Frank Apisa wrote:
Well, Sozobe...I guess one persons “scorn” can be interpreted by liberal discussers...as being something quite different. [..]
Gosh, I don't see any “scorn” there at all. I think those words represent a loving, empathetic way to help someone find the light and the truth.
I think anyone seeing it as "scorn" is being way, way too literal. [..]
Well I think that anyone interpreting this to mean that I think there is hypocrisy involved here...is simply taking the words much too literally!
So - question, Frank. From where I'm standing I've seen pretty much everyone in this thread except for Thomas and Blatham tell you that you were heaping scorn on the religious, or responding to you as if you were. And that includes about as many non-religious people as actual religious people.
Why do you think this is? Is it just that we all collectively fail at being proper "liberal discussers"? That we are just all demonstrably unable to get beyond the literal?
In short, is it all of our collective fault, or do you think that, just maybe, you may not be expressing yourself successfully as the, um, "loving, empathetic" interlocutor you claim to be?
Once again, the liberal interpretation of that should be viewed in the light of the thousands upon thousands of other posts I've made in A2K over the years...and you would easily see that in that context...there is no scorn intended here at all. Obviously what I am saying here is, “I love you folks and I'm just trying to be of help in sorting things out.”
And there's the rub. Double rub.
For one, just say that last sentence out loud to yourself, and imagine it's someone else saying it to you. That it's someone else feeling that way about you. Someone you really dont agree with. Let's say, a good old-fashioned Christian. Who says he just feels nothing but love and empathy for your lack of understanding and just really wants to help you sort things out, by opening your eyes to the real truth.
How would you respond to that?
Do you see remotely what we mean when we say that in many ways, you seem so alike to the very Christian fundamentalists you abhor? You have their zeal, their absolute confidence in your possession of the truth, and their intolerance to any kind of ambiguity. And you have that same condescension, in which anyone who doesn't agree with their vision must just not have had their eyes opened to the truth yet. It's like talking to a Jesuit!
As for the "the thousands upon thousands of other posts" you've made on A2K - you hit a nail on the head there, it's just not the nail you think it is. I think you'd have to search with a lantern for more than a dozen of people across the forum, over all those years, who would not
have interpreted the posts you have addressed to the religious as scornful - regardless of whether they're themselves religious or not.
I think people are responding in part exactly
in the light of those thousands upon thousands of other posts. Take me. I've never really bothered before taking on your points - because the very encounter of so many, unceasing and unnecessary, putdowns and insults, so much snideness and scorn, and such unceasing macho posturing in argument, tires me out before I even get to type a single word in response.
By now, when people who don't agree with you still respond, it will be with either wariness (JPB or Soz-style) or exasperation (DrewDad-style). File me under "wary" when it comes to discussing the topic and "exasperated" when it comes to your style.
Now, despite all the above, I will give you one thing. I, too, may have had a very different attitude towards all things religious if I had grown up in America rather than in the Netherlands. I do realise that you've just gone through several decades in which Christianity was pushed up everyone's noses without relent, and in which it got to inform the highest levels of political ideology and decision-making. That's scary. I suppose I would have developed a very negative reaction to that as well.
As it is, I have only experienced Christianity as a source of moderate benevolence. The Christians I've come to know were without exception open-minded, tolerant, and private in their religion. I realise that's partly thanks to how the Christian churches here have, to some extent, been defanged. We have no fights over abortion anymore. And when it comes to the most acute of our own culture war issues, about immigration, asylum-seekers, integration and Islam, it's been the most orthodox Christians who have taken on an important role in defending tolerance and openness. A small party of "black-stocking" Protestants, the Christian Union, is generally regarded as a kind of centre-left nowadays, because when it comes to those issues, and when it comes to socio-economic issues like poverty and inequality, they're on our side, a force for good. Yeah, they're not when it comes to gay marriage - but it more than evens out in the end.
Here in Hungary it's different of course. Christians are largely very conservative. But the real intolerance comes from young nationalists who I don't think care much about the church at all. Even here, with notable exceptions, the bulk of the church is a moderate conservative force.
In short, I just don't have the experience that you, Blatham, or for example Lola have had. And I feel no need to lambast Christians for their purported hypocrisy. I see it as no greater than the hypocrisy of those with other belief systems - political ideologies and the like - who also somehow seem to be able to filter out all the stuff that would come awkwardly and might call their affinities in question and to rely on self-confirming arguments. Yours, for example, but you can substitute any number of liberals and conservatives here.
I also lack - and respond negatively to - the black and white thinking. The reasoning in which anyone who is willing to see the Bible as a mix of divine wisdoms and parts that can be overlooked as misguided or era-specific, is "hypocritical" or "not a real Christian". (And in which those who do
take the Bible literally are, of course, consistent ... but misguided and possibly dangerous fools. You can't win, here - another mark of the zealot.)
Even though I'm not a Christian, I have no problem with this concept: God, if he exists
everything the chroniclers of his wisdom who wrote the Bible said he is; but the Bible still remains as a source of rich and varied divine wisdom.
You see a contradiction in there: either the Bible is literally the Word of God in every phrase, or it's, as you put it so colourfully in different variations, a worthless pile of bullshit. I don't understand that reasoning. Why should this be so? Why wouldn't the Bible be able to be a source of much, unmissable wisdom, even if it's not literal divine truth from cover to cover? What's so hard to grasp about that concept?
I've tried making that point a couple of times - and both times, I believe, you ended up responding in variations of "well, if you need the Bible just to tell you killing is wrong you've got a lot of problems, kid". What kind of argument is that? Isn't that a complete nonsequitur? Who said that, if the Bible can't be taken as literal divine instruction from cover to cover, all it must have left to offer are the platitudes of do-not-kill? How do you jump to the conclusion that if not every word in the book is right, then all you must have left are the Ten Commandments?
These kind of jumps in reasoning just do not compute to me. The only way I see how they work is in the context of a mental universe that is sealed within its own certainties. One in which any gap is immediately covered up by a resort to some fallacy or other, as in: "Oh, you must just be saying that..". But no, that's not what we must just be saying. Though after enough of this, we might give up saying what we were trying to say.