November 6, 2008

Did this ad destroy Elizabeth Dole?



USA Today says:
... Kay Hagan, a little-known state senator, trounced well-known incumbent Elizabeth Dole, the wife of Bob Dole, the Republican Party's presidential nominee 12 years ago.

A narrow Hagan lead in the final weeks turned into a 350,000-vote blowout after a panicking Dole began airing one of the most offensive ads in recent political history: It sought to label her opponent as "godless."

Why should a religious person reject the political support of atheists? What is the argument? It makes no sense.

125 comments:

mcg said...

Agreed. That ad stretched so far to try and link Hagan to activist atheists that it buckled under the strain. I don't think it cost her the election but it definitely made things a lot worse.

Revenant said...

I have to say I'm pleased with Dole's loss. I've disliked her for years for coercing the states into raising their drinking age to 21. Her last-minute appeal to theistic bigotry only intensified my dislike of her. Both the country and, in my opinion, the Republican Party are better off without a person like her representing our interests.

Joe L said...

Since I am at Clemson University (our local TV is out of Asheville, NC) right now I saw all the ads in this election repeatedly, it was almost nonstop on the local news networks. I think Dole was trying to rally with the religious people that are down here. Trust me if this claim had any validity it would have worked with these people. The only problem is that it is well documented that Kay Hagan is a very devout Christian who leads a bible study and teaches Sunday School at her church. Dole was barking up the wrong tree and it back fired.

MadisonMan said...

I am also pleased that the incumbent lost. But some of the credit for Hagan's victory has to rest on her pitch-perfect response to Dole's ad.

Buford Gooch said...

Althouse says: "Why should a religious person reject the political support of atheists? What is the argument? It makes no sense."

Why should a free market person reject the political support of communists? What is the argument?

Spread Eagle said...

Wasn't she already losing and this ad was run in last minute desperation? Why was she already losing? That's the question.

Buford Gooch said...

Longer comment on rejecting atheist support:
If you are a deeply religious Christian, there is no doubt in your mind that God exists as a person, not just as some far removed "force", and that Jesus Christ is His Son. Being supported by people who reject your core belief says a lot about who you are as a person and a politician. If you are supported by people who totally reject something you absolutely believe, it says they see something in you that makes them not just tolerate you as the lesser of two evils, but actively support you. It definitely brings your Christian credentials into question

mcg said...

Why should a free market person reject the political support of communists?

If people already suspect you of being a communist, then that just helps feed the suspicion. But if you are a strong free marketer and your record is clear on that topic, then if some communist is for some odd reason going to offer you political support, I say take it!

The charge that ad was attempting, but failing, to make was that she was supporting an atheistic activist agenda. Clearly her personal record made that charge ludicrous.

mcg said...

Buford: render unto Caesar what is Caesar's; render unto the Lord what is the Lord's.

Our government is secular. I have nothing against (indeed I fully support) a Christian drawing on his Christian belief system to shape his secular political policies. Nor do I have a problem (indeed I fully support) a Christian praying for wisdom on how to conduct oneself as a politician.

But it's a real stretch to suggest you have to avoid secular political alliances with people because they don't share your religious beliefs.

EDH said...

Okay, so that final overdub in the ad saying "there is no God" does remind me of Piper Laurie in the movie Carrie when she said "they're all going to laugh at you!"

"They're all going to laugh at you, they're all going to laugh at you!"

Carrie's evangelical mother gave her daughter that plaintive warning about going to the prom with all those sinful, lustful boys.

The first time he put it inside me I should have killed myself, but I smelled the whisky on his breath and I liked it.

After the blood come the boys. Like sniffing dogs, grinning and slobbering and trying to find out what that smell is...what the smell is. That smell!


Yet, as crazy as she seemed, she turned out to be right!

So, think about that.

Buford Gooch said...

mcg, perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I believe the intent of the ad was to smear the opponent in the eyes of the Christian voters in the district. Did I agree that it was a good idea? No. Did it work? No. Do I think it's good that it didn't work? Yes. Dole was not someone I would actively support, and this attack line just confirmed that for me.

jprapp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

Fair enough, Buford, it sounds like I didn't understand you properly!

jprapp said...

Machiavelli’s first in line to answer the question – “Why should a religious person reject the political support of atheists? What is the argument? It makes no sense.”

Or, answer that question on an empirical basis (rather than “blah, blah, blah”), and you’ll probably have a cabinet position or a Nobel hanging on your wall.

Some harder questions.

If Kay Hagan defended by asserting her own faithfulness as a Sunday school teacher rather than by plunking for “Atheists for Jesus,” then did Hagan play Dole’s game? If Hagan answered Dole by asserting her faithfulness as a form of a political Pascal’s Wager (faith as insurance policy), then didn’t both Hagan and Dole lose something? – integrity? And just how truthful can “Kay Hagan Sunday school teacher” really be her public response if Hagan felt deep down, something like, “shut up, you deceitful bitch, what a stupid-ass ad!”?

The question – “Why should a religious person reject the political support of atheists? What is the argument? It makes no sense” – really isn’t the question here, because Hagan didn’t have a problem chumming with them. And copping to it after all.

If Dole’s dumb ad raises any question, then the question from her ad is, “what is godless money?’” – (and where can we get more of it?)

But as to the political side of your question about "reasons" why, c’mon Ann, it’s not like Dole’s constituents read the reasonable agnostic John Stuart Mill’s, “The Subjection of Women” as their basis for voting for Dole. “Gimme that old time religion ... (refrain: and more of that godless campaign money ...’).”

Donn said...

I'll re-post here what I just did on another thread, and I post this as a religious conservative.

From a commenter at Brainbridge:

Social conservatives do not need to be abandoned, but some of their message needs to be blunted. I do believe that the left has created a new, and effective, caricature of the GOP - where the party was once called the party of the rich, it later became called the party of the big-government, southern-friend religious. That same southern-friend image turned off many suburbanites.

What we probably need now is a social conservative - someone with impeccable social conservative creds in their private life - who has strongly libertarian instincts for public policy. That is, there is nothing inherently wrong in being socially conservative in one’s own life - and in fact it is helpful in winning social conservative votes - but what the party really needs is a strong dose of western/rocky mountain libertarianism.

integrity said...

Because the republican party requires belief in God. They do not want atheists voting for them, it's that simple.

Logic and reason are not in play.

Are there republican atheists that think they are welcome in the republican party? I don't think so, unless they have deluded themselves.

It's a religious party, for now at least.

Doyle said...

It makes no sense.

Breaking: Crazy wingnuts crazy. More news at 11.

rcocean said...

Actually, Dole lost because (i) NC went Democrat this year & (ii) because Dole was more interested in DC than NC. I read she spent only 3 weeks in NC last year.

I actually found the voice at the end kind of funny. And I thought many Liberals were proud of being "Godless" or at sympathetic to atheism - so why be upset when someone points it out?

Coulter stated Liberals attacked her over a lot of thing in her book "Godless" but they seemed OK with being called "Godless".

Donn said...

It's a religious party, for now at least.

At this point in time, in America, it's better to be the religious party than the non-religious party (i.e. Dems). Why do you think BO and JB played on their religious convictions so much....to reach out to religious voters.

Donn said...

Rev:
Her last-minute appeal to theistic bigotry only intensified my dislike of her.

No surprise there. 8^)

Not surprisingly, I always like E over B Dole, but have no idea how good/bad she was in this job.

Doyle said...

That ad stretched so far to try and link Hagan to activist atheists that it buckled under the strain.

Soo... it's not that demonizing people for so much as associating with atheists is wrong, it's just that the association wasn't strong enough.

veni vidi vici said...

if there was someone who was deserving of electoral loss this year, it was "Liddy" (or whatever she calls herself) Dole. What a phoney baloney show horse she is!

I still remember that idiotic prancing routine where she'd, like, take the microphone and actually, you know, wander into the crowd!!!11!!1!

I also remember the stories about how this went over so well that her "handlers" made it a part of her every appearance, even marking "pivot spots" on the floor with tape "x's" for the best appearance on-camera.

What a stilted load of bollocks. The fact that she was among the bottom few senators rated on "effectiveness" for their states only makes her show-horsiness that much plainer.

Loser. Now, go away quietly.

Arturius said...

Are there republican atheists that think they are welcome in the republican party? I don't think so, unless they have deluded themselves.

(raises hand)

Is that really a serious question? My best friend is an evangelical Christian and a Republican. My wife and her whole family are Roman Catholics and Republicans and have no issues with me being an atheist.

This may come as a shock to you but Republicans don't have a secret handshake or required to take an oath to go to church on Sundays.

I've seen some ignorant comments on this blog but that one is certainly making it's way to the top of the list.

mcg said...

Soo... it's not that demonizing people for so much as associating with atheists is wrong, it's just that the association wasn't strong enough.

No, you edited out my word activist. That was central to my point. I'm talking about the difference between, say, Revenant and Michael Newdow.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

First of all the ad is a lie. That fundraiser that Kay Hagan went to was not a meeting of the Godless Americans.

Liddy Dole is nasty. I am glad she lost.

I think one of the other issues in the campaign was that Liddy Dole hardly ever visited the state of NC.

I read in the Charlotte Observer that in the year 2005 she traveled to North Carolina 5 times. Dole was absent much of the time in the senate. All in all she was a lame senator.

One of the reasons I like Feingold so much is because he visits every county in Wisconsin every year.

I think one of the most important responsibilities of a senator is to listen to their constituents.

Doyle said...

I didn't edit it out. I just didn't use it because I don't think it was central to Dole's point.

mcg said...

I am also pleased that the incumbent lost. But some of the credit for Hagan's victory has to rest on her pitch-perfect response to Dole's ad.

I missed this at first, MadisonMan, but you're right, her response ads were fantastic.

integrity said...

Arturius said...
Are there republican atheists that think they are welcome in the republican party? I don't think so, unless they have deluded themselves.

(raises hand)

Is that really a serious question? My best friend is an evangelical Christian and a Republican. My wife and her whole family are Roman Catholics and Republicans and have no issues with me being an atheist.

This may come as a shock to you but Republicans don't have a secret handshake or required to take an oath to go to church on Sundays.

I've seen some ignorant comments on this blog but that one is certainly making it's way to the top of the list.



The issue is whether they want your vote. Not whether they give a shit about what you believe in your private life. They will never seek your vote, that is the issue being addressed. I do not know any republicans that would hold an atheists beliefs against them either in their private life, duh. Pay attention.

mcg said...

I didn't edit it out. I just didn't use it because I don't think it was central to Dole's point.

The ad attempted to link Kay Hagan to the GAMPAC, not just to a group of people who happen to be atheists.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

I also watched the Kay Hagan victory speech on Cspan.

She is a spunky little thing.

She was doing all of these "yoohoos" and "woos" during her speech.

She kind of reminded me of Sarah Palin. Not as attractive but still kind of cute.

Her son was hot too. He made me horny. He was smiling the whole time and had this goofy grin on his face.

Revenant said...

Why should a free market person reject the political support of communists? What is the argument?

That's a stupid argument. Communism calls for the destruction of free markets. Atheism does not call for the destruction of religion.

I'm an atheist. I don't care that people are religious. They're wrong, but they're the ones who have to spend their Sundays sitting in church while I catch up on some much-needed sleep.

Little Towhee said...

I'm a North Carolinian, and while ads such as this didn't help, you've got to look at the carpetbagger voices that are beginning to drown out the natives' voices.

Our state has been flooded with more liberal factions for a decade plus. Look at our population boom. People from Yankeeland love what is now called the "halfback state" because we are halfway between the Yankee retirees in Florida and their children.

Dole appealed to traditional, conservative native North Carolinians. But we're a dying breed I'm afraid as liberal people flock to our great universities, our beautiful mtns and beaches. . . They want Mayberry, but they don't want our way of life. Dole is too closely connected to our "old" values and ideas for these newcomers who wanted to be here because they didn't like their own place of origins enough to stay there. . . how ironic that they are turning NC to the same place they came from.

Dole offends the "delicate", haha, sensibilities of these transplants.

Revenant said...

Are there republican atheists that think they are welcome in the republican party? I don't think so, unless they have deluded themselves.

If there are people who view themselves as atheists and nothing more -- atheists who favor the kind of identity politics the Democratic Party likes -- and those people think they're at all welcome in the Republican Party then those people are certainly delusional. The Republican Party is vehemently anti-atheist, and has no problem with endorsing people who display outrageous bigotry towards atheists (e.g., Libby Dole and George Bush Sr.). It would be fair to say that Republican Party is the party of anti-atheist bigotry, or at least it would be fair to say that it is even more bigoted than the Democrats are.

But I'm not JUST an atheist. I'm an atheist who wants free markets, small government, low taxes, and a strong national defense. The Republican Party certainly welcomes people like me. It doesn't welcome ALL my beliefs, but it didn't welcome all of John McCain's beliefs -- or George Bush's beliefs -- either. There is room in the party for people who do not adhere to every last one of its beliefs, or so I like to think.

Now if the problems of taxes, free trade, et al were somehow solved forever, and there was no longer a party in America fighting tooth and nail to expand socialism and loot the productive class for the benefit of the unproductive, THEN I guess there would be no point in voting Republican. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for that day to come.

Donn said...

Although I have no desire to start another religious debate, I think Rev is wrong here:

Atheism does not call for the destruction of religion.

I think, many atheists, especially evangelical atheists like many of the pop authors, do call for that exact thing.

Revenant said...

Although I have no desire to start another religious debate

Then maybe you should keep your ignorant beliefs to yourself.

Donn said...

Rev:

Then maybe you should keep your ignorant beliefs to yourself.


Nice comment Rev, something I thought would be beneath you. Oh well, to each their own.

Donn said...

Oh, and it kinda makes my point...nicely done.

MarkW said...

I have to say I'm pleased with Dole's loss. I've disliked her for years for coercing the states into raising their drinking age to 21.

Yep, same here -- good riddance.

Oligonicella said...

integrity --

Still a bad moniker.

"Because the republican party requires belief in God. They do not want atheists voting for them, it's that simple.

Logic and reason are not in play.

Are there republican atheists that think they are welcome in the republican party? I don't think so, unless they have deluded themselves."

You don't think so because you really don't know. Being a hard-core atheist, a conservative and chums with many Reps, I can unequivocally say, you're a dumbass. They really don't care.

"The issue is whether they want your vote."

Yes they do. That's how you win an election.

donn --

"I think, many atheists, especially evangelical atheists like many of the pop authors, do call for that exact thing."

Some. Just like some religious people with light up torches. Few on both sides. You are incorrect, atheism is predominantly lack of not anti-religion. You insulted Rev... You expected a calm response why? You lit the torch first.

Revenant said...

Donn,

Our earlier discussion established that you aren't bright enough to hold up your end of one of these conversations, but I'll point out the glaringly obvious flaw in your argument just in case anyone missed it.

Your claim is that the existence of atheists who want to destroy religion disproves my claim that atheism does not want to destroy religion. This is known as the fallacy of affirming the consequent -- "because all the people who want to destroy religion are atheists, atheism wants to destroy religion".

A good illustration of how ridiculous that fallacy is can be found in the fact that there exist Christians who want high taxes. Obviously anybody who takes that fact as grounds for claiming that Christianity favors high taxes is every bit as big a nitwit as you.

Donn said...

Our earlier discussion established that you aren't bright enough to hold up your end of one of these conversations...

Yeah, whatever you say. Who again, Rev, caused the Holocaust?

"because all the people who want to destroy religion are atheists, atheism wants to destroy religion".

Umm, maybe that's why I said the following:

I think, many atheists, especially evangelical atheists like many of the pop authors, do call for that exact thing.

Notice the word, many? I highlighted this time for your benefit.

Oligonicella said...

It even works with many Donn. Very few atheists want an end to religion, just as few religious people want to end someone's atheism. We really don't care what someone else believes unless they're trying to jam it down our throats. Perhaps you need to define many.

Arturius said...

The issue is whether they want your vote. Not whether they give a shit about what you believe in your private life. They will never seek your vote, that is the issue being addressed.

Are you aware of the complete stupidity of that comment? Perhaps I have been missing the disclosure statements in GOP campaign ads where it says "Atheists need not apply" and "This message for Believers only".

Congratulations. You just moved to the top of the most ignorant comment list.

Freeman Hunt said...

Perhaps you need to define many.


I'll cop to, at one time, having been one of those many.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'll cop to, at one time, having been one of those many.

And I should add that I knew "many" people who felt similarly. I also, of course, knew "many" who did not. But I think you're being a bit hard on Donn because he did qualify his statement and was not making a blanket assertion that all atheists want to destroy religion.

Donn said...

Oli,

Here's an excellent comment by Edward Oaks that will make my point.

One would think that, given their insistence that faith and violence are inextricably linked, these authors would be a bit more circumspect about their own rhetoric. As it happens, one does not have to read too far into these books to see an underlying advocacy of violence animating their venom, an advocacy made most explicit in Sam Harris’s The End of Faith, which openly avows: “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. . . . There is, in fact, no talking to some people. … We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas.” To which I can only respond with one of Blaise Pascal’s more mordant observations, “Thinking too little about things or thinking too much both make us obstinate and fanatical.” Pascal called civil war the worst of all evils and openly admitted that no evil is greater than that committed under the guise of religion. If he were living today, I am sure his response to Harris would be: yes, Mr. Harris, you’re right, and the reason atheism brings so much violence in its wake is because it is its own kind of religion—and that’s your problem: your atheism is too religious.

Now, I agree with that statement. You and Rev (and other atheists) can disagree, but I would hardly call the comment ignorant, which is what Rev did to me. Atheists want to blame Christians for all the evil in the world, and at the same time deny the evil atheists have done. Funny, that.

Donn said...

And more importantly, Rev is trying to silence my criticism of atheism, which as I already pointed out, makes exactly my point, albeit in a "non-violent" way. It's just a mater of degrees, actually.

Freeman Hunt said...

But now what was a minor point is turning into another argument headed somewhere else that will totally derail the thread...

I'm bowing out.

Arturius said...

Yeah, whatever you say. Who again, Rev, caused the Holocaust?

For starters, Hitler wasn't an atheist, or at least his numerous references to God and his Christian faith in Mein Kampf seems sufficient evidence to the contrary.

Second, I'll go under the assumption that you're referring to Hitler killing the Jews because they practiced the religion of Judaism. Hitler wanted to eliminate the Jewish people which is different then eliminating Judaism.

Arturius said...

But I think you're being a bit hard on Donn because he did qualify his statement and was not making a blanket assertion that all atheists want to destroy religion.

Understandable as high profile people like Bill Maher are openly hostile to religion although Maher appears to reserve special hatred for Christianity for some reason or another. I suspect a nun was mean to him at some point.

Revenant said...

Notice the word, many? I highlighted this time for your benefit.

The fact that you think saying "many" somehow prevents your reasoning from being fallacious really underscores my earlier point about you not being bright enough to hold up your half of the conversation, Donn. :)

To reuse my earlier example, "many" (nice weasel word, by the way) Christians favor higher taxes; tens of millions of them voted for Obama this year. That doesn't make the argument "Christianity favors higher taxes" somehow less fallacious than it would have been if only one Christian had voted for Obama.

Revenant said...

But I think you're being a bit hard on Donn because he did qualify his statement and was not making a blanket assertion that all atheists want to destroy religion.

Freeman,

I stated "Atheism does not call for the destruction of religion". Donn explicitly stated that my claim was wrong. If atheism calls for the destruction of religion, it follows that all atheists want religion destroyed.

So yes, Donn DID say that all atheists want to destroy religion -- unless he's dippy enough to think there are atheists who don't believe in atheism.

Revenant said...

And more importantly, Rev is trying to silence my criticism of atheism

Oh, please, that's a pathetic lie and we both know it. You said that you didn't want a religious debate and then followed it up with one of your usual ignorant smears of atheism.

My reply was that if you didn't want a debate you should keep your ignorant beliefs to yourself. I'm not trying to "silence" you -- I'm just rejecting your request that you be allowed to spread your ignorance unchallenged.

Oligonicella said...

Donn --

"Atheists want to blame Christians for all the evil in the world, and at the same time deny the evil atheists have done. Funny, that."

Again, no they do not. Some do. Just like some religious people think atheism is the root of all evil and can't see their own bigotry.

You can't stop systems on either side from containing morons.

But I think you're being a bit hard on Donn

Then perhaps Donn could use words like some instead of many or his unqualified assertions.

Donn said...

The fact that you think saying "many" somehow prevents your reasoning from being fallacious really underscores my earlier point about you not being bright enough to hold up your half of the conversation, Donn. :)

And this illustrates why you're not as smart as you think you are. As Freeman already pointed out, she knew many atheists who did/do feel this way, as have I. In regards to history, Oakes comment is dead on, which is the same thing I was saying. Sorry if you don't like it, but dem da facts. 8^)

Oli,

Yes, I agree that some atheists do and some atheists don't (whatever the issue is), but my point is that the some that do add up to many.

Oligonicella said...

Donn --

By the way, your post took Harris out of context - see here.

Your Mr. Oaks elided in bad faith, and yes, that was a pun.

Donn said...

In EVERY (yes I said EVERY) government that has had atheism as its religious doctrine, the suppression and elimination of religion has followed. Sorry, the whole "atheists would just let everyone believe what they want," has not proven out in history.

Donn said...

Oli,

Thanks for the tip on the Harris quote....I'll look into that myself. I never try to take an author out of context to try and prove a point.

Freeman Hunt said...

I stated "Atheism does not call for the destruction of religion". Donn explicitly stated that my claim was wrong.

I thought he was differentiating between different types of atheism. I don't think that atheism is monolithic. There is a certain strain of atheism that regards religion as the enemy of human progress and thus an enemy of mankind that must be eliminated. Many atheists are part of that strain just as I was at one time. They're especially common the socialist/Marxist set of which I was also a part.

I doubt that kind of thinking is very common at all among non-collectivists who would be loathe to work at socially engineering people's beliefs.

Oligonicella said...

Donn --

And now you move the goalposts to be governments based on. The same goalposts work against every government. Governments are like that, suppressive of competitive ideas. People are not necessarily so. Unless of course, you wish to cede that religious people are wanting to eliminate atheist thought in others.

Oh, I prefer Olig.

Donn said...

Rev:
If atheism calls for the destruction of religion, it follows that all atheists want religion destroyed.

Gee, there's profound thinking. 8^)

Arturius said...

In EVERY (yes I said EVERY) government that has had atheism as its religious doctrine, the suppression and elimination of religion has followed. Sorry, the whole "atheists would just let everyone believe what they want," has not proven out in history.

I'm not aware of which governments those would be but I'll wager a fair sum they were not liberal democracies, which by tradition, allow for religious freedom.

I wouldn't worry about atheists taking over the US government in any event. I have enough faith (no pun intended) in our Constitution and democratic traditions that you won't see religious pogroms on Main Street.

Oligonicella said...

Crap, I hit the button before reading Freeman's post. Freeman actually supports my point, Marxism is the driving force in that hatred, not the atheism.

Donn --

He's pointing out the construct is not true.

Oligonicella said...

I have writing to do elsewhere -- ciao.

Donn said...

FH:
There is a certain strain of atheism that regards religion as the enemy of human progress and thus an enemy of mankind that must be eliminated.

Yes, this is the strain I was talking about, and many atheists belief this.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

Rahm Emanuel's big steel balls heard in the hallways of congress.

Is that not one of the hottest things you have heard?

God that makes me horny.

Revenant said...

As Freeman already pointed out, she knew many atheists who did/do feel this way

Yes, and that also lends no support to your argument -- although, again, you're apparently not bright enough to figure that out.

Now if you had started out saying nothing more than "many atheists want to destroy religion" I'd have said nothing other than to fault you for use of the weasel word "many" (which can mean anything from a hundred atheists to a billion. But you weren't content to leave it at that. You had to take the additional step of asserting that atheism itself called for the destruction of religion. That's an absurd lie, and is no more supported by your ability to identify anti-religious atheists than my ability to identify Christian racists would prove that Christianity is pro-racism.

Now, if you would like to apologize for claiming that atheism calls for the destruction of religion then I'll be happy to accept your apology. But so far all you're trying to do is move the goalposts, and act like I'm denying that anti-religious atheists exist at all. Obviously I'm doing nothing of the kind.

Revenant said...

In EVERY (yes I said EVERY) government that has had atheism as its religious doctrine, the suppression and elimination of religion has followed.

Suppression, yes; elimination, no (the Orthodox Church was not even remotely "eliminated" from the Soviet Union, for example).

What's there to say to this little factoid except "no shit, Sherlock". Obviously if the government mandates by law that there is no valid religion, religious groups suffer. Similarly, in "EVERY" government that has established Christianity as its official religion, discrimination against non-Christian religion has followed. The same holds true for any establishment of religion, which is why the Founders wisely chose NOT to establish any religion.

But it does not follow that the discrimination and suppression is the fault of atheism or Christianity or whatever. It is quite obviously the fault of the government putting its foot down and saying "only such-and-such belief system is acceptable to the State".

Revenant said...

I don't think that atheism is monolithic.

Atheists aren't monolithic, certainly. But atheism itself consists of only one belief, and hence has no choice BUT to be monolithic. It is a binary thing; either you have a belief in one or more gods, in which case you are a theist, or you don't, in which case you are an atheist. That's all atheism is; lack of belief in (or denial of the existence of) gods.

Most atheists have a set of positive beliefs that go along with that, ranging from the "well there are no gods but there is supernatural mumbo jumbo" of Buddhism to the "there are no gods but there is the force of history and the will of the proletariat" of Communism to the "there are no gods and I'm prepared to write about it at extreme length" of Ayn Rand. But those extra beliefs aren't "atheism" anymore than a preference for pinor noir over merlot in Communion is "Christianity". :)

Seven Machos said...

I think Dole lost because she is an idiot. What, really, does she stand for except for big government nannyism? Democrats can give that to us, plenty. Where is her base?

Donn said...

Rev:
Now if you had started out saying nothing more than "many atheists want to destroy religion" I'd have said nothing other than to fault you for use of the weasel word "many" (which can mean anything from a hundred atheists to a billion.

Ummm, this is exactly what I did say, to which you replied:

Then maybe you should keep your ignorant beliefs to yourself.

Then again, you repeat:

Now, if you would like to apologize for claiming that atheism calls for the destruction of religion then I'll be happy to accept your apology.

There is nothing to apologize for, because many atheists do wish the destruction of religion.

Freeman Hunt said...

Marxism is the driving force in that hatred, not the atheism.

I don't know that I agree with that. I think a case could be made that a certain type of secular humanism is the driving force of Marxism. It depends on where you reason in your atheistic ethic. You can reason towards individualism and liberty, but some don't. Some reason that without a God, man must be perfected through government.

Revenant said...

Ummm, this is exactly what I did say, to which you replied:

Please pay attention.

Yes, you said that. But it is not ALL you said; you also said that atheism calls for the destruction of religion. It is that claim that I was objecting to, as I pointed out. Hence my remark, that if you had said "nothing more" than that some atheists were anti-religion I wouldn't have disagreed.

There is nothing to apologize for, because many atheists do wish the destruction of religion.

Christianity calls for support for the Dallas Cowboys over the Philadelphia Eagles. My proof of this is that many Christians are Dallas fans.

Freeman Hunt said...

But those extra beliefs aren't "atheism" anymore than a preference for pinor noir over merlot in Communion is "Christianity". :)

I agree to an extent. However, just as in Christianity you have the Catholics, the Anglicans, the Orthodox, the Protestants, and various thousands of denominations therein, so you have something similar in atheism. The atheistic variants generally aren't named, so someone might say "many atheists" to talk about some particular variant. They have to use some kind of language to express those ideas. I don't know how else they could do it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Just like I might say "many theists seek the elimination of atheism" which would be true.

Revenant said...

I don't know that I agree with that. I think a case could be made that a certain type of secular humanism is the driving force of Marxism.

With all due respect, Freeman, I don't see how you could credibly argue that Marxism was a humanist philosophy, secular or otherwise.

Marx was, however, one of the major writers asserting a secular, rather than religious, justification for Communism. But I disagree that it was the secularism that made Communism particularly bad; Christian Communism is reprehensible too.

Donn said...

Rev,

Here's the thing, which goes back to our previous discussion.

You have no problem painting Christians with a very LARGE brush, even claiming the Luther was the cause of the holocaust. Now, not ONE major historian agrees with this analysis, but you do. This is why I said you use very low level atheistic arguments against Christianity.

Then, on the flip side you want to disavow all things done wrong by atheists. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Now, if you want to say that SOME Christians have done evil things, and SOME atheists have done evil things, then I think we can leave it at that. Agreed?

Freeman Hunt said...

Christian Communism is reprehensible too.

I agree, and I was going to point out that a certain strain of Christian collectivist, common in the mainline churches, seeks to implement Communism on the basis of "social justice."

I would say that some Marxists see Marxism as humanistic because they think it is a path of ultimate progress for mankind. I would call them wrong, but they don't care about what I say. :)

Revenant said...

so you have something similar in atheism

I disagree about the similarity. All Christians believe in following the will of God; the different sects exist because of the often extreme differences about exactly what God's will IS.

The parallel doesn't hold with atheism. There isn't any disagreement about the manner in which God fails to exist. On the one belief atheists have in common, there is no disagreement. The various different groups into which some atheists group themselves aren't due to differing beliefs about the nonexistence of God, but rather are due to differing beliefs about whatever philosophy or spirituality those people adapt in lieu of a religion. A Marxist is anti-religious because Marxism is anti-religious, not because atheism is. An atheist Unitarian is pro-religious not because atheism is pro-religion, but because Unitarianism is.

Revenant said...

that should be "in lieu of belief in gods", not "in lieu of belief in religion"

Revenant said...

I would say that some Marxists see Marxism as humanistic because they think it is a path of ultimate progress for mankind.

I would describe that as collectivism, not humanism. Marxism explicitly does not care about the rights or well-being of actual human beings as individuals -- theirs is the famous "you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs" mentality. Humanism is very much about the worth and importance of each and every person, and to me that seems like the polar opposite of Marxism.

Freeman Hunt said...

The parallel doesn't hold with atheism.

I don't agree. The theists may have the "will of God" that leads them in various directions, but atheism is not without philosophy. The "will of philosophy" or the "will of man" is a ready substitute for the "will of God." And a lot of this "will of God" stuff is already more philosophical than dogmatic in nature anyway. So I think the parallel holds.

Freeman Hunt said...

Humanism is very much about the worth and importance of each and every person, and to me that seems like the polar opposite of Marxism.

Except that some people argue for collectivism from humanism by reasoning that the individual is better off in a perfected society, and it is worth great but temporary individual pains to reach that perfected society so that then all men might live wonderful lives in the utopia.

But again, though some people think that way, I think it's utter nonsense, and I agree entirely with you.

Donn said...

FH:
I don't agree. The theists may have the "will of God" that leads them in various directions, but atheism is not without philosophy. The "will of philosophy" or the "will of man" is a ready substitute for the "will of God."

Exactly so. The problem is Freeman, that Rev wants to blame all these evils, whatever they may be, on Christians. In our last discussion he claimed Napoleon was a Christian, even though I pointed out that Napoleon's view were pagan, not Christian.

Then, in opposite fashion, he wants to disavow anything done by atheists as relating to atheism.

Good grief, and he calls me ignorant.

TMink said...

My friend Rev wrote: "I'm an atheist. I don't care that people are religious. They're wrong, but they're the ones who have to spend their Sundays sitting in church while I catch up on some much-needed sleep."

A wonderful and logical stance. I feel exactly the same way about atheists. Except for the Sunday part of course.

"Atheism does not call for the destruction of religion."

I get the feel that the Evangelical Athiests are a bit more strident on this than you. Would you say that Sam Harris is a tolerant as you pal? This is from a blurb of one of his books:

"The End of Faith provides a harrowing glimpse of mankind’s willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when these beliefs inspire the worst of human atrocities."

I need to have old Sam down here to spend some time with us. We feed a family in what used to be Uganda, because we are Christian, tell the truth because we are Christian, don't cheat others or commit adultry because we are Christian, and more stuff like that.

We pray for the President elect (elect, little Presbyterian joke there) because we are Christian. You see what I am getting at.

I have never struck or harmed another person because I am a Christian, but I have helped others and been kind to big time asswipes because I am. Why can't Sam write about people like us?

Trey

Revenant said...

You have no problem painting Christians with a very LARGE brush, even claiming the Luther was the cause of the holocaust.

How is my attacking a Christian who was widely celebrated by the Nazi Party an example of my "painting Christians with a very LARGE brush"?

In our earlier conversation I pointed out that antisemitism had been part of the Christian faith for a very long time. Your rebuttal to this was to invoke the True Scotsman fallacy and argue that those people didn't really count as Christians (and you threw in some weak denials of medieval antisemitism having been that bad).

The distinction I drew was between Christians doing bad things because the Christianity of their time taught bad things, and atheists doing bad things for reasons unrelated to the one belief atheism holds -- that gods don't exist. I do not see, and you have not explained, how "no gods exist" was the belief behind the Communist atrocities rather than, for example, "the proletariat must overthrow the capitalists". Christians oppressed Jews because they thought it was God's will that Jews be oppressed.

I don't see that as "a LARGE brush" to paint Christianity with. I'm not claiming it is some critical flaw in the Christianity of today or in the teachings of Christ.

Now, not ONE major historian agrees with this analysis, but you do.

"The German Reformation, under Luther’s guidance, therefore led in a very unfavourable direction for the Jews, when compared with parallel developments in
English, Dutch or Swiss Protestantism. The seed of hatred sown by Luther would reach its horrible climax in the Third Reich when German Protestants showed themselves to be particularly receptive to Nazi antisemitism."

-- Professor Robert S. Wistrich, head of the International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

You were saying? Probably something about how he doesn't count as "major", I'd imagine.

Revenant said...

I don't agree. The theists may have the "will of God" that leads them in various directions, but atheism is not without philosophy.

Well yes, Freeman, it is. That might not be your personal definition of atheism, but atheism really DOES involve nothing more than a lack of belief in/denial of gods. Seriously, the dictionary backs me up on this one. :)

To use my earlier sports example, "Christian Cowboys fans" and "Christian Eagles fans" are not two separate sects of Christianity, although they might disagree at various points during the playoffs. Even though they are two separate groups of *Christians*, they are not two different types of Christianity. Similarly, Communists and atheist Unitarians are two different groups of atheists, but they are not different "sects of atheism".

Revenant said...

Except that some people argue for collectivism from humanism by reasoning that the individual is better off in a perfected society, and it is worth great but temporary individual pains to reach that perfected society so that then all men might live wonderful lives in the utopia.

Well, collectivism has humanism -- and Christianity and Judaism, for that matter -- in its ancestry, certainly. But I think by the time Marx was formulating his ideas, the core ideal of humanism (specifically, individual human worth) had already been forgotten in lieu of making things better for abstract groups of "people". A humanist would specifically reject the notion that it is acceptable to starve a million people in order to improve the lot of ten million others. Humanism believes people are an end in themselves; collectivism views individual people as a means TO an end.

Donn said...

You were saying? Probably something about how he doesn't count as "major", I'd imagine.

No, I wouldn't say that, just that his view would be the minority one, and inconsistent with the vast majority of historians. Of course, even scholars write some bad history (though I don't know about Wistrich.)

Is this from his 2001 book? I stopped researching this issue around that time, but will certainly consider what he says. Of course, it would take more than one historian to make me change my mind.

Revenant said...

I have never struck or harmed another person because I am a Christian, but I have helped others and been kind to big time asswipes because I am. Why can't Sam write about people like us?

I would say that Sam doesn't believe that you'd start stealing, lying, and beating people up if you became an atheist. In other words, he doesn't think Christianity is what is causing you to be a nice person; he thinks that you being nice and you being Christian are coincidental. But like the saying goes -- if belief in God is all that's keeping you from killing me and taking my stuff, please, please go to Church.

Personally, I have mixed feelings on the subject. To the extent that fear of Hell or hope for Heaven serves as a carrot and a stick I think Christianity encourages good behavior more than an atheist philosophy could, but that only works inasmuch as people actually believe they're going to hell. I'm sure there were folks who loaded Jewish kids into cattle cars and still went to sleep at night firmly convinced their place at the Heavenly table was secure, for example, just as I'm sure there are innocent homosexuals who spent their lives in misery and torment because they were convinced they were doomed to Hell for their desires. After all, I don't think there's any actual basis in reality for the things you believe, and any belief that isn't based in reality can have unpredictable consequences.

But on balance, I suspect Christianity has probably been a good thing, if only because it is (in my opinion) a relatively innocuous faith that these days promotes pretty uncontroversial and humanist beliefs. The 20th century provided some pretty good evidence that people who give up one religious belief system often seek out a substitute (e.g., Communism), so I'm inclined to go with the devil I know.

Donn said...

And, if you remember correctly, I never said Christian Antisemitism was completely innocent, just that there were other more important factors.

Revenant said...

Is this from his 2001 book?

It is from "Antisemitism, The Longest Hatred". Amazon has it listed as being published in 1992.

The belief that Luther (and Christianity's long history of anti-Jewish propaganda in general) led to the Holocaust is not rare at all among historians who study antisemitism as their area of focus. Maybe you need more Jewish friends or something, because I sure got an earful of this stuff back in the day. :)

Donn said...

Rev:
The belief that Luther (and Christianity's long history of anti-Jewish propaganda in general) led to the Holocaust is not rare at all among historians who study antisemitism as their area of focus. Maybe you need more Jewish friends or something, because I sure got an earful of this stuff back in the day. :)


Okay Rev, I'll have to visit my local library and Border's Books....I'll get back to you. 8^)

Donn said...

Hmmm....I just checked my three area local libraries and none had a book by Robert Wistrich. Maybe you were right....he's not a major author! 8^)

Freeman Hunt said...

Sorry I disappeared. Had toddler business.

Similarly, Communists and atheist Unitarians are two different groups of atheists, but they are not different "sects of atheism".

We just don't agree on this. I understand the definition of atheism. There is also a definition of Christianity. But as practiced, there are varying sects within them. And I think it obvious that just as belief in God leads to an entire decision tree of various paths of philosophy, so does the lack of belief in God.

Humanism believes people are an end in themselves; collectivism views individual people as a means TO an end.

Again, I agree with you. My argument isn't that that reasoning is correct. My argument is that there exist atheist humanists who adhere to that reasoning.

As for evil done in the name of Christianity or in the name of some atheistic system, the Christians may have done it "in the name of God" but the atheists would have done it "without the fear of God." I think that is what Donn means about both Christianity and atheism being equally responsible for evil committed by their adherents.

Mostly, I think we all agree, and the argument has been over semantics.

Donn said...

FH:
Mostly, I think we all agree, and the argument has been over semantics.


Thank you, Freeman, for your insights.

Donn said...

Oh, and cool name by the way!

Freeman Hunt said...

Well, thank you Donn and Rev (and others who were in for a shorter time) for a fun and interesting discussion.

Freeman Hunt said...

Hey wait, no one is ending by writing invective at each other... somehow the trolls ignored this thread completely.

veni vidi vici said...

SevenMachos said: "Where is her base?"

I'm sure you'll find it clearly marked by masking tape "x"'s on the floor...

Revenant said...

And I think it obvious that just as belief in God leads to an entire decision tree of various paths of philosophy, so does the lack of belief in God.

Could you give an example of a decision tree that atheists face and theists don't?

As I see it, the decision tree atheists face is a subset of the decision tree theists face. There are no uniquely "atheistic" decisions about philosophy or spirituality. Now, you might say "well, atheists have to decide what is right in the absence of directives from God", but if so then I think you're missing something: belief in the existence of gods does not imply the belief that gods are a source of morality or guidance. It is possible, though rare, to believe that gods exist without believing that the god or gods in question have any relevance to the human experience.

A secular humanist might believe that people have a natural right -- one not derived from a god -- to not be tortured. But a theist can arrive at the exact same conclusion using the exact same reasoning. When a theist can reach the exact same conclusion as an atheist using the exact same chain of reasoning, that says to me that there is nothing "atheistic" about that chain of reasoning. It is just plain old vanilla "reasoning". :)

Revenant said...

the Christians may have done it "in the name of God" but the atheists would have done it "without the fear of God."

I would argue that the Christians who carried out atrocities because they thought they were doing God's will *also* weren't experiencing fear of God. Quite the opposite; they anticipated rewards for their behavior.

The key difference, as I see it, is that a lack of fear of punishment doesn't encourage activity. The fact that I won't go to hell for killing and eating a baby doesn't make me think "well, Baby BBQ for dinner, then". Fear of punishment only discourages people from doing things they actually WANT to do. Religion encourages people to do things they *wouldn't* normally want to do, like feed the poor or massacre Jews.

It is sort of like the difference between positive and negative rights. The Constitution is a list of negative rights -- e.g., the government may not restrict your speech, but you do not have the right to have your works published and distributed in the event that you are unable to pay for it yourself. I could decide to publish your book, or not to; either way, I am neither respecting your first amendment rights nor violating them. The First Amendment doesn't even enter into the picture. Similarly, atheism is strictly about negative belief, while Christianity is entirely about positive belief. Atheism doesn't tell you to DO anything, and Christianity is entirely about what people ought to do. Christianity encourages actual action, for good or bad; atheism doesn't.

TMink said...

Rev wrote: "In other words, he doesn't think Christianity is what is causing you to be a nice person;"

He is wrong. Obedience is a huge part of a serious Christian's life. Kindness is love in action, and I am comanded to love people. I really try to take that seriously. Strong beliefs are guiding, even transformative.

"he thinks that you being nice and you being Christian are coincidental."

That is why I wish he could get to know likeminded believers. I do not think he has had many relationships with people like me. That sounds egotistical, but it is not intended that way at all. I mean people who understand that the basis of following Christ is being loving. It is relationships that help people overcome their bigotry, and my experience of reading a little of Sam's work is that he is a bigot.

"But like the saying goes -- if belief in God is all that's keeping you from killing me and taking my stuff, please, please go to Church."

OK, that was funny, but you are being a bit obtuse!

"To the extent that fear of Hell or hope for Heaven serves as a carrot and a stick I think Christianity encourages good behavior more than an atheist philosophy could, but that only works inasmuch as people actually believe they're going to hell."

I am more in the hope for heaven crowd, but there is more to it than that. My God is alive, and I love Him. I am thankful and grateful for the way He helped me in court today, for the miracle of my children, for the love of my wife, for beautiful fall colors, for a million other little and big things. I understand that you translate this to "Trey's belief in a nonexistant deity is experienced as a relationship" and I can go with that. But it calls for and orders my growth in a positive and loving way. And that should be a good thing even to Mr. Harris.

"just as I'm sure there are innocent homosexuals who spent their lives in misery and torment because they were convinced they were doomed to Hell for their desires."

I know you are right in that, but I have to say that the tormented gay folks could have used some better theology! I am a sexual sinner too, I Jimmy Carter regularly. There is no distinction between that and some bath house betty in terms of sinfulness. The difference is that I am forgiven. And that is a big difference in terms of how I approach God and other people and myself.

"The 20th century provided some pretty good evidence that people who give up one religious belief system often seek out a substitute (e.g., Communism), so I'm inclined to go with the devil I know."

There you go again, the devil you know! You kill me! I appreciate what you say about modern Christianity. It is rather innocuous. And the worse for it.

Boldness in love and service would be much better. There is a movement afoot in Evangelical circles to seek to engage in more charity and sacrificial giving, and that is a kind of boldness I can get behind.

Thanks dude, I appreciate the thoughtful discourse.

Trey

TMink said...

OK, after much soul searching (heh heh,) I can think of a single decision tree that a theist would use and a nontheist would not.

Do I or do I not call in an exorcist! 8)

Trey

AlphaLiberal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlphaLiberal said...

mcg:
But if you are a strong free marketer and your record is clear on that topic, then if some communist is for some odd reason going to offer you political support, I say take it!

Yes, given the importance of votes to winning election, I agree.

It's political math: the failure of the politics of subtraction and division. Winning politics works through addition.

Given the animosity Republicans display towards so many segments of American society, they will continue making such mistakes for a long time.

Revenant said...

I mean people who understand that the basis of following Christ is being loving.

That's not really the point. Yes, Christianity promotes love. The thing is, we know it is possible to be loving, generous, selfless, and all those fluffy bunny things WITHOUT being a Christian. There are Christians, Jews, atheists, Buddhists, etc, who feel those feelings and do those things. In other words, while we can't know for certain that YOU in particular would be a nice person if you weren't Christian, we DO know for certain that people in general can be nice without being Christian. That's what I mean when I say he thinks it is a coincidence. He thinks you'd be nice even if you were a Jew or a Buddhist or, of course, an atheist.

It is hard to reconcile the idea of Christianity being especially effective at promoting goodness with the fact that Christians don't seem all THAT much nicer than the rest of us. If Christianity is the reason Christians are as nice as they are, and they aren't particularly nicer than atheists, that would seem to imply that Christians are a bunch of jerks. Where inherent niceness is N (Na for atheists, Nc for Christians) and niceness from religion is R:

Na = Nc + R

If R is > 0, then Na > Nc, i.e. atheists are people who are inherently nicer. So either Christianity doesn't amount to much, or atheists are just naturally of better character, or atheism somehow makes people nicer (which seems really unlikely). The only likely way R can exceed 0, or Nc equal or exceed Na, would be for Christians to be on the whole nicer than atheists: Na < Nc+R. The empirical evidence for that proposition is elusive. :)

Donn said...

Re claiming the Luther was the cause of the holocaust.

Rev, I think I will have trouble finding the book you mentioned, but I will continue to look. Again, thanks for the quote, and I will look anew at this issue.

I did manage to find this review tonight on the following book:

Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. 1: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939. By SAUL FRIEDLANDER. New York: Harper Collins, 1997.

In the review by PETER KENEZ, Professor of History at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he notes the following:

Although Friedlander does not explicitly discuss Daniel Goldhagen's enormously influential and popular ideas put forward in his "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust," the picture we get here is very different. Friedlander takes for granted that the depth of German anti-Semitism before Hitler was no different than elsewhere in Europe, and once Romanians, French, Hungarians, etc. came under German rule, they behaved no better than the Germans themselves.

If true, this cuts the Luther theory to shreds. Yes, I know different scholars claim different things, but my sense is that FRIEDLANDER is correct.

This is how the professor describes the book:

When completed, Friedlander's study will be the most important book on the subject since the publication of Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews in 1961. Indeed, Friedlander's work could be regarded as complementary to Hilberg's. Hilberg painstakingly described the organization of the machine of destruction, the role of various German institutions in the unfolding tragedy and imposed a scheme on further historical developments--definition, concentration, expropriation, destruction--and in these matters his work has not been superseded. But it was difficult from reading Hilberg to get a sense of the experience of actual human beings, either Germans or Jews. In these matters Friedlander is obviously superior.

Donn said...

This also rings true to me...from the National Interest:

So what is this "mystery" of the Holocaust? We have no difficulty understanding the genocides traceable to Lenin or to Stalin; Adolf Hitler adapted with equally diabolical success their doctrinal contempt for the individual in the name of Utopia. The Stalin-ordered genocide of the Soviet peoples, anywhere from twenty to sixty million, is no mystery. Mao Tse-tung's slaughter of--who knows?--fifty million Chinese is no more of a mystery than is communist China's genocide in Tibet. There is no mystery about the killing fields of Southeast Asia where Poi Pot's Khmer Rouge murdered one-sixth of what had been a population of seven million. There is no mystery about Turkey's genocide of Armenians in the early part of the twentieth century. Of the fifteen million Afghans alive in 1978, more than a million are dead, thanks to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan two decades ago. There is certainly no mystery of Milosevic's killing of Kosovars, final figures not in yet. Why, supposedly, will we "never understand" Hitler's Holocaust?

jimspice said...

It's the guilt by association that was so popular this time around. If you're going to pick someone not to be associated with, it's atheists. 53% of Americans would not vote for an atheist, even if they were an otherwise well qualified nominee of their own party.

TMink said...

Rev, you have hit upon the crux of the biscuit. Christians should be kinder.

But my point was made toward Sam Harris' poor and I think bigoted opinion of us. His opinion was made by his collection of hate mail, not hanging with those of us who would never write him hate mail but who would pray for him unobtrusively.

As I have no prejudice toward atheists, so I am not at all interested in engaging in put downs. But I would be interested to see the difference in charitable giving between the two groups. There might be a measurable distinction there.

We know there is one between conservatives and liberals, with conservative being MUCH more liberal in giving while the liberals conserve their money for themselves. That distinction and put down I AM comfortable making! 8)

Trey

Donn said...

Not that I think Rev will come back to this thread, but for now wanted to document my search at my local library re that Luther was the cause of the holocaust.

I randomly (except for 2 books by Friedlander)selected six books off the shelves that were about the Holocaust, and not on page, note that - ZERO, had any reference to Martin Luther. I have no doubt I could have checked several more with the same result.

Furthermore, the books were divided on the role of Christian anti-Antisemitism, with the aforementioned Friedlander seemingly the most supportive of the notion.

I would be happy to list the books and authors if anyone wished.

Revenant said...

If true, this cuts the Luther theory to shreds. Yes, I know different scholars claim different things, but my sense is that FRIEDLANDER is correct.

Donn, I knew that you thought that already. This is not new information. Neither is it new information that historians disagree over the causes of the Holocaust. The point is, you claimed that the notion that the long history of German Christian antisemitism was the root cause of the Holocaust was some lunatic theory that no serious historian believed, held only by crazy atheists like me. You were wrong.

You are entitled to believe that the Jew hatred of German Protestants wasn't ultimately to blame. You are not entitled to claim that I'm promoting a theory that is outside the mainstream of historical opinion, because I'm not.

Revenant said...

TMink,

But I would be interested to see the difference in charitable giving between the two groups. There might be a measurable distinction there.

My understanding is that Christians give more to charity than atheists, but also commit more crimes. So it is a bit of a wash. :)

It is hard to precisely measure these sorts of things, because there are a lot of "Christians" who aren't particularly into the actual theistic aspects of Christianity. I know a couple people who go to church because they like the social and philanthropic aspects of Christianity, but who actively disagree that belief in Christ is necessary to get into Heaven. Are these people Christians? Tricky!

Really, the only reason to be an atheist (instead of being the kind of "Christian" who doesn't really attend church or worry about spreading the "good news") is if you personally are convinced there are no gods, or find the very idea of religion to be ridiculous, or that sort of thing. If you're a nice person who doesn't especially care about theology one way or the other, you'll quite probably end up self-identifying as a Christian.

Which is a wordy way of saying that nice agnostics hang out with Christians, and jerk agnostics hang out with atheists because at least we don't require them to not be jerks. :)

TMink said...

Rev , here is hoping the jerk agnostics hang out with someone other than you! Maybe those criminal Christians, they deserve each other!

Thanks for the conversation my friend, I always appreciate you.

Trey

Revenant said...

Rev , here is hoping the jerk agnostics hang out with someone other than you!

I think they mostly become Objectivists. :)

Thanks for the conversation!

Donn said...

Rev,

Here's what you said:

He (Martin Luther) laid the framework for the Holocaust; the Nazi approach to Jewry was lifted directly from his "On the Jews and their Lies", right up to the part about killing them if you aren't able to expel them. Had it not been for Luther (and, of course, nineteen hundred years of church-sanctioned Jew hatred before and after that) we wouldn't have had a Nazi Party at all.

That's what I'm objecting too. I never said, as you noted at the time, Christian Antisemitism never played a role in the Holocaust. How much or how little depends on the historian..

As I just pointed out, I checked six books directly dealing with the Holocaust, and NOT ONE even had ONE page dealing with Martin Luther.

By the way, would you please provide the link of the Friedlander quote you posted above?

Donn said...

Let me clarify further. You used the examples of Martin Luther and NP to lay your claim against Christians/Christianity. These types of arguments, though common with many atheists, are not supported by mainstream historians. This is the main point I was making.

For the record, I think these types of arguments (i.e. this person reflects badly on Christianity or atheism depending on the person) are very weak, and ones I don't use myself. However, if someone wants to drag that tired old line into the debate, then turnabout is fair play. You can add up all the killings done by Christians over 2000 years, and it doesn't even come close to the amount killed by atheists in the 20th century. Again, these types of points don't add up to much, but it wasn't me that started down that path.

Donn said...

Oops, that was NB not NP.

Revenant said...

As I just pointed out, I checked six books directly dealing with the Holocaust, and NOT ONE even had ONE page dealing with Martin Luther.

It is not surprising to me that a person who thinks "I can name atheists who want to destroy religion" means "atheism wants to destroy religion" would also think "none of the six books I read mentioned that theory" means "that theory has no significant historical support". The argument from ignorance is one of your favorite fallacies.

Donn said...

Rev,

I do try my best to ignore your more snarky comments, but sometimes it is very difficult.

Yes, I am saying that the idea that ML played a significant role in the holocaust, is not found in mainstream historians. Yes, you might find one or two, after all, you can find scholars that support all kinds of kooky stuff.

So, I am more than willing to line up my sources, now I'm asking you to do the same for the view you're propagating. In fact, the ONE historian you did give, has not one book in any of three libraries, nor book stores in my area. I wonder why that is?

And finally, would you please provide the link for the one quote you did manage to find?

Donn said...

Rev:
It is not surprising to me that a person who thinks "I can name atheists who want to destroy religion" means "atheism wants to destroy religion"

Yeah, I guess it's totally ridiculous to think that "atheism wants to destroy religion," when every atheistic dictator that has been in power has tried to destroy religion. Funny, that.

TMink said...

Well, OK, Martin Luther was dead, but the Lutheran church was not. There are horrid photos of beautiful German children standing for communion in their beautiful white dresses and wonderful blonde hair in front of the usual crosses and those damn swastikas in the background.

At the same time, here is a very recent article from The American Thinker that outlines German Christian opposition to the Nazis.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/11/christian_opposition_to_nazi_a.html

Trey

Donn said...

Trey,

I was thinking of going to see Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but one reviewer said it's guaranteed to give you nightmares. I like my sleep too much for that!

Donn said...

Rev,

It's not surprising that although you had time to make your usual snarky comment, you didn't provide any scholars that supported your wrong-headed ML theory, and didn't even provide the link to the one quote you did provide.

You have made the statement that ML was a prime cause of the Holocaust. I went to 2 libraries and randomly selected 6 books on the subject. Not one even had one page dealing with ML, yet your response was that I was arguing from ignorance. Unfortunately for you, you're the one on the ignorance side.

Take one example of a central tenet of the Bush presidency. Maybe something like the "Bush Doctrine." How likely do you think it would be if 50 years from now I pulled 6 books off a library shelf dealing with GWB's presidency, and NOT ONE book mentioned the Bush Doctrine? My guess, zero.

Though I think you're intelligent when dealing with your atheistic views in a more philosophical sense, you're sadly inadequate when trying to twist history around to your interpretation. You have made error after error is this regard, and yet you continually make put-down comments directed at me.

Pardon me, if you "assume your unsupported opinion has any value to me."