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Source: (consider it) Thread: What should we do about 'our own' terrorists?
Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It is entirely possible to deplore cut-throat business practices wherever they occur. And to observe that statistically speaking Jewish communities have been particularly prone to this evil.

Any link to those statistics?
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Jamat
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quote:
Gamaliel: Acknowledging that Charlemagne acted in ways that were commensurate to some extent with the prevailing worldview of his time is one thing. Using that to validate his worldview is quite another.
No, You once again misunderstand.

It is not that his worldview is validated, just the fact that he can legitimately have such a worldview. That is what your position validates.

And if that is the case, then he was or could have been, acting in good faith, according to what he thought was a 'Christian' motive.

However, no such motive could possibly be called Christian in any valid hermeneutical sense despite whatever his yours or anyone else's worldviews was.

You are also, despite denying it, suggesting he was a victim of his worldview.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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I am making fine distinctions which are clearly too subtle for you to understand.

Being a product of one's environment doesn't mean that one is a 'victim' to it.

Even if Charlemagne had sincerely believed that it was ok to kill people in order to enforce religious uniformity - which would have been seen as part and parcel of keeping the peace in those days - it doesn't follow that he was compelled I'm at deterministic sense,to follow that through.

He could have shown clemency. He didn't.

Being a product of his time doesn't give him a free pass or let him off the hook any more than you or I are off the hook because we operate according to the mores and values of our own time to some extent or other, despite our adherence to the Gospel.

Charlemagne is an extreme example, of course.

I've cited Cromwell as another example. What can we say in his case? Some good things, some bad things, some indifferent. Same with Charles 1st.

Very few rulers have been complete and utter pantomime villains. Ivan The Terrible was clearly a psycho, though. Then there was Rios Montte in Guatemala, hardly a glowing adornment to the Gospel.

In all these cases we can cite socio-economic and cultural influences that helped shape the way they acted. That doesn't legitimise what they did.

I don't see why you are making such heavy-weather out of this.

My only conclusion has to be that you find it threatening in some way to your very brittle, black-and-white approach to the Bible and to matters of faith - as if to acknowledge contextual influences is some kind of slippery slope towards relativism and permissiveness.

Either that or you are unable to understand what I am actually trying to say because you lack the capacity to apply nuanced thought.

I rather think it's the former, but either way, it's your problem not mine.

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mr cheesy
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I don't think it lets him off the hook exactly, but at least to some extent makes him less culpable.

Imagine if we're transported into the future and we find that we're taken to a court to stand trial for something which wasn't a crime in our time but was just part of conventional wisdom.

Let's say plane travel: our future descendants decide that the damage is so terrible that they're going to go back and take us to trial.

We'd probably stand in the dock in incomprehension. We might understand the words that were being used but would likely find it extremely hard to understand why this was a crime given it was a normal part of life in our time.

Just like our societies are set up with the assumption that driving and flying are morally neutral (despite widespread understanding of the impacts of burning fossil fuels), theirs was set up with a different understanding of religious violence to ours.

And it wasn't as if they had plenty of other examples of better behaviour or religious traditions which challenged the widespread view. It was part and parcel of the common understanding of the time of what it meant to be Christian.

[ 21. August 2017, 08:17: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Gamaliel
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Sure, but not all rulers in Christendom carried out mass executions on the scale Charlemagne is meant to have done - and equally, as Kaplan has pointed out, it's not as if Charlemagne was assiduous in observing other stipulations such as, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery ...' which was something that wasn't tolerated in his time - unless you were a ruler and could get away with it ...

I think we have to bear a few things in mind here, namely that the Saxons Charlemagne executed were seen as rebels and had slaughtered some of Charlemagne's subjects. That doesn't make the mass execution any less terrible, but to some extent Charlemagne and his contemporaries would have seen it as just recompense for what they'd have considered war-crimes.

The fact that they'd annexed Saxony and barged into someone else's territory would have been seen as irrelevant.

The British colonial authorities in Kenya justified mass detentions, torture and even summary execution of Mau Mau insurgents on similar grounds.

Yes, the Mau Mau had committed atroctities. The colonial authorities also committed atrocities and grave abuses of human rights in their counter-insurgency measures. Big time.

So, it's not as if the 4,500 Saxons were executed purely because they were pagans. They were executed partly in retribution for their 'rebellion' and partly to deter others.

Ok, the blanket edict that if any of the Saxons didn't get baptised in future is far more problematic, but again, at that time it was the expectation that subjects would conform to whatever the ruler's religion happened to be.

It's one thing to say, 'Ah, they had the New Testament, if they'd had read it properly they'd have realised ...'

But the fact is, as mr cheesy points out, they didn't have any readily available models of how else societies should or could be run.

That's why I cited slavery as an example.

Sure, there were qualms about slavery from the earliest times - you can see a certain ambivalence in the NT itself - 'slave traders' are listed among those who will not 'inherit the kingdom of God.'

But the particular conditions required to facilitate the abolition of slavery as an institution - even if such a thing had been contemplated - didn't come into play for many hundreds of years.

That's the point I'm making and which Jamat, with his typical wooden reductionism, is contesting.

'They had the NT, they should have known better ...'

I've got the New Testament. In and of itself, that doesn't stop me being a sinner or doing things every single day that are in contradiction to its teachings and the faith I profess.

Charlemagne and his advisors had the NT. That didn't stop them behaving in ways that we now consider at variance with its teachings.

It takes many centuries for these things to work themselves through and for the leaven to work its way through the lump. We are always living in the tension between the now and the not yet.

Was Charlemagne's society 'Christianised'? Yes, to some extent. That doesn't mean it was completely transformed in every respect.

Any more than it means that a particular congregation of Christians anywhere in the world have got everything completely sussed.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, but not all rulers in Christendom carried out mass executions on the scale Charlemagne is meant to have done - and equally, as Kaplan has pointed out, it's not as if Charlemagne was assiduous in observing other stipulations such as, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery ...' which was something that wasn't tolerated in his time - unless you were a ruler and could get away with it ...

OK, I don't know how he justified that. Maybe he looked at the biblical example of Solomon and decided that if he was a leader anointed by the deity that normal rules didn't apply.

Or maybe he was just conflicted and his sexual urges contradicted the theology he said he believed in. I've no idea.

But there does seem to me to be a big difference between being conflicted and/or making excuses for actions that you know deep-down are in conflict with your beliefs on one hand and in believing something is part and parcel of your belief on the other.

Kaplan and Jamat seem to be arguing, against all historical evidence, that those who believed in the Crusader model must have somehow known that what they were doing was unchristian.

The harder truth, which appears to be supported by the historical evidence, is that the people who had that mentality saw it as being entirely consistent with their theology.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, absolutely.

I suspect it's because both Kaplan and Jamat find it hard to conceive of theology and hermeneutics operating in any way other than the models they are used to.

Kaplan less so.

Consequently, there's the assumption that if any of us try to understand how theology worked in a medieval context then we are somehow seeking to validate it or condone it.

They both ought to get out more.

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Jamat
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quote:
I am making fine distinctions which are clearly too subtle for you to understand.
No, Gamaliel, what you are continually doing is denying the implications of what you are asserting. You are wanting to have and eat your cake mate. It comes down to culture blinded them but they are still responsible? Nah mate.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
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Gamaliel
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Why are you so binary?

If someone does something that is socially conditioned to some extent, it doesn't absolve them of responsibility.

I've said that Charlemagne could have shown clemency. That would have been an option open to him even with an early mediaeval mindset.

He chose not to exercise clemency.

What Cromwell did at Drogheda and Wexford was, technically speaking, in line with the rules of warfare at that time. In each case the garrison fought on after the walls were breached which meant that an attacking force was not obliged to show quarter. Cromwell wiped them out, and plenty of non-combatants with them, including priests and monks.

Because it fell within the accepted rules of engagement and conventions of the time, does that make it any less heinous?

Was the allied bombing of Dresden any less horrific because the Germans had bombed British cities?

For some reason you appear completely incapable of nuanced thought. Consequently you not only misinterpret what I am saying but you presume to tell me what I really mean and that I am incapable of understanding the implications of what I am saying.

The irony of that is completely beyond. It beggars belief. I have never, ever in all my born days come across anyone as apparently incapable of nuanced thinking as your good self.

I am utterly astonished.

Either you work very hard at it or it comes naturally. I suspect it's a matter of conditioning.

If it is the latter, does that exonerate you in any way? No, it doesn't. It explains but does not excuse.

That's what I've been trying to do with the Charlemagne thing. Explain but not excuse.

Somehow you can't seem to grasp the difference.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
No-one has produced a "derivation of Christian violence" from Romans 13 that is remotely convincing - that is anything other, in fact, than a desperate debating point with no exegetical backing.

The facts that neither Paul nor any other NT figure explicitly teaches Christian religious violence; that the whole of the NT (especially Christ) explicitly rejects Christian religious violence; and that in religious matters Paul and others in fact defy the authority of the very government to which Paul refers; constitute a refutation which no-one has countered.

You're simultaneously arguing that the whole of the NT explicitly rejects religious violence and arguing that although the NT doesn't explicitly reject religious violence the NT doesn't need to do so any more than it explicitly rejects cruelty to animals and arson.

I can think of two lines of argument that can lead from the NT to justify religious violence. While they're wrong, your position is not merely that they're wrong but that they're obviously wrong.

1) Romans 13 says the governing authorities are there to punish wrongdoers. The NT nowhere clearly states the limits of wrongdoing that the governing authorities are there to punish.
Take the Noachide laws as an example. Non-Christian Jews put them forward as the seven laws that if followed would qualify a Gentile as righteous. They are: do not deny God; do not blaspheme against God; do not murder; do not engage in illicit sexual relations; do not steal; do not eat from a live animals; and set up courts to enforce all of the above laws.
Modern liberal readers take it that 'do not deny God' and 'do not blaspheme against God' are in a different category from 'do not murder' and 'do not steal' in that they are not proper subjects for the courts to enforce. Whereas the writers of the Noachide laws clearly believed that they fell under the same category and were proper subjects for the laws to enforce. Someone who comes to Romans 13 and says 'do not deny God' is not the kind of wrongdoing that the governing authorities should enforce is just as much bringing their assumption to the text as a believer in the Noachide laws who thinks 'do not deny God' is bringing their assumption.
Most Christians throughout history have not found a clear condemnation of the secular death penalty in Romans 13. If injunctions to forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and love of one's enemies do not amount to a clear condemnation of the death penalty it appears that they don't amount to a clear condemnation of other forms of violence.
Likewise, it is possible for a believer to believe that the NT justifies violence in a just cause. But it nowhere clearly states what is and is not a just cause.

2) The NT says that all of the OT is useful for teaching truth, refuting error, etc etc. Therefore it says that the exploits of Joshua and the commands of Samuel against the Amalekites are useful etc etc. You may think that they can't be teaching that genocide is sometimes morally acceptable, because you already think that genocide is never morally acceptable. But someone who doesn't already think that on other grounds is not going to reject the conclusion. To argue that the NT clearly rejects religious genocide you have to argue that the rejection is clearer than the statement in Joshua and Samuel that religious genocide has sometimes been commanded.

quote:
most Muslims themselves (including the ones I know) would think that there is an "evil", ie a propensity on the part of a minority to practise or sympathise with indiscriminate terrorist violence, present within the broader Muslim community.
I might equally say that many Christians, including most of those I know, think there is a propensity on the part of many present within the broader Christian community to practice or sympathise with xenophobia and racism and to overly quickly justify or refrain from condemning violence against the targets of those.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Jamat
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quote:
but you presume to tell me what I really mean
Well, you do not seem to grasp that all this nuanced thinking leads down a path of dissonance.
You have to say he was wrong but still Christian. I say, no 'Christianity' is involved because in any age, violent aggressive Christianity, if the 'christian' is real,is an oxymoron.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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Again,you don't appear to understand what I am actually saying.

Saying that someone behaved in a manner that they believed was 'Christian' does not mean that it actually was fully Christian.

It's a bit like saying that if I've got a half full glass of water rather than a full one, I don't actually have a glass of water. I can still drink from that glass, but I don't have a full one.

The irony here is that you are accusing me of relativism and dissonance whilst demonstrating double-standards and relativism yourself.

You've already indicated that you are prepared to cut Cromwell more slack than Charlemagne - on the grounds that Cromwell, in your view, acted in a way that was commensurate with his conscience and that for all the bad things he did,vat least he didn't proclaim himself King ...

If that's not a case of moral relativism, I don't know what is.

But for some reason that's less reprehensible in your view than what Charlemagne did. Granted, Cromwell was more pluralistic and tolerant on his religious polity than medieval rulers would have been - but that's because he lived several hundred years later and shifts and changes had taken and were taking place.

So you are already demonstrating a certain selectiveness, which is something that the fundamentalist mindset always does whilst insisting otherwise.

Yes, I think that acts of 'Christian' violence are oxymoronic, but history shows that Christians of various stripes are perfectly capable of sanctioning or carrying out acts of violence. Sadly.

That doesn't make it right or acceptable.

It's simply to acknowledge that it can and does happen.

I really hope that the current simmering political tensions in the USA don't spill over into further and widespread violence and civil unrest. If they do, and I pray they don't, then I am afraid I'd fully expect conservative and fundamentalist Christians of various stripes to be engaged in the violence alongside those with no discernible faith position.

Of course, not all of them would be. But some would and they'd twist and distort the scriptures to justify it.

Again, to explain is not to excuse. Whatever grounds they might use to justify their behaviour would be wrong. Charlemagne was wrong to act how he did. We can put it into context and try to understand the medieval world-view but that doesn't condone it.

I really don't see why that is such a difficult concept to grasp unless someone has some kind of blind-spot or a completely black-and-white and unnuanced position.

Which is the conclusion I've long since come to in your case, I'm afraid.

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Jamat
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quote:
Yes,I think that acts of 'Christian' violence are oxymoronic, but history shows that Christians of various stripes are perfectly capable of sanctioning or carrying out acts of violence. Sadly
That's your dissonance,right there. You cannot say acts like that carried out in Christ's name,are not 'Christian', if they are done by Christians. So you continually prevaricate with your 'nuancing'.
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Curiosity killed ...

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This seems to be where the dissonance is. Jamat, you seem to be saying that if an action, whether carried out in the past or present, does not fit within actions you perceive as Christian it is not a Christian action. Full stop.

For me, and it seems others posting on this thread, I am having problems with a number of issues:
  • that different Christian traditions interpret christian themes in different ways, so I assume (from your posting history as well as this thread) that you are saying that you do not perceive the majority of those who believe themselves Christian to be Christian?
  • that past actions carried out by those who perceived themselves as acting in a Christian way, such as that of James I (& VI) and Charles I, who were both known to be religious men in their times, but you cannot perceive them as Christian as their actions are not as you see as Christian actions should be;
  • that there are inherent problems within the Bible - Kaplan Corday has agreed with me that the killing of every living thing in Jericho, excepting Rahab, does not seem to be a Christian action. This then suggests the Old Testament God is not the same as the New Testament God, which you have explained as being our lack of understanding of God.

Does this seem to summarise the issues?

(Sorry to disappear, but I was moving my daughter over the weekend, again, and only had a phone with me, so I have been reading, but not posting)

[ 22. August 2017, 06:39: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]

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mr cheesy
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It seems to me that it is even more problematic than that: Evangelicalism evolved as a distinct paradigm built step-by-step on theology set out by those whom Jamat is claiming were unchristian.

That's like saying King James was an evil degenerate who had no truth in him - but that KJV is the only accurate version of the bible.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:


Imagine if we're transported into the future and we find that we're taken to a court to stand trial for something which wasn't a crime in our time but was just part of conventional wisdom.

Let's say plane travel: our future descendants decide that the damage is so terrible that they're going to go back and take us to trial.

We'd probably stand in the dock in incomprehension. We might understand the words that were being used but would likely find it extremely hard to understand why this was a crime given it was a normal part of life in our time.

Imagine instead that today's Christians were transported into the future and accused by Christians centuries hence of having lived lives of luxury (which, compared to those of most people in the developing world, we do, even if our lifestyles are modest by Western standards) in defiance of Christ's words about sharing and caring and loving and providing.

We know now that we are guilty and would have no defence.

In other words, it is perfectly possible to do what is scripturally wrong out of pragmatism, inertia, cultural pressure and laziness - but not ignorance.

"Could not have done otherwise given their historical and cultural milieu" is a straw person.

[ 22. August 2017, 07:12: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Imagine instead that today's Christians were transported into the future and accused by Christians centuries hence of having lived lives of luxury (which, compared to those of most people in the developing world, we do, even if our lifestyles are modest by Western standards) in defiance of Christ's words about sharing and caring and loving and providing.

We know now that we are guilty and would have no defence.

I don't see that this example has to do with anything other than asserting that those in the past were doing things they knew were wrong and unchristian.

quote:
In other words, it is perfectly possible to do what is scripturally wrong out of pragmatism, inertia, cultural pressure and laziness - but not ignorance.
Rubbish. It is perfectly possible to read the bible in different ways to you and then to act without a troubled conscience in ways you find disgusting.

quote:
"Could not have done otherwise given their historical and cultural milieu" is a straw person.
Why is it? How can you possibly know that they knew what they were doing was wrong - given all the historical evidence suggests the opposite?

Once again, asserting your view is not evidence for your position.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
The NT nowhere clearly states the limits of wrongdoing that the governing authorities are there to punish.
Does not clearly state, but very clearly implies in a variety of ways, including the complete absence of any reference in Christ's words to Christian state religious violence as the vehicle of protecting and propagating his message - something of an oversight if in fact that was what he intended.

quote:
The NT says that all of the OT is useful for teaching truth, refuting error, etc etc.
It is no more difficult to understand a NT discontinuation of OT religious violence on the part of the people of God, as a NT discontinuation of the Tabernacle/Temple sacrificial system.

quote:

While they're wrong, your position is not merely that they're wrong but that they're obviously wrong.

Your position is that that they are "obviously" wrong also, or you would be busy teaching and practising them instead of wasting time setting out crappy hypothetical justifications for them which you don't believe.
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Martin60
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People have always gone along with 'what the Bible says' against their conscience.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
People have always gone along with 'what the Bible says' against their conscience.

Yeah, that too.

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arse

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Your position is that that they are "obviously" wrong also, or you would be busy teaching and practising them instead of wasting time setting out crappy hypothetical justifications for them which you don't believe.

"Obviously" is your word, IIRC. Certainly you were insisting upon it earlier. Now you seem to be implying that you recognise no difference between 'wrong' and '"obviously" wrong'.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Gamaliel
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It's only 'obviously wrong' if you believe that it would have been 'obviously wrong' to Charlemagne and his contemporaries.

Yes, Charlemagne had the option of showing clemency. That would have been valued as a virtue in the middle-ages just as much as at other times.

It certainly wasn't the case that people in medieval times weren't aware that there was something problematic about violence - and that hasn't been what I've been suggesting.

We can laugh, despair, roll our eyes or stand open jawed at the way they sought to get around some of these things - Bishop Odo carrying a mace into the Battle of Hastings rather than a sword, for instance, in order to comply with the prohibition on clergy bearing the sword ...

If your brains are knocked out by a knobbly club you are still just as dead as you would be if you were slashed or run through with a sword ...

Who was the cleric who wielded a mace against the Saracens at the Battle of Roncesvailles according to the Chanson de Roland?

Let's not get too binary here - if that is at all possible for some posters.

The more nuanced position I'm trying to put forward doesn't lead to prevarication at all.

I don't know how many times I have to state it but Jamat refuses to accept that seeking to explain or understand something isn't the same as condoning or excusing it.

In law we have concepts such as 'diminished responsibility'. That doesn't elide culpability.

It's almost as if Jamat - and Kaplan too to some extent - think that if we accept that people like the Crusaders and Charlemagne were acting in accordance with their understanding of the Christian faith then the faith itself is somehow compromised.

Just because they understood it in a way that we find repugnant doesn't mean that the faith itself is thereby compromised.

Once again, I submit that it betrays a lack of understanding - particularly on Jamat's part - of how interpretative frameworks operate.

Kaplan's point of view makes more sense and is subtly different to Jamat's but to all intents and purposes I think he makes a similar mistake.

How does Jamat deal with the example of George Whitefield, for instance? Whitefield's theology was closer to Jamat's than that of the medieval Catholics, of course, but Whitefield believed that slavery was a good thing.

Plenty of Southern US Christians believed that in the 19th century too, that it wasn't ideal but something ordained providentially in order to 'civilise' black people ... yadda yadda yadda ...

To us that sounds absolutely crass and indefensible. Yet that's what they believed and they quoted chapter and verse to prove it.

--------------------
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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It is entirely possible to deplore cut-throat business practices wherever they occur. And to observe that statistically speaking Jewish communities have been particularly prone to this evil.

Any link to those statistics?
I have no idea whether anything of the sort can be demonstrated with any statistics that exist this side of the pearly gates.

My point is that to qualify as anti-Semitic or anti-Catholic or anti-Muslim or anti-anything someone needs to have a certain animosity towards the group in question. There has to be an axe to grind, a sense that the who is more important than the what. An "any stick will do to beat a dog with" attitude.

A belief that as a matter of fact some cultures are more prone to some evils than others - even a mistaken belief along those lines - isn't enough to qualify.

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I don't think anyone is presenting Charlemagne's execution of rebellious pagan Saxons as a 'Christian act.'

So the relevance of that act to Islamic terrorism is ?

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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It's relevant in an indirect way.

Some here are trying to present violent jihadism as a position that is consistent with an Islamic hermeneutic ie - it can legitimately be derived from the Quran whereas 'Christian' terrorism can't be derived from the Bible unless you are some kind of bastard or you misinterpret the 'plain meaning.'

What I've been suggesting to responses of 'la la la la we're not listening' from one particularly reductionist poster whose name begins with J and other less reductionist but equally myopic arguments presented by someone whose name begins with K, is that such acts can be carried out by people with a broadly Christian worldview provided there are particular conditions in place.

This does not make them 'Christian acts' as such but acts, lamentably, that are carried out by people who operate within a broadly Christian frame of reference.

The bankruptcy of my opponents arguments can be demonstrated by their selectivity, lack of nuance and sketchy grasp of history in the one case as well as a complete misunderstanding of how we interpret texts in the context of our milieux.

On the other, there's an unhistorical insistence that there's always been a particular way of understanding the scriptures and that any deviation from that should have been obvious from the outset.

Both dislocate the interpretation of scripture from the social, cultural and historical context and fail to appreciate that there are other factors at play beyond reading the Bible on the john.

In a nutshell, it boils down to a claim that other people can be terrorists but proper Christians can't, at least not those you disagree with such as Catholics.

Protestants like Cromwell can be given a free pass to some extent because they were sincere and at least weren't kings, because the Bible says we shouldn't have those.

That's how ridiculous an argument it is.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So the relevance of that act to Islamic terrorism is ?

The relevance is that given particular circumstances is it entirely possible to read the bible and see it demanding the worst kind of atrosities from Christians.

That it is, in fact, no different in that respect from the Koran.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

My point is that to qualify as anti-Semitic or anti-Catholic or anti-Muslim or anti-anything someone needs to have a certain animosity towards the group in question. There has to be an axe to grind, a sense that the who is more important than the what. An "any stick will do to beat a dog with" attitude.

Really. So systematic discrimination - which might not include active animosity by a given individual - doesn't exist for you.

What a bizarre idea.

quote:
A belief that as a matter of fact some cultures are more prone to some evils than others - even a mistaken belief along those lines - isn't enough to qualify.
[Confused]

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arse

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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I've worded that last bit clumsily.

The argument runs:

- It's obvious that the Bible doesn't teach state-sanctioned violence to enforce religious uniformity.

- Therefore it should have been obvious to rulers such as Charlemagne despite there being no readily accessible alternative models in societies at that time.

- Cromwell was different as he was sincere and at least he belonged to a position I approve of.

That's how shallow it gets.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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mdijon
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# 8520

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It is entirely possible to deplore cut-throat business practices wherever they occur. And to observe that statistically speaking Jewish communities have been particularly prone to this evil.

quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Any link to those statistics?

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I have no idea whether anything of the sort can be demonstrated with any statistics that exist this side of the pearly gates.

My point is that to qualify as anti-Semitic...

So you seemed to think that statistics on Jewish Businessman existed, but when challenged admitted that you actually have no idea whether such statistics exist.

So what was your motive and reasoning for thinking such statistics existed in the first place?

(Imagining the worst of someone without any basis is usually evidence of animus).

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:

So what was your motive and reasoning for thinking such statistics existed in the first place?

(Imagining the worst of someone without any basis is usually evidence of animus).

It was a bizarre thing to say IMO. I don't think that such statistics exist, I don't believe that Jewish businessmen are worse than any other kind of businessmen.

Why say that? Why then subsequently claim that to be anti-semitic one needs to have a certain animosity towards the group in question.

That idea seems to suggest we can imagine all kinds of things about other people, that we can claim all kinds of things about named groups, that we can assert all kind of statistics exist to prove what "we all know" about a group - but hey I don't have any animosity to Jews so I'm just sayin'.

What other way is there to read Russ' comments?

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arse

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
the evil of the Jews is in their cut-throat business practices. Just think about James Goldsmith and Ronald Cohen.

Is that anti-Semitic by the way?

It is entirely possible to deplore cut-throat business practices wherever they occur. And to observe that statistically speaking Jewish communities have been particularly prone to this evil. (Alongside some Protestant communities...).

Where it becomes wrong is when you personalize it, if that's the right word when talking of a class of people rather than individuals. When this becomes a brush to tar all Jews with whether they're in business or not. When the fact of who's accused of a wrong is more important than whether or not it is a wrong.

Condemning massacres ordered by medieval kings in general seems uncontroversial. Painting Charlemagne's act as a Christian act - trying to make it say something about Christianity - is the controversial bit.

Show me.
I challenged your antisemitism immediately here Russ, but of course you couldn't respond. As you can't to this.

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Love wins

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mdijon
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# 8520

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
It was a bizarre thing to say IMO.

Ironic that I started the idea off responding to statements about Muslims and assuming it was more obviously beyond the pale when a similar sentiment was voiced about Jews. But Russ thought it was fine.

Perhaps I should have said that while I had nothing against the Irish, I did believe that as a group they were rather feckless and lazy, prone to alcoholism and violence, but otherwise fairly charming and jocular as a race.

Can I say that without any possible animus towards Irish people?

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:

Perhaps I should have said that while I had nothing against the Irish, I did believe that as a group they were rather feckless and lazy, prone to alcoholism and violence, but otherwise fairly charming and jocular as a race.

Can I say that without any possible animus towards Irish people?

I think one might fairly be able to say that there are particular issues with alcoholism in Ireland and that the Irish craic is a known phenomena. I don't think there is any evidence whatsoever to show that Jews are ruthless in business. That's a simple slur without any basis whatsoever.

Even though the issues with alcoholism are well known in Ireland, we still can't make blanket claims about the Irish. How much less can we make claims about the Jews?

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arse

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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So, the question for Russ, then, is broader than whether either terrorism or state-sanctioned religiously motivated violence can be seen as 'Christian acts' but whether anti-semitism can be seen as a legitimate Christian position?

In which case, similar principles apply.

Some Christians have been - and are still - anti-semitic and have and do use verses from the NT to justify their twisted position.

Just as some Christians have justified violence in a similar kind of way.

That doesn't 'validate' or legitimise their position, it's simply to acknowledge that it exists and needs to be dealt with.

The question in the OP was what should we do about 'our own' terrorists - or, by extension I presume - those who would seek to justify violence of any kind to maintain some kind of privileged position for their own particular understanding of faith.

Or, in the case of Cromwell, justifying violence to overthrow someone else's understanding of faith (among other things) in order to replace it with one's own ...

Although I think Kaplan is well-wide of the mark in terms of his diagnosis, I agree with him on the treatment ... which is to seek to establish a more rounded hermeneutic that demonstrates that such things are incompatible with the broad thrust of the NT.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Russ--

Re Jews and business:

Respectfully, I'm going to take a guess at the ideas to which you might have been exposed--by any chance, was it the Rothschilds and their businesses (Wikipedia)?

The Rothschild conspiracy theories aren't true (Rational Wiki). But, even if they were, that family's business is surely not typical.

FWIW.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I challenged your antisemitism immediately here Russ, but of course you couldn't respond. As you can't to this.

There's only one place on the Ship where it is appropriate to accuse another shipmate of anti-Semitism, and that's Hell.

This does not mean you can't challenge anti-Semitic posts or arguments, but directly attributing anti-Semitism to a person is a personal attack, and that is not allowed on this board.

There have been a number of comments (not by you) above that are also close to the line, and all posters on this thread are gently encouraged to turn down the temperature a little.

Eliab
Purgatory host

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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This is by no means the only take nor the last word on the matter, but this article is interesting in terms of the light it sheds on how early Christians approached the Bible:

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/did.early.christians.interpret.the.bible.literally/112362.htm

It suggests that the literal reading was taken as read - so yes, they'd have believed in the miracles, presumably a literal 6-day creation and so on ... but they certainly had qualms about the apparent discrepancies between the Gospel accounts and so on.

Rightly or wrongly, the scholars here suggest that it was the allegorical or spiritualised interpretations that they tended to favour ...

No surprises there then, given the approach St Augustine took ...

That's not to say that I concur with over-allegorisation, of course ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
My point is that to qualify as anti-Semitic or anti-Catholic or anti-Muslim or anti-anything someone needs to have a certain animosity towards the group in question.

Let's set aside the question of why someone might hold that kind of opinion without animosity.
It's putting the cart before the horse to say that a subjective sentiment of animosity is required in order for an act or opinion to qualify as anti-anything.
The reason that the animosity is bad is because it leads one to anti-anything acts. The badness of the animosity is derived from the badness of the acts rather than the reverse. The primary thought is that someone is morally culpable if they've committed a bad act (or hold a belief that tends to lead to bad acts). Then one might bring in absence of animosity as possibly an exculpating feature.

As I've quoted Chesterton approvingly earlier, I'll mention him as someone who held terribly anti-semitic views. By all accounts he held no personal animus against any Jewish people he actually interacted with (and he condemned Hitler's anti-semitism). But the obnoxiousness of his opinions is due to the injustice done to the people the opinions are about rather than any subjective attitude.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Russ--

Re Jews and business:

Respectfully, I'm going to take a guess at the ideas to which you might have been exposed

The suggestion that there is a moral issue around Jews and business came from mdjon, not from me.

I should add that I have no doubt that he was seeking my reaction to a view he perceives to be prevalent in popular culture, rather than expressing his own view.

My reply was intended to defend (against the charge of anti-Semitism, or in the more general case hatemongering) those who hold in good faith a view that they believe to be founded on evidence (hence the mention of statistics).

Because the alternative - to be morally obliged to believe that every culture holds every vice and virtue in precisely equal amounts - is clearly ridiculous.

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


My reply was intended to defend (against the charge of anti-Semitism, or in the more general case hatemongering) those who hold in good faith a view that they believe to be founded on evidence (hence the mention of statistics).

Oookay, but you now agree that there are no such statistics. So you're imagining someone who believes in statistics that don't exist and claiming that this person isn't anti-semitic.

I put it to you that this person absolutely is anti-semitic and the fact that he believes something "in good faith" is irrelevant.

quote:
Because the alternative - to be morally obliged to believe that every culture holds every vice and virtue in precisely equal amounts - is clearly ridiculous.
I've no idea what you mean by this. I'm not forced to believe anything about individual or collective cultures.

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arse

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So the relevance of that act to Islamic terrorism is ?

The relevance is that given particular circumstances is it entirely possible to read the bible and see it demanding the worst kind of atrosities from Christians.

That it is, in fact, no different in that respect from the Koran.

I thought we'd reached a general agreement that Charlemagne's behaviour was demanded by prevailing secular ideas of kingship rather than by the Bible.

An act "demanded by" the Bible seems like a good candidate for a "Christian act".

The fact that a wide range of different behaviours can be (and have been) justified from the Bible is not saying that all such acts are Christian acts.

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I thought we'd reached a general agreement that Charlemagne's behaviour was demanded by prevailing secular ideas of kingship rather than by the Bible.

I'm pretty sure I've never agreed to that.

I think he read the bible in a particular way because he was a person of his time and because there was general acceptance that this was the way to read it. But these things tend to be cyclical, I'm not sure it is possible to put a finger on what exactly was culture influencing the bible reading and what is bible reading influencing culture.

I'm sure it is true that the bible had a greater influence on ordinary life in those days than it would for most people in our day.

quote:
An act "demanded by" the Bible seems like a good candidate for a "Christian act".

The fact that a wide range of different behaviours can be (and have been) justified from the Bible is not saying that all such acts are Christian acts.

This sounds like meaningless sophistry to me. If a wide range of behaviours are justified from the bible, it sounds to me like you are trying to argue that Christian acts don't exist, and have therefore put them outside of the simple definition of "acts committed by Christians".

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arse

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

The reason that the animosity is bad is because it leads one to anti-anything acts. The badness of the animosity is derived from the badness of the acts rather than the reverse. The primary thought is that someone is morally culpable if they've committed a bad act (or hold a belief that tends to lead to bad acts). Then one might bring in absence of animosity as possibly an exculpating feature.

I consider animosity to people bad in itself, even if one is in no position to commit any bad acts.

If one happened to live on an island where by sheer chance all the Jews were ruthless businessmen, how would recognition of that fact compel one to commit bad acts ?

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I consider animosity to people bad in itself, even if one is in no position to commit any bad acts.

If one happened to live on an island where by sheer chance all the Jews were ruthless businessmen, how would recognition of that fact compel one to commit bad acts ?

I don't understand why you are still talking about slurs on Jewish businessmen. I'm not engaging with this thought experiment because I think it's stupid and a dead-end.

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arse

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Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
As I've quoted Chesterton approvingly earlier, I'll mention him as someone who held terribly anti-semitic views. By all accounts he held no personal animus against any Jewish people he actually interacted with (and he condemned Hitler's anti-semitism). But the obnoxiousness of his opinions is due to the injustice done to the people the opinions are about rather than any subjective attitude.

There is a great deal to be said for Chesterton as a writer, but his anti-Semitism was more serious than you portray it.

https://simonmayers.com/2013/09/25/g-k-chesterton-discussing-hitler-and-the-jews-1933-1936/

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Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
It is perfectly possible to read the bible in different ways to you and then to act without a troubled conscience in ways you find disgusting.

"Different" in this context is a bullshit weasel word.

It is not a matter of being "different" but of being hopelessly and disgustingly and culpably wrong without any sound exegetical justification whatsoever for what you are doing - no matter how sincerely.

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Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Who was the cleric who wielded a mace against the Saracens at the Battle of Roncesvailles according to the Chanson de Roland?

I don't think there's any passage in the Chanson which limits Turpin's arms to a mace.

quote:
It's almost as if Jamat - and Kaplan too to some extent - think that if we accept that people like the Crusaders and Charlemagne were acting in accordance with their understanding of the Christian faith then the faith itself is somehow compromised.

That is a bizarre idea.

How is the faith "compromised" by heresy, however sincere, whether that of Charlemagne, the Crusaders, Cromwell, and Christians who participated in Nazi atrocities, or Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell?


Heresy is to be opposed on the grounds of truth, not brand image and public relations.

[ 23. August 2017, 22:28: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Protestants like Cromwell can be given a free pass to some extent because they were sincere

Protestants like Cromwell are more culpable because they are more likely to be acquainted with what the Bible actually does and does not say.

Sincerity is irrelevant.

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Kaplan Corday
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# 16119

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Some here are trying to present violent jihadism as a position that is consistent with an Islamic hermeneutic ie - it can legitimately be derived from the Quran whereas 'Christian' terrorism can't be derived from the Bible unless you are some kind of bastard or you misinterpret the 'plain meaning.'

Precisely.

Religious violence is one exegetically legitimate interpretation of the Koran, but it can only be eisegetically extracted (oxymoronic but usable!) from the NT by stupidity, ignorance, obtuse bastardry, raison d'etat, realpolitik, inertia, cowardice or laziness in the face of cultural pressure, or whatever.

Using inverted commas to pour sarcasm on 'plain meaning' doesn't work - like it or not, it is the meaning which everyone on the thread agrees is correct (ie no-one here thinks the NT teaches religious violence), and it would be impossible, I imagine, to produce a a contemporary NT scholar of almost any theological complexion who believes that it does.

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
Ironic that I started the idea off responding to statements about Muslims and assuming it was more obviously beyond the pale when a similar sentiment was voiced about Jews.

I think you're probably right that saying anything less-than-positive about Jews collectively is socially unacceptable (politically incorrect ?) in the circles of people you mix with.

And you're right to identify this double-standard as a bad thing.

I'm just suggesting resolving this double-standard by being more open and straught-talking about Jews (and Irish and everyone else) rather than more tiptoeing around the sensibilities of Muslims (and Irish and everybody else).

Without, of course, either hating anyone, or denying individuals the possibility of being unrepresentative of the culture they come from.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3100 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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