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9/11 Politics
Posted: 27 April 2005 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Twas not obvious, but I’m not the judge. The mere fact that you call yourself Fencesitter means that you lean our direction. What is holding you back?

Reason, of course

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Posted: 27 April 2005 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Did you check out my post, Man’s Logic vs God’s Logic?

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Posted: 27 April 2005 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Did you check out my post, Man’s Logic vs God’s Logic?

Yes, I don’t know why you seem so proud of it. It makes no sense.

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Posted: 27 April 2005 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Now why did I expect that kind of response?

I think God’s logic is simple and easy, but I guess if you need the holy spirit to open your eyes.

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 27 April 2005 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Now why did I expect that kind of response?

I think God’s logic is simple and easy, but I guess if you need the holy spirit to open your eyes.

God’s logic does not exist, the holy spirit does not exist. Your own logic is simple and easy, if only you would tap into it.

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Posted: 27 April 2005 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]
When you talk about killing, you must be referring to the dark ages. Yes, there were very bad things that occurred during the dark ages. Once the common man began to read the bible for himself, EVERYTHING changed (thank you Martin Luther). You must be familiar with the reformation?

Thank God for the printing press, eh?

Champ, did the Salem witch trials happen in the dark ages? 

What about Jim Jones?  Did he live in the dark ages?

David Koresh?

The Klu Klux Klan?

Yeah….....let’s keep those bibles rolling off the presses!!

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful…..Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman (3 BC - 65 AD)

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Posted: 27 April 2005 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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***In my dreams a candy coated train comes to my door***

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Posted: 27 April 2005 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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The folks you mentioned were not Christains. Jim Jones? He was nuts. KKK? Not Christian. Koresh, another nutcase.

A Christian is one who follows Jesus and tries to follow his example of purity, faith, good works, and honors God.

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-29

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Posted: 27 April 2005 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]The folks you mentioned were not Christains. Jim Jones? He was nuts. KKK? Not Christian. Koresh, another nutcase.

A Christian is one who follows Jesus and tries to follow his example of purity, faith, good works, and honors God.

you MISSED THE FU*KING POINT AGAIN CHAMP. But again, keep up the good work

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Posted: 27 April 2005 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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I wish I could express myself as clearly as the quote below.  He says what I tried to say to champ earlier in this thread, but couldnt quite find the right words.  Sorry to post the whole thing.

Whose Nation Under God?
by Robert Kuttner

When John Kennedy was running for president and passions were running high about whether a Catholic could serve both the American citizenry and Rome, a joke made the rounds about a priest and a minister whose friendship nearly came to blows. Finally the priest phoned his old friend. ‘‘What a pity,” he said. ‘‘Here we are, both men of the cloth, fighting over politics.” ‘‘It’s true,” said the minister. ‘‘We’re both Christians. We both worship the same God—you in your way, and I in His.”

America, which separated church and state precisely to protect the private right to worship, has long had its share of religious absolutists who have wanted to harness the power of the state to their own view of revealed truth. But never before in our history has the government deliberately and cynically intervened on the side of the zealots.

President Bush, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, and company are playing with serious fire. As the joke suggests, there is no challenging revealed truth. That’s why the state stays neutral.

What’s under siege here is nothing less than the Enlightenment. Please recall that what we benignly remember as the Renaissance coexisted with centuries of vicious religious persecution—Christians persecuting heretics like Galileo, expelling and slaughtering Muslims and Jews, then doing bloody battle with each other following the Protestant Reformation.

The philosophers of the Enlightenment were men of science who understood that faith could not be disputed but that reason could be subjected to the test of logic and evidence. The American Revolution was a triple triumph—for political democracy, religious tolerance, and for the free inquiry demanded by the scientific method.

Today’s religious extremists are not only trying to use the state, with all its power, as religious proselytizer. They oppose science when it happens to conflict with their version of revealed truth. They twist history to claim that the Republic’s freethinking Founders, like Jefferson, Adams, and Madison, were really theocrats like themselves. They long for the predemocratic world of absolutes circa 1500.

Although proponents of state sponsorship of ‘‘faith-based” activities claim that all faiths are equally eligible, the politically dominant soon attempt to dictate the approved faith. Leon Wieseltier has observed, ‘‘It is never long before one nation under God gives way to one God under a nation.”

Last December the far right declared that religious pluralists were waging war on Christianity itself. ‘‘They hate the idea of Christmas,” said Pat Buchanan. ‘‘Seasons’ Greetings” became politically incorrect. Merry Christmas became a battle cry instead of a tiding of good will.

Frist, the Senate majority leader, continued this theme last Sunday, lending official comfort to a convention of religious extremists calling itself Justice Sunday. This confab of judge-bashers, nominally ‘‘people of faith,” is actually promoting a particular, fundamentalist Protestant faith. Some of its leaders do not even consider Catholics to be Christians.

As if to prove the wisdom of Jefferson (and the priest/minister joke), the latest pope richly reciprocates. Despite going through the motions of ecumenical outreach, Benedict XVI in his prior life as Cardinal Ratzinger made it all too clear that people who did not embrace the one true church and its dogmas were going straight to hell. Happily, most American Catholics disagree.

For now, this coalition of the faithful (who literally believe that many of their allies of convenience are destined for eternal damnation) is willing to put aside differences that will be settled in the next life and join forces on behalf of the faith-based public trough and the ecumenical crusade against an independent judiciary.

I never thought I’d live to see a time when the Enlightenment—the Enlightenment!—was politically controversial. Democracy, like science, depends on debate, tolerance, and evidence. And in a democracy, nothing is scarier than a political force convinced it is getting irrefutable truth directly from God.

Mercifully, religious extremists do not represent anything like a majority. We still have a proudly independent judiciary—in the Schiavo case, Governor Jeb Bush could not find a single Florida judge willing to overturn the testimony of countless doctors. And mainstream denominations like the Presbyterians have begun speaking out vigorously on behalf of religious tolerance and pluralism.

But let’s be clear: Our very democracy is under assault. History is filled with cases where a small minority was able to overturn democratic institutions.

Zeal on behalf of tolerance seems almost a contradiction. But the large American majority that believes in freedom of conscience and inquiry had better get organized with the same enlightened passion that drove America’s Founders.

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Posted: 27 April 2005 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Getting back on the subject—

What can you say of a young lady for whom history seems never to have happened, and who mistakes amorality and ignorance for personal bravery? The notion that we—the United States and its democratic allies—might have knowingly provoked the murder of 3000 civilians is beyond everyday categories of stupidity. The amount we contributed to this conflict “unknowingly” is moreover a matter on which speculation is both pointless and needless, since we already know the answer—not at all.

The clerical fascist death squads who attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did not leave a suicide note, but their leader has made no secret of his ambitions. As he explained to the BBC in an interview in 1998, he regarded “holy war against Jews and Christians” as a duty.

Moreover, in their post-9/11 manifesto “Why We Fight America,” al-Qaeda made it very clear why they fight us—because “the entire earth must be subject to the religion of Allah”; their two main greivances against us were that we stood in the way of the manifest destiny of their Master Faith:

America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based upon separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by the people via legislating laws that contradict the way of Allah and permit what Allah has prohibited. This compels the other countries to act in accordance with the same laws in the same ways… and punishes any country [that rebels against these laws] by besieging it, and then by boycotting it. By so doing, [America] seeks to impose on the world a religion that is not Allah’s.

America, with the collaboration of the Jews, is the leader of corruption and the breakdown [of values], whether moral, ideological, political, or economic corruption. It disseminates abomination and licentiousness among the people via the cheap media and the vile curricula.

We could adopt every single policy laid out in the 2004 election manifesto of Ralph Nader, or even become a nation of bleeting Chomskyites, and still be the target of holy war by this Freikorps-come-lately. There is no negotiated solution possible in such a conflict—only military victory for our side or theirs. And to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, this is just as well, because what their side objects to about us is everything—everything—that distinguishes our societies from the medieval barbarism that they represent and wish to impose upon the world: democracy, pluralism, liberal political rights, sexual equality, religious liberty, homosexual rights and so on.

9/11 was carried out by people who hate the West for its good ideas, not its bad policies. Confusing the two plays right into their hands; and further, confusing these people with “the oppressed” privileges the voices not of the victims, but of the perpetrators.

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Posted: 28 April 2005 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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[quote author=“global village idiot”]Getting back on the subject—

What can you say of a young lady for whom history seems never to have happened, and who mistakes amorality and ignorance for personal bravery? The notion that we—the United States and its democratic allies—might have knowingly provoked the murder of 3000 civilians is beyond everyday categories of stupidity. The amount we contributed to this conflict “unknowingly” is moreover a matter on which speculation is both pointless and needless, since we already know the answer—not at all.

GVI:

With respect, I am going to have to disagree with you - at least to some extent.

History clearly shows that our nation (on multiple occasions) has taken actions which resulted in the death of innocent civilians to advance causes which are not exactly the will of the people.  The incident of the Tuskegee Airmen comes to mind, as well as the US practice of spraying unsuspecting civilian populations with bio-agents up until 1969.  These two (of many) examples are not tinfoil hat delusions, but a reminder of what happens when people in power don’t feel beholden to the will of the people.

Certainly some of the post 9/11 actions taken by our government are suspect.  The irregular way in which the crashes were investigated, for instance.  I’m not going to go as far as some, and claim that it is a smoking gun, but the very reason that our system of governance is good is because it strives to maintain transparency, and when misconduct rears its ugly head, it gets investigated, and caught.

The worst side effect of 9/11 is that it has caused many otherwise intelligent patriots to turn their back on the fact that informed dissent is not treason, but rather the lifeblood of our republic.

[quote author=“global village idiot”]We could adopt every single policy laid out in the 2004 election manifesto of Ralph Nader, or even become a nation of bleeting Chomskyites, and still be the target of holy war by this Freikorps-come-lately. There is no negotiated solution possible in such a conflict—only military victory for our side or theirs. And to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, this is just as well, because what their side objects to about us is everything—everything—that distinguishes our societies from the medieval barbarism that they represent and wish to impose upon the world: democracy, pluralism, liberal political rights, sexual equality, religious liberty, homosexual rights and so on.

There is an alternative!  We need to start prosecuting Sam’s “war of ideas”.  In the meantime, we could stop to ask why Europe, Japan, China, and many other successful non-Muslim powers don’t seem to have quite the same level of issues that the US does in the Middle East.

I think that it is quite clear that the substantial US support of Israel, more than any other single factor, is the driving force behind the galvanizing effect of US hatred on the part of the Islamic radicals.

There is no changing the past, but we can attempt a more sane approach in the future.  We can moderate our foreign meddling to reduce the amount of ammo that extremists have against us.  We can explore means of better fighting a war of ideas.  We can stop offering material support to regimes that do not “tow the line” with regards to human rights.  We can work harder to involve the other free nations of the world in the process.  We can do better.

-Matt

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Posted: 28 April 2005 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“psiconoclast”]History clearly shows that our nation (on multiple occasions) has taken actions which resulted in the death of innocent civilians to advance causes which are not exactly the will of the people.  The incident of the Tuskegee Airmen comes to mind, as well as the US practice of spraying unsuspecting civilian populations with bio-agents up until 1969.  These two (of many) examples are not tinfoil hat delusions, but a reminder of what happens when people in power don’t feel beholden to the will of the people.

I’d concede the point. Except that none of that has anything at all to do with why 9/11 happened. They may be important issues in their own right, but when it comes to this particular issue, they are red herrings.

Certainly some of the post 9/11 actions taken by our government are suspect.  The irregular way in which the crashes were investigated, for instance.  I’m not going to go as far as some, and claim that it is a smoking gun, but the very reason that our system of governance is good is because it strives to maintain transparency, and when misconduct rears its ugly head, it gets investigated, and caught.

Agreed. And that is precisely why we know that there is absolutely no credible evidence that Bush “knew” 9/11 was imminent and allowed it to happen, let alone that his administration was directly behind it. That notion is as superstitious as belief in God or the Tooth Fairy. It’s a fantasy, and nothing else.

The worst side effect of 9/11 is that it has caused many otherwise intelligent patriots to turn their back on the fact that informed dissent is not treason, but rather the lifeblood of our republic.

It’s also caused a number of otherwise intelligent dissidents to turn their backs on the fact that there are fates worse than American hegemony, and that not all defenses of Western civilization are the product of blind patriotism or brainwashing or fear. Indeed, the principle of intelligent, free dissent is itself a Western idea, and it is that idea more than any other to which Al-Qaeda and its clerical fascist allies object. They want a world in which no one is allowed to object, ever, and there is only obedience. One of the main things they “hate” about the West is that we have promoted this disobedience in Muslim countries, whether through example or direct meddling. It isn’t freedom to dissent they want in the Muslim world, it’s power to crush dissent.

There is an alternative!  We need to start prosecuting Sam’s “war of ideas”.

That’s not an alternative at all; it is merely one weapon among many in the wider war. Look, the bottom line is this: people who fly airplanes into buildings and blow themselves up in marketplaces to kill kids cannot be reasoned with. It’s too late for them. They’re like the Terminator, and no amount of “ideas” will be effective against them. The “war of ideas” and the war of arms need to be waged at the same time. Sometimes ideas will be more effective weapons, and we should be smart enough to recognize those times. But other times, ideas will be useless and something more deadly will be required. We should be smart enough to recognize those times, too.

In the meantime, we could stop to ask why Europe, Japan, China, and many other successful non-Muslim powers don’t seem to have quite the same level of issues that the US does in the Middle East.

Actually, they do. Islamist-inspired terrorism in Europe has been a problem for the Europeans for decades; there are many places in Europe that seem to be on the verge of a radical Muslim insurrection; recent troubles in Spain, France, Amsterdam and England only bear this out. They’ve been dealing with clerical fascist terrorism on their own soil a lot longer than we have, and they’re slowly learning that no amount of appeasement seems to protect them. They address one demand they think motivates the killers, and the killers simply find other reasons to kill.

I think that it is quite clear that the substantial US support of Israel, more than any other single factor, is the driving force behind the galvanizing effect of US hatred on the part of the Islamic radicals.

That’s only a red herring that they float and exploit. We could support the Palestinians instead, or neither side, and Islamic radicals will still want us dead. Fundamentally, it is our existence, not our policy, to which they object. Again, look at “Why We Fight America”; read some of the internal Al-Qaeda documents that have been leaked or captured over the years, documents where they are talking amongst themselves with no expectation that the public will ever see what they’re saying. Israel never comes up, nor does Iraq. They talk about their destiny to rule the entire Middle East, about the glory of killing for its own sake, about the global Jewish conspiracy, about the best way to exploit other people’s greivances for their own ends. They couldn’t care less about Israel or Palestine except as tools for deflecting attention away from their actual motives, which are as offensive to the average Muslims they wish to rule as they are to us.

There is no changing the past, but we can attempt a more sane approach in the future.  We can moderate our foreign meddling to reduce the amount of ammo that extremists have against us.  We can explore means of better fighting a war of ideas.  We can stop offering material support to regimes that do not “tow the line” with regards to human rights.  We can work harder to involve the other free nations of the world in the process.  We can do better.

-Matt

I don’t dispute that we can do better on many fronts. I doubt anyone would. But you are fatally misreading the openly-stated motives of Al-Qaeda and its allies.

Their greivance with Saudi Arabia, for instance, is not that it is repressive and violates human rights. It’s that the Saudi regime is too liberal.

And again, we could do every single thing you suggested above, and it wouldn’t do a damn thing to stop “Islamist” terrorism against us, because by doing all those things, we would be making the problem worse in their eyes. What they object to is democracy itself, the concept of rule of secular law and human rights. The Ayatollah Khomneini was on record as believing that the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights was an act of imperialism and selfish atheism. The recent “alternative” human rights doctrine issued by Islamist scholars in Egypt, which protects such “cultural” practices as women’s second-class citizenship and the dhimmitude of non-Muslims, is an explicit rejection of everything you are arguing for here.

You might as well argue that Hitler only wanted an end to the Versailles treaty and the ceding of the Sudentaland. Many people at the time argued that very thing, and did so convincingly, willfully ignoring his clearly-stated intentions to the contrary.

It’s the same here. Al-Qaeda has made it very clear that they seek worldwide Islamic hegemony, the destruction of secular democracy in any form, and the imposition of shari’ah law on all the peoples of the earth whether they want it or not. They see this as their holy mission, given to them by God himself.  Their goal is conquest, not justice, and their motivation is glory and power, not despair or hate. Our simple existence—not our policies—stands in the way of those ambitions, and that is why they “hate” us.

In the end, we have only two choices—war now, on our terms; or war later, on theirs. The same choice we faced with previous totalitarian movements. We’ve already made the mistakes of letting previous such movements fester long enough to seize power in important, powerful countries like Germany or Russia. Take a look at what that cost the world, and you’ll see a glimpse of what awaits if we do not engage this enemy now, on our terms, at the times and places of our choosing, not theirs.

That doesn’t always have to mean military action. But we do have to accept that if we want an end to this kind of “terrorism,” and a future for secular democracy, then we really are going to have to kill people.

Secular democracy has real enemies, it always has, and those enemies are prepared to unleash hell to destroy it, and always have been. If we limit our responses to mere “wars of ideas,” then we are missing the point. What they want is a real war to the finish between themselves and the West.

I say we give it to them now, while we still have the chance to do it with minimal damage to the populations in which they seek to hide. Otherwise, we risk them getting their hands on WMDs or a real army (or both) and then coming at us and Europe with a whole lot worse than 9/11.

And one final word—my chief goal here is to get people to recognize that not everything boils down to the U.S. True, there is a lot of room and need for informed criticism of U.S. policy, both before and after 9/11. But at the same time, there are also serious, deadly problems in the world for which constantly criticizing the U.S. simply is not the path to a solution, and never will be. Terrorism is one of those.

And further, that there are actually serious, deadly problems in the world for which application of U.S. power just might be the only solution. Terrorism is one of those, too.

The job of informed citizens is to distinguish between all these scenarios, backing the U.S. when it’s right and opposing it when it’s wrong. Assumptions that the U.S. is always guilty until proven innocent (or always the opposite) are counterproductive and, yes, even superstitious.

The common impulse, especially among “progressives,” to begin every discussion of terrorism with a list of U.S. crimes—real or perceived—does nothing to prevent terrorism. Criticism of the U.S. is, at best, only the beginning of an analysis, not the end of one. We fail to recognize that at our own peril.

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Posted: 28 April 2005 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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I’d concede the point. Except that none of that has anything at all to do with why 9/11 happened. They may be important issues in their own right, but when it comes to this particular issue, they are red herrings.

Red Herrings splendid! I’ve been trying to find word for the bible’s role in the existence-of-god discussions. The bible is the Christian red herring. Just trying to think if the secular present any red herrings, but I think the answer is no, they don’t have to.

Thanks GVI

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Posted: 28 April 2005 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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gvi, your assessment of the situation, while probably fairly accurate, nonetheless appears to paint “the terrorists” as a bunch of fanatics bent on world control.  That seems a bit extreme of a motivation to impel a dozen people to fly planes into American office towers. Either these terrorists are really stupid (actually thinking that they or their bosses will some day rule the entire world) or their motivations are badly misplaced.

My feeling is that you have surely exaggerated the “world domination” part of your thesis.  I think Matt’s analysis is more what motivates the young adult Muslims to blow themselves up and kill innocents - it is not as you say, “Their goal is conquest, not justice, and their motivation is glory and power, not despair or hate.”  Even Osama bin Laden and the heads of Al-Qaeda are not so single-mindedly targetted on becoming world dictators.  If that is indeed their intention, then they are madder than they seem - and they do seem rather mad with religious fervor.

Bob

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