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Source: (consider it) Thread: What should we do about 'our own' terrorists?
mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'm just suggesting resolving this double-standard by being more open and straught-talking about Jews (and Irish and everyone else)

Quoting non-existent statistics is straight talking?

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Golden Key
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Yes, I was wondering about the mentioned statistics, too. AIUI, they supposedly show that Jewish-owned businesses are the nastiest, greediest, least fair?

I could maybe see a sociologist doing a wide-ranging study of business dealings with a range of ethnic groups.

But that is such a fraught topic (in the US, anyway) that I can only think of anti-Semitic persons/groups as the only people who would do such a study. And publish it.

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Jamat
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quote:
Gamaliel: 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
Why must I deal with his mistaken belief, if in fact he had it?
He was wrong.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
But that is such a fraught topic (in the US, anyway) that I can only think of anti-Semitic persons/groups as the only people who would do such a study. And publish it.

The logical corollary of that is that claiming such statistics exist when they don't is also an anti-Semitic statement.

On second thought the other motive for studying and publishing it would be to rebut vexatious claims, although I expect most groups would conclude it was too high risk a strategy with potential for negative publicity and stoking up fear and misinterpretation. But in any case that motive can't justify fictitious negative claims.

[ 24. August 2017, 05:16: Message edited by: mdijon ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
Why must I deal with his mistaken belief, if in fact he had it?
He was wrong.

So are you saying that there is no difference between Whitefield and the Crusaders - ie that both were influenced by unchristian ideas?

If so, how do you determine which of the idea that you've inherited are Christian and which ones are the extension of unchristian influences?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
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.

For the millionth time, I've never said it was right. I've simply stated that it was a Christian idea, held by Christians, defended with recourse to the bible, as part of a hermeneutic which was considered to be normal and right at the time.

And, furthermore, it is a completely natural and straight way to read the bible.

There is no difference between this and seeing violence in the Koran.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Religious violence is one exegetically legitimate interpretation of the Koran

And your authority for making this pronouncement is what?

quote:
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.
You have been repeatedly challenged to demonstrate this.
You have evaded, ducked, resorted to ad hominem (you don't believe it therefore nobody could), repeated yourself as if reiterating makes it true, and blustered.
What you haven't done is demonstrated it.

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Gamaliel
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I think the problem is that Kaplan and Jamat, in varying degrees, see their 'take' as self-evident ...

Rather in a US Declaration of Independence kind of way ...

Consequently, they find it difficult, if not impossible, to think themselves into the shoes of anyone for whom - for a range of reasons - these things weren't necessarily self-evident.

Consequently, they appear to believe that those of us who don't see things the way the rest of us here do are somehow either minimising our reactions of disgust and disapproval of Charlemagne-like and Crusader-like activity ...

I'm no expert on Islam nor on the Quran, but from what I've read in Muslim sources it seems to me that some of them acknowledge that the Quran can be used to justify religiously-motivated violence, but that doesn't mean that it should ...

Rather than pontificate about someone else's religious texts, I'd rather let them debate that themselves. I can only look on as an observer.

Now, neither Kaplan nor Jamat seem prepared to accept that Christians can possibly justify religiously-motivated violence by recourse to the scriptures.

The scriptures must be kept inviolate and beyond all taint. Therefore any suggestion that medieval or other people could use the scriptures, particularly the NT as a pretext for religiously-motivated violence must be resisted at all costs.

To give way on that issue would be to deny the integrity and authority of the scriptures as they see them.

Hence the vehemence with which they are holding their position/s.

I can understand their point of view. Heck, I've come up through evangelicalism and can well understand the desire to defend and preserve the integrity of the scriptures.

Give way on that and the sky falls in.

Nevertheless, I don't think that's the issue here at all. Nobody is saying that medieval warlords and what-not were right to see things the way they did - but given the times and circumstances in which they lived, the lack of alternative models and so on, it's hardly surprising that they thought and acted in that way.

That doesn't excuse and condone it, of course ...

Which is why I've tried to introduce other examples, such as Whitefield (and yes, Jamat, he did believe that slavery was justified), Cromwell and others to demonstrate that we can see similar examples in other traditions - including those that are closer to the ones Jamat and Kaplan espouse.

The problem, as I see it, is that both fellas have ratcheting things up so tightly that they can hardly breathe.

Jamat's got this fundamentalist strait-jacket on that is laced up so tightly he can hardly move.

Kaplan has loosened some of the strands and let some air in, but it's restricting his movements and his arguments are somewhat clumsy and increasingly strident as a result ...

In their commendable efforts to defend the Holy Scriptures against all taint and misinterpretation they are drawing the laces and the laager so tightly that they are restricting their own capacity to move and think with any agility.

It's like they are lumbering around in suits of armour whilst imagining themselves to be lithe and agile.

Yes, Whitefield was wrong to believe that slavery was justifiable - but plenty of Christians back then did believe that to be the case - and they quoted scripture to support their view.

Scripture neither forbids nor condones slavery. It strikes me that all the scriptural evidence here can be taken either way. It's up to us to use our minds and common sense and to draw our own conclusions on slavery.

We have done so. After many hundreds of years.

These things take time.

It took centuries for idea that a nation or region should have one single form of religious expression to change too.

That's how these things work out in practice.

How long does it take any of us to change a bad habit? It takes time and practice.

The same applies to major tectonic shifts in society and so on.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gamaliel:
[qb] 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

No it can't, unless you quote it out of context.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I'm no expert on Islam nor on the Quran, but from what I've read in Muslim sources it seems to me that some of them acknowledge that the Quran can be used to justify religiously-motivated violence, but that doesn't mean that it should ...

I'm no expert either, but it is clear from those who are, that there are Muslims who genuinely believe, on sound exegetical grounds, that the Koran does no teach religious violence; those who believe, on equally sound exegetical grounds that it does, and who attempt to obey it; and those who believe it does, but choose, for a number of reasons (some more noble than others) not to obey it in this particular.

This is not pontificating but explicating, and to deny these points is obfuscating.

quote:
Now, neither Kaplan nor Jamat seem prepared to accept that Christians can possibly justify religiously-motivated violence by recourse to the scriptures.
Perhaps I should have recourse to a language other than English, because English is clearly not getting through.

Here goes for the eighty-seventh time (I still have vestiges of faith and hope, but am quickly running out of charity): "Yes, of course Christians have justified religious violence from the Bible - but without any exegetical validity".

Since we agree that this is the case, and that there are various historical factors which explain their doing so, and that the NT does not teach religious violence, and that the very idea of Christian religious violence is not only unjustifiable but repulsive, I do not see what point you are still trying to argue.

quote:
Heck
Language!

quote:
I've come up through evangelicalism and can well understand the desire to defend and preserve the integrity of the scriptures.

The stereotypical pomposity and cocksureness of the convert - or deconvert: "I can understand your condition because, believe it or not, I was once lost in it myself before the light broke in!"

[ 25. August 2017, 04:11: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
there are Muslims who genuinely believe, on sound exegetical grounds, that the Koran does no teach religious violence; those who believe, on equally sound exegetical grounds that it does, and who attempt to obey it; and those who believe it does, but choose, for a number of reasons (some more noble than others) not to obey it in this particular.

This is not pontificating but explicating, and to deny these points is obfuscating.

Can you not see how that could be re-written with Christians and Bible?

The only get-out, it seems to me, is the "sound exegetical grounds". In which case you are making yourself the judge of what are sound exegetical grounds in both Islam and Christianity.

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
A brief search on line will find you the sermons from 150 years ago, in which preachers proclaimed from the pulpit that the slavery of black persons was the will of God.

At least some of that is from the old idea of "the curse of Ham", one of Noah's sons. Except the curse was from *Noah*, not God.

tl;dr:

After the Flood, the ark landed on Mt. Ararat. When it was dry enough, Noah & co. disembarked and set up tents. Noah got very, very drunk, and passed out in his tent.

Ham went in, saw that the old man was naked, told his brothers, and joked about it. There was evidently a huge taboo about seeing a parent naked. So Shem and Japheth got a cloak, held it behind them, walked into the tent backwards, and covered their dad without looking.

When Noah woke up (presumably with a world-sized hangover) and found out what happened, he uttered a stern curse on Ham. IIRC, it was the standard "and a pox on all your descendants" sort, which usually is cited as a valid reason for the Hebrews to hate their enemies, with the twist of "and you know how *they* got that way, heh heh heh". (Another example: Lot's daughters raping him, while he was asleep, and producing loathsome races.) IIRC, Ham left. Somewhere along the line, someone got the bright idea that God had cursed Ham and his descendants, and that black Africans were his descendants. Therefore, some people thought/think it's ok to enslave them.

Note: I don't believe that, and never did.

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Gamaliel
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Heck (again) ...

If I'm being pompous in a 'deconvert' kind of way - and I prefer 'development' to deconversion - then how come you aren't being pompous for:

- Making your own point-of-view the gold-standard for sound exegesis not only within your own faith but other people's?

- Acting as judge and jury on the motives of those who choose not to carry out violent extremist actions even though they apparently believe the Quran demands it of them?

If I am being at all 'pompous' in my reactions to evangelicalism, then I've only got to look at some of the daft things evangelicals post to recognise that I'm doing myself a favour in moving beyond its bounds ...

(But there are daft things everywhere and no tradition has a monopoly on them)

On the point about the justification of violence from the NT being an invalid interpretation. Well yes, I'm not saying it is a valid interpretation, but what I am saying is that it could be a horribly consistent and internally tenable approach within a society - such as medieval ones - which didn't have alternative models to draw on.

Which is why I have kept drawing on slavery as an example and on Cromwell as another. What models did Cromwell have on how to run a country other than monarchy and the republican examples from classical antiquity?

Does the NT give him a blueprint as to how to organise Parliament or manage the economy?

The whole point I am trying to make is that none of us use the NT in isolation. Also, by and large, we only get all exegetical when we are discussing theology or trying to work out a doctrinal position. It'd be nice if we did more than that ...

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Martin60
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Why is poor Charlemagne singled out in a constant litany of Christian atrocities since Constantine?

What extant hermeneutic (was there any that wasn't literal-allegorical?) spoke out against the Crusades? Or Hypatia being butchered alive with broken glass by a priest led mob? Or the lynching of Jess Washington? Or the Sabra-Shatila massacre? Or ... ?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
[QBthere are Muslims who genuinely believe, on sound exegetical grounds, that the Koran does no teach religious violence [/QB]

But they are reading INTO the text - eisegesis, not exegesis, not 'sound'.

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Gamaliel
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I'd like to know on what grounds Kaplan believes his take on what the Quran says in an 'exegetically sound' way is exegetically sound ...

And in what way leo believes it to be otherwise - ie. not 'sound' but an example of eisegesis.

Meanwhile, in response to Martin60's question about Charlemagne ... I don't think he's being singled-out necessarily ... it's simply that he's become a form of short-hand on this thread for any ruler who has sought to impose religious uniformity by the use of force.

The point I've been trying to make is that even if Kaplan is right and Charlemagne was acting out of synch with what people 'ought' to have known from their reading of the NT ... what other models did he have for the way to rule?

Religious conformity was the expected norm at that time, across both the Christian and the Islamic worlds.

I have no idea if the same thing applied in China, in Mezo-America or the South Seas at that time - and neither would anyone in Europe at that time either.

So Kaplan and Jamat can huff and puff for all they're worth but they can't demonstrate that rulers in those days could have acted differently if only they'd read the NT properly.

That's the point I'm trying to make. Even if someone in a monastery or a parish somewhere was the soundest and most exegetically exact person who ever lived they wouldn't have been in a position to influence how Charlemagne ruled or acted.

The US Deep South is full of very conservative Christians who believe that they've got a proper and sound handle on the scriptures - but that doesn't alter the high teenage pregnancy rates, the incidences of gun-crime and violence, the level of consumption of pornography and all manner of other ills ...

It's this reductionist, 'If only they'd understood the scriptures as well as I do, then everything would have been ok' schtick that's been getting to me and why I have been sticking to my guns - to the point of tedium.

Why? Because Kaplan's and Jamat's position/s is/are simplistic in the extreme - however much they try to dress it up otherwise.

Bloody reductionism.

Kaplan's view is more subtle and nuanced but it's still as reductionist as reductionism gets.

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Martin60
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Your point can only be made to the converted G. And conversion in these matters is Damascene. Takes massive external intervention. Or decades of neglect. All coming here does for any of us is refine our positions.

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Gamaliel
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No, I don't think 'conversion' in these matters, if conversion it is, has to be Damascene.

I've been moving away from traditional evangelicalism for decades and the Ship has played a major part of that process.

Warning to conservative evangelicals: Stay away from the Ship.

I'd still say I was 'evangelical' though, in the sense of having a concern for the Gospel and for mission. At base level, I'm keen to see everyone have that sense of a 'personal relationship with Christ' - even though I don't go round shoving tracts into people's hands ...

My differences with Kaplan are probably more a matter of emphasis than anything else. In some ways they are semantic and I can certainly see why he's been getting frustrated with my persistence in challenging him on this thread.

I may not be on the same page as him on all issues but I'm certainly in the same book and the same chapter. I won't say I'm a few pages further on than he is because that'd sound pompous and he'd be well within his rights to kick me up the arse over it.

However we cut it, though, I have moved beyond bog-standard evangelicalism and broadened out in my thinking and approach. That doesn't mean I disparage evangelicalism per se - although I'm certainly highly critical of aspects of it - particularly where it bleeds into the kind of Jamat style fundamentalist approach ... or where it fails to respect traditions and acts as if it isn't one itself ...

But that's a different issue to the question in hand here.

I'm not out to convert anyone. I can only speak as I find.

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Martin60
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It's taken decades for me and thee G. That can't work for KC & J. They can't read Brian McLaren or Rob Bell.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I'm no expert on Islam nor on the Quran, but from what I've read in Muslim sources it seems to me that some of them acknowledge that the Quran can be used to justify religiously-motivated violence, but that doesn't mean that it should ...

I'm no expert either, but it is clear from those who are, that there are Muslims who genuinely believe, on sound exegetical grounds, that the Koran does no teach religious violence; . . .
Who exactly are these anonymous experts you claim to be citing? Is it someone more specific than "well, everyone just knows that"?

quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
. . . those who believe, on equally sound exegetical grounds that it does, and who attempt to obey it; and those who believe it does, but choose, for a number of reasons (some more noble than others) not to obey it in this particular.

I find that truly amazing. These (anonymous) experts not only acknowledge the possibility of different interpretations of the Qur'an but they're able to determine that contrary interpretations as precisely and "equally sound" in their validity! Despite the fact that such exact equivalence of exegesis never seems to occur in Christianity so that experts never seem to agree that there are two equally valid interpretations of anything it seems to happen a lot in Islam. At least according to experts with no names.

quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
A brief search on line will find you the sermons from 150 years ago, in which preachers proclaimed from the pulpit that the slavery of black persons was the will of God.

At least some of that is from the old idea of "the curse of Ham", one of Noah's sons.
They also argued that the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans was God's plan for bringing the Gospel to those savages. You occasionally get modern Christians (e.g. Doug Wilson) making this argument.

I've even heard from experts, whose names and exact arguments elude me at the moment [Big Grin] , that this argument is exactly and equally sound exegetically as the idea that enslaving people to religiously convert them is contrary to Christianity.

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Gamaliel
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I've read very little McClaren and less Bell, Martin 60.

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Martin60
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You didn't have to G.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
society - such as medieval ones - which didn't have alternative models to draw on.

This is as wrong as someone who is really, really wrong while wearing a cloak of wrongness and an absurdly wrong hat.

It assumes that the only Christian model of government which had ever existed since the first century was that of a Christian- captured state theocracy which killed all heretics and heathen, and that therefore it was impossible therefore for someone like Charlemagne to conceive of any alternative.

quote:
What models did Cromwell have on how to run a country other than monarchy and the republican examples from classical antiquity?
You could hardly choose a worse example than Cromwell because, despite his failures such as Drogheda and Wexford, he in fact gave England unprecedented religious freedom, even if it wasn't all that we would like.

In other words, Cromwell is a classic demonstration of the possibility of progressively transcending the limitations of one's predecessors.

[ 26. August 2017, 03:08: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
exact equivalence of exegesis never seems to occur in Christianity so that experts never seem to agree that there are two equally valid interpretations of anything

Rubbish.

There are many areas in Christianity - pneumatology, eschatology, ecclesiology, and others - in which there are competing views which each have sound exegetical backing.

Christians often have to either opt for one of them while respecting those who disagree with them, because they can understand their reasons for believing what they do, or else just remain uncommitted and open on that particular issue.

Here on the Ship, for example, adherents of pacifism and just war can agree to differ because they recognise that each can be argued on NT grounds.

But there are some options which are beyond the pale.

I do not know of one single, solitary NT scholar who believes that the NT requires Christians to practise religious violence against heretics and heathens.

If you know of one, I would be genuinely interested to hear of him/her.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
I do not know of one single, solitary NT scholar who believes that the NT requires Christians to practise religious violence against heretics and heathens.

I think for the purposes of this thread the issue is not requires but allows.

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Gamaliel
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FFS Kaplan, you're doing it again.

Read for comprehension why don't you?

Cromwell is EXACTLY the right example as he illustrates my point perfectly.

Which is that it can take hundreds of years for paradigm shifts to take place.

Also, that there are degrees of ambivalence, contingency and all manner of other complications going on while these tectonic processes are taking place.

The same Cromwell who allowed the Jews back into England and tolerated even the more outlandish Protestant sects believed that the massacres at Drogheda and Wexford were justified and wrote 'God made them as stubble to our swords' after the battle of Marston Moor.

All that was happening at one and the same time. He was large, he contained multitudes.

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Gamaliel
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FFS Kaplan, you're doing it again.

Read for comprehension why don't you?

Cromwell is EXACTLY the right example as he illustrates my point perfectly.

Which is that it can take hundreds of years for paradigm shifts to take place.

Also, that there are degrees of ambivalence, contingency and all manner of other complications going on while these tectonic processes are taking place.

The same Cromwell who allowed the Jews back into England and tolerated even the more outlandish Protestant sects believed that the massacres at Drogheda and Wexford were justified and wrote 'God made them as stubble to our swords' after the battle of Marston Moor.

All that was happening at one and the same time. He was large, he contained multitudes.

So Cromwell is precisely the right example as he was part of the shift, part of the transition.

As for Charlemagne, please can you supply details of any 8th or 9th century societies that he would have been aware of where rulers did not expect all their subjects to share the same religion as they did?

Tell me once you've found one.

Read for comprehension and stop thinking anachronistically.

When the NT was written, during the Pax Romana, there was certainly a degree of religious pluralism. The Romans were eclectic and simply added other people's gods to their pantheon. Which is why Judaism and Christianity proved problematic to them as the Jews and early Christians wouldn't play ball.

By the time of Charlemagne, things had changed. There was an expectation that each territory would have a single religious expression so far as was practically possible.

It's hardly surprising then, that they read the NT in that context. The conditions for religious pluralism which we find in the 17th century did not then exist.

Show me how people in the 8th century could possibly have understood things differently given their particular context and I'll take your arguments more seriously.

Currently they are risible.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I've simply stated that it was a Christian idea, held by Christians, defended with recourse to the bible, as part of a hermeneutic which was considered to be normal and right at the time.

And, furthermore, it is a completely natural and straight way to read the bible.

There is no difference between this and seeing violence in the Koran.

First question is whether there is such a thing as a "natural and straight" way to read anything.

And the answer has to be "partly".

Gamaliel has argued at great length against a simple "Yes" to that question.

But the opposite position - a total "No" - is the belief that you can interpret anything to mean anything. That there is no inherent meaning. Which no-one seems to be arguing for.

So we're left in the messy in-between of "to some extent".

We can then ask whether - to the extent that one can talk about a plain meaning - the Bible is saying something different than the Koran is on the subject of violence.

Is the Biblical position - to the extent that there is one - that the individual should not be violent but should submit to the legitimate authority of the State ?

Is the Koranic position - to the extent that there is one - that all the faithful should be militant against the infidel ?

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
I do not know of one single, solitary NT scholar who believes that the NT requires Christians to practise religious violence against heretics and heathens.

I think for the purposes of this thread the issue is not requires but allows.
Perfect. And how far does scholarship go back in that definition of scholar? Was Luther a scholar? Augustine?

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wabale
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

As for Charlemagne, please can you supply details of any 8th or 9th century societies that he would have been aware of where rulers did not expect all their subjects to share the same religion as they did?
...... Show me how people in the 8th century could possibly have understood things differently given their particular context and I'll take your arguments more seriously.

Well, 8th Century Muslim Spain springs to mind. It was next door, and as you pointed out about a hundred years ago Charlemagne made an incursion into it. Sorry, no details - not my period.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:


But there are some options which are beyond the pale.

I do not know of one single, solitary NT scholar who believes that the NT requires Christians to practise religious violence against heretics and heathens.

If you know of one, I would be genuinely interested to hear of him/her.

I think possibly the problem here is that you are expressing a faulty theory of knowledge and assuming people in the past were able to think in ways that you think are obvious.

Here's an simple example of what I'm talking about.

There was once a guy called Socrates. He had an annoying habit of questioning people about received wisdom.

One of the people he influenced was Plato, who extended his ideas to develop various more formal theories of philosophy and political theory.

He taught Aristotle at the Academy in Athens. Aristotle then went off in various directions from Plato's ideas (sometimes building on them, sometimes refuting them).

The question is whether Aristotle would have been able to build his theories without having philosophical forebears in Plato and Socrates. Some of his ideas are quite different to Plato however it is clear that some of what he taught was a reaction to the ideas from the school of thought that developed around Plato and Socrates.

Aristotle developed some ideas in logic. Together with other ideas in thinkers in mathematics and philosophy, mathematics and eventually the scientific theory became established.

Each step builds on the steps of the ones before. And - it is strongly argued - each step opens up thinking in order to create new tangents and new ideas built upon them.

Would Socrates have been impressed by Aristotle? Probably not, the miserable bastard.

Would Aristotle have been impressed with modern ideas of logic used in computing and electronics? Hard to say. I suspect he'd be impressed with how people had developed his ideas and would (maybe) be eventually able to see how the newer ideas worked.

But if you went to Aristotle with a problem which had been developed from logic in use 2000 years after him, you wouldn't be surprised if he just didn't understand the question - because it was so far outside of his thinking as to make no sense.

--

It is perfectly obvious to most Christians we know today that there is no justification for genocide in the name of religion. All of the theologians we know argue about just war but take off the table any idea of righteous crusading war.*

But people in the past didn't have access to the peace traditions which have influenced our thinking in the present. The theologians hadn't worked out a hermeneutic of non-violence.

We might not be able to point at theologians today who say that Christian crusading violence is biblical and justified today but such things certainly existed in the past because the crusades were justified in biblical terms.

It clearly isn't the case that someone reading the bible cold would see that violence is off the table whereas someone reading the Koran see it as an instruction. Both religious texts require interpretation, both have violence deeply embedded within them.

Christianity, in general, has stopped crusading and instead has accepted that warfare is a role of the state. Islam has a more complicated relationship with the state and so - perhaps - more Muslims feel that it is their role to go out fighting for the religion.

But the relationship that Christians in the West have with the state isn't necessarily common across the world; and has only developed relatively recently in many other places.

Islam hasn't paralleled Christianity exactly, but it is quite striking that many of the ideas which were discussed theologically about religious violence during Crusader times are reflected in the rhetoric of the Islamic radicals.

Those Islamic teachers who decry random acts of violence are left trying to simply assert theologically that it is not the correct understanding of Islam. Over time perhaps they'll gain more traction and we'll see that these ideas are almost entirely rejected all the branches of Islam as they have since Crusader times in branches of Christianity.

*but I would also say that this might just be the hermeneutic we know and the theologians we are aware of because there are clearly Christians who believe in this stuff and it wouldn't be too weird to learn that there were theologians who have developed a hermeneutic to justify it. Some of the rhetoric we hear (perhaps just outside our own earshot) in our own cultures isn't so far from justifying religious violence IMO.

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Gamaliel
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My understanding is that whilst 8th century Muslim Spain was comparatively pluralistic by the standards of the time, it wasn't entirely so. I do know that by the time of the Reconquista in the 15th century the only Christians in Grenada were slaves.

All these things are relative, though. Christians were always somewhat down-trodden during the days of the Ottoman Empire for example, but the level of down-troddenness varied from place to place and time to time.

As far as Islamic Spain goes - and I'm no expert either - my impression is that they were pretty tolerant of Jews and Christians up to a point.

As I've said a million years ago, I doubt very much that Charlemagne would have expelled or executed any Jews, Muslims or pagans who happened to be traveling or trading across his domains, but if he'd conquered pagan territory, as he did in the instance of Saxony, he'd have expected them to convert or else ...

As I've also said, the notion of clemency wouldn't have been an alien one and he could, had he so chosen, shown mercy. He chose not to.

I would expect degrees of compliance and enforcement across all the power blocks of that time.

So Muslim Spain may well have been less rigid in that respect than Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire, but it probably wouldn't have been as pluralist as Cromwellian England just as the English Commonwealth wasn't as pluralist as 19th or 20th century Britain.

There are gradations in all these things.

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Martin60
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Peerless mr cheesy. But it can only reinforce KC's & J's thinking. My thinking was worse, which is perhaps why it was susceptible to reason coming from the 'right' sources. In my case my cult leader's enlightenment. I'd have been completely lost to wrong thinking but for that. Similarly I've been moved along the evangelical spectrum by enlightened evangelicals: Bell, McLaren and Chalke.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Peerless mr cheesy. But it can only reinforce KC's & J's thinking. My thinking was worse, which is perhaps why it was susceptible to reason coming from the 'right' sources. In my case my cult leader's enlightenment. I'd have been completely lost to wrong thinking but for that. Similarly I've been moved along the evangelical spectrum by enlightened evangelicals: Bell, McLaren and Chalke.

Well yeah, I'm sure that there is something in what you say. We are all so attached to comfortable ways of thinking that it is difficult to think outside them even when it makes little rational/logical/historical sense.

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Martin60
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It's a matter of education. Nobody with a liberal arts degree or even 'A' levels in English literature and history could think in such a faulty way.

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
society - such as medieval ones - which didn't have alternative models to draw on.

This is as wrong as someone who is really, really wrong while wearing a cloak of wrongness and an absurdly wrong hat.

It assumes that the only Christian model of government which had ever existed since the first century was that of a Christian- captured state theocracy which killed all heretics and heathen, and that therefore it was impossible therefore for someone like Charlemagne to conceive of any alternative.

quote:
What models did Cromwell have on how to run a country other than monarchy and the republican examples from classical antiquity?
You could hardly choose a worse example than Cromwell because, despite his failures such as Drogheda and Wexford, he in fact gave England unprecedented religious freedom, even if it wasn't all that we would like.

In other words, Cromwell is a classic demonstration of the possibility of progressively transcending the limitations of one's predecessors.

You are the wrong un.

I did not say, nor did I suggest that there was no other model than a Christian theocracy between the 1st century and the time of Charlemagne. You are reading my posts eisegetically.

But by the time of Charlemagne, post-Constantine, post-Theodosius, that was the only option there was.

The Cromwell example, far from contradicting my argument, fits it perfectly. Things were a lot more pluralist in the 1650s than they were in the 1550s. By the 1850s they were even more pluralist again.

We've discussed Siedentop, 'Inventing The Individual', before.

I find myself wondering whether you actually understood him when you read him, given that you consistently fail to miss the rather obvious points I'm making in order to make things fit your binary schema and outlook.

I'm afraid I've come to the conclusion that you are simply a better-read version of Jamat. You don't read for comprehension, you don't appear able to place things in historical context either.

Yes, Charlemagne had the NT. But with the best will in the world, even if he'd been a cuddly bunny and not a complete bastard, how could he possibly have moved beyond his own environment when it came to his understanding of how rulers should rule?

Sure, Cromwell made some shifts but he was also constrained by the ideologies and attitudes of his own times, as indeed we all are. As many historians have argued, he ended up replacing the Divine Right of Kings with the Divine Right of Cromwell. Nice try, but no cigar.

The guy was a highly complex and often contradictory figure, like most of us.

I'm not arguing for a nice, neat Whig view of history, but I am trying to demonstrate that paradigm shifts take a long time.

Serious opposition to slavery emerged a the Quakers in the American colonies in the 1750s. Slavery wasn't abolished in the USA until the 1860s.

These things take time.

I doubt if the Emperor Theodosius thought that by making Christianity compulsory he was paving the way for Charlemagne's atrocities. He may not have cared less. I don't know. But he set in train a chain of events that led that way, just as how other people's actions many centuries later were part of a process that reversed all that.

Action and reaction. That's how these things work.

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Martin60
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As ever G. an excellent reinforcement of KC's bet-a-buck thinking.

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It's a matter of education. Nobody with a liberal arts degree or even 'A' levels in English literature and history could think in such a faulty way.

Ha ha ha ...

I now await notification from Jamat and Kaplan as to what particular qualifications they have and their reactions to such 'pomposity' ...

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mr cheesy
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I think Cromwell was a bastard. The idea that some seem to think he was a hero sickens me.

Could he have behaved in anything less than a sick way that he did? I don't know.

That seems to me to be a more nuanced and complicated question - as by that stage the whole concepts of religion-and-the-state was under attack from different directions due to the Enlightenment and there were Other Options Available. That's not quite the same as looking back at Crusader times IMO.

But that could just be because it is much closer to the present so we've got much more of a feel for the different ideas that we floating around in Cromwell's time compared to the Crusader time.

But then the one thing we can be fairly sure about is that both Cromwell and the Crusaders said that they were getting their ideas from the bible, it was an integral part of how they saw themselves.

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Gamaliel
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Well, when did the Enlightenment start? We can see seeds of it in the Renaissance, but generally it's reckoned to have 'started' from around the 1650s/60s onwards.

As for Cromwell as hero or villain, it depends on where you're standing. No surprises, but I'd say a bit of both - although I find moderate Parliamentarians like Sir Thomas Fairfax far more attractive and moderate Puritans like Richard Baxter far more engaging.

The point is, all these changes and developments are cumulative as you say. No Reformation, no Cromwell. He couldn't have acted as he did in 1550 let alone 1450 or 1150 or 850 or 750 as Kaplan would appear to have us believe.

And yes, both Cromwell and Charlemagne would have believed that what they did was in accordance with scripture as conventionally understood in their times.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Well, when did the Enlightenment start? We can see seeds of it in the Renaissance, but generally it's reckoned to have 'started' from around the 1650s/60s onwards.

As for Cromwell as hero or villain, it depends on where you're standing. No surprises, but I'd say a bit of both - although I find moderate Parliamentarians like Sir Thomas Fairfax far more attractive and moderate Puritans like Richard Baxter far more engaging.

The point is, all these changes and developments are cumulative as you say. No Reformation, no Cromwell. He couldn't have acted as he did in 1550 let alone 1450 or 1150 or 850 or 750 as Kaplan would appear to have us believe.

Right. And more than that even. His direction on religious freedoms etc had an impact down from his time to ours.

He was a bastard, but he was our bastard and we can't deny the impact his direction had on later generations.

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Gamaliel
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I tend to think in terms of currents and shifts rather than individuals, although individuals certainly play a part in the former. Things could never be the same after Cromwell and although Charles II had his own run-ins with Parliament and James II only tolerated the Dissenters in order to let the RCs off the hook as well, things were bound to loosen up to some extent.

You also had the Latitudinarian reaction against the religious certainties of the Puritans.

What we've never had is some kind of golden age when everything was hermeneutically kosher and pristine in KC terms and everyone read their Bibles 'properly' on the john and everything was marvellous and they all lived happily ever after.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

What we've never had is some kind of golden age when everything was hermeneutically kosher and pristine in KC terms and everyone read their Bibles 'properly' on the john and everything was marvellous and they all lived happily ever after.

You are quite ware that I have never suggested anything remotely like this.

I'm sorry but is reading a Bible "on the john" a UK idiom, because I have never encountered it, and cannot conceive the point or motivation of anyone's inventing it?

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
I do not know of one single, solitary NT scholar who believes that the NT requires Christians to practise religious violence against heretics and heathens.

I think for the purposes of this thread the issue is not requires but allows.
Suit yourself.

Which NT scholar believes the NT allows the killing of heretics and heathen?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Which NT scholar believes the NT allows the killing of heretics and heathen?

Sadly we don't have any scholars from Charlemagne's era to ask.

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Lamb Chopped
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Gamaliel, just let it go already. Sheesh.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
this might just be the hermeneutic we know and the theologians we are aware of

Ah, so it is theologians we don't know about who believe the Bible teaches violence against heretics and heathen!

Well, one thing you can say for that position is that it certainly enjoys the advantage of being irrefutable!

quote:
because there are clearly Christians who believe in this stuff
Really?

Which Christians believe that the NT requires them to kill heretics and heathen?

quote:
Some of the rhetoric we hear (perhaps just outside our own earshot) in our own cultures isn't so far from justifying religious violence IMO.
If it's outside our earshot, how do we hear it?
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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Cromwell is EXACTLY the right example as he illustrates my point perfectly.

For you, Cromwell is EXACTLY an own goal.

You are correct to point out that he (like every human being) encompassed contradictions, but you still can't bring yourself to break your mind-forged manacles of historical determinism and admit that:

1. He had access to church history, which was not a continuous record from its beginning of using violence against heretics and heathen

2.His granting of an unprecedented degree of religious freedom demonstrated not only his awareness of historical cultural constraints, but awareness of the possibility of ignoring and moving beyond them

3.He had the example of the Anabaptists (or the overwhelming majority; Munster is generally conceded to be unrepresentative of them) in the previous century, and Quakers in his own, of Christians who had renounced religious violence

4.Our own failures as 21st century Western Christians are evidence that it is possible to know what is right and choose not to do it, and therefore to be culpable, not ignorant or mentally helpless by reason of our ambient culture

Charlemagne likewise had access (indirectly, given his literacy problems) to the NT and church history, and also knew that it was not an unmitigated record of non-stop religious violence.

In short, the idea that either was a powerless mental prisoner of their era is sheer historical obscurantism.

It is rigidly binary to imagine that they can only be conceived of as either totally incapable of conceiving any alternative whatsoever to religious violence or anachronistic paragons of modern liberal pluralism.

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Gamaliel
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The 'on the john' jibe is an Americanism and a bit of a Jan at Lamb Chopped's claims - discussed at length upthread - that she arrived at a working understanding of essential Christian (and to some extent specifically Lutheran) doctrines on her own with only the Bible and the Holy Spirit for company.

She's asked me to leave it out.

So I will.

My citing it again recently came out of exasperation both at your failure to read for comprehension and apparent insistence that Charlemagne, Cromwell or anyone else, living or dead, OUGHT to be able to avoid egregious errors simply by reading their Bibles with the 'right' hermeneutic - namely, the one you believe yourself to use.

If you'd read what I actually wrote and not what you think I wrote, you'd see that rather than operating within mind-forged manacles of historical determinism, I'm actually saying something far more subtle than that.

Yes, Cromwell had access to those ideas/influences you cite, but he had them alongside other influences too. None of this stuff happens in isolation. They wouldn't have been sufficiently strong influences on him to turn him into a Gandhi.

He wasn't an Anabaptist by any manner of means for all his 'independent' polity.

As for Charlemagne, if you'd read my posts properly you'll have seen that I don't let him off the hook for culpability in a deterministic sense. He could have shown clemency. He chose not to.

All I am saying is:

- However we cut it the NT (however interpreted) isn't the sole and isolated influence on how we think, believe and act. Even if it were there's no guarantee we'd get it 'right'.

- The only models available to Charlemagne's contemporaries as to how to run a country were those from classical antiquity and those from the surrounding countries, none of which would have given an immediately workable alternative. The comparative religious pluralism of the Pax Romana no longer existed. How could it have been reintroduced?

I'm sorry, KC, I'm not scoring own goals. Martin, Dafyd, mr cheesy and plenty of others are putting ball after ball in the back of your net and you're not even noticing or else are crying 'foul' and appealing to the referee.

This game isn't going to end on penalty points, you're already trailing by a wide, wide margin but you won't admit it.

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

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Ah, so it is theologians we don't know about who believe the Bible teaches violence against heretics and heathen!

Well, one thing you can say for that position is that it certainly enjoys the advantage of being irrefutable!

I see. So you know all about the theology in places where Christians have been implicated in genocide and terrible religious violence - including Rwanda, Indonesia, South Sudan etc - and so you can state confidently that there are no hermeneutics in play in these situations, can you?

Bullshit. You've got no idea at all, you're talking about the English language theologians you are aware of - who are clearly a small subsection of the theologies that exist.

quote:
Really?

Which Christians believe that the NT requires them to kill heretics and heathen?

What, other than those Christians implicated in genocide and other crimes against humanity?

quote:
quote:
Some of the rhetoric we hear (perhaps just outside our own earshot) in our own cultures isn't so far from justifying religious violence IMO.
If it's outside our earshot, how do we hear it?
What I was thinking was that there are some who express support for state warfare in religious terms - I was thinking about some Conservatives in the USA, but presumably it also happens elsewhere - and who seem to be mixing up ideas of religion and the state. I meant that it was outside of earshot that they're perhaps voices that you and I don't tend to listen to because they're outside of the circles we move in.

Of course something doesn't have to be within earshot to know that it exists or to hear about it.

[ 27. August 2017, 07:46: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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