.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Visit Freedom's Zone Donate To Project Valour

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Roots Of Leftist Anti-Semitism?

Russia is basically seizing control of a gas field from Shell. This strikes me as being an important story, because it says a great deal about Russia's future intentions. It has used fuel supplies as a political weapon recently, too. I would say that the circle is drawing in....

AVI writes about the Christian theology of the left. He finds it lacking:
For Christians, vague “peace on earth, good will toward chipmunks” isn’t enough. We are not allowed the cheap righteousness of warm feelings and liking beauty. It is simplistic, feel-good theology. Christians do not have that option. What we advocate and work for has to take all foreseeable consequences into account.
Dr. M. writes about Carter's anti-Israel bias:
Carter is a classic Southern Red-Neck bigot throw-back. He hardly represents todays evangelical Christians or the Baptists. The man calls himself Christian while spewing sentiments that would find a comfortable home in any Islamic extremist group. Why, his sentiments would be comfortable with the Third Reich's members. And the Left calls Bush Hitler. That, I would call classic projection.
Amen to that. I wonder if Carter isn't, at this point, morally insane. I am sure that the man does not want to be destructive, but he advocates a unrealistic political belief system which, if it succeeds, will produce destruction on a massive scale. I found myself speculating that Carter is projecting his own guilt about Jim Crow South upon the Israelis, because rationally speaking, wouldn't you want to be an Arab citizen of Israel rather than trapped in the continuing maelstrom of misery and the culture of death that controls the Palestinian territory? Israel doesn't persecute Christians (that's a Carter fantasy). Israeli Arabs are protected by the laws of Israel, and have civil rights.

Beth of MVRWC wonders about religious atheism (the kind that wants to demand that everyone be atheistic):
Religious belief has always existed. It’s a distinctly human trait, if you want to look at it from a purely rational perspective. Nobody is EVER going to “do away with” religious belief–the Soviets tried, but they couldn’t eliminate it. It’s part of the human spirit. And again, from a purely rational perspective, why should it bother anyone?
Jeff (who sparked the original post) replies:
If there truly is a god, he’s a total asshole for letting billions of people suffer throughout history due to conflicting beliefs. All-knowing and all-powerful…but for the last 2,006 years he’s been stuck in a Verizon commercial, i.e., “Can you hear me now?” Waiting for his only cellphone (Jesus) to fall from Heaven so that He has someone to talk to who can send all non-Christians to an eternity in hell fire while whisking believers up to a magical fairyland hidden in the sky. Nothing could be more violent, BTW.
That's religious atheism in a nutshell. It's less a matter of a determined disbelief in God than a deep inability to envision a loving God who would allow people to behave badly. Beth had already responded quite logically to this argument in her post:
HUMANS are divisive, not religion. You know the line, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”–it’s the same thing, amplified. It’s not religion that causes wars or discord, it’s fallible humans that do it. The Soviet Union, to use them as just one example once again, was officially atheist and they certainly had no shortage of violence, discord, or war.
So much for the logic of religious atheism. Their problem is really that they don't accept the doctrine of original sin or free will; they want to blame God for our sorrows. It really comes down to that. If there is a God, they think God should force us all to behave correctly, and if God won't, then God must be evil, therefore they won't believe in God under the rubric of plausible deniability.

This represents a war on rationality, human responsibility, and ultimately the freedom of man, because Beth's point is irrefutable.
Needless to say, I don't find religious atheists attractive characters, and I certainly don't find them logical. It may be entirely logical for a person not to believe in God, because she or he has seen no proof he or she finds convincing at this point. But it cannot be logical to then blame God for humanity's problems, and if religion is not well-correlated with bad human behavior, then why fixate upon religion and ignore the real problem - bad human behavior?

Religious atheists are stuck in a lala land of denying human responsibility for our fate and therefore the human potential to change. It's not surprising that many religious people view them as basically harmful characters. Their worldview (not the atheism, but the denial of responsibility and their overwhelming drive to try to force their worldview upon others) is harmful. It is completely illogical and unrealistic. Rather than focusing on people's behaviors, they focus on the one thing that cannot change society or the future - people's private cosmologies.

It's not generally the religious people who want to force every individual to change their belief structures; it's the totalitarian left. Jeff's original comment:
Is it so hard for conservative republicans to recognize the utter nonsense that is the belief in god? A belief which is shared with terrorists. A belief which divides and makes peace impossible. A belief which has no basis in reality or facts. A belief which could one day destroy the human race.
It's not the belief system which will destroy the human race, it's our own behavior. Now, the Judaic tradition is severely rational. It focuses very little upon belief, but has a rigid focus upon behavior - upon following moral law. This, I think, accounts for the growing anti-Semitism of the left. The Judaic tradition of focusing upon behavior is extremely powerful, because it is our own behavior which changes our individual circumstances and, collectively, changes the future of our societies. It is this truth that anti-Semitism hates and fears.

If you don't want to find yourself in the position of having to tell your spouse that he or she needs to get tested for some STD, don't sleep around. If you don't want STD's, then don't sleep around. If you don't want to be lied to, then don't lie to others. If you don't want to lose your property to theft, then don't steal. If you don't want to be cheated, then don't cheat. If you want to live in a loving society, then act out love and generosity in your own life. If poverty bothers you, then give to charity, or directly to poor people. If you don't want to live in a violent, merciless society, then don't behave violently and mercilessly. This is what works.

Leftists seem to want the outcomes of good behavior to appear miraculously without humans having to behave well, and that is not going to happen. The code of moral law contained in the Judaic tradition is the most direct threat to this fantasy, and so I think they find themselves constrained unwillingly and even unconsciously to anti-Semitism.

Update: Dr. M. comments. Pharyngula comments.

Comments:
Hi Mama; I was an investor in Russia from 1996 to 1998, both in equity and sovereign debt. I invested both my personal money, and my firms capital. In both cases, I found the government to be outright dishonest and corrupt. I'm sure that they will behave this way now, and in the future. It's their nature. Anyone who does business there is asking for trouble. Things are good there because the price of oil is high. Give it time. They will screw it up, and foreign investors, sucked in by attractive returns will get their asses handed to them again. Oh, and the weather blows.
 
Yep. I think their course of action is clear. It raises real questions about the future.
 
I think that is one of the sillier things I have read in some time on the web. How one who thinks as you do can have any claim at all to using the word 'logic' in a sentence is beyond me.

Religious atheist--thats funny. Kind of like married bachelor.

Your post is being discussed on the internets #1 science website :

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula
 
"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion."

- Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in physics
 
Leftists seem to want the outcomes of good behavior to appear miraculously without humans having to behave well,

well that's just a lie. and hey, what does your fancy god say about bearing false witness ? isn't there some restriction against simply making stuff - even if you're lying for the lord ?
 
Snort. You can't impress me with quotes from physicists, because I know several very well, and the ones I know would laugh out loud at that quote - because they also know history.

It wasn't religion that caused the killing fields of Cambodia, the concentrations camps of the Nazis, the boxcars of Jews hauled from France, the ditches full of dead Jews and partisans in Russia, the massacre of thousands of Polish officers when the Soviets invaded after Hitler, or the gulags of Siberia.

It's quite true to say that religiously-justified slaughters have happened and do continue. It's also quite true that ideologies other than religion have been used to justify slaughter on a grand scale.

It is also true that various ideologies - humanist and religious - are the cause of great humanitarian acts which save the lives of millions upon millions. The UN vaccination campaigns are one example. The increase in the world's population is proof of how effective such acts have been.

Logically, it must be a difference between the tenets of ideologies that makes the difference, rather than whether the founding axioms of an ideology are derived religiously or otherwise.

Scientific method, btw, is not an ideology.
 
Cleek - I am not knowingly lying, and I'm quite sure that That Which Is wouldn't approve of it if I am telling a lie.

I am trying to describe the totalitarian left (which is a subsegment of those who describe themselves as leftish), and the atheists who seem to have a religious fervor in asserting that theirs is the only "good" worldview. Some of those seem very far to the right, but I have also noticed recently that the far right and the far left are becoming indistinguishable.

I don't have a problem with atheists or agnostics. I don't have a problem with science; I consider scientific method to be one of the great inventions of mankind. I do have a problem with confused thinking such as that demonstrated by the Weinberg quote.

When I have more time I'll pop over to Pharyngula; I've been there before to read and enjoyed it very much.

Explain why you believe I'm lying, please.
 
I do have a problem with confused thinking such as that demonstrated by the Weinberg quote.

There is nothing "confused" about the quote, it highlights one of dogma's worst excesses, the decoupling of morality from cause and effect. In short X is wrong not because it causes harm, but because I/God/The politburo say it is.

This leads to the justification of any atrocity as a potential good, regardless of the harm it causes, as long as it is done in the name of god.

True morality is constantly grounded in the real world, not the dictates of some fictional figure. What harm will my action cause?
 
Logically, it must be a difference between the tenets of ideologies that makes the difference, rather than whether the founding axioms of an ideology are derived religiously or otherwise.

Couldn't agree more. Religion is by definition irrational, you can lump a bunch of other ideologies that exhibt similar tendencies into the same bucket, but religion is by far the most pervasive, with the possible exception of nationalism.

The key thing is to differentiate rational and reasoned positions, from those that are dogmatic or authoritarian.
 
So are you a rightwing christianist then?

I say "christianist" because no real christian would take such an insulting view of God as you have here, but christianists just have a form of religion as a crutch for their political beliefs, or prejudices would be a better word since they have no principles as such.

You talk a lot about morality there. But the fact is if your opinions were formed on the basis of morals you would support the Palestinians and not oppose them as Carter does. That's true regardless of your religion. It's a simple case in moral terms. The Israelis attacked the Palestinians.

The rightwing christianist is a fundamentally an authoritarian; a royalist. Loyalty to the cause is the only solid principle they know and all else is subject to change as they flip flop around chasing one or other ad hoc argument. If the authoritarian is told today to support Israel and tommorrow to support the Palestinians they will turn on a dime and scarcely even notice the distinction.

That sort of 'loyalty over morality' mentality also informs their religion. But for the true christian the concept of God's guilt for the evil of the world isn't something to be laughed away. To do so is to have an insultingly childish view of God. The atheist that holds God to account has a higher view of God than the christianist who never even thinks God has anything to be responsible for.
 
Wow, this is... drivel, and ridiculous drivel at that.
 
Anon & David - very interesting comments, thank you. David, I will have to defer answering most of yours until I get some work done. The common Christian theological answer is that God did not disavow the suffering of the world, but made common cause with it by literally becoming a man.

Whether you accept that or not is up to you, of course. Also, the Palestinians attacked the Jews before Israel's genesis. There was back and forth fighting then, and there is now. Even more problematic for the Palestinians, they are now shooting each other and have been for some time.

Anon - I agree that morality cannot allow the decoupling of cause from effect. My personal belief is that no good person does agree to that, which is why I find the Weinberg quote so confusing. How does he define "good"?

You write:
True morality is constantly grounded in the real world, not the dictates of some fictional figure. What harm will my action cause?
Well, lying, cheating, stealing and so forth cause obvious harm. Less obvious harm is caused by sleeping around (spread of disease, disruption of some relationships). It's hard to improve upon the Judeo-Christian-Buddhist-Taoist Golden Rule (Love thy neighbor as thyself, or Treat others as you would like to be treated, or Don't do anything to another person you don't want done to you) as a practical civil standard.

All of these are both religious and secular rules for behavior. Are you actually claiming that a "good" person is a person who rejects the rule if Jesus, Buddha or Moses said it, but accepts the rule only if his or her own conscience says it?

If so, how do you instruct a person whose flaw runs deep, such as a person deeply sexually attracted to small children, or a person who is overwhelmed by anger and hatred?

Final question: you say religion is irrational. However, what if someone experiences one of those religious thangs called miracles? What if, by applying the same rules of evidence as would be applied in a scientific experiment, a person gets results that consistently seem to show that, for example, prayer works?
 
The palestinians attacked the jews? What are you refering to? As far as I know the arabs and jews got on pretty much ok prior to the Zionist attack. Better than the jews and the christians anyway.

The jews were on a different continent (Europe). They left their homes and travelled to the home of the palestinians to attack them. That's wrong.

I don't know what else you can mean here. Do you mean relations with the small number of jews that were already living in Palestine? The fighting occured because of the huge arrival of violent immigrants -- the Zionists. They came explicitly with the intent of attacking the palestinians and taking their land.

How clearer does it get? One group of people got together and decided to attack another, steal their land and try to essentially exterminate them, "ethnically cleanse" them or by any other means eliminate their claim to the land they had lived on.

What can you mean by "the Palestinians attacked the Jews"? The basic history is common ground here isn't it? There's a clear attacker and a clear victim.
-----------------------

The common Christian theological answer is that God did not disavow the suffering of the world, but made common cause with it by literally becoming a man

The point I am making is that someone who ridicules an atheist for "blaming God" fundamentally doesn't get it. The atheist is simply pointing out the logical outworking of the belief, as related to him, in an omniscient omnipotent being. To laugh at that atheist is to laugh at christian theology -- it's laughing at God's nature. To pretend an issue isn't there is to misrepresent God's nature.

The problem of pain isn't funny. It isn't easy. It isn't unimportant. In fact as you indicate much of Christian theology is dealing with how to answer this very question.

Brushing away the objection of the problem of pain is not honouring God. It's finding excuses for him. It nullifies the need for the passion. It's idolising a vision of God that has no complexity. It's a cover-up. Does God need a cover-up?
----------------

After looking at some other posts on your blog I'm not sure if my original comments about christianism apply to you.
 
Mama, I just came across this site from Pharyngula. I wouldn't consider you a liar, as was suggested earlier. I think you genuinely believe what you say. But I have never seen a more confused and poorly structured argument in all my life.

I have never heard the term religious atheist - a most perfect oxy moron if there ever was one. You seem not to be able to understand that an atheist is by definition a lack of belief in a god or gods. You seem to think atheists believe in an evil god and at the same time reject that point of view. Weird.

An atheist believes reason and reality should govern our actions, rather than a belief that "God told me to do it". Religions are very divisive as there is no way to mediate disputes amongst two religious adherents. There is no court that can approach God and ask him which religious adherent has the right version of "truth". And while it is true that Stalin was a ruthless dictator, his motives were based on his quest for power. His ruthlessness was his nature. The suppression of religion in communist Russia was simply part of Stalin's tactics of removing any and all potential sources of competition against his absolute domination. Atheism has nothing to do with that. Hitler was Catholic but his zeal for power was not driven by his religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

Atheism is not a political ideology any more than religion is. Of course, we can make political ideology from almost any ideal. Theocracies result from governance by religion. Democracies come from secularism. While a far left political ideology would be communism, a far right one would be fascism. Governance by reason and fairness lies somewhere in the middle. While atheists today in America are mostly on the left, that is only because governance in the country has gone so far to the right. And look at the results. Bush believes God talks to him and grants him divine providence. If Bush were an atheist and made his decisions based on reason and logic, carefully weighing the consequences of his actions in the real world, do you think he would have invaded Iraq?

If the whole world were governed by reason, looking only at the consequences of your actions as they related to other human beings – or by not appealing to a higher power for insight - the world would be a far more peaceful place. Sure there would be violence – as you pointed out it is part of our nature. But it can be managed by laws and societies built around the safety, security and prosperity of our fellow human beings. And while you may think that only good and moral people come from religious belief, you would be wrong. The exact opposite is true – just look at the statistics. Why? If you can commit any crime and in your own mind justify it by believing it is part of God’s plan, or by simply praying for forgiveness later, the consequences of your actions in the real world become secondary.

Think about it.
 
MaxedOutMama says:

...It's hard to improve upon the Judeo-Christian-Buddhist-Taoist Golden Rule (Love thy neighbor as thyself, or Treat others as you would like to be treated, or Don't do anything to another person you don't want done to you) as a practical civil standard.

All of these are both religious and secular rules for behavior. Are you actually claiming that a "good" person is a person who rejects the rule if Jesus, Buddha or Moses said it, but accepts the rule only if his or her own conscience says it?

If so, how do you instruct a person whose flaw runs deep, such as a person deeply sexually attracted to small children, or a person who is overwhelmed by anger and hatred?


If a persons flaws run that deep, they need more than a verbal or written listing of rules can give them. And the "do unto others" could actually give them an excuse to continue. Somewhere in their crooked thoughts, they would probably rationize what they are doing as what they would want done to them.

Final question: you say religion is irrational. However, what if someone experiences one of those religious thangs called miracles? What if, by applying the same rules of evidence as would be applied in a scientific experiment, a person gets results that consistently seem to show that, for example, prayer works?

If someone can apply scientific method to prove a miracle and/or prove that prayer works, they can win a million dollars from JREF. Of course, that's well known.

I have several relatives that pray, very often, and often tell me when things that they have prayed for have happened. However, most of the time, these are mundane, and easily attributable to chance. When I ask them what prayers do not get answered, they have a difficult time recalling. Much the same as people who believe in astrology and horoscopes.

I have no problems with my trust that there is no God. Everything that happens to me is due to my choices coupled with random chance outcomes. Therefore, the only blame, or credit, I can give to every event in my life is mine and those around me. No more, no less.
 
What harm will my action cause

This was a rethorical question, to illustrate the simple principle I was alluding to. Pose this question prior to an action was my point, if your action clearly causes harm to another don't do it.

It's hard to improve upon the Judeo-Christian-Buddhist-Taoist Golden Rule (Love thy neighbor as thyself, or Treat others as you would like to be treated, or Don't do anything to another person you don't want done to you) as a practical civil standard.

That was pretty much exactly my point. You absolutely don't need that bedded in a religious framework, and often it can be detrimental to do so. Note the bible and the koran are both chock full of injunctions to slaugther, stone and generally wreak havoc on identified out groups.

Are you actually claiming that a "good" person is a person who rejects the rule ...

No, a "good" person is someone who behaves humanely regardless of motive, in fact it could be argued that those that act so out of conviction that a thing is right, rather than fear of divine surveillance, are "better" humans.

If so, how do you instruct a person whose flaw runs deep, such as a person deeply sexually attracted to small children, or a person who is overwhelmed by anger and hatred?

You are confusing morality and law enforcement.

Miracles ...

By all means, it has yet to be done. The majority of miracles are entirely subjective, you'll note god doesn't heal amputees ...
 
Final question: you say religion is irrational. However, what if someone experiences one of those religious thangs called miracles? What if, by applying the same rules of evidence as would be applied in a scientific experiment, a person gets results that consistently seem to show that, for example, prayer works?

Yeah...

http://www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com/
 
Oh my stars & garters.
Where on earth do you get all this? Are you consulting a Magic 8-ball? What does Russia have to do w/all this? Is this some hint of that rapture nonsense?
For the record, I'm an atheist, & I support Israel. There are secular Jews (I'm not Jewish, BTW) as well.
As to the 'communist atheist' ideology, I came to atheism entirely devoid of evolution, Marx, or any other system. I decided on my own.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I most definitely do NOT want to force my 'belief' system on others: thus, I'd appreciate it if I were accorded the same respect (which, if research is done, theism is making huge inroads into the US, the country I live in & love).
& let's face facts: it is the Abrahamic religions who force morality at gunpoint (Christianity, Judaism, & Islam).
Moral strengths can't be legislated - they must be earned.
Leftists seem to want the outcomes of good behavior to appear miraculously without humans having to behave well, and that is not going to happen.
The only way humanity has towards good behavior is thru education. & an understanding of consequences.
Humanity is the problem. Humanity is the answer. Not some ancient codex that hardly works in the 21st CE.
'Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color' - Don Hirschberg
It's all right to rant, but do try to stay on 1 topic, & use a little more logic.
 
I'm no theologian. But if you want to demand some really impressive miracles, why not demand eternal life (oops - genuine mistake there). Then, that resurrection thing has already been done too.

Let's make that eternal biological life? Person never grows old, and never dies? You'll have to volunteer, because I don't want it.

I've read about some truly amazing stuff at Lourdes. Obviously this stuff is rarer than heck. On the other hand, I have read several accounts of people confirmed dead waking up in a hospital morgue in the US over the last few decades. The uncertainty factor is so great that I think no miracle would be conceded as objectively proven.

Supposedly there is some regeneration in younger people. I read this in a medical journal; I'll try to find a link. It was doctor writing to say how such wounds should be treated in kids; the normal way of fixing the wound stopped the regenerative process.
 
David - I think the problem of pain is the center of it. I'm no pyschologist, but my understanding is that only sociopaths aren't moved by other people's pain. I'm not a sociopath.

I don't know what a "christianist" is, so I can't say whether I am one or not.
 
Sam Harris in "The End of Faith" has an eloquent discussion of the standard claim by the religious folks on Hitler and Stalin.

Hitler would have probably been a meaningless pimple on the butt of humanity, but he got the masses to "believe." He was charismatic (like an evangelical preacher) and he played to peoples' emotions and got them to focus on an enemy (the Jews). Ministers are constantly playing to peoples' emotions and focusing them on an enemy (sin, atheists, addictions, etc.).

If Germany or Russia were filled with educated, free-thinking atheist-type people, getting them to "hate Jews" or hand supreme power to a tyrant would have been as effective as trying to herd cats.

Instead, these countries and many others over the ages (and today) are filled with people brainwashed as children to believe in gods, brainwashed to believe their ministers (no matter what the objective evidence shows), and listen to their leaders--very very dangerous behaviors.

Independance and free-thinking are the foundational elements for peace and prosperity. Faith itself is constantly looking for trouble to get itself into.

The problem in Germany, Russia, VietNam, Japan, et al was FAITH and not atheism.

Regards.
 
DavidByron said:

The palestinians attacked the jews? What are you refering to? As far as I know the arabs and jews got on pretty much ok prior to the Zionist attack. Better than the jews and the christians anyway.

[Cut for length...]


A small history lesson needs to be taught here. Zionism started in the late 19th century and was not predicated upon taking land by force. For many decades, the Jews bought land in what was then known as Palestine and settled there. (This is not to say that all Jews in the area immigrated; a number of Jewish communities had existed in Palestine since the Roman era.)

Starting in the 1920s, tensions between Muslim Arabs and Jews increased. The Muslim Arabs would not accept a Jewish state in their midst, and this refusal led to a number of Arab riots. Many Jews were killed in the various riots, and this caused the Jews to organize a defense. Some Jews went beyond simple defense, directly attacking Arabs in retaliation.

Come 1947, the UN attempted to partition the British mandate of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. The Jews largely welcomed the partition, while the Arabs opposed it on various grounds. When the partition plan was approved by the UN, the Arabs rioted in Jerusalem. Violent clashes between the groups steadily increased, leading up to the war.

In 1948, a formal war broke out when Israel declared independence and Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq invaded the new state. The Israeli forces managed to best the combined Arab forces and seize 78% of the former mandate, approximately 1.5 times the area given by the UN partition.

In short, the Arabs and Jews were not getting along ok, and the Jews were passively buying and settling land up until 1947, when all hell broke loose over the partition plan.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?