Contrived offense

Whenever I read about Atheists who are offended and repulsed by religious speech and imagery I feel compelled to point out how intolerant and prejudiced that really is.  In any other setting, directed at any other demographic, the person offended and repulsed would be called out for their asininity.  “But you don’t know how it feels…” they bemoan.  So I though I might take a moment to explain that, yes, I do know what it’s like to be “forced” into an environment where I am the only outlier.

If you are relatively new to Sifting Reality, you may have missed my autobiographical post, A Peek Behind The Foster Grants.  In it I describe my upbringing as it related to the religious atmosphere in my family:

I was not raised in a “Christian home” even though we attended a Congregational church on Easter, Christmas, and whenever my mother decided accept my grandparent’s invitation to attend.  My parents divorced when I was two, and I lived with my mother until the age of ten.  She never brought up God, Jesus, or religion at all.  There was probably a Bible in the home, but if there was, I had no idea where.  It was a topic never broached.  We lived as Agnostics in that sense, just carried on as if nothing about the reality or falsity of God held any consequence.

I moved in with my father who, much like my mother, never discussed the topic.  It was only at my conversion to Christianity that I came to find out he was an Atheist.

When it was time for me to transition from grammar school (k-4) to the middle school (5-8), my mother decided it would be a good idea to enroll me into a private Catholic school for fifth grade.  Not that I was doing poorly in school, but she believed that I would get a better education, which bears out statistically.  I hated this idea.  All my friends were in the public school system and I would be charged with the task of making all new friends at the age of ten.  And most relevant to the story, I didn’t know anything about being Catholic.

This Catholic school had religion classes where we were (what an Atheist might call) indoctrinated in Roman Catholic theology and Church teachings on social issues.  What’s more is once a week each grade took its turn making the half-mile walk to the Catholic Church in the center of town to attend and participate in a Catholic Mass.

Eew… religion

I distinctly remember being told I had to stand, sit, kneel, stand, kneel, sit, etc. that’s involved in a Mass.  I also remember being admonished by other students and teachers that I was not allowed to participate in the communion because I was not Catholic, and it wasn’t said with the loving gentile I-don’t-want-to-offend-you tone kids these days need lest their little egos be shattered.  I was the only kid still sitting in the pews.  The other kids used to stare at the poor Protestant heretic while they waited for their wafer.

Let me tell you, I didn’t feel all the anxiety and horror Atheists claim their children feel when forced against their will to *gasp* watch Charlie Brown in a church building, or attend graduation in a church building, or just seeing a cross.  No, I understood that they had their views and I had mine.  Why didn’t I feel psychologically traumatized?  Regardless, there are people exposed to other religious speech and imagery who don’t have an emotional break down over it.  There are even people like myself who are put in situations where they have to participate who seem to make it out unscathed.

Let me preempt the “But that was a private school!” diversion.  I realize the difference between public and private schooling.  The point is I was a child being forced to participate in religious studies and religious worship which was different from my own.  Moreover, even though I was the only outlier, I was not traumatized the way Atheists claim their children are.

The bottom line is this, if being amid religious symbols and imagery, or hearing religious language makes you hyperventilate and tremble, you are a bigot.  So which is it, are Atheists more fragile by nature, or was I an exceptionally strong child?

Comments

  1. Really, so breaking the law is okay as long as you’re doing it in your god’s name? Is that what your holy text teaches? Is that what your prophet or god taught you?

  2. Forcing children to a place of worship where they are prostletized to as part of their schooling is unconstitutional. Fear of ostricization was used as the tool of force. This incident is not the only one you generalized about. It was unnecessary to the children’s education to support a religious school trip with tax dollars. As such, it steps over the line of legality, and is unconstitutional. Your whining about it is exactly why atheists are speaking out.

    • Why are you inventing facts? No one was to be proselytized. They were going to watch Charlie Brown! It wasnt a religious trip either.

      Man you people just can’t help but to be offended can you? Thank you for making my point! I was afraid people would say no one is that sensitive, but here you are.

  3. Why don’t you pay attention to both sides? Is that too difficult for you?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/11/21/atheist-group-objects-to-elementary-school-taking-kids-to-see-a-charlie-brown-christmas-at-local-church/

    There are valid reasons for concern.

    “Christians would be up in arms if school officials took kids to a holiday production at a local mosque. They should be the first in line objecting to a class field trip to a local church. They’re not, though, because that would be the respectful, right thing to do — and they just can’t bring themselves to do that.”

  4. I do agree that people on both sides of this issue (atheist and theist) have over-reacted and possibly over-dramatized offense. I haven’t looked terribly far into this, and I may be biased as I really like “a Charlie Brown Christmas.” :)

    Just out of curiosity, would the Christians here be offended if their children were taken to a mosque during Ramadan to see an Islamic tinged play?

  5. I also think it is a little unfair to point to the actions of some atheists and claim it is a problem with all atheists, just as I do not blame every theist for the actions of a fellow theist.

    • Austintx

      I often paint with a broad brush. This is only because the kinds of Atheists I generalize about are the same ones who are most likely to read my posts. I certainly dont think it’s every atheist, but they are the ones most active on the internet who advertize their atheism.

  6. Just out of curiosity, would the Christians here be offended if their children were taken to a mosque during Ramadan to see an Islamic tinged play?

    I can’t speak for all Christians, but, yes, I would be offended. But I wouldn’t turn the issue into a constitutional crisis; I’d simply refuse to sign the permission slip.

    Yes, yes. I read it. Atheist parents claim their children would be ostracized. That’s a bunch of nonsense. Kids are absent from school all the time for a variety of different reasons. Are they ostracized then?

    Why Wouldn’t I Allow It?

    The Qu’ran teaches violence.

    As a response – and in typical liberal fashion I might add – you’ll mention acts of violence present in the Old Testament. But the difference is that while the Old Testament may contain acts of violence, it doesn’t teach it as such; it teaches stories and parables that contain violence. The Qu’ran, you’ll notice from the link, is very different: it actively calls for war on the unbeliever.

    That’s why I wouldn’t want my family in a mosque watching a Ramadan movie. Why are you opposed to your children being in a church watching a Christmas movie?

  7. For the record I wouldn’t be offended if my kids went to see a play at a church. I wouldn’t be offended if they went to a Mosque; I wouldn’t be offended if they attended a Synagogue. I’d be offended if they were forced to recite a prayer, or if they were taught that the religion was fact. I’d be offended if the school put up banners in the gymnasium with a bible verse that was not marking a specific holiday- or refused to acknowledge and offer the same educational opportunities for other relevant world religions throughout the year.
    The Charlie Brown thing though? Seriously people. Get a life.

  8. Austin…

    Just out of curiosity, would the Christians here be offended if their children were taken to a mosque during Ramadan to see an Islamic tinged play?

    For me, it would depend on how it was handled. I am fine with my kids (raised Christian) visiting a mosque a synagogue a pagan shrine or even a fundamentalist Christian church if it was an educational experience. I wouldn’t want any of them to be proselytized at any of those places. It could be a tricky line, though. If my kid’s school were going to a mosque to learn about Ramadan in an Islamic tinged play, I’d probably be fine with it.

    And I’m guessing most Christians would object strongly to any exposure to Islam or paganism… so I’m, as is often the case, an outlier.

  9. I agree about the Charlie Brown thing, though. That seems a stretch. On the other hand, I suspect many Christian parents would object to their kid watching, “A Charlie Brown Ramadan…”

  10. You’re really stoping here JB. I appreciate the blog because you no ally argue your position with even if it’s against a straw man. This is pushing the envelope though.
    Your argument is that atheists are offended and should get over it.
    You’ve given three examples where Christians have co-opted the government to push their religious views (public school program and graduation and on public land).
    These are constitutional violations and have nothing to do with being offended. Your attempt to marginalized this as simply being offended is downright dishonest. You should really think about whether those commandments of yours allow such flexible ethics.
    To drive home the point, notice how atheists never *challenge* ‘you’re going to hell’ billboards or Calvary crosses on roadsides. We might get offended or complain or disagree but we also affirm the rights of those private citizens to use commercial means to spread their views. When we atheists put up billboards or bus signs or free-speech displays, the Christians jump in, slavering and cursing, about blasphemy and how offended they are.
    Be honest about the difference between a legal challenge and a simple matter of being offended. And when you do, you might point the finger at Christians before getting around to us.

  11. A couple autocorrect/typos above.
    Stoping > stooping
    No ally > normally

  12. Except Christianity of course. A huge cross pushes Christianity. The whole point of the Charlie brown episode is to encourage worship of Jesus. Church signs and decorations are meant to promote Christianity.
    This whole idea that the cross isn’t christian is what should be offensive to you.
    The whole point if the Charlie brown episode is to tell people like you to quit secularizing religion. Christmas is about Christ.
    The only reason you would say otherwise is on an attempt to sidestep the constitution so you can gain access to public schools so you can use government resources to institute Christianity as the state religion. Lying to get ahead. Hardly a noble act.

  13. It is truly astonishing the level of dismay from atheists or non-Christians at the thought of coming into any level of contact with Christianity in public. In a Christian nation? How odd!

    Jason seems to have a problem understanding that the true meaning of Christmas is indeed to recognize the birth of Jesus Christ. The Charlie Brown movie simply re-iterates that, but it doesn’t do a thing to suggest anyone become Christian. What it does do is to encourage everyone to remember the meaning and to discourage the type of materialism so connected to the secular side of the holiday. One needn’t become Christian in order to benefit from either message. If a Charlie Brown Ramadan sent a similar message, I don’t think I would have a huge problem with my kids shown that in school, especially since we could, and likely would discuss it later at home.

    But John’s larger point about taking offense, feeling ostracized or marginalized simply for being one of the few not able to partake of, or desirous of taking part it, religious aspects of a religious environment is spot on. I was on the other end. I went to a Catholic elementary school from 3rd to 8th grade. We had at least one non-Catholic kid in my grade that to my knowledge never suffered by his Lutheran distinction. He was treated as one of us apart from those situations where his non-Catholic status dictated he could not. (I recall his mother was invited to discuss with us differences between our denominations. She kept her boy in the school through graduation without any negative affect.)

  14. The whole point of the Charlie brown episode is to encourage worship of Jesus.

    Really?
    ZOMG! All these years my parents have been brainwashing me by making me watch Charlie Brown Christmas! The bastards!!!!
    Come on, Jason.

  15. Yes. A cross is intended to compell you to be Christian. JB’s catholic education was intended to make him feel catholic. Being resistant to proselytism (or too slow to realize it) doesn’t mean it’s not proselytism. The establishment clause doesn’t get tossed out the window because JB’s private catholic school failed to convert him.
    None of this has anything to do with why Richard Dawkins or Joel osteen or ayotollah Khomeini preach in their free time. This has nothing to do with being offended.
    There is a separation of church and state. These are valid legal challenges not hurt feelings. Don’t confuse the issue. Why can’t Christians understand the difference between their home or church or private school (preach all you want) and a public school (don’t preach)?

    • Should school bus routes intentionally avoid driving by churches because seeing one may cause the children of Atheists to have seizures? Because, you know, seeing a cross or religious building might convert them.

    • So the reason you would oppose a public school taking children to a mosque, etc. is because you personally dislike the teachings of the religion? What kind of reasoning is that? Why do you get to decide which religions are okay and which aren’t?

      I won’t allow my kids to watch certain films due to violent or sexual content. Why should a book be any different, if it contains some of the same material?

      Second, take your logical fallacies elsewhere. They don’t confuse, woo, or fluster me. I never claimed I can decide which religions are okay for the masses. But as a parent, it’s not only my right but my responsibility to safeguard the minds of my children from deleterious influences. I don’t want my kids exposed to violent teachings.

      And this probably isn’t the place to debate this, but do you not believe that God ordering the genocide of Canaanites is historical, but a just a parable or story?

      The historicity is beside the point since no violence is being taught, only told as part of a larger point.

      Second, why are you bringing this up? Is it the default argument atheists make when they run out of logic – or what? Because this isn’t the first time that story has been brought up on this blog. So, let me guess: The Old Testament God is a barbaric bully undeserving of worship, right?

      In order to pursue this digression, I first need to know on what basis you believe God’s actions were immoral (and clearly you do). I ask this because it seems ironic that a self-styled atheist would pass judgement on the morality of God when, in point of fact, you don’t believe in anything upon which to draw a sense of right and wrong; it’s all subjective and relative, according to the atheist point of view. (We’re speaking philosophically, by the way.)

      In any event, I need not bother myself too much with your contradictions. According to the Bible, the moral depravity of the Canaanites was complete, total, and full. The best thing God could have done for the Canaanite children, as well as the surrounding tribes, was to end the Canaanite culture of immorality.

      Regardless, where in that story is violence being taught rather than being mentioned as part of a large point (God’s justice). Lastly, at their age, my kids are only familiar with the New Testament. That’s what they’re taught at home, in school, and in church, with brief mentions of the Old Testament. It’s contents are not taught at so early an age, but even if they were, the Old Testament does not tell people to commit acts of violence; the Qu’ran does. A crucial differences you seem content to overlook…

      God commands the destruction of people solely due to their location after all.

      This is not true of the Old Testament God. Perhaps instead of quote-mining from your atheist websites, you might consider opening up the Bible and reading it for yourself. And, yes, I’ve read the Qu’ran.

      But again, I don’t see the relevance to where a public school should or should not take children, do you think they should make it is against the law specifically to bring them to a mosque? How about a synagogue? Should they just make the law that no public school can attend a religious facility that Terrance disagrees with?

      Yet more logical fallacies. Your questions are answered in my original remarks: It should be up to the parents. Unlike you liberals, I don’t believe in a nanny-state.

  16. … Because, you know, officially-sanctioned religous activities promoted by the school are the same as totally unrelated religious signs on the side of the road…

    C’mon JB. You’re really grasping at straws.

  17. Except for the church/prayer/huge cross. If a church, prayer, and cross aren’t religious, then nothing is.

    If we want to split hairs, it’s a religious location/profession/symbol in the examples you provided. All of them are utilitized in a way intended to promote and privilege religion in government. All of them could be done by provate citizens but not with government sponsorship.

  18. @Terrance,

    “Why Wouldn’t I Allow It?
    The Qu’ran teaches violence.

    As a response – and in typical liberal fashion I might add – you’ll mention acts of violence present in the Old Testament. But the difference is that while the Old Testament may contain acts of violence, it doesn’t teach it as such; it teaches stories and parables that contain violence. The Qu’ran, you’ll notice from the link, is very different: it actively calls for war on the unbeliever.”

    So the reason you would oppose a public school taking children to a mosque, etc. is because you personally dislike the teachings of the religion? What kind of reasoning is that? Why do you get to decide which religions are okay and which aren’t?

    “That’s why I wouldn’t want my family in a mosque watching a Ramadan movie. Why are you opposed to your children being in a church watching a Christmas movie?”

    I never actually said I was opposed to it… I probably would if I felt it used as a chance to proselytize to the students.

    And this probably isn’t the place to debate this, but do you not believe that God ordering the genocide of Canaanites is historical, but a just a parable or story?

    I am not an expert on the Koran. If the quotations are accurately represented (as I don’t by default trust translations and excerpts posted on websites meant to advocate a specific perspective), I wouldn’t be terribly surprised and I don’t notice a terrible difference in kind from certain Old Testament passages. God commands the destruction of people solely due to their location after all.

    But again, I don’t see the relevance to where a public school should or should not take children, do you think they should make it is against the law specifically to bring them to a mosque? How about a synagogue? Should they just make the law that no public school can attend a religious facility that Terrance disagrees with?

  19. Personally, I don’t think any kids should be brought into a place where women and men are segregated- unless it is a bathroom or change room. I don’t think Islam is any more violent than Christianity, but it is a hell of a lot more backwards.

  20. The issue is whether or not mere exposure to religious symbols, be it a cross, a church or even a ceremony, is in any way problematic for the psyche of the child. It is not.

    John’s Catholic school education was meant to educate him, as it was felt that would be more likely there than at public schools. It’s a common belief, really. But even in my case, where I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for both the better education as well as the education on the faith, it wasn’t intended that I was to be made a Catholic as it was felt I already was one. Indoctrination is usually done by the parents, though in the case of the field trip to the mosque that John featured, that was indeed a case of proselytizing.

    The offense that atheists take at the sight of religious symbols indicates a need on their part for counseling and psychiatric therapy. Placement of religious symbols on public property is a reflection of the people of the area, not an encouragement to join up. I would, however, encourage atheists to join up. They really need it.

  21. Yes. A cross is intended to compell you to be Christian.

    By that same logic, the Donkey symbol is intended to make one a Democrat and the Elephant is intended to make one a Republican. Nice.

    And since you’re so concerned about symbolism, you should lobby the government to have swastikas removed from all the history books – since their only purpose is to compel one to become a Nazi.

    You arguments are ridiculous, pathetic, and the product of a clearly drug-addled mind.

  22. @Terrance,

    You do know the topic of discussion is whether or not PUBLIC SCHOOLS should be LEGALLY ALLOWED to schedule an event at a church, mosque, synagogue, etc. and whether it is LEGALLY PERMISSIBLE to feature a movie which contains an explicit message in support of their religious beliefs.

    I am not arguing (in fact I haven’t seen anyone argue) that you should not be allowed to take your child out of school, in other words that they be forced to attend.

    Just wanted to make sure as much of your response seems unrelated to this topic.

  23. @ Terrance,

    “I won’t allow my kids to watch certain films due to violent or sexual content. Why should a book be any different, if it contains some of the same material?”

    What book are you referring to and what does it have to do with this discussion?

    “Second, take your logical fallacies elsewhere. They don’t confuse, woo, or fluster me. I never claimed I can decide which religions are okay for the masses.”

    I assume you are accusing me of the straw-man fallacy by asking “Why do you get to decide which religions are okay and which aren’t?”

    Fair enough. I was mostly asking questions to try and establish what legal justification and criteria you propose should be used. If you have any other examples of logical fallacies in my arguments, feel free to let me know. I am sure this is not true of you, but I have noticed some people use logical fallacy to mean “I don’t like your argument,” this is obviously not its meaning. It would improve the conversation to call out fallacies when you encounter them though.

    “But as a parent, it’s not only my right but my responsibility to safeguard the minds of my children from deleterious influences. I don’t want my kids exposed to violent teachings.”

    Completely agree.

    “The historicity is beside the point since no violence is being taught, only told as part of a larger point.
    Second, why are you bringing this up?”

    You appeared to be bringing up the issue of violence in the Qu’ran disqualifying that religion from being able to host such public school activities.

    I said that should be largely irrelevant in relation to a religions legal status. As an aside I said that I found the Qu’ran passages you linked to as not being terribly different than some Old Testament passages… I will point out that it is you who first brought up the comparison, not me.

    “Is it the default argument atheists make when they run out of logic – or what?”

    Again, you are the one who brought the topic up.

    “In order to pursue this digression, I first need to know on what basis you believe God’s actions were immoral (and clearly you do). I ask this because it seems ironic that a self-styled atheist would pass judgement on the morality of God when, in point of fact, you don’t believe in anything upon which to draw a sense of right and wrong; it’s all subjective and relative, according to the atheist point of view. (We’re speaking philosophically, by the way.)”

    I am perfectly willing to defend my ethical framework. I would be willing to do it here but this is John Barron’s page and I do not wish to overstep my bounds or otherwise distract from its intent is John would prefer otherwise.

    I can briefly state my current belief is that a form of moral realism called “Desirism” best describes what we mean and do when we use moral language. I actually am of the view that it is much harder to establish a robust and meaningful moral framework if THEISM is true, as compared to atheism.

    “In any event, I need not bother myself too much with your contradictions. According to the Bible, the moral depravity of the Canaanites was complete, total, and full. The best thing God could have done for the Canaanite children, as well as the surrounding tribes, was to end the Canaanite culture of immorality.”

    Again, this is a side topic, but I am curious you really think that killing the children was the most preferable and ethical option? If so, would you be fine advocating that against a modern day state you found to be totally depraved? Also are children’s choice entirely determined by there society? Do you really think a society can exist or has existed without a single virtuous person?

    Again, I apologize John if you feel this is overstepping my bounds.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions and comments, I very greatly appreciate it and an interested in hearing your perspective on these issues if possible. I will address the last part of your comment when I have time to.

  24. You do know the topic of discussion is whether or not PUBLIC SCHOOLS should be LEGALLY ALLOWED to schedule an event at a church, mosque, synagogue, etc. and whether it is LEGALLY PERMISSIBLE to feature a movie which contains an explicit message in support of their religious beliefs.

    Perhaps you should read the post again, because that isn’t the topic. Specifically, John is discussing his experience with being “forced” into a religious environment in which he was the only outlier.

    Tangentially, John alludes to some issues related to the separation between church and state. Maybe that’s what you meant.

    I am not arguing (in fact I haven’t seen anyone argue) that you should not be allowed to take your child out of school, in other words that they be forced to attend.

    I responded to a question – by you. You said, “Just out of curiosity, would the Christians here be offended if their children were taken to a mosque during Ramadan to see an Islamic tinged play?”

    Then you mentioned God ordering the death of the Canaanites. I answered your question, as I did previously. So the discussion veered off topic, if it did, because of you.

    Glad we cleared that up.

  25. What book are you referring to and what does it have to do with this discussion?

    You know what book.

    Fair enough. I was mostly asking questions to try and establish what legal justification and criteria you propose should be used.

    I don’t. In my original reply to your Ramadan question, I specifically said I wouldn’t turn this into a constitutional crisis.

    If you have any other examples of logical fallacies in my arguments, feel free to let me know.

    Please read your last three replies.

    It would improve the conversation to call out fallacies when you encounter them though.

    Straw man. Red herring. Your replies are littered with both. This most recent one especially.

    You appeared to be bringing up the issue of violence in the Qu’ran disqualifying that religion from being able to host such public school activities.

    I think you have trouble comprehending what you read. I did no such thing. Rather, I was disqualifying Islam from being taught to my family until they are old enough to look after themselves.

    I will point out that it is you who first brought up the comparison, not me.

    You asked the question; I provided an in-depth response. You brought it up. I said nothing about disqualifying any religion from public schools.

    Again, you are the one who brought the topic up.

    No, I didn’t. I offered an in-depth response to your question.

    Again, this is a side topic…

    One you brought up.

    …but I am curious you really think that killing the children was the most preferable and ethical option?

    As opposed to – what? Allowing them to grow up in the same immoral culture, die, then suffer eternal punishment?

    IIf so, would you be fine advocating that against a modern day state you found to be totally depraved?

    I’m not God. I cannot make such judgements on people. We are all born in sin.

    Also are children’s choice entirely determined by there society? Do you really think a society can exist or has existed without a single virtuous person?

    “If you can find just ten righteous people…” Hmm. I’m quite certain I read that somewhere once.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions and comments…

    So you admit you asked the questions first? Wonderful.

  26. @Terrance,

    “Perhaps you should read the post again, because that isn’t the topic. Specifically, John is discussing his experience with being ‘forced’ into a religious environment in which he was the only outlier.”

    I wasn’t referring to the post as the context of our discussion, this discussion began as a response to a question I posed. I suppose I could have probably been more clear. The question I posed was in reference to the taking of children to a church to watch the PLAY “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Maybe that wasn’t clear enough, but that was the context in which I was posing the question, all I did was switch mosque for church and Islamic play for Christian and Ramadan for Christmas. That was the context to which I was referring. In regards to that question and topic I made no reference to reading to the kids the Qu’ran or in any other way presenting material from the Qu’ran, I was just trying to flip the story as already presented from Christianity to Islam.

    Maybe having read this post and the post on Charlie Brown right after it cause it to be more fresh in my mind.

    “I responded to a question – by you. You said, ‘Just out of curiosity, would the Christians here be offended if their children were taken to a mosque during Ramadan to see an Islamic tinged play?'”

    I think we are actually in agreement as to what the appropriate response is. I may have mis-interpreted your initial response, I was under the impression that you were saying that although you wouldn’t make a big stink about it, you would still object to it as a public school practice, that may have been me reading more into it than you intended.

    “Then you mentioned God ordering the death of the Canaanites. I answered your question, as I did previously. So the discussion veered off topic, if it did, because of you.”

    Prior to my saying ANYTHING about violence in the Bible OR Qu’ran, you wrote:

    “Why Wouldn’t I Allow It?
    The Qu’ran teaches violence.

    As a response – and in typical liberal fashion I might add – you’ll mention acts of violence present in the Old Testament. But the difference is that while the Old Testament may contain acts of violence, it doesn’t teach it as such; it teaches stories and parables that contain violence. The Qu’ran, you’ll notice from the link, is very different: it actively calls for war on the unbeliever.”

    That was the FIRST point violence in the Qu’ran or Bible was brought up, as well as the first time violence in the Bible and Qu’ran were compared with one another.

    What I wrote was in RESPONSE to that. If you did not wish to discuss that topic I do not know why you brought it up.

    “In my original reply to your Ramadan question, I specifically said I wouldn’t turn this into a constitutional crisis.”

    I misread the intent of that statement, so I think we are in agreement.

    If you have any other examples of logical fallacies in my arguments, feel free to let me know.

    “Straw man. Red herring. Your replies are littered with both. This most recent one especially.”

    Simply listing logical fallacies is not exactly what I had in mind.

    “As opposed to – what? Allowing them to grow up in the same immoral culture, die, then suffer eternal punishment?”

    Or not kill them and raise them in there society? Or any number of alternatives to wiping out all men, women, and children in a society. Were the children predestined to go to eternal damnation without any possibility of choosing otherwise? Are you a Calvinist?

    “I’m not God. I cannot make such judgements on people. We are all born in sin.”

    If a being claiming to be God instructed me to commit genocide, I would be highly suspicious that such a being was God… Or a benevolent God at least. Out of all the immoral acts, genocide is high on my list of acts that I am most confident are truly heinous and immoral.

    ‘If you can find just ten righteous people…’ Hmm. I’m quite certain I read that somewhere once.”

    Yes, I would ask the same question about that story. I seriously doubt that any society or nation has ever been universally and entirely depraved. I think people are generally much more individualistic and less prone to social control than that, but I could be wrong.

    “So you admit you asked the questions first? Wonderful.”

    Admit? Did I deny that I wrote the question to which you responded?

  27. @Terrance,

    I have read the entire Old and New Testament (… Even the parts consisting of listing off numbers of men in tribes and those giving detailed descriptions of what pattern should be used to hem the edge of the tabernacle containing the Ark of the Covenant).

    I actually still enjoy reading it now and then… Admittedly skipping some of the more tedious sections. The Qu’ran I have never read. I honestly have not even read any sections in entirety, only the occasional random quote… So I am not in a great position to judge it’s violence or lack there of, for all I know it could be terribly violent. I would like to read it at some point, but I can’t say it’s high on my to do list, and I really don’t care how violent or not violent it is to be honest.

    Just to point out that I am not alone in mischaracterizing or engaging in straw-man tactics, you stated:

    ” I ask this because it seems ironic that a self-styled atheist would pass judgement on the morality of God when, in point of fact, you don’t believe in anything upon which to draw a sense of right and wrong; it’s all subjective and relative, according to the atheist point of view.”

    You claim I don’t believe in anything with which to draw a sense of right and wrong, etc. yet you had not yet asked what my view on these topics were, and these are not my views so maybe we could make a deal that I will try not to assume things about your beliefs if you try to do the same for mine.

    “According to the Bible, the moral depravity of the Canaanites was complete, total, and full.”

    If Islam claimed that the depravity of non-Muslims was complete, total, and full, then these commands would no longer be violent? They are claiming they are God’s commands after all.

    “Regardless, where in that story is violence being taught rather than being mentioned as part of a large point (God’s justice)… the Old Testament does not tell people to commit acts of violence; the Qu’ran does. A crucial differences you seem content to overlook”

    I think this is a rather semantic difference, I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but I feel like there are probably some blanket statements and prescriptions regarding non-believers that aren’t that nice. Luckily I don’t think the ancient Israelites likely committed all the genocide written in the Old Testament, and thankful I don’t have the job of trying to defend it.

    When I get a chance I will see if I can look up some of the sections to which I was referring.

    “Lastly, at their age, my kids are only familiar with the New Testament. That’s what they’re taught at home, in school, and in church, with brief mentions of the Old Testament. It’s contents are not taught at so early an age.”

    I am not sure of your point, because you don’t read it to your children it doesn’t matter? Or are you saying if Muslims agreed not to read the violent parts you wouldn’t have as much trouble with it?

    “Unlike you liberals, I don’t believe in a nanny-state.”

    Neither do I! Another agreement!

  28. In regards to that question and topic I made no reference to reading to the kids the Qu’ran or in any other way presenting material from the Qu’ran, I was just trying to flip the story as already presented from Christianity to Islam.

    You have a half-step mind, it seems. The Qu’ran is the basis for Islam and all its holidays – including Ramadan. I don’t want my family to have anything at all to do with Islam – because of the Qu’ran’s violent teachings.

    Prior to my saying ANYTHING about violence in the Bible OR Qu’ran, you wrote:

    Yes, I did. But then the Canaanites were mentioned – like I predicted – by you. I responded.

    Simply listing logical fallacies is not exactly what I had in mind.

    The mere fact you knew precisely the logical fallacy I alluded to in my previous response tells me that you are using them consciously. Bad form.

    Or not kill them and raise them in there society? Or any number of alternatives to wiping out all men, women, and children in a society. Were the children predestined to go to eternal damnation without any possibility of choosing otherwise?

    I don’t know that these things really happened with God’s permission – since I’ve never argued biblical inerrancy. The story could simply be Jewish folklore. Believing that God was on their side, Jews could have invented the story like the Romans inventing the story of Romulus and Remus.
    However, if God did order their death, then it was their salvation. Christians do not believe that this life is the prize; the prize is salvation.

    Are you a Calvinist?

    No.

    If a being claiming to be God instructed me to commit genocide, I would be highly suspicious that such a being was God… Or a benevolent God at least. Out of all the immoral acts, genocide is high on my list of acts that I am most confident are truly heinous and immoral.

    So you believe in moral absolutes, eh?

    I seriously doubt that any society or nation has ever been universally and entirely depraved.

    This is unimportant. If the Bible is correct that these places were totally depraved, then their destruction was justified. And since the Bible is the only evidence that these places ever existed, we must take the Bible at its word. We cannot assume this or that, especially since it was a completely different time. Whether you realize it or not, your understanding of the world is based, at least in part, on the Judeo-Christian values you’ve learned living in Western society. This wasn’t the case in biblical times.

    You claim I don’t believe in anything with which to draw a sense of right and wrong, etc. yet you had not yet asked what my view on these topics were, and these are not my views so maybe we could make a deal that I will try not to assume things about your beliefs if you try to do the same for mine.

    I believe morality comes from God. One who rejects God must reject moral values – since moral values come from God. If I’ve erred at all, it was in assuming you reject God. Do you? Are you an atheist?

    If Islam claimed that the depravity of non-Muslims was complete, total, and full, then these commands would no longer be violent? They are claiming they are God’s commands after all.

    The commands will always be violent. Justified is the word you’re looking for. To Muslims who accept the Qu’ran as truth, I’m sure the commands are justified. I don’t accept the Qu’ran, therefore I do not accept the commands as justified, and thus I do not accept the religion or its teaching to my family.
    If you reject Christianity and Judaism, then nothing I say regarding the Canaanites is going to change your mind – will it?
    And again you’re overlooking a crucial difference. The Old Testament merely tells a story, a parable, that includes violence (whether justified or not.) The Qu’ran, however, demands its adherents to be violent.

    I think this is a rather semantic difference,

    No, it’s not. It’s a crucial difference. The telling of a story filled with horror is much different than telling people to create a reality filled with horror.

    I am not sure of your point, because you don’t read it to your children it doesn’t matter? Or are you saying if Muslims agreed not to read the violent parts you wouldn’t have as much trouble with it?

    My point is that I don’t want my kids introduced to violent things at such an early age. I mentioned this so you would understand the right of parents to decide what is and is not good for their children. My objection to Islam is not merely stories of violence, but its completely violent nature.

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