On the true colors of Christian fundamentalism
Posted: 13 April 2005 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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It seems to me that "religious authoritarian" is pretty damn near synonymous with "Christian fundamentalist" here in the US, and hatred can be no more pure and deep and resolute than when hateful authoritarians believe it's endorsed by their ultimate [presumed] authority (and I'd argue that hate and fear seem to be the primary motivations/characteristics of fundamentalists).

The [Eric Robert] Rudolphs of America

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 13 April 2005 03:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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The part that truly amazes me is that our fundies fail to see that they are absolutly no different than the fundies in Iraq.  The scary part, is that our fundies are better armed!

There are militias all over the south, meeting on a regular basis, and I am sure they exist in other places too.  They consider themselves “soldiers of God.”  I lose track of what-all they think they are preparing for, but I think some of them would like to take direction from DeLay and burn down the courthouses across the land.

Pete

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Posted: 13 April 2005 03:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“William”]The part that truly amazes me is that our fundies fail to see that they are absolutly no different than the fundies in Iraq.


I would have agreed with you a few months back, but Sam’s made a strong case to the contrary.

I think there’s a strong psychological/intellectual parallel between militant American and Islamic fundamentalists, but there are very clear and important differences as well—the Islamic doctrine of jihad being an obviously pertinent example. We haven’t seen any American terrorists I’m aware of who have been very anxious to trade their lives for a more successful attack, and we haven’t seen them export their terrorism—J.W. Lindh, 101st Airborne SGT Hasan Karim Akbar and the infamous failed Shoe Bomber (et al?) being pseudo-exceptions, I guess.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 13 April 2005 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I agree, for now anyway Byron, but I think the difference is only one of degree.  Give them some time, and a little more power, then see what happens.

William

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Posted: 14 April 2005 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“William”]The part that truly amazes me is that our fundies fail to see that they are absolutly no different than the fundies in Iraq.  The scary part, is that our fundies are better armed!
Pete

Where is the condemnation from the Christians of Rudolph? Do they feel it’s not necessary?

From the Washington Post, “I would prefer to say that Rudolph is a religiously inspired terrorist, because most mainstream Christians consider Christian Identity to be a heresy,” [James] Aho said. If Christians take umbrage at the juxtaposition of the words “Christian” and “terrorist,” he added, “that may give them some idea of how Muslims feel” when they constantly hear the term “Islamic terrorism,” especially since the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Religiously inspired terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon, and every major world religion has people who have appropriated the label of their religion in order to legitimize their violence,” Aho said.

Not only in Rudolph’s case, but also in the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy J. McVeigh and Muslim suicide bombers, “there’s always the question of what comes first, is it the religious belief or the violent personality?” Aho said.

So, where is the outrage from the Christian community? Muslims were criticized for a lack of condemnation of 9/11.

Of course a true Christian/Muslim would never do such a thing, so an apology is not necessary.

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Posted: 14 April 2005 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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The Rudolph case makes Sam’s point perfectly.

If I was walking down the street, and saw a man running along killing babies in strollers, and I stopped him, and in the ensuing struggle killed him, I would probably be regarded as a hero.

In the mind of some people, though, birth does not make any difference in the life status of the baby, and if they really feel that way. . .

On a side note, I have been thinking about this subject lately, and I find myself wondering why it is that most people seem to have no apparent trouble claiming to believe one thing, but acting as if they believe another, and other people are driven to radical actions that are in accordance with their beliefs.  This is not just limited to religious issues.  Hard core environmentalists, animal rights activists, and so on, might also be viewed in a similar light (not that I am calling them terrorists, but I am calling them fundamentalists, who insist on rigorously applying their ideaology to their life).  I am beginning to suspect that some people are simply wired differently (possibly a genetic predisposition for a certain bioneurological configuration?), and this leads them to rather brutally attempt to apply their beliefs to the way in which they live there lives.

If this is true, then it becomes rather more important to root out bad beliefs and retire them.  Most people don’t get how important, because most people are “moderates” who don’t feel the burning need to constantly try to keep their actions in line with their beliefs, and thus they have difficulty understanding the danger of certain beliefs.

On the other hand, I suspect that this fundamentalist wiring can also be very positive.  Certainly I know extremely dedicated (fundamentalist?) environmentalists who seriously contemplate the impact of everything that they do.  I care about the environment, but it is not my driving passion (which is social and political reform).  I feel that I benefit from the wisdom that people who care about other things accumulate.  In fact, what I feel that we have in common is a fundamental dedication to maximizing the positive impact of our lives for the present and the future.

I’ll conclude this ramble by saying that I suspect that the small number of “true fundamentalists” that exist in any population are there because of an evolutionary advantage.  If everyone was a fundamentalist, people would be too rigid, and things would stagnate or worse.  If everyone were “fuzzy” though, no one would be dedicated enough to principles for the breakthroughs that have been important milestones in human society.

-Matt

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Posted: 15 April 2005 01:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Salerio”]Where is the condemnation from the Christians of Rudolph? Do they feel it’s not necessary?


In the local Atlanta news they did a bit with a pro-life spokesperson who made the feeble argument (purely from presumed authority/interpretation) that “that’s not what the ‘true(tm)’ life movement is about.”

She has every right and reason to argue that’s not what her group is about, or that it’s not what she’d like to associate with pro-life, but she had no sound argument that Rudolph was actually wrong (as Sam points out is the problem with moderate religion).

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 15 April 2005 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Matt said:

If this is true, then it becomes rather more important to root out bad beliefs and retire them. Most people don’t get how important, because most people are “moderates” who don’t feel the burning need to constantly try to keep their actions in line with their beliefs, and thus they have difficulty understanding the danger of certain beliefs.

Good points. What truly amazes and confounds me is the persistence of bad beliefs in spite scholarly and reasoned argument by some of our most revered and respected against such beliefs. I suspect that this comes from a general unwillingness to examine and accept the net effects of religious dogma on humanity and the human condition. As Sam points out, moderates are not blameless since their passive toleration of the extremeists lends credibility to the bad beliefs. I think that the above is especially true of Christianity in the world and even more so in American culture today.


Stay Well
Wot

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Posted: 15 April 2005 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Matt said:

If this is true, then it becomes rather more important to root out bad beliefs and retire them. Most people don’t get how important, because most people are “moderates” who don’t feel the burning need to constantly try to keep their actions in line with their beliefs, and thus they have difficulty understanding the danger of certain beliefs.

Good points. What truly amazes and confounds me is the persistence of bad beliefs in spite scholarly and reasoned argument by some of our most revered and respected against such beliefs. I suspect that this comes from a general unwillingness to examine and accept the net effects of religious dogma on humanity and the human condition. As Sam points out, moderates are not blameless since their passive toleration of the extremeists lends credibility to the bad beliefs. I think that the above is especially true of Christianity in the world and even more so in American culture today.


Stay Well
Wot

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