we aren't also told the true facts on which to exercise it". (Cf. Thomist Aristotelian views of when male and female foetuses "quickened" and thereby became ensouled persons).
  43. Why do people need religious justifications for opposing abortion or ‘gay marriage’ when rational and moral reasons are enough?

    I mean abortion is disgusting. It is about killing babies. It is gross and sickening. Just google for images of dead babies.

    Now, I support selective abortion because of race issues. I support it for blacks because fewer of them the better. But abortion is still ugly business. It is justified only for blacks whose babies will likely grow up to be thugs and bitches.

    As for ‘gay marriage’, why would any sane person want to associate a deeply meaningful biological and moral institution of marriage(the essential core of civilization) with degenerate homo behavior of fecal penetration, penis sucking, and tranny genital mutilation? (It’s like associating biology with the fake science of ‘creationism’ by invoking ‘science equality’.)
    Also, ‘gay marriage’ ends up supporting the bogus lie of ‘two daddies’ and ‘two mommies’. Two men or two women cannot produce life. They can only steal life created by real sexuality and PRETEND they are the parents. It’s all a lie.

    We don’t need religious reasons to oppose this rot.
    Now, maybe ‘gay marriage’, like abortion, should be allowed only for blacks because blacks make a mess of marriage anyway.
    With blacks, I don’t care if they have abortion or ‘gay marriage’. It’s like what that guys says in THE GODFATHER.

    As for this ‘going to hell’ business, who cares?
    I’ve never been religious and it never bothered me if any Christian thought I will burn in hell, if any Jew felt I’m not Chosen, if any Buddhist thought I’ll be reincarnated as a toad, or if any Hindu thought I was unworthy to worship a cow. The hell do I care. I don’t care because I don’t believe in hell or reincarnation or gods. That ends it right there. If someone believes in Star Trek religion and said I will end up in Gorn’s underworld upon death unless I worship Spock, I wouldn’t give a crap.
    Why would the non-religious care about what the religious think?

    It’s like, I can tell a friend that her smoking habit is gonna destroy her heart/lungs and kill her… but we can still be on good terms. I can disapprove of something in someone but get along on other terms.

    One thing for sure, those ‘secular leftists’ who persecute religious people are neo-religious and have dogmas and taboos of their own. Like Marxists of old, they think ‘science’ can only offer ONE TRUE HOLY PURE EXPLANATION. So, ‘science’ and ‘reason’ teach us that a man’s bung is as much a sex organ as a woman’s vagina.
    Actually, it takes FAITH to believe in such nonsense.

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  44. @Anon
    This is an involved philosophical argument; I think you have the right side in it, but it's not as simple as you suggest.

    Agree that it’s a complex issue. Edward Feser had a good write up about it from a Catholic perspective.

    Peace.

    Read More
  45. @Anon
    Very likely His Eminence found himself rendered mute by your "constant stream of conversation", as the saying goes.

    Actually no. He knew he was being teased and said “i don’t think that’s quite standard Christian doctrine”.

    On another occasion when I effectually raised the problem of evil to argue that the Abrahamic God was an impossibility because the Abrahamic God in all versions cared about His Creation and what we did but neglected to put the heretics right or inform the Buddhists, Hindus etc. he said “but He did give us free will”. As it was a social occasion I chose not to bore on with “but it’s not much use giving us free will if we aren’t also told the true facts on which to exercise it”. (Cf. Thomist Aristotelian views of when male and female foetuses “quickened” and thereby became ensouled persons).

    Read More
  46. Religion is at an individual level personal. The claims and the tenets of each religion are not. They are there to be studied and evaluated by anyone who cares to spend the time. They are subject to objective scrutiny and many if not most are found wanting on any simple common sense standards. Islam, the case in point, ‘a religion of peace’ is not such thing. It is barbaric and any reading of the Quran will verify this. Thomas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @pensword
    They are subject to objective scrutiny

    Scrutiny of religion is never objective.

    And if it were, it's quite obvious you haven't studied it objectively.
  47. @Wizard of Oz
    "He seeks company". Splendid!. That's what I once said to a cardinal when I explained to him that I had worked out why God created the world. As I pointed out anyone eternal, omnipotent and omniscient is going to be lonely and bored. So he sets off the Big Bang and Evolution to watch what happens for his entertainment (it solves "the Problem of Evil" btw). Of course "made in his image" we know something about him and so we know he wouldn't just do it once. There surely are multiverses.

    He may not have ignored Hindus and Bddhists but if he cared about his creatures you would have thought he would have taken the trouble to make sure they got important knowledge about their Creator right.

    That’s what I once said to a cardinal

    Very well.

    Since you have your answers already in hand, you won’t be needing my assistance.

    Thank you.

    Read More
  48. @Robyn Burgess
    Religion is at an individual level personal. The claims and the tenets of each religion are not. They are there to be studied and evaluated by anyone who cares to spend the time. They are subject to objective scrutiny and many if not most are found wanting on any simple common sense standards. Islam, the case in point, 'a religion of peace' is not such thing. It is barbaric and any reading of the Quran will verify this. Thomas.

    They are subject to objective scrutiny

    Scrutiny of religion is never objective.

    And if it were, it’s quite obvious you haven’t studied it objectively.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey Bro,

    Scrutiny of religion is never objective.
     
    I get pretty sick and tired of people approaching the topic of religion (especially Islam) fronting as if they are unbiased. It's stupid - everyone's biased - including myself. Drop the facade (as if they don't have an agenda - LOL!) and just be up front about it. This is what I told one of my interlocutors a little while ago:
    "Let’s not play games – both of us have an agenda here."

    Wa salaam.

  49. @pensword
    They are subject to objective scrutiny

    Scrutiny of religion is never objective.

    And if it were, it's quite obvious you haven't studied it objectively.

    Hey Bro,

    Scrutiny of religion is never objective.

    I get pretty sick and tired of people approaching the topic of religion (especially Islam) fronting as if they are unbiased. It’s stupid – everyone’s biased – including myself. Drop the facade (as if they don’t have an agenda – LOL!) and just be up front about it. This is what I told one of my interlocutors a little while ago:
    “Let’s not play games – both of us have an agenda here.”

    Wa salaam.

    Read More
    • Replies: @pensword
    wa 'alaikumus-salaam!

    I usually don't respond to such comments, as they are legion here.

    They originate either from the zionist camp, or from those who have imbibed a bit too much of their kool-aid, however "Christian" their posture may appear. Those who profess to love Jesus don't make it their agenda to vilify others who love him as well, not unless they've been convinced by a third party to ignore our reverence for Jesus 'alaihis-salaam.

    As such, the anti-Islam brigade is clearly NOT Christian in the truest sense of the term.
  50. @Talha
    Hey Bro,

    Scrutiny of religion is never objective.
     
    I get pretty sick and tired of people approaching the topic of religion (especially Islam) fronting as if they are unbiased. It's stupid - everyone's biased - including myself. Drop the facade (as if they don't have an agenda - LOL!) and just be up front about it. This is what I told one of my interlocutors a little while ago:
    "Let’s not play games – both of us have an agenda here."

    Wa salaam.

    wa ‘alaikumus-salaam!

    I usually don’t respond to such comments, as they are legion here.

    They originate either from the zionist camp, or from those who have imbibed a bit too much of their kool-aid, however “Christian” their posture may appear. Those who profess to love Jesus don’t make it their agenda to vilify others who love him as well, not unless they’ve been convinced by a third party to ignore our reverence for Jesus ‘alaihis-salaam.

    As such, the anti-Islam brigade is clearly NOT Christian in the truest sense of the term.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Salaam pensword,

    They originate either from the zionist camp, or from those who have imbibed a bit too much of their kool-aid
     
    I had no idea how much this constant 24/7 anti-Islam distortion campaign is connected to the hip with well-funded Zionist/Neocon elements and organizations.

    Before I started research into it, I would have thought it was a conspiracy story if someone told me this a few years ago. Now it is just too obvious to ignore where it's coming from.

    This doesn't mean all Jewish people are in on it, just the rabid Zionist types - some of the best honest academic works on Islam I've come across from non-Muslim sources have been from Jewish researchers.

    Wa salaam.

  51. @pensword
    wa 'alaikumus-salaam!

    I usually don't respond to such comments, as they are legion here.

    They originate either from the zionist camp, or from those who have imbibed a bit too much of their kool-aid, however "Christian" their posture may appear. Those who profess to love Jesus don't make it their agenda to vilify others who love him as well, not unless they've been convinced by a third party to ignore our reverence for Jesus 'alaihis-salaam.

    As such, the anti-Islam brigade is clearly NOT Christian in the truest sense of the term.

    Salaam pensword,

    They originate either from the zionist camp, or from those who have imbibed a bit too much of their kool-aid

    I had no idea how much this constant 24/7 anti-Islam distortion campaign is connected to the hip with well-funded Zionist/Neocon elements and organizations.

    Before I started research into it, I would have thought it was a conspiracy story if someone told me this a few years ago. Now it is just too obvious to ignore where it’s coming from.

    This doesn’t mean all Jewish people are in on it, just the rabid Zionist types – some of the best honest academic works on Islam I’ve come across from non-Muslim sources have been from Jewish researchers.

    Wa salaam.

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  52. some of the best honest academic works on Islam I’ve come across from non-Muslim sources have been from Jewish researchers.

    “God opens to Japheth” is prophecy. Just as this is.

    Some have a vested interest in our sources. The imprimatur of honesty is necessary to conceal the linchpin analyses.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Salaam pensword,

    Though I agree some are insincere, I believe some of them to be sincere in their research - depends on who. You can usually tell by the "angle" they are trying to spin it.

    That link was pretty cool - mashaAllah.

    As you likely know, that word used for 'stranger' in that hadith is ghurabaa which is formed from the root (غرب) which is the same root for the word Maghreb (the West). The blessed 'stranger' in the hadith and West are inextricably linked by that lexical connection.

    Wa salaam.
  53. @pensword
    some of the best honest academic works on Islam I’ve come across from non-Muslim sources have been from Jewish researchers.

    "God opens to Japheth" is prophecy. Just as this is.

    Some have a vested interest in our sources. The imprimatur of honesty is necessary to conceal the linchpin analyses.

    Salaam pensword,

    Though I agree some are insincere, I believe some of them to be sincere in their research – depends on who. You can usually tell by the “angle” they are trying to spin it.

    That link was pretty cool – mashaAllah.

    As you likely know, that word used for ‘stranger’ in that hadith is ghurabaa which is formed from the root (غرب) which is the same root for the word Maghreb (the West). The blessed ‘stranger’ in the hadith and West are inextricably linked by that lexical connection.

    Wa salaam.

    Read More
  54. @Jonathan Mason

    In Qatar, the official religion on which laws are based is Islam. In England, it’s liberalism (and its latest version, political correctness). A religion without God, like Buddhism or Taoism.
     
    The official religion of England is the Church of England of which the Queen is the head. However the Church of England is so tolerant and ecumenical that it has little force as a religion, even though it regularly tears itself apart over issues such as female bishops, same sex-marriages, and gay vicars, chiefly because the African wing of the Church of England is rather more socially conservative and would rather castrate gays.

    The official religion of England is the Church of England of which the Queen is the head.

    If you define “official religion” as the religion laws say that it is official, you are right.

    If you define “official religion” as the religion on which laws are based you are wrong and I am right.

    A rhetorical appeal to the Church of England is useless if your laws are not based on this church, but in the religion of liberalism.

    Watch what they do, not what they say.

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  55. @pesnword
    In fairness, your lot came after Christianity

    "Muslim" is just a descriptor of "one who submits to God." Thus, the Prophets of Israel, including Jesus, may be accurately identified as muslim. In addition to defining the Prophets of Israel and Jesus, my "lot" predates both of them by many generations.

    I don't begrudge the professor his "polite euphemism," much as I pity him for his ignorance.

    “Muslim” is just a descriptor of “one who submits to God.” Thus, the Prophets of Israel, including Jesus, may be accurately identified as muslim.

    According to Muslim distorsion of history. Of course, the Prophets of Israel and Jesus predate Islam by several centuries. Islam wants to claim an ancient history, claiming these Prophets as Muslim, when they were not. This is in the Qur’an, with BS such as Jesus never being crucified (which goes against all the historical record). But claiming something does not make it true.

    Notice too the dishonesty in the language. He uses “Muslim” as “one who submits to God” and the same time he uses “Muslim” as the name of a religion. This way, he can eat their cake and have it too.

    In addition to defining the Prophets of Israel and Jesus, my “lot” predates both of them by many generations.

    Claiming nonsense does not make it true.

    I don’t begrudge the professor his “polite euphemism,” much as I pity him for his ignorance.

    I don’t begrudge pesnword for ignorance, much as I pity him for his religious indoctrination, which makes him unable to cope with the truth and forces him to embrace historical nonsense

    Read More
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