The Politics of Tribalism.

All of us like to think we make us our minds as individuals and are not overly influenced by personalities or groupthink.  Yet, it is hard not to be influenced by these latter factors.

Sometimes the influence is so obvious you can’t miss it.  An example is the current issue of birth control.

The public likes birth control in it’s private life.  We use it.  Yet, in politics there are opportunists who see a vacuum, an opportunity to bend influence in their direction, and they move in.

Catholic hierarchy opposes “artifical” birth control.  Now, some branches of evangelical Protestants see opportunity there.  These two groups have actually influenced policy to prevent the wildly popular practice from being easily available.

This strange direction could only happen when political operatives have maneuved their fans into thinking it is politically incorrect to publically and aggressively speak up.  The politically clever operatives moved into an open space and set up housekeeping.

A similar thing happens among business interests who support and vote Republican.  The conventional  wisdom is that Republicans are better for business than Democrats.

It turns out that in most ways, the opposite is the case. The stock market is better by several multiples when Democrats dominate Washington than under Republicans.  Groupthink does not allow an objective or factual assessment of the respective parties.

All of this is unfortunate because the majority usually comes around to a practical consensus.  If there were more independent thinkers, we might have better government.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/how-christian-tribalism-empowers-hardliners-against- wishes-most-americans?akid=11442.292072.GwKz3B&rd=1&src=newsletter951270&t=3

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_froma_harrop/obama_may_be_best_economic_president_ever

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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91 Responses to The Politics of Tribalism.

  1. entech says:

    It started with the minnymonnyites or whatever it was that the Israelite’s said their god told them to destroy completely because they didn’t worship him properly. It is still the same, how would a good Lutheran know he was perfectly correct if he didn’t see a Jehovah’s Witness or some other heretic to demonstrate to him that his was the only god and his the only way to worship and adore. You absolutely need to have someone to be able to show as being demonstrably wrong; because there is no way you can demonstrate in any demonstrable way that you are right.

    Please feel free to swap the denominations I chose for any two you feel are opposites. I will give you a hint to start you off – the one that is totally and perfectly correct is yours, and the other could be any of them but you can choose the one find most distasteful (any Unitarian denomination would qualify if you are short of imagination).

    PS. Atheists don’t count they are too, too easy.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 4:07 “I will give you a hint to start you off–the one that is totally and perfectly correct is yours, and the other could be any of them..”

      Good way of explaining this–one cannot know very well what it is he believes and admires until he sees “the other”. A lot of political behaviors, and especially religious ones, are like that.

      • entech says:

        “The Other”, that is scary one. The thinnest of the thin edge of wedges. Eventually working your way up to the other not being truly, doesn’t really count and then doesn’t matter if they get killed, they could be killed – actually they should be killed !!
        Not new though is it, anything that that was deemed an abomination by the priests (speaking on behalf of God, of course) must be stoned to death – thou shalt not suffer a witch to live and parts of Africa (the Evangelical Christian parts) want to introduce or maintain severe punishment for homosexual behavior, even the death penalty in some cases.

        Love thy neighbor, just this one like you, definitely not The Other.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      We don’t see any Jehovah’s witnesses here. They are strongly discouraged from using the internet due to the possible exposure to “other” thought, which would include atheism. actually I’ve found “heretics”( an undefined sect) are more willing to do honest dialogue and are more accessible than atheists. The word “heresy” does not necessarily mean entirely wrong on all counts. One man’s heresy is another’s “error”. Someone with good will can be unknowingly involved in both. That being said, I haven’t seen someone in error or heresy willfully, knowingly and purposefully lying and distorting something in an attempt to win an argument. This has been demonstrated by atheists.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Oops, I should have included the Ignostic with the atheists.

      • entech says:

        I haven’t seen someone in error or heresy willfully, knowingly and purposefully lying and distorting something in an attempt to win an argument.
        You must be going around with your eyes as firmly closed as your mind.

        Bondage of the Mind: How Old Testament Fundamentalism Shackles the Mind and Enslaves the Spirit by R. D. Gold
        Should be required reading.

      • Avatar of realist realist says:

        Seriously, Wanna? Atheists are the only ones who willfully, knowingly and purposefully lie and distort to win arguments? Well that settles it. Everybody in the world except atheists are completely truthful when they argue. You’ll have to excuse me but my bs meter is going off.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Sorry—Should have said “atheists on this blog as demonstrated by Entech. I’m sure all of them don’t stoop to such tactics. I did think that would be understood by the earlier “discussion” of today.

          • entech says:

            That is outright libel, if I were a Josh I would threaten action but I know you don’t know any better.

            What lies and distortions for today do you speak of with such malice.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            That you don’t recognize your practices/ tactics for what they are does not make it excusable.
            PS You know.

          • entech says:

            So you can’t say, there is nothing you can point to just snide innuendos. The last resort of of a defeated mentality – please note, and note well – I claim no part in that defeat: it was all your own work and you have been increasing the pace as time goes by.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; I’m going to bed now. Feel free to beat me up while I’m asleep. I fully expect it. I look at it like when you go to the barn, you will come out smelling like a barn, just by the proximity. Looking forward to the morning. The word for tomorrow is “Honesty”.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Gee. @ 5:14; Now he’s delusional. A symptom.

          • entech says:

            Good word hopefully you will meditate on its value and wake up tomorrow a much more decent and “honest” person,

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Well, here we are back in the barn. Not as bad as I had expected, but a little clean up is still needed.
            I don’t think someone who sounds a little delusional should be considered reliable when it comes to judging “decent and honest”. Seems to fit the” being sent a strong delusion”, but the source of that escapes me at the moment. If I remember right, it has something to do with being almost inescapable. Like being bound. Oh well, it may come to me later.
            Well back to the house for some Mountain Grown Folgers wit da mrs. Too cold to linger here. I feel a cold wind coming from Australia.

  2. entech says:

    On the second piece. Even if Obama paved the streets with platinum and gave away big macks on every corner, most of your posters here would still say he got it wrong, either that he should have given fries with the burgers, or, he should have made people work or starve.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      History is going to be much kinder to Obama than his current critics. Some today are truly as you describe; he can do nothing good. Much of that I chalk up to bigotry pure and simple. But many appreciate his measured intellectual approach to his job. Personally, I find it so refreshing that he thinks about problems in an non-political way understanding that he can not please everybody. He is the smartest president we have had for quite some time.

    • Dan says:

      I agree. Obama needs to raise taxes so that those who can’t afford a big mack can get one through government subsidies. Thanks for wanting to give more. You must be one of those rich 1% people.

  3. Adam Heckathorn says:

    Lots of interesting stuff here I have been one of Jehovah’s Witness’s since I was 24 I’m now 50. I read the Bible from cover to cover and had Myself baptized as a Lutheran went into the Navy as a nuclear Machinist Mate and realized unless I was going to believe things that were mutually exclusive I couldn’t be a christian and be serving in the Navy (It was the era of Ollie North). After I got out of the Navy I was approached by Jehovah’s Witness’s I told them “Being in the Military I’ve learned You have to take Christianity with a grain of salt” to which the One I was talking too replied “We don’t go into the Military” well that got My attention. Over time I have come to see that to quote Mark Twain “Faith is believing what You know ain’t so”. The Universe especially this planet is amazing and has lead Me to think it would be reasonable to think it was designed, on first glance, but watching wolves eat the guts out of some poor creature while its still alive gives Me second thoughts. I recently read “A Short Guide To A Long Life” The Author pointed out some of the popular flaky beliefs on health and how studies have shown them to not only be wrong but actually harmful He quoted Hippocrates “There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance. The Apostle Paul advised Christians ” Let Your reasonableness be known to all Men” If We take an honest look at faith I may be able to reason from starting point to an end point but if You go back far enough before the starting point or far enough beyond the ending point there is always some gap or chasm that requires a “leap of faith” that flies in the face of reason, science, and fact. I had it in My head that the medical profession had almost cured cancer and certainly My anecdotal experience driving Folks to medical appointments would seem to confirm this but unfortunately statistics tell a less optimistic story does that mean that there’s no hope for cancer victims certainly not but statistics can give Us an understanding My personal experience never could. Thinking about it brings to mind the story of the Blind Men describing an elephant and coming up with completely different descriptions based on their position.

    • Henry says:

      Adam:“After I got out of the Navy I was approached by Jehovah’s Witness’s I told them “Being in the Military I’ve learned You have to take Christianity with a grain of salt” to which the One I was talking too replied “We don’t go into the Military” well that got My attention.”

      One can “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” with one’s vocation. Whether you are driving down the road with your licensed vehicle delivering Old Milwaukee as a civilian or serving in the military, they do not interfere with your Christian faith where you would have to drop one to embrace the other.

      Adam:“If We take an honest look at faith I may be able to reason from starting point to an end point but if You go back far enough before the starting point or far enough beyond the ending point there is always some gap or chasm that requires a “leap of faith” that flies in the face of reason, science, and fact.”

      “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

      • Henry says:

        P.S. Remember the Christian Cornelius was in the Cohors II Italica Civium Romanorum, a special forces group.

      • entech says:

        You tell them Henry, according to Henry it does not matter what you do it does not interfere with your Christian faith.
        You can be a handle tuner on the rack or a firelighter for the burning (probably help to ease your conscious so would be good to know you are doing it for a cause), you could be a preacher against homosexuality and buy gay sex and drugs, lose your job and start again in another church. Priest or prostitute all the same. You could be a holocaust denier or instigator or you could write little books about how awful the Jews were and be an inspiration for the holocaust implementers.

        Of course you don’t have to be Christian to do awful things, Stalin, Pol Pot (although PP is a strange case, educated by Frenchmen who were ashamed of the Christian Colonial Heritage, and thought and taught that the only thing that could be done was to rip it all out and start again, doesn’t excuse what he did of course. Genghis Khan, he did some really bad things (but even with him I did read about a revisionist movement that says he was not so bad, it was just the Chinese giving him a bad press – actually an environmental hero raising the farms to allow the forests to regrow.)

        You can do anything because Jesus has forgiven you in advance, of course, you have to believe in the whole Trinitarian pantheon or you are doomed, by the omnibenevolent one. Who is worse Henry? someone who doesn’t believe as you do or someone who doesn’t believe, what about someone who would “drop one to embrace the other”, one is as likely to be correct as the other.

        • Henry says:

          entech:“You tell them Henry, according to Henry it does not matter what you do it does not interfere with your Christian faith.”

          The atheist wants to create sin when there is none. There is no sin in being in the military under the present circumstances. There is no sin in driving the Old Milwaukee truck either. Yet, the atheist gleefully confuses themselves.

          • entech says:

            Henry, what on earth are you talking about, I never mentioned sin, never even thought of in connection with what you said.

            All I said was in agreement with you, your work need not conflict with your beliefs.

            Nice to see you accept that Jehovah’s Witnesses is a Christian denomination (… Christian faith where you would have to drop one to embrace the other.) so many of your persuasion seem to say that they are not Christians.

          • Henry says:

            Your context was clear. You implied serving with the military as sinful by equating it to other sinful activities. Your glee in your following muddling comes directly from your father, the devil. He be proud of you, his son.

          • entech says:

            Whatever you say Henry, you never had a very close relationship with reality anyway.

            Just for the record, you are wrong and are now offering proof positive that it is you that is obsessed with sin – try and remember, atheists don’t believe in sin as you keep saying.

          • Henry says:

            entec:“try and remember, atheists don’t believe in sin as you keep saying.”

            Your 10:22 was filled with discussion of sin. You talk about lack of reality, and ironically you are it.

            You want to carry out your father’s desires. You have indeed, you most subtle creature.

          • entech says:

            Just closing down and had a look in before going to bed, couple of fascinating posts here from Henry.

            Tell you what, it is very early in the morning over there, just coming up for six as I write – it is freezing over there and your brain is probably still asleep and frozen over. Read it all again and reconsider in a few hours when the blood starts flowing again and you can think clearly.

          • Henry says:

            Already re-read and staying warm. Your concerns are merely more muddle.

          • entech says:

            Henry, I try and avoid going too far with you and Wanna, it gets too futile in the end as you both decide what someone means, by yourselves – completely ignoring or distorting what is actually said.

            However, one more try.
            You said that there is no way your job (I think vocation is bit fancy for talking about a truck driver) should cause you to change your Christian faith, I merely pointed out a few jobs and vocations, in point form:
            ~ you could work for the inquisition, stretching and burning people. No way could this be called sin, surely, it is being done for the best of reasons. Heretics are condemned to eternal hell fire, it is an act of huge kindness to save them from this fate. Better to suffer a little now than to suffer for eternity.
            ~ I was, of course, eluding to Ted Haggard, as you love to point out there is no way “an atheist” can believe in sin (even any morals, need a Christian preacher for that ???) so to me Haggard was not guilty of sin but of hypocrisy.
            ~ Priest or prostitute just a bit of alliteration, they go together for euphony all those Ps and Rs rolling together. Neither one is necessarily a sinner, Jesus is alleged to have befriended and defended them all.
            ~ And then I brought different aspects of the holocaust, from antisemitism in the early years of Christianity, to Hitler in Mein Kampf saying that Luther was one of the greatest reformers, to modern day people who will try to say it never happened – it is a Jewish invention. None of these need to deny their Christianity for their work.

            No where here is sin mentioned, sin in the sense of falling by the wayside of the track your God has laid out for you or deliberately disobeying whichever of the hundreds of laws are still considered valid.

            I then listed a few “Atheists” that had done terrible things, admittedly a little tongue in cheek, especially a revisionist view of Genghis Kahn. There is perhaps an element of truth in the Pol Pot story.

            So here again (again and yet again) we have the “Doctrinaire and Absolutist Christian” taking the words of “The Atheist” as meaning whatever the Christian decides they mean, or, what “The Atheist” really can only mean because of innate limitations in a mind that cannot bring itself to the acceptance of your line of horse manure faith and reasoning.

            Sorry to get so carried away but once in a while people like you are as annoying as a nose full of pollen on a spring day.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Sorry; Baptized as a Christian. No where in the liturgy of Baptism in the Lutheran Church is there the term: “Baptized into the Lutheran Church, (or faith). Other denominations may, but I doubt it, with the possible exception of the RCC. All that being said, virtually all Christian denominations recognize baptisms done in other denominations, when the Trinitarian formula, ( “In the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit). is used. Except those who reject infant baptism, if the baptism had been done earlier as an infant.
      In short: You may have been Baptized in a Lutheran church, or during a church service, (although not necessary), but not baptized into the, or as a Lutheran in a Lutheran Church. This is a common misunderstanding.
      Just in case Entech thinks I’m too authoritative, I have the “Rite of Holy Baptism” on my desk.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        I can only speak for what I know! But for the most part, evangelicals reject Baby baptism. The child isn’t of age to choose for him or herself, therefore the baptism is meaningless to God. Of course, it’s right, All others are wrong… Just like you Wanna.

        Instead they do baby dedications. Annointing it with oil to tell God to watch “this baby” it’s more speciall than the last 50 that were annointed previously. And then they pray that angels would protect it and that God would guide the child and the parents over the next 18 years.

        All the while the pastor holds the baby in his arms as everyone lays hands and channels their own prayers and energy into the pastor,and as the pastor channels all the energy into the baby to protect it from outside thoughts and influences as well as protection from illness and sickness.

        • Henry says:

          Wolf:The child isn’t of age to choose for him or herself, therefore the baptism is meaningless to God.”

          The one receiving baptism ability to “choose” is not important. We are already chosen.

          Ephesians 1:3-6(NIV)“3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

          • Wolfy32 says:

            That doesn’t say anything about the impact of baptising a baby. I did forget to clarify though what choice, and it was the choice to choose to be baptized or not. They didn’t feel forcing baptism on a child was meaningful because they had no clue what was happening. as a person with awareness and accountability, they could freely choose and experience the baptism if they so choose.

            It’s a form of public affirmation. A baby cannot self affirm it’s choice to be baptized.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Wolfy: This is a subject that has been discussed for hundreds of years. Both sides have valid points. The main point of Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. It has been my observation that those who deny infant baptism have little or no interest in examining the validity of it. In churches that have infant Baptisms, there is the rite of confirmation, which after study of the faith, (the catechism), a public confirmation of the faith is held. A confirmation of the faith and forgiveness contained in Baptism.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 2:41 “The main point of Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins.”

            Alas, we are back to focusing on sin again, which you have lectured to us many times is NOT the focus of Christianity.

            This discussion is great and got me to thinking how much we nonbelievers miss out on by not having these mysterious rituals like baptism and communion. Muslims get down on the ground and face east and it has some kind of affect on them–restores proper humility I understand.

            What we need in nonbelief is some ritual of tribalism–some ritual that washes away the influence of super natural thinking. But, we have an unresolvable dilema, we don’t think such rituals have any meaning. All we do is get together, toast a beer, and complain about Christians being in our faces all the time.

            We need to be taken ceremonially to another place. But, there is none. :(

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Yes, it is clear you center on sin, while we center on the forgiveness of it. Cause and effect. You deny the cause, and can’t accept the effect. Horses and carts. It continually comes down to “The proper Distinction of Law and Gospel.” Both of which you reject. There you remain.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 3:32 “It comes down to ‘The proper distinction of Law and Gospel’. Both of which you reject.”

            It comes down to being consistant in one’s thinking. Some might call it requiring linear thinking. You do not think in this way.

            If you start naming a problem in human behavior which is a myth, the solution to the problem by definition has to be a myth as well. Sin is unique to Christianity. It is not a universally recognized problem. It did not exist until Christianity (Jews) made it up. So, it is completely absurd to say the faith is about “forgiveness”. There would be no “forgiveness” were it not that someone made up sin.

            For that reason you are incorrect in using the chicken and egg metaphor. In the case of sin/forgiveness the cause and effect are direct. The faith started by making up sin, that was followed by making up forgiveness. That is why I discuss sin, foregiveness is a public relations gimmick tacked on later and not basic to the origin of the faith.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            I believe something is out there that is not of Earth.. because well, there could be near infinite solar systems, galaxies, etc.

            And well, in those trillions – near infinite locations, there could be something not of this earth.

            What I don’t get is why we have to put ourselves down all the time. Why do we depricate ourselves by focussing on sin.

            Wouldn’t a better practice be, instead of asking for forgiveness, how about we do something like “It’s o.k. to make mistakes as long as you learn from them, for it’s the only way one is going to learn.”

            I had a manager tell me that once. Mistakes are learning opportunities. We screw up, it happens, we could either go to a supernatural source to forgive us for our mistakes, or we could try to learn from our mistakes.

            I know, it’s far easier to go to something supernatural so we don’t have go through the learning process and we don’t have to try to become better people…. Heh…. I stumbled across more enlightenment! Christianity is holding us back! No one ever learns and grows up because religion takes that responsibility away.

            Trust me, it’s much easier to go to an invisible being and admit I screwed up, and say by christ’s blood am I cleansed and forgiven.

            Than to say, OMG what have I done? How do I learn from this?

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Wolfy: @ 4:11: There is this in Christianity too. It is called confession and absolution. Don’t confuse this with the RCC necessity of having to go to confession with a priest to be absolved. With this, again we run into “sacerdotalism”, (through the priest.) While effective, not necessary. Nothing is holding you back, or preventing you to learn and grow. You are trying to reinvent the wheel. Oh well.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon: where did I say Chicken or egg in my 5:09? I did say horses and carts. You can’t get past sin even when you deny it. I’m very consistent. You simply don’t like it, and you struggle with it. We’ve been here several times before. More indication of your “bound” and determined situation. It’s not my problem. Back to my 3:32.

          • Dan says:

            Regarding Jon’s comment, “What we need in nonbelief is some ritual of tribalism–some ritual that washes away the influence of super natural thinking.”

            There’s a new group of super natural thinkers in Gary Indiana.

            “Chilling reports taken from the residents of a Gary, Ind., home recount a haunting that involved a 12-year-old girl levitating over her bed and a 9-year-old boy walking on a hospital ceiling. Astonishingly, the family’s recollections are backed by not only a local police official but also by medical personnel.”

            Full article on the Drudge Report.

            Since the beginning of time, there have been accounts of demons. The proof is overwhelming. The fuss about whether or not there is a God is made by only fools who fail to see the reality of their world they live in. A child can’t simply levitate and walk on hospital ceilings. It defies gravity and logic.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Dan 6:40 “..the family’s recollections are not only backed by a local police officier but also by medical personnel.”

            Dan, get serious. Read the story. The Police Officer told reporters he believes in literal ghosts and demons. He heard something, but, alas, the recording device he had with him failed to work. There is no recording or picture of anything. It’s like all the people who have seen space aliens and Bigfoot.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          “Pastor channels”??? Yes, your entire 2:03 is pretty close to the position of the church which you apparently now reject or despise.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Re. “Pastor channels”; This is approaching “sacerdotalism” in the RCC. You surely don’t mean that do you?

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Well, most times that I’ve experienced the baby dedications, it’s close, the pastor requests everyone to face and raise their hands. This is implied or everyone just knows this means to raise their right or left arm and reach it out to the baby.

            And then everyone prays intensely I don’t know how else to describe it but as some type of spiritual channeling by focusing ones arm and position at the object of prayer and then praying intensely for the baby.

            The same ritual / acts are done when they’re prayer services for healing. Weather it’s physical or things such as job, health, marital, emotional, etc. Except in these cases the object (aka requestor) will be at the altor, the deacons of the church will come up and annoint the person with holy oil, and then some of the congregation (closest friends and family probably) will come up and all lay their hands on the person as the rest of the congregation positions towards that person and again raises their arms in their direction as though symbolically laying their hands on the person. And then praying intensely. Some even go to the ground on their knees weeping in prayer so over come by “god’s POwer” as they “channel” his spirit.

            I don’t make this up. I don’t know if it’s what you talk about “Sacerdotalism”. Never heard that term before, but, it is something I’ve seen probably in the hundreds of times. Most every church service (many times sunday morning and evening) from the age of memory to 22 or so. Then I went, but not as regularly. Then I started going to an evangelical free church, until a few sermons were just over the top, I felt put down for things that were very real to me at that point in my life. Nothing like being condemned for trying to turn your life around and do right.

            I also tried contacting a pastor to get more involved, after being stood up twice for a coffee meeting, (for more important church matters), I realized I can move on without a church.

        • entech says:

          Careful what you say about this sought of thing Wolfy. The Lutheran tradition is to hunt down and kill any one that want baptism later, re-baptism or is it being an Anabaptist.

          Tribal indeed.

      • Avatar of realist realist says:

        Seriously, Wanna? Now the grammar wars? You have way too much time on your hands. If I commented on every incorrect incidence of usage I noticed, I would never sleep.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          This is not grammar wars. There is a great difference. The” Baptized into (any church)” is more like joining a club. That is not the essence of Baptism. The point missed by you.

          • Avatar of realist realist says:

            But apparently you have no emotional intelligence at all because everybody but you knew exactly what he was saying. “Into” equals “by” for those who don’t have to have it spelled out for them. Sheesh.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Words mean things. I can only go by what is said. Whatever the case, he should know the difference now, as should you. No need to be so defiant. Consider this a learning moment.

        • entech says:

          Be told Realist, everyone is being told. Just some people have the gift of perfection, other poor soles (sic) like you and me just have to muddle through and take whatever scraps are offered.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Again, no substance, only attitude. Same old same old.

  4. Adam Heckathorn says:

    I guess In writing My post I have invited (and I certainly welcome) comments on a few different points. On military service I have these references collected by The Watchtower Society; Those Known as Early Christians. Early Christians refused to serve in the Roman army, in both the legions and auxilia, considering such service as wholly incompatible with the teachings of Christianity. Says Justin Martyr, of the second century C.E., in his “Dialogue With Trypho, a Jew” (CX): “We who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons,—our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage.” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p. 254) In his treatise “The Chaplet, or De Corona” (XI), when discussing “whether warfare is proper at all for Christians,” Tertullian (c. 200 C.E.) argued from Scripture the unlawfulness even of a military life itself, concluding, “I banish from us the military life.”—The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1957, Vol. III, pp. 99, 100.
    “A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius [121-180 C.E.], no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.” (The Rise of Christianity, by E. W. Barnes, 1947, p. 333) “It will be seen presently that the evidence for the existence of a single Christian soldier between 60 and about 165 A.D. is exceedingly slight; . . . up to the reign of Marcus Aurelius at least, no Christian would become a soldier after his baptism.” (The Early Church and the World, by C. J. Cadoux, 1955, pp. 275, 276) “In the second century, Christianity . . . had affirmed the incompatibility of military service with Christianity.” (A Short History of Rome, by G. Ferrero and C. Barbagallo, 1919, p. 382) “The behavior of the Christians was very different from that of the Romans. . . . Since Christ had preached peace, they refused to become soldiers.” (Our World Through the Ages, by N. Platt and M. J. Drummond, 1961, p. 125) “The first Christians thought it was wrong to fight, and would not serve in the army even when the Empire needed soldiers.” (The New World’s Foundations in the Old, by R. and W. M. West, 1929, p. 131) “The Christians . . . shrank from public office and military service.” (“Persecution of the Christians in Gaul, A.D. 177,” by F. P. G. Guizot in The Great Events by Famous Historians, edited by R. Johnson, 1905, Vol. III, p. 246) “While they [the Christians] inculcated the maxims of passive obedience, they refused to take any active part in the civil administration or the military defence of the empire. . . . It was impossible that the Christians, without renouncing a more sacred duty, could assume the character of soldiers, of magistrates, or of princes.”—The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, Vol. I, p. 416.
    I think these references are fairly accurate of the nature of early Christianity. On faith The Apostle Paul at Heb 11:1 used terms that could be translated title deed and from His point of view I think We’d all agree His conclusions were reasonable just as the blind Man at the front of the Elephant would swear Its similar to a snake. The Apostle Paul reasoned with what He Had I’ve seen nothing in His writings to indicate He accepted blind faith or credulity. To these early Christians faith was those most reasonable course just like the blind Man at the front of the Elephant. On baptism I’ll defer to Emo Philips; I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop! don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! Are you episcopalian or baptist?” He said, “Baptist!” I said,”Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord?” He said, “Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you original baptist church of god, or are you reformed baptist church of god?” He said,”Reformed Baptist church of god!” I said, “Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off. — Emo Phillips I was sprinkled as a Lutheran at the time I didn’t think it made any difference what Church You went to later attending Baptist meetings They were certain I’d go to hell if I didn’t let Them baptize (immerse) Me. And I was actually baptized (immersed) By Jehovah’s Witness’s.

    • Henry says:

      Thanks for the references. I believe you would be correct for an “unjust war”. There is no sin in protecting yourself or others in a “just war”.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        Who defines Unjust or Just war?
        And the bible commands to not kill another human being…

        So, if that’s a direct commandment, wouldn’t that include all instances of killing not just when it’s convenient to not kill. That means self defense killing someone would violate the commandment and any version of war would be a violation since one would be killing people in war, or “keeping the peace” or doing anything in the military since it is an institution of killing.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Actually the more accurate translation is “murder”.

        • Henry says:

          Wolf:“So, if that’s a direct commandment, wouldn’t that include all instances of killing not just when it’s convenient to not kill.”

          With that line of logic, you wouldn’t be able to drive your car due to the potential to kill. You should ask yourself then, “What does this mean”? Look up the Greek word “phoneus” as used in the original texts.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 6:03 re phoneus

            As I understand it, the term murder applied only to members of one’s own tribe. Wholesale killing of any other tribe was encouraged.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          See Green’s Hebrew Greek English interlinear, Thayer, Keil &Delitzsch, and Strongs. All agree on “Murder” in context. The KJV uses “kill” in the context of murder.

    • entech says:

      Adam, you probably guessed that I am not a believer, but I can see no reason why your beliefs should not have equal footing with all the other beliefs of the early church, before the one God became three and everyone that did not accept it became “The Other”, must be a nightmare for the poor darlings now, which to hate the most the unitarians or the nonetarians.

      Adam, forgive my ignorance if unitarian is not the correct designation, I think of it as any one who believes there is one god unique and indivisible (Islam, Judaism etc)

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        “Hate “the other”, “Unitarians”: Presumption in the extreme. Disagreement yes, hate no. If anyone understands “Hate”, it would be you if anyone questions or disagrees with your superior intellect.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          No, entech has admitted he’s wrong numerous times, and has been open to questioning things he says and asks questions of others to learn.. In all reality, you, Henry, and Josh are the only ones that speak in absolutes. This is it and that’s just how it is for not just me but for everyone, in fact, you would go so far as to say your truths are absolute for the whole universe.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            So then, to use his own framework of debate, if he’s wrong on some, he could be wrong on all.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            But I won’t hold my breath on that due to his superior intellect. It won’t allow it.

          • entech says:

            Wolfy January 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm
            Thank you for pointing out that I do admit to be being wrong and to being questioning, actually more than that I have actually apologised to Henry a couple of times.
            @ 3:10 Wanna suggests that by my own reasoning if I am wrong on some things I could be wrong on all, TRUE I admit it. I announce it – I always say I am just searching for the truth, if I make light of something or suggest something is hard to believe it is a part of that search.

            Incidentally still waiting for an explanation of the accusation of being a dishonest liar made on
            January 28, 2014 at 4:58 am.

            PS. Adam thank you for your late posting, I may have missed the above otherwise.

      • Adam Heckathorn says:

        I should be more clear I am an atheist.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Adam 2:48 Your one sentence post provided material for hours of discussion. I like that.

          • Adam Heckathorn says:

            Whoa! its Sat. I didn’t catch all this before. I appreciate these comments even perhaps especially those that disagree or even would condemn My views. Recently I was walking along having a conversation with a couple of guys on health care when Jehovah’s Witness’s came up and We talked a little (really barely touched) there door to door activity. I sensed some resentment. Personally if You are going to come to My door to discuss anything politics, religion, vacuums If I can spare the time I’ll probably hear You out. I believe in free speech passionately. I think to be willing to listen even to views We may find repugnant or just ridiculous has a value. Having said that, to disrespect some ones time is rude and counter productive If You have a message You ‘d like to convey.

        • Henry says:

          Adam:“I should be more clear I am an atheist.”

          The sun came up and scorched the plants, withering them for they had no root.

          • Adam Heckathorn says:

            I’m breaking out My Bible actually I have most of the accepted translations and am willing to use any translation that would be most acceptable to any particular individual.The Scripture You sighted has a parallel in Matt,Mark and Luke. In each account Jesus compares the impact of Gods word or message on each individual and it’s clear that Jesus believed every human being that hears this “Word” falls into one of four described catagories. I’ll make the assumption We’d agree the Gospel=good news is what was taught by Jesus recorded in Matt,Mark,Luke and John. Now I’ll paste those in and We’ll take an honest look and see if those really apply to Me as You have implied. (Luke 8:13) “Those upon the rock-mass are the ones who, when they hear it, receive the word with joy, but these have no root; they believe for a season, but in a season of testing they fall away.” This scripture just says “a season of testing that could be a lot of things.(Mark 4:17) “Yet they have no root in themselves, but they continue for a time; then as soon as tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, they are stumbled.”(Matthew 13:21)” Yet he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled.” Please notice the phrase in Mark’s account “because of the word” and Matt’s account “on account of the word”. No One is or has persecuted Me because of My belief in “said Word” I just no longer think it’s reasonable to believe in “said word” so I think it’s reasonable to conclude that regardless of Your belief or My disbelief this does not apply.

          • entech says:

            Henry, reading what Adam says about your quote a couple of things come to mind.

            It is sometimes said that there are overtones of Gnosticism in Mathew and Mark, this would be one instance telling the crowd one thing in the form of a story and revealing something more to the close followers in private.

            Secondly it could be quite simply that the supposed truths and insights simply can’t stand up to the light.

        • entech says:

          That makes it interesting, we a had on topic on definitions a while ago, didn’t get too far.

          Need to expand my definition a bit – the belief system of JWs and all the others have as much possibility as being right as any of the others, the natural extension is that they could all be as wrong as each other.

          My question now becomes can you be a Jehovah’s Witness without a belief in Jehovah? Not trying to be facetious, Universal Unitarians have a rather flexible definition with some not believing in a literal god, the Sea of Faith is another religious group with a lot of flexibility and in Europe there are several ‘Pastors’ who declare as none believers. When I was raised in the C of E in English schools in the 50s a literal virgin Mary was certainly an optional belief and to some extent so was God.

          As Jon says food for thought and interesting discussions.

          • Adam Heckathorn says:

            Can You be one of Jehovah’s Witness’s and not believe in Jehovah? I’d say no. Among Jehovah’s Witness’s Your considered “inactive” if You don’t turn in field service time on a somewhat regular basis.

  5. Adam Heckathorn says:

    If I have the faith that My eternal life is assured in a paradise wouldn’t it be better to die than take another life that did not yet have that assurance?

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Good point. Let them kill you first, so they have a chance. Just make sure you tell them first before they kill you and your family? I’m sure your wife and children will understand.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        Wanna, that’s all very selfish!! What’s more important? One’s eternal soul or the love of your beloved family’s grieving that is already saved in Christ. The selfish rout would be to save yourself so your family wouldn’t lose you. The unselfish, very Christlike giving way would be to allow yourself to be destroyed in the hopes that the other would be saved.

        That’s ultimately what Christianity is about it is it not?

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