January 4, 2010

Brit Hume evangelizes Tiger Woods.



Key passage:
The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger is, "Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."
That's just so weird coming from a news commentator. I could understand if he'd put it in PR terms: Tiger, the American people will embrace you once again if you do a big Christian conversion routine. But Hume has phrased it in terms of psychological well-being. That is, he's presented it as sincere advice, the way a truly religious person would promote his own religion. It's very strange to see that on a mainstream TV opinion show, and it is especially off for the way it pits one religion against another.

That said, I wonder which religion provides the best rehabilitation to a person who's indulged in great and transgressive sexual adventures and ruined his family and his reputation. Put aside which religion, if any, is the true one. Let's examine Hume's assertion that Christianity is the psychological solution for Tiger Woods. From what I understand, Buddhism originated as way to deal with suffering in this world. Perhaps all the religions will give you some foothold as you struggle to deal with your personal problems, and whether it brings you peace and happiness depends mostly on you.

So, let's talk about how weird Hume was and which religion works best in the pre-afterlife. And PR. And the strength of our aversion to talking openly about the way a particular religion falls short.

221 comments:

1 – 200 of 221   Newer›   Newest»
David said...

Judaism clearly wins, not because you can escape the guilt, but because, what's some more guilt?

rhhardin said...

Imus suggested Catholicism for Tiger, where you can be forgiven for a few hail mary's the very same week.

Bernard McGuirk though said Tiger's problem was that he had achieved Nirvana too many times, far from being kept from it.

(Rob Bartlett adds that when he confesses his sins to the priest, he withholds a really really bad one and substitutes "lying," the lie being the substitution itself. Rob went to college and knows the ropes.)

cokaygne said...

I'm shocked. Hume really should resign. This is very damaging to Fox News's self-proclaimed fair and balanced image.

All religions suck. They are just evasions of the truth.

Ricardo said...

"... I wonder which religion provides the best rehabilitation to a person who's indulged in sexual adventures and ruined his family and his reputation."

Saint Augustine would say it's Christianity. And he's like the godfather of sexual renewal in the Christian faith.

Henry said...

The extent to which he can recover what?

I guess Hume is talking about Tiger recovering his soul, but how the hell does he know that Tiger lost it? Maybe Tiger's already recovered his soul. What we know that Tiger has lost is his reputation and his endorsements.

What Tiger needs to recover are some lawyers and a few more majors.

He needs the religion of Golf.

Mickey Mantle, he of the religion of Baseball, famously said that if he knew he would live as long as he did he would have taken better care of himself. Mantle was a schmuck, a drunk, a jerk with women.

But he's dead now, and what he's remembered for is what he did on the diamond.

kynefski said...

If I were Christian, I think I would be angry that my faith was being sold to a public figure, once again, as a Get Out of Contempt Free card. After you've placed yourself in the care of Jesus, it would be churlish for anyone, including your wife, to hold you to further account.

Kensington said...

It's "weird," perhaps, in that it's unusual, but I don't think there's anything wrong with what Hume did. Something seems to be amiss with Tiger, and religion can be a good tonic.

The Crack Emcee said...

Some religion - any religion - is always going to be suggested by most, whether they work or not. What never occurs to these people is dropping all delusional constructs (since it was a delusional construct that got Tiger in trouble in the first place) and learn how to be a good person.

Considering that so many NewAgers think being bad is "only human" and Christians think "everybody sins" and Buddhists - well, I don't give a shit what Buddhists think - it seems obvious that just being good, for no more compelling reason than for it's own sake, might seem a stretch too far.

We do ourselves a grave disservice thinking like this. As Frank Zappa said, "it's the chimpanzee part of the brain."

Jim S. said...

It reminds me of a passage in the book To End All Wars about some Scottish POWs in a Japanese prisoner camp during WW2. At one point, they were force-marched miles and the locals were sneaking up to them and giving them food. They passed a bunch of Buddhist monks who just looked the other way and kept walking. It made me think of the parable of the Good Samaritan, but the author points out that it was completely consistent with Buddhism: pain is the result of caring for things in the physical world too much, and the cure is to completely divorce oneself from it.

Ricardo said...

Remember that when you say or do something scandalous on air, and later have to retract it, you've STILL gotten your message out, which was the point in the first place. It's kind of like a "wardrobe malfunction".

AllenS said...

Praise the Lord and pass the golf balls.

Mikethelawstudent said...

It is certainly surprising that Brit Hume would say that on a national television show. It's a clear endorsement of his own religion, however, I would say that the purpose of view point based talk show (even on a news network) would be to represent a variety of viewpoints. (whether fox news adequately represents all viewpoints is another story). So I think its appropriate (albeit a bit shocking) that this view point is represented. I think almost all buddhists would be pretty put off by his statement but our culture is enriched by such dialogue. (such as the dialogue produced by this blog).

Mike

TOPEKA ATTORNEY

Mark O said...

Unctious.
Oleaginous.

gaywrites said...

Fox News evangelizing? SHOCKING! This is the shit that Fox News' viewers thrive on, or dare I say it, cling to for reassurance about the state of "their" country. And of course, it is Christianity that prevents infidelity in marriage, because Clinton, Sanford, Ensign, Foley, Edwards, and Spitzer were all Buddhists.

Scott said...

@Ricardo: Come now, can Brit Hume really be compared to Janet Jackson's nipple?

:)

More to the point, I wonder if taking Hume off of anchor for Fox News Special Report was indicative that Roger Ailes was worried about his flakyness?

Brent said...

Loved it!

When a Rachel Maddow can spew her anti-Christian bigotry on her show with no outcry, it's great to see someone on a commentary section - do I need to explain, ANN? - of a show who actually is what a hundred million plus Americans are - Christian - say what he really believes.

Sheesh are you wrong and bigoted on this one. And spare us the "I'm a Christian, too" schtick, Ann. You may be, but a Jew can be ashamed of Jews, a black person can be embarassed and bigoted toward other blacks, Hispanics can be prejudiced against other blacks.

Stupid.

Paul Zrimsek said...

PGA mglw'nafh Cthulhu Nike wgah'nagl fhtagn.

peter hoh said...

Is it just me, or does Kristol seem a bit uncomfortable?

vet66 said...

El Tigre needs a lesson in humility that comes with the knowlege that he, like the rest of us, is imperfect by nature. Once the decision is made to foreswear a life of indulgence and self-annihilation virtue, morals and ethics become the road previously not taken.

In laymen's terms, Woods is long overdue to "man up" taking responsibility for his adult obligations. Hume provides a refreshing insight not usually heard on the news channels. The secularists have no problem whatsoever attacking everything Christian that our country was founded on. Their hypocrisy is manifest in the constant drumbeat of a Godless life strangely seeking acceptance from the very same "Bible loving, gun loving bitter people" who believe in something larger than their own self.

Of course I am ex-military and know from experience that there are no atheists in a fox hole.

Scott said...

@Paul Zrimsek: OImoewphu7bn dio w0olihuvir wiiouvb!

Penny said...

Yes, I guess it was wrong, but I was most taken with Hume for truly empathizing with another human in extreme pain.

On that level, wouldn't it be nice to have more people doing that?

AllenS said...

Buddhist monks that I've observed, are professional beggers. They don't do anything worthwhile. A bunch of them were at a kickboxing match when I was in Thailand, and they just walked right in. They didn't pay a dime.

The Crack Emcee said...

I need to correct my last statement;

I do care what Buddhists think, I just haven't met one who's capable of it yet.

Balfegor said...

Re: rhhardin

Imus suggested Catholicism for Tiger, where you can be forgiven for a few hail mary's the very same week..

There are some strains of Buddhist thought that are similar to Christianity's devotional and redemptive aspects, e.g. Pure Land Buddhism, where, as I understand it, you perform devotions for Amitabha Buddha (e.g. by reciting his name over and over -- namu amida butsu) and this opens up the way to enlightenment or nirvana, overcoming your bad karma.

re: Paul Zrimsek:

PGA mglw'nafh Cthulhu Nike wgah'nagl fhtagn.

Ia! Ia!

Pogo said...

"Hume's assertion that Christianity is the psychological solution for Tiger Woods."

It was not offered as a psychological solution, but for his redemption.

And yes it was weird, in these times where the mere acknowledgement of faith is considered an embarrassment by all but those running for office, and then invoked only broadly and blandly.

100 years ago, this wouldn't have seemed odd at all.

paul a'barge said...

John 8:11

For nuance and context click here.

Good for Hume. He had it precisely right. Repent of your sins, believe on Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ and go about being born again.

john said...

I think the Baptists would win here. They seem to really celebrate the whole redemptive process.

I've heard that the redemption part is so much fun that a lot of people go right back and do the sinning part again (kind of like taking Bill Clinton's road to salvation).

Jason (the commenter) said...

Islam! If Tiger woods wants to have relations with many women, and he clearly is wealthy, Islam seems like the perfect solution. As long as he can settle for a few less than he had, and doesn't try to hide any of them.

brer rabbit said...

Hume's faith helped him through the loss of his intact family, sad about his son.

Joe said...

The scriptures say to pray in secret. Extending that, Tiger needs to learn to commit adultery in secret. But, if he's in search of religion, I'll start one just for him. The tithing alone...

traditionalguy said...

So Christianity once again does not fight fair. It claims on behalf of Jesus to be the only source of atonement for sin that can reestablish a relationship of peace on earth and good will among men and the Holy God. Again they are either lying, or their message is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Choices, choices. But isn't this angry reaction merely attacking the messenger Hume instead of attacking the truth of the message.

Chef Mojo said...

Commentary or not, it's just flat out weird to hear that.

I have problems with a newscaster giving anyone a "come to Jesus" lecture, even as commentary.


WV: section. Give Brit a Section 8...

The Crack Emcee said...

Vet66 has never met me - I'm a vet as well - or read the final words of Pat Tillman.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Neo-Platonism FTW!

In fact, I don't think you can have a real understanding of Christianity without a thorough understanding of the historical and philosophical aspects of Neo-Platonism.

But Brit Hume's comment wasn't about real understanding. Instead, he was applying a superficial view of Christianity to a superficial depiction of Tiger Wood.

Still, Hume's quip was entertaining. It gives us something to talk about. Since Hume is an entertainer, he did his job! There ought to be nothing wrong about commenting on a person's religion; it's a bit more personal than commenting on the color of their pants, but still fair game...

Freeman Hunt said...

I liked Hume's commentary. He's not the host anymore. He's a commentator. That's his opinion. I think it's bad that expressing religious opinion has become something apart from polite society these days. Good for Hume for being candid.

Salamandyr said...

I'm pretty sure that Brit Hume is no longer lead anchor for Fox News. And anyway, I see nothing wrong with an anchor expressing opinion, or more correctly, profound belief, in a commentary section, labeled as such.

Editorial and commentary have been part of journalism since the beginning. As long as it's labeled as such, there's nothing wrong with it. It's even beneficial, editorials provide an escape valve for the pressure to editorialize in the news stories.

SteveR said...

He's on an opinion show as a panelist expressing an opinion, shocking!

Robin said...

I'm at a loss as to what's wrong with a fill-in, semi-retired opinion guy offering his opinion on an opinion show.

AllenS said...

What were the final words of Pat Tillman?

Kirby Olson said...

The Dalai Lama has said that he thinks prostitution is fine.

What was Tiger doing if not going to prostitutes and their very near equivalents?

EDH said...

Hume has been through a lot himself. His son's suicide not long ago comes to mind.

Maybe it was simply advice from the heart of a man who made his own return from the depths?

Nevertheless, I will say the ethereal, swirling blue background and blank facial expression did make Hume's delivery seem a little Svengali.

William said...

I read somewhere about a Saudi prince who had a couple of hundred wives. If you are a wealthy, powerful man, Islam is the way to go. I think they even make arrangements for concubines within their faith....I don't know about Warren Beatty's faith--evangelical liberalism?--but it apparently allows up to 13,000 liasons without demerit......I was raised as an Irish Catholic. My sins of the flesh never amounted to much, but my guilt and remorse were akin to what Napoleon felt on Elba.

edutcher said...

There was a reason Hume left ABC, and being able to say something like this when he was asked for an (need I stress the word?) opinion was undoubtedly part of it.

In regard to rh's quoting of Imus, remember that Imus is a jerk (nappy-headed ...). While there are archdiocese that operate like the Church in the Decameron (Baaahston comes to mind), that's not Catholic doctrine.

If Tiger has to repay in kind, of course, Elin would be a widow inside a year.

On a more serious note, as far as I know, Christianity is the only one that talks about forgiveness and redemption, so Hume's point may be well taken.

MadisonMan said...

So Brit suggests that conversion to Christianity allows an adulterer to become a great example to the world?

An example of what, I guess is the question. The only person at the moment from whom Tiger seeks forgiveness, as far as I can tell, is his wife. Will it matter to her if Tiger converts to Christianity? And is conversion under the threat of divorce or estrangement really a true conversion?

slarrow said...

Does Hume's statement seem weird to us? Yes, I'd say so...but that's less an indictment of Hume and more an indictment of us, I'd say.

I'm often amazed by how many people are just plain allergic to religion and seem to think that their allergies mean that it ought never be discussed in public. Hume's statement is really not that controversial--it's the very least a real adherent ought to believe about his religion. Agree or disagree as you want, but it's clear that he believes it. Perhaps the "weird" thing is seeing an analyst simply state something he really believes. He's simply being real, and Kristol's reaction coupled with the response on this blog suggests that we don't actually want people on TV to be real with us.

slarrow said...

MadisonMan, I'm sure that Hume would say that the conversion of an adulterer would be a great example to the world. The Bible is chock full of great sinners whose conversion and/or repentance is seen shown the glory of God. (A few come to mind: Moses the murderer, David the adulterer and murderer, Saul/Paul the persecutor of Christians, etc.) But, then again, Hume would probably start from the position that Woods has also sinned against God, not just his wife. Hence the power of example.

And isn't a story of forgiveness and redemption pretty powerful? Didn't we just go through a season where that message drives some of our most beloved and integral stories? The Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, George Bailey: what are these if not stories of redemption?

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I was more shocked Juan Williams advised people that now is a good time ot invest on Wall Street. The S&P is already up 65% from the March low. If he's wrong, investing now could really hurt people financially.

Brit's comment will hurt nobody.

If it offends Christian hating liberals, fuck 'em.

k*thy said...

I have serious doubts that Hume is much worried about Tiger's immortal soul. I don't know, did Tiger ask for Brit's advise? On national television? To me, Brit's agenda is in question.

peter hoh said...

Hume's statement is really not that controversial

Hume didn't just promote one religion, he denigrated another.

kynefski said...

100 years ago, this wouldn't have seemed odd at all.

Well, the television part would have.

vet66 said...

Pat Tilman's last words were to "...shut up and stop sniveling" in the middle of a taliban/al qaeda ambush and the fog of war. The Rangers Association rightly celebrate the life and sacrifice of this selfless hero.

The rest is whining from the same groups and useful idiots who propagated the infamous "General Betrayus" before the surge succeeded in the face of those who declared it dead before it began. Tilman is a hero who died in rugged terrain where 30 feet provides concealment, cover and camouflage for a determined enemy.

In short, he believed!

traditionalguy said...

Since Tiger has been so public and has been so much a wonderful hero to many, his true conversion to a humble man that recognises that Jesus is Lord would have a public impact that Tim Tebow staying Christian would not. Maybe that is why Jesus loves converting sinners instead of condemning them. He is showing off the power in God's final Word. Does anybody remember the Payne Stewart story of a public conversion to Christianity by a former self centered jerk?

Big Mike said...

Well, I've known fundamentalist Christians who believe that they can break most of the Ten Commandments during the week, confess their sins and be forgiven on Sunday morning, and start over again by Sunday afternoon.

I've never been in Tiger's position (neither as a philanderer, international-class professional athlete, or even golfer) so I have no idea what he should do now. But changing religion doesn't seem like one of the key steps to take.

AJ Lynch said...

Ho hum.

Florida said...

He should become a Jew.

Then he could even drug and rape a 13-year-old girl and people would still come on television and make excuses for him.

Whoopie Goldberg would let everyone know that "It's not rape-rape." So, it was OK ... or something, since it's not rape rape.

Harvey Weinstein would rally Hollywood around the cause.

Jews writing at the New York Times, such as Anne Applebaum, would write column after column in support of Tiger and decry his persecution.

If Judaism is good enough for kiddie rapists like Roman Polanski, seems like it could easily provide all the cover Tiger Woods would ever need for merely boinking whores.

Wouldn't it?

craig said...

What strikes me about this is how remarkably uncontroversial Hume's statement would have been coming from a TV talk show panelist in 1955 or even 1965, before public expressions of Christianity (except slanderous ones) were suppressed by all the Right Sort of People.

I recently saw an old clip of Bishop Fulton Sheen appearing as a mystery guest on the 1950s game show "What's My Line". What strikes me about that clip versus this one is how the panelists back then were completely un-selfconscious about outing themselves as Christians on the set (although I'm sure their faith didn't make an appearance on every show).

danielle said...

If Hume were sitting on some inter-faith religious panel and made these comments, then fair enough. But in this context, the co-commentators are not 'experts' or experienced in dissecting this sort of issue, and thus have no particular level of trust or probably even interest from the viewership. So we just get Hume's oddly placed opinion on the issue .... which is really of no interest to me. His comment really just says to me that he believes what he believes enough to throw that comment in there. Probably not good for say, CNN, but Brit may get some brownie points from the FOX viewership.

On how religions fall short .... probably not a bad conversation to have, but that conversation may take a certain level of detachment that I think many people find irreverent, especially since the monotheism claim exclusive connections to God.

bagoh20 said...

""it's the chimpanzee part of the brain."

So they started this whole fiasco. "Damn them all to hell!"

Gerald E. said...

Earth to Althouse: that is not "mainstream" news.

It is FOX "news."

blogging cockroach said...

as a cockroach with the transmigrated
soul of a human--well a college
professor--who was a real lech
in my last life i think the reason
i m a cockroach living in cambridge
near harvard u is comeuppance for all
the grad students i did in the days
when grad students were not
all lesbians not to mention the
faculty but things change you know
anyway i was never particularly
religious altho i did worship kathy s
legs back in 1967 now i ve got plenty
of legs but anyway the buddhists may
be closer to the truth having predicted
my predicament karma i suppose is
better than hell at least i can work
my way out of this in a few hundred lives
i m hoping for a rat next time
but if i ever make it back
up to a human i don t want to be a
golfer or anyone famous and handsome
like tiger w because if i succumb to
temptation and get too attached to sex
again i m afraid i might really
slide down the karmic scale and
come back as a television reporter

slarrow said...

See, peter hoh, this is exactly what I'm talking about with the "allergic" statement. If Brit Hume really thinks that Christianity offers more forgiveness and redemption than Buddhism, then "denigration" is the wrong term to use if he says so. He could be mistaken, or one could reasonably disagree, but a truth claim is hardly the same as a smear campaign or defamation attempt. "Denigration" is one of those shut-up words that really doesn't apply for something this mild.

bagoh20 said...

I'm not sold, Brit. I'm thinking I"ll just tap hot chicks for another 30 years and then get religion. Besides, I'll need redemption even more then. That's what's cool about not being denied for preexisting sins. I wonder if I can get a government subsidy for that collection plate expense.

Freeman Hunt said...

which religion works best in the pre-afterlife

Make a list of the top ten best places in the world to be born a person of average means. Do they share a common religious heritage? I think they do.

bagoh20 said...

Florida, is Cederford making you coffee right now?

traditionalguy said...

Nova on PBS had a show on the latest research in DNA and evolution last week. It turns out that the key is a switch pattern to turn on or turn off the DNA contained in an organism. The same DNA may be present in many animals but the turned on switch encoded in one's DNA code makes it differ from the turned off switch encoded in another. This was a happy turn of events it seemed because it gave a mechanism for "evolutionary changes". What no one was saying was how much more complexity that adds to the DNA Genome's functioning. But believing that one in ten quadrillion chances accidents happen all the time is fine. But believing in a Personal God speaking creation into existence is hateful.

Freeman Hunt said...

Florida, is Cederford making you coffee right now?

Yes, what was that all about? I know you're a moby, but channeling C4?

The Crack Emcee said...

Wrong again, Vet66. Tillman served, just as I did, feeling no need to rock the boat (mature atheists aren't your mouth-foaming rabble but realists) and he died just as I expect to:

Alone.

As Tillman said, what good is praying going to do?

As I wrote here, somewhere, I once saw a friend die as his mother implored him to pray. It was horrifying, and a cruelty I'll never forget.

Religious folk rarely consider the downside - like how shabby they make reality by hanging our existence on the supernatural - leaving it to us outsiders (who you refuse to acknowledge don't share what you say is a "human need") to say everything that needs to be said - and that we can count on being attacked for.

It's a vicious cycle, and, clearly, Vet66 is riding it.

Kensington said...

Peter Hoh:
"Is it just me, or does Kristol seem a bit uncomfortable?"

Eh, when doesn't he seem a bit uncomfortable? To me, he always seems a bit squirrely?

Charlie said...

Does anyone besides me not give a flying f### what Tiger does? He's a pro golfer, for chrissakes, who cares?

BJK said...

That said, I wonder which religion provides the best rehabilitation to a person who's indulged in great and transgressive sexual adventures and ruined his family and his reputation.

I can't believe that you left a Scientology joke out there on a tee, and no one even took a swing at it.

ricpic said...

I had a lot of respect for Brit Hume until he snickered at Ron Paul's attempt to explain governing within constitutional restraints, when Hume was moderating a debate among the Republican candidates for the presidency.

Brit Hume is an inside the beltway conservative. Which is to say he believes in a constantly growing government, but one that grows responsibly, ha ha.

kynefski said...

But believing that one in ten quadrillion chances accidents happen all the time is fine. But believing in a Personal God speaking creation into existence is hateful.

Wrong on both counts. In my arrogant opinion.

peter hoh said...

Dan Savage:

Woods should become a Christian because Christianity offers the best deal for adulterous husbands—you know, all that forgiveness and redemption and stuff that you can't get anywhere else. A Christian man can cheat on his wife with scores of tight-faced tramps and all he has to do is make a full confession and—presto!—he's forgiven! It's all good! And once Woods has squared things with the right God—or the Right's God—folks aren't allowed to question his actions or his character or his judgment because that would amount to an attack on his faith. The incentive to become or remain a Christian, according to Hume, is this: you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want—lie, cheat, steal, fuck around—and set a great example for the world by making a dog-and-pony show of your remorse.

AlphaLiberal said...

What Steve Benen said.

Arrogant. Check.
Close-minded. Check.
ridiculous. Check.
unprofessional. check.

Best line:
Now, this is obviously pretty silly, though it does touch on the odd sense of victimization that many in the religious right embrace for motivation. .


Brit Hume, spiritual adviser.

ricpic said...

Was Sinatra a secret buddhist? He had a thing for orange. Tiger, on the other hand, is always in a red shirt and black pants. Hey listen, I felt like contributing, 'kay?

edutcher said...

Listening to all the "brights" pontificating here reminds me that atheism has yet to produce, or recruit, an intellect the stature of Augustine or Aquinas to speak for it.

When it does, I might be willing to listen.

WV "exess" A man's former wife.

Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Anyone who has an issue with Hume obviously complained about Walter Cronkite's editorializing right? Not that I approve of evangelizing on a news network - but what does MSNBC do if not evangelizing the leftist religion?

Alex said...

One more nail in the coffin for Faux News. Nobody takes it seriously.

Alex said...

It's obvious by now that Faux News attracts a fundie audience, this is simply bloody meat for them.

Alex said...

Another fallacy is assuming that Tiger feels any regret over his behavior. He's simply an alpha dog lording over his domain. The normal rules of morality don't apply to gods. In fact that "morality" of chasteness, fidelity is simply a practical means of survival among those of us who have less options.

DADvocate said...

Along the lines of some of the other commenters, considering the number of media persons who make a point of denigrating religion, Hume's comments are unusual. We take Rachel Maddow's and Keith Olberman's comments insulting religion without a blink of an eye.

Funny how the religion haters have trained us so well.

The cornerstone of Christianity is forgiveness. In that respect, it's good for everyone.

ricpic said...

There were no libraries back then to capture their big brains so the Boskops took up golf, but being uncoordinated nerdy geeks they kept slicing into the rough where tigers did them in.

Chip Ahoy said...

At fark, that veritable font of wisdom, under the geek tab is a link titled "Why did evolution skip over Boskop man, with its 150 IQ? Its penchant for pedomorphosis? It links to this article on Discovery.

Summary:
Boskop, 200 miles inland from the coast of South Africa. Extra large skull. Brain 25% larger than our own. Other similar skulls found nearby. Presumed high IQ. Aberration? (link to new discoveries) Small, child-like faces. Sometimes used to explain rapid evolutionary changes. Large cranium + child-like faces resembles sci-fi aliens. 10,000 years ago. Boskops nearly forgotten by anthropology. Discoveries run contrary to our preferred narrative of evolution from less advanced to most advanced. Darwin threw out progression in favor of selection but people adhere to progress. We insist we're the pinnacle of hominids and all animal life.

Ape to human, brain increases X4 most the increase in in cortex, not the older structures. Within the cortex, the most growth is within the associative areas, while sensory and motor mechanisms stay unchanged.

Human to Boskop these association zones are even more disproportionately expanded -- 30% larger than our own. Frontal cortex 53% larger. Prefrontal cortex thought to be linked to highest cognitive functions. Places mental contents into appropriate sequences and hierarchies.

Blah blah blah, accompanied by corresponding increases in thickness of axion bundles, pathways from back to front, process inputs, organize episodes, language skills, new mental capacities. Process multiple thoughts simultaneously, split screen, extrapolation, might have helped, might have hurt their sense of reality. Possibly excessively internal and self-reflective. Perhaps a species of dreamers. Presumed IQs much higher generally, possibly genius levels of 180. Not understood why they died.

end

Wikipedia says, Boskop NOT a species but acknowledges other large skulls found in nearby areas and that experts agree that brain sizes, especially frontal lobe capacity, have been falling the past 10,000 years.

What does this have to do with Brit Hume proselytizing a famous golfer in absentia on Fox Network? I DO NOT KNOW, MAH DADGUM FRONTAL CORTEX IZ 2 SMALL 2 MAKE THE CONNECTION!

(goddamnit, spellchecker changed child to chile, episodes to epodes and sequences to equines, forcing my small-brained self to delete twice. ↑)

ricpic said...

What the heck happened to Chip's perfectly good comment about the Boskops?

ricpic said...

Ooops, There it is again again.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

I wonder which religion is the most forgiving of attempted murder by a 5 iron to the head? Infidelity vs Attempted Murder, hmmmm?

ricpic said...

See my comment which explains Boskop extinction BEFORE Chip's brilliant and therefore incomprehensible, to me anyway, post about said species, or sub-species, or whatever.

peter hoh said...

And the strength of our aversion to talking openly about the way a particular religion falls short.

I enjoy hearing people who have studied more than one religion talk about the variations of religious experience, practice, and theology.

I have heard such people talk about how X or Y is emphasized in this religion or that. And I have heard such people talk about the unique features of a particular religion.

I have heard such people follow their discussion with an passionate testimony to their own faith.

But I can't recall that I have ever heard such a person talk about how a particular religion falls short.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Oh, I get it now. The air is now a publicly owned area. No more freedom of air allowed. The First Amendment only permits the free exercise of silent and secret religions that don't set off an attack of the God allergies suffered by the the state educated intellectuals. Just think about the allergic reaction pandemic that camefrom the mere mention of a Sarah Palin Presidency. Air it seems is a wonderful tool to let the state control all life if its Rulers can find a way to prevent use of air without a liscense to (1)live in a CO2 producing mode or to(2) broadcast a religious or politically challenging thought. Wait, wait, that is exactly what Obama and his Cabinet are trying to do to us as we speak!

George said...

As a long-time agnostic, but one who respects and takes an intellectual interest in matters spiritual and/or religious, I find this an unusually interesting thread. In fact, it's one of those quixotic but substantial topics that separates the Althouse blog from many others.

And aside from the many opportunities it provides for both witticisms and political potshots, I think there is a deep subtext to it that bears some exploration. Namely, what are some of the key differentiators in the belief systems of the major religions? You may in fact think they are all nonsense, or corrupt and dangerous as practiced, but objectively, what beliefs define and differentiate one from another.

My personal observation about Christianity is it espouses the personal admission of one's "sin", and that this then calls for the forgiveness of the sinner by all believers, as opposed to vengeful acts, as was the customary practice before Christ. This was a revolutionary concept in its time...personal responsibility by the individual...requires group forgiveness...leading to a fresh start for the offending member.

Regardless of one's personal inclinations regarding any particular religion, or organized religion in general, that's a very powerful, and indeed humane, belief.

Photog714 said...

I'm an atheist, and I found nothing weird or offensive in Hume's remarks. It was the commentary part of the program, and he gave a point of view that is pretty standard for Christians.

I read all these florid objections and just scratch my head in wonder. Why do people get themselves into such a twist about a Christian stating a belief?

Henry said...

Chip's spellchecker episode reminds me of my wife looking up a restaurant called "Fushimi" using Google's iPhone Voice Recognition App.

"Foo Shee Mee" she says.

"Horse Semen" Google brightly replies.

traditionalguy said...

Peter Hoh...The letter to the Galatians by Paul talked for 6 chapters about the shortcomings of the legalistic version of Christianity, and those criticisms seem to be as valid and as needed today as they were in 60 AD.

Chef Mojo said...

@edbutcher:

I'll take your Augustine and Aquinas and raise you the following list of atheist thinkers:

Confucius
Anaxagoras
Democritus
Epicuris
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Lucretius
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Voltaire
Benjamin Franklin
David Hume
John Stuart Mill
Charles Darwin
Mark Twain
Friedrich Nietzsche
Thomas Edison
Sigmund Freud
Clarence Darrow
Albert Einstein
H.L. Mencken
Ernest Hemingway
Linus Pauling
George Orwell
Joseph Campbell
Ayn Rand
Robert Heinlein

Just to name a few...

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

Brit Hume is retired from Fox News and appears as a special commentater. Maybe he found solace in his faith after his son was killed a few years ago in a skiing accident and feels that it might be helpful in the Tiger situation. He wasn't speaking as a representative of Fox News, but as a good man trying to suggest a way to break the log jam of Tiger wronged by a violent out of control wife and Elan, wronged by a sex addicted adulterous husband who put her and her family at risk.

Since Brit was addressing Tiger's violation of his marriage vows, thought by many to be a violation of a promise made to God, he should target the religious angle. Whereas, Elan violated the law, which no one seems willing to address.

ricpic said...

blogging cockroach is back! We're all saved.

Just wanted to say that, and no, needs no explanation.

ricpic said...

Elin's bragging all over the place that she's going after $300 million of Tiger's stash. I realize that this is going to be quite unpopular but why should a perfectly healthy young woman get more than an adequate (call it upper middle class level) of support for herself and her children until she can take her perfectly healthy body and mind and get out there and become self-supporting?

master cylinder said...

It really would be the easy way out for Tiger, just get saved and he'll be saved!
Works every time!

mccullough said...

I think the Shinto religion would be best for Tiger. It's purification rituals would be helpful.

AJ Lynch said...

Fing A! We missed you blogging cockroach- you bring us some needed perspective.

As to Hume, he f-ed up. To be pc, Hume must do like Hitchens and bash ALL religions.

AJ Lynch said...

Ricpic:

Were you waving a bunch of $100 bills when you made that last comment?

Nicole Stallworth said...

I read this before I saw any of the Brit Hume brouhaha and thought it was good.

http://catholicexchange.com/2010/01/04/125743/

Basically it says that Buddhism's doctrine doesn't really include forgiveness as a goal, so Brit Hume didn't say anything factually wrong.

BTW: Rob Barlett doesn't know beans. Every confession he goes to is invalidated by his withholding, and he adds one or two sins with his clever "lie" trick. Too bad. He's better off not going at all until he can go honestly.

Balfegor said...

I'll take your Augustine and Aquinas and raise you the following list of atheist thinkers:

Alongside Confucius, most of the early philosophers in the Confucian tradition -- such as Mencius and Xunzi -- could also be classified as atheist, as could the Legalist Han Feizi. But to call them "atheists" is a little awkward. It's not clear to me that they actually believed there were no gods; they just didn't rely on a belief in the divine to underpin the elaborate structure of Zhou ritual preserved for the millenia in the Confucian classics. But at the same time (perhaps influenced by my modern upbringing), I find it difficult to believe that the body of ritual preserved and revered by the Confucian philosophers did not originally have some religious significance, in the centuries before Confucius. And indeed, they (at least Xunzi, who says so pretty directly) were aware that among the common people, at the time they were writing, the rites were connected with religious or quasi-religious beliefs about souls and spirits and ghosts and so on -- that is, ancestor worship really was a form of worship for the common people. You can see a modern version of this in Japan (at least, the Japan of thirty or forty years ago), where Confucian rites such as the three-years mourning and 祭祀 (jesa, or the offerings to ancestors, in Korean) seem to have mutated into a combination of Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies. Furthermore, by the time you get to the neo-Confucians (Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming, etc.), I think the "atheist" label may be incorrect, as I think they kind of import parts of the Taoist and Buddhist cosmologies and religious beliefs into the fabric of Confucianism.

So it doesn't seem to me like an open and shut case.

From Inwood said...

bagoh20

Ya beat me to it re C4. (12:14 PM)

On a serious note, yesterday on a Blog,

link


a self-identified Jewish commenter, “lgm”, asserted that:

Having lived in America for a long time, I continue to believe that the greatest dangers facing American Jews today come from conservative Christians. The greatest of these is government sanctioned proselytizing of Jewish children — aka “prayer in school”.

Funny, but Muslim terrorists mandate prayers in their schools, but I digress.

Anyway, this commenter & similar anti-Christians über alles, the mirror image of the C4s, now have their worst fears confirmed: FOX News is Christianist, a term invented by that silly, Andrew S., I believe.

Mark Daniels said...

What's interesting about this to me is that I saw Juan Williams do an interview once in which he was asked about his relationship with Fox News. (He used to be a commentator there. I have no idea if he still is.)

Williams, who is overt about Christian faith and often reports and opines on the intersection between faith and daily life, said that one of the most interesting aspets of his work at Fox came in his relationship with Hume. Hume, he said at that time, had always been skeptical about Christianity and felt uncomfortable about any discussions of the faith, on air or off. He was deeply wary of those with religious faith, regarding them as a bit suspect, intellectually and otherwise.

Williams said that he felt that he had opened some sort of door of insight onto Christian faith for Hume, revealing to him that it wasn't as weird or foreboding as he had seemed to think it was.

Williams' comments caused me to look at this clip differently from many, I suppose. In a way, Hume's prescription for Woods is almost distant and clinical, certainly utilitarian. It doesn't come off as the endorsement of a "satisfied customer."

Hume observes that Woods needs forgiveness and redemption and says that, based on his observations, Woods is less likely to find those things in Buddhism than in Christianity. Hume's comments were presented with a kind of objectivity, it seemed to me, an impression buttressed by Williams' comments, unless, of course, Hume has undergone a conversion since that time.

As for the appropriateness of what Hume said, it appears to have come during some sort of round-robin discussion. Under those circumstances, he's functioning as a commentator, not an objective journalist, and he has as much right, under those circumstances, to express his views as any other commentator.

Just a few disclaimers and explanatory notes: (1) I am a Christian and I do believe that Christ brings forgiveness, hope, and restoration. I would gladly--and I hope respectfully-- commend following Jesus Christ to Woods if the opportunity presented itself; (2) I haven't watched Fox News in several years, other than several seconds of channel-surfing from time to time. It just isn't my cup of tea; (3) I've never been much of a Brit Hume fan, even when he worked for Jack Anderson or later, ABC. But I did enjoy watching CSPAN's Brian Lamb, the most admirable of objective of journalists, interview Hume several years ago. Lamb helped me to see Hume a bit differently than I had before and again, then, there was no indication of Christian zeal on Hume's part.

If any of these facts impinge on my ability to judge what Hume did or didn't say in this clip, or their implications, I won't be offended if people disagree with my judgment. Well, maybe not too offended...

edutcher said...

Chef Mojo said...

@edutcher:

I'll take your Augustine and Aquinas and raise you the following list of atheist thinkers:


You lose.

The Orientals were more philosophers. I can't say I've ever heard of any of them denying the existence of a particular god or gods.

The Romans, as well as the Attic Greeks, were pagan - they believed in gods.

Of the people of the Enlightenment, writing witty aphorisms does not put Voltaire in the same league as Aquinas. And just because he belonged to the Hell-Fire Club doesn't make Franklin an atheist.

Most of the 19th- and 20th-century types are writers - Mencken and Clemens were amusing, but hardly great intellects. Nietzche and Ayn Rand? You must be joking.

In fact, only Freud and Einstein can lay any kind of claim to overarching achievement (and I've read a lot of Freud), but that's in a very technical sphere. Having read, and been intrigued by, "Moses and Monotheism", I can't necessarily buy the idea Freud was an atheist. He may have seen incorporating religion in his work as unscientific, but the two are not mutually exclusive

pinkmonkeybird said...

This segment of FNS in which Hume offered this advice, was not a news segment. It was an opinion roundtable. Hume is free to fear for Tiger's soul and offer some good advice to him.
Hume is right, of course. Only Jesus Christ can forgive our sins. Converting to Christianity would redeem his soul and endear him to the American public, with the exception of the minority of anti-Christians.
I hope Tiger will listen to Hume. And thanks to the polarizing media we have in this country, it would be hard to image that Tiger hasn't heard it loud and clear by now.
Good job, Brit. You just bought your ticket to heaven +

David said...

So news people are supposed to have a secular approach and nothing else?

Hulme made the comments in discussing a moral issue, an issue of the soul for a devout Christian.

I understand why this is shocking--we expect people like Hulme to have passion only for ideas or politics. Apparently one of his passions is Christianity, and he reveals and endorses that passion. So what? We have enough secular eunuchs in our public life.

I watched Hulme for years because I thought he was an was an excellent newsman. I had no idea that he was a passionate Christian, or even that he was a Christian at all. So he does not bring this up very often.

Pogo said...

I am glad however that, given the transgression and the golf club-wielding spouse, Brit Hume didn't eulogize Tiger Woods.

Paddy O. said...

"Well, I've known fundamentalist Christians who believe that they can break most of the Ten Commandments during the week, confess their sins and be forgiven on Sunday morning, and start over again by Sunday afternoon."

Then, properly, they weren't Christians at all, even if they ascribed to ultra-conservative opinions on certain doctrine. True Fundamentalism includes a pattern of holistic holiness and consistent lifestyle, especially as it was expressed in the Fundamentals of early last century.

As for Brit Hume, there's a lot of variance in what specific people might mean when they say forgiveness and redemption and such. We believe Christ redeems, and a person can be saved from eternal darkness by him, but the details have, historically, been open to conversation.

If I were to interpret Hume's words, I'd suggest that redemption in Christianity means more than simply forgiveness and moving on from there. Christian forgiveness, in a deeper sense, means rebirth (overused in the "born again" meaning). Our old, corrupted, incomplete selves come to an end, and we have a new beginning in Christ. This new beginning doesn't end with a sinner's prayer or by performing certain liturgical acts on a Sunday.

Rather, it involves the redemption of all our perspectives and interactions. Where we hated, we now love. Where we caused discord, we can now bring unity. Where there was despair, there is now hope--hope that broken lives can be restored, broken relationships can be mended, broken identities can find wholeness and stillness.

Christian redemption is, thus, by nature more than individual salvation. It is salvation that re-orients us in community, both in the church and more broadly, so that we no longer use and abuse. We are restored to live as we truly should live, to fully be who we truly are in our fullest identity. We become who we are as we are no longer constrained by those false attempts at identity or satisfaction.

Rather than a goal of nothingness and emptiness the Christian becomes emptied so as to be refilled, finding wholeness and fullness in self, with others, with God. This goal finds its expression beginning in this time, extending into eternity, which is present with us, even if we cannot experience or see it fully.

With Tiger, the forgiveness and redemption isn't a get out of free card, saving him from such vague, future hell. It's a salvation from his present hell, that led him to undermine his whole present in the quest for some undetermined, entirely unsatisfying satisfaction. It isn't about saving the marriage even--even Jesus gave allowance for divorce in cases of infidelity. Rather, it's about becoming re-tuned with life in a way of peace and hope that restores whole relating and whole relationships.

Which is something Tiger needs for his family, for his future interactions. Christianity as a community oriented salvation does seem especially relevant. It brings unity while acknowledging the great diversity of those who gather.

In its proper sense at least. The great criticism is that attempts at self-identification and the pursuit of all manner of socially acceptable and unacceptable temptations means that people often present a Christianity that is far from true Christian theology.

The hope is that even these distortions will come to an end, and there will be a more perfect expression of this whole reality as we press on in and with Christ.

David said...

It is hard to see Tiger as a humble Christian. Tiger is a very modern man--super competent, multiracial, success driven, media savvy, materialistic, pluralistic, self absorbed.

Sounds like a certain President we know. Maybe seeking a soul is not such a bad thing?

Balfegor said...

The Orientals were more philosophers.

I would say they fit more into an awkward space between philosophy and religion. After all, it's hard to categorize it purely as a "philosophy" when a central element of the teachings is the correct performance of ancient rites for coming of age, marriage, and death (as well as general etiquette, like not making funny noises when you eat, and making a decorous exit when your boss starts looking at the time). It's not like they said "preserve the old ways" and had done with it -- the Classics and the works of the early Confucian philosophers are full of detailed analyses of the rites and their significance, not just an abstract exploration of philosophical principles. At these points, they have more in common with theologians than with philosophers. The divine just doesn't play any role in their discussion. It's different from the way things played out in Christendom.

AlphaLiberal said...

It is hard to see Tiger as a humble Christian. .

It's hard to see Brit Hume as a humble anything. Let alone most the other 1,000 loudest "Christians."

David said...

Why the problem with Hulme implicitly suggesting that a Christian approach is superior?

Hulme's a Christian. He had better believe that.

We are edging towards the Europeans, who now find Christianity irrelevant. What is filling the vacuum there, pray tell?

David said...

Christianity has been "loud" for 2000 years. It's out of fashion now with secular liberals, who have their own loudness problem. (Hint, hint, Alpha.)

AlphaLiberal said...

David:
So news people are supposed to have a secular approach and nothing else? .

There is so much wrong with a TV personality telling a famous person he doesn't even know what to do with his spiritual life that it's hard to believe anyone REALLY needs it explained.

- Hume displays ignorance about Buddhism.
- Hume displays arrogance.
- Hume ignores the dozens of loudly public "Christians" who have cheated on their spouses.

- Hume is not really acting Christian here. He should have said "well, it's not my place to stand in judgment" or "don't criticize the speck...," etc.

And, really, I took his comments to mean that Tiger could do better spin control if he was seen as becoming Christian. Not exactly devout.

Anyway, it's between Mr and Mrs Woods and doesn't involve any of us.

AlphaLiberal said...

David:

Why the problem with Hulme implicitly suggesting that a Christian approach is superior? .

It's HUME. Not Hulme.

I suggest you visit "this post by Steve Benen for more of an answer, if you really care to hear another view.

AlphaLiberal said...

David, do you understand that the USA Constitution is a secular document? No doubt about it.

I've never understood why so many right wingers oppose secular government. The opposite is a religious state. I guess they want to have THEIR religion be the official state religion.

At the very same time that they tell us government can't do anything right, they want government getting (more) into the religion business.

Makes no damn sense!

MadisonMan said...

Converting to Christianity would redeem his soul

This reminds me of the story I once heard about the very devout Elephant hunter. Prayed all the time, devoutly attended Church, tithed, helped feed and clothe the poor. In between hunting elephants.

Got to heaven and found out God was an elephant. A very angry elephant.

Terrye said...

Some years ago Hume's son killed himself and my understanding is that Hume felt his faith gave him strength to face that loss and find some peace in his life. It might be that he was thinking of something like that for Tiger.

David said...

"David, do you understand that the USA Constitution is a secular document?"

Therefore, Hume should not express his Christian beliefs?

Gaaaaaaah!

Balfegor said...

- Hume is not really acting Christian here. He should have said "well, it's not my place to stand in judgment" or "don't criticize the speck...," etc.

Motes and beams in eyes doesn't mean Christians have to pretend they're stupid though. They can still criticise serial adultery. I don't know what the Protestants believe about it, but in Catholicism, I think adultery is still categorised as one of the mortal sins. It is serious business.

traditionalguy said...

Madison man...LOL. But isn't that Elephant possibility why God took the time to write an entire book to better reveal Himself to us: in His outlook toward us, and in His rules for us, and in His personality lived out in the Son of Man sacrificed for us. Without the Bible the Democrats wouldgo around saying that god is a donkey, not an elephant.

AlphaLiberal said...

Adultery is a sin, yes. So is prostitution and Jesus said "let those among you without sin cast the first stone."

David, in his role as political commentator Hume should probably not be telling people to leave one religion and join another.

Balfegor said...

Re: the Benen post that's been linked to -- I don't think it reflects a thought process that is taking Christianity (or religion in general) seriously at all. Point by point --

* It's arrogant: Hume feels comfortable lecturing someone he doesn't know about what religious beliefs he should embrace.

If a believer thinks that religion is a matter of, you know, Eternal Truth and all that, as opposed to a thing where you shop around for a faith that tells you what you want to hear, well, why would it matter what your personal circumstances are? As an atheist, I find Christian proselytisation awfully annoying, but it is idiotic beyond belief to think that proselytisers ought to be conducting some sort of suitability review to determine whether their God is the right God for a potential convert, under the assumption, I suppose, that some other God might work out better. I mean, it's idiotic if you take relgious belief seriously, at least.

* It's close-minded: Hume seems to think there's something inadequate about Buddhism.

Er, duh. He's a Christian. If he thought Buddhism were perfectly adequate as a religion, he'd probably be a Buddhist.

* It's ridiculous: Hume may not realize it, but there have been quite a few high-profile Christians of late who've been caught up in damaging sex scandals.

Um, so? Christianity doesn't teach you that man is or can be infallible, and that man never falls into error, ever. It teaches that Man is Fallen and sins all the time. That's why they have, you know, confession, and Extreme Unction and all that stuff -- because people sin. Even Christians. Isn't there a whole bit about opening yourself to God's love and forgiveness, and seeking absolution for your sins?

* It's unprofessional: Hume at least pretends to be a journalist at a network that at least pretends to be a credible news outlet. "Fox News Sunday" is not "The 700 Club," and having a journalist proselytizing on the air during a "news" program is not even close to maintaining professional standards.

I don't think it's any more unprofessional than any other circumstance in which purportedly objective journalists let their personal biases in. Indeed, if I had my druthers all the journalists would be more up-front about their own personal biases and convictions, rather than trying to hide the ball and pretend they're impartial and objective. But on this point, my view of what journalists ought to be and how they ought to behave just diverges from Benen's -- it's not that he's right or wrong, just operating from assumptions I don't really buy into.

AlphaLiberal said...

By the way, I'm still looking for the Christians out there to criticize Senator John Ensign for his serial adultery with his married staff person.

You can add to that his efforts to (illegally) steer lobbying work to the cuckolded husband, the hush money he had his parents pay the guy, etc.

Funny how he doesn't come in for the same criticisms!

Kind of like Karl Rove having his second divorce last week. Did The Gays make ruin his marriage?

reader_iam said...

Mark: This clip really did startle me. Your observations are interesting, especially the bits about what Juan Williams has said. I've watched Hume from early in his career at for most of it he struck me as more skeptic than not, especially w/r/t religion in politics. I'm wondering (speculating) if Hume experienced some serious searching and changes following the suicide of one of his sons. Stranger things have happened.

As for this clip: It makes me wince, despite the setting of Round Robin commentary as opposed to straight news AND despite the fact that I'm emphatically not anti-Christian (or even opposed to expression of faith-grounded opinions in the public square). It simply strikes me as inappropriate in the setting and, frankly, quite presumptuous w/r/t Tiger or anyone else. In this I agree with one of, or at least part of one of--I think--Alpha's comments. (Sorry, just skimmed comments here really quickly.)

The Crack Emcee said...

I think I'm probably one of the few atheists that actually exists, since I don't try to mix it with Confusionism or Buddhism or TM, or anything else:

It's just me, myself, and I.

How anyone can think it means anything else amazes me - and shames the title.

Oh, and Brit Hume didn't say anything wrong, just stupid, which he's allowed. I wonder how long it's going to take for y'all to get your minds around this stuff because many of these comments are embarrassing - especially the ones by the Christianity haters, specialists in the (badly played) game of "gotcha".

You shame yourselves.

slarrow said...

AlphaLiberal, that post by Benen has some serious flaws, as does your critique. So: the charge of arrogance is misplaced and, frankly, seems to me a case of projection. Hume isn't saying that Tiger should follow his advice because Hume is better or smarter than he is but because Hume, as it were, believes in what he's selling.

Benen also trips over a major pet peeve of mine, the confusion of belief content with open/closed-mindedness. Believing that Buddhism has an inadequacy has nothing to do with open or closed mindedness. That state has to do with the willingness to hear contrary information and reconsider preconceptions. Benen just wields it as a club.

The charge that other high-profile Christians have sex problems is a total non sequitur. That only matters if Hume is saying that Christianity is a magic wand that makes members of the club perfect and better than other people. The truth of the message is independent of the ability of high-profile people to live up to it. Bringing up Ensign and others is just a red herring, since those of us espousing Christianity have no logical problem pointing out that those folks have sinned too.

As for unprofessional, if he was trying to work that viewpoint into a straight news story, Benen might have a case. But it's commentary and identified as such. Benen is wrong again.

Finally, please understand if I decline to wear the straitjacket of "speck/without sin/judge not" Christianity that you offer. Christ told us those things to keep us from getting big heads. He wanted us to fix ourselves so that we could help our brothers and sisters, lest "the blind lead the blind." I've yet to see someone in modern dialogue offer that objection in order to make Christians more effective instead of shutting them up.

slarrow said...

...and now I see that Balfegor addressed many of these while I was typing. I apologize for the redundancy.

ryanbiddulph said...

Abe Lincoln said it best.

"When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad. That's my religion."

Our conscience is the gift of perfect guidance. Everybody knows when what they're doing is right or wrong.

That being said I can't judge Brit or Tiger. I've made many mistakes in my lifetime and hate how it feels to be judged.

David said...

"David, in his role as political commentator Hume should probably not be telling people to leave one religion and join another."

Why?

Is his free speech right limited to political matters? Does he have to be a "political" commentator? Why can't he comment on anything he wants, just as you and I can?

Because he has a better and bigger microphone? So free speech is ok for you and me, arguing on a blog that less than 100 people will read, but not for Hume

There are some repressive tendencies showing here, Alpha, and they are not mine, they are yours.

David said...

"Our conscience is the gift of perfect guidance. Everybody knows when what they're doing is right or wrong."

My conscience has failed me often. Sometimes I have ignored it, sometimes it has ignored me.

Part of the message of Christianity is that we weak sinners are inevitably overwhelmed by our selfish, greedy, lustful and angry emotions.

Ralph L said...

cast the first stone
Jesus was talking about actual stones, not verbal ones. The glass house business was added later.

Who doesn't want forgiveness? It's the "Go forth and sin no more" that's the bitch.

RWC said...

Yeah. Right. How pathetic.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ryanbiddulph,

"I hate how it feels to be judged."

I think that's one of the biggest problems with these (supposed) adults now'a'days:

They act like being told they're wrong is the end of the world, instead of the mere corrective (and acceptance of responsiblity)it is.

Such immaturity is why they insist on the childish requirement of "unconditional" love, or acceptance, or whatever.

Chef Mojo said...

@ edbutcher

You lose.

Not quite.

The Orientals were more philosophers. I can't say I've ever heard of any of them denying the existence of a particular god or gods.

Confucianism is a moral and ethical philosophy. At no time in confucian writings is/are god(s) mentioned. Confucianism is often described as an nontheist religion.

The Romans, as well as the Attic Greeks, were pagan - they believed in gods.

Every one of those I listed was a nontheist. They did not believe in any god(s).

And as we end the Christmas holidays, I would think again about being judgmental towards Pagans. And with Easter coming up, you might think yet again.

Of the people of the Enlightenment, writing witty aphorisms does not put Voltaire in the same league as Aquinas. And just because he belonged to the Hell-Fire Club doesn't make Franklin an atheist.

And yet, Voltaire's "witty aphorisms" lit the fires of the Enlightenment, without which the United States could not have come into being. I'll take that over Aquinas propping up a corrupt church keeping it's followers mired in superstition and fear.

"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies." Benjamin Franklin. Take that as you will. Perhaps he was a Pagan?

Most of the 19th- and 20th-century types are writers - Mencken and Clemens were amusing, but hardly great intellects. Nietzche and Ayn Rand? You must be joking.

Depends on your definition of "great intellects." But I'll grant you that point. Scrub those guys, and replace them with Watson & Crick. Funny. You didn't address Darwin. Awkward because...

In fact, only Freud and Einstein can lay any kind of claim to overarching achievement (and I've read a lot of Freud), but that's in a very technical sphere. Having read, and been intrigued by, "Moses and Monotheism", I can't necessarily buy the idea Freud was an atheist. He may have seen incorporating religion in his work as unscientific, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

Well, I, and many others can see Freud as an atheist. Freud, Einstein, Darwin and Watson & Crick are but many of the nontheists who showed us what it is to be human within the cosmos. Others, such as Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Leaky helped show us where we came from. Not as Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc., but as humans.

Understand me. I am not dismissing Augustine or Aquinas. I am merely showing you that in the great scheme of things, theological philosophy isn't the end all and be all. Holding Augustine and Aquinas as the philosophical standard is very narrow and indicative of a religious bias towards all things.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I just can't get over what a jerk Hume is. Someone who is going through a difficult time could use the stability and familiarity of the religion they were brought up in; telling them to try a new one is awful advice. If a Catholic were having similar problems I know I would feel like a total ass if I told them to try Judaism.

It's certainly in bad taste to give this kind of advice to someone you don't even know.

Freeman Hunt said...

When I was an atheist, people told me I would be better off being Christian all the time. No matter what came up, the advice was always to become a Christian and/or pray.

I always assumed that they believed what they were saying and were trying to be nice.

Never occurred to me to get in a snit over it.

bagoh20 said...

""When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad. That's my religion."

Sometime doing bad feels really good, just ask Tiger.

BTW, who would you rather be assuming both were alive: A. Lincoln or Tiger W.?

Freeman Hunt said...

And get this, also when I was an atheist, the Muslims used to tell me that I'd be better off being Muslim. A Hindu once told me I'd be better off being Hindu.

Perhaps religious people actually believe in their religions and want to offer what they believe to be their religious benefits to others.

So let's all go clutching our pearls about it.

dreams said...

He is paid to provide commentary and that is what he did and I'm just fine with what he said.

bagoh20 said...

If you enjoy the blessings of your religion, why would you not advise others to try it? If you found a good restaurant, you would recommended it. I'm agnostic and it doesn't bother me at all that Mr. Hume make a simple suggestion to a man in need of help. This goes for new age cures too. I don't buy any of it, but it's fine as long as it's just a suggestion with no pressure.

Fred4Pres said...

It is time for Brit to retire. I don't fault him for thinking that, he is entitled to his opinion, just not sharing something so annoying with the rest of us on TV. I find it annoying when Matthews and Scarborough preach to me, I find it annoying with Hume does too.

bagoh20 said...

People tell you what they believe all day every day, but religion, (i.e., lots of people agree) is some kind of horror to behold? I don't get it.

edutcher said...

Chef Mojo said...

The Orientals were more philosophers. I can't say I've ever heard of any of them denying the existence of a particular god or gods.

Confucianism is a moral and ethical philosophy. At no time in confucian writings is/are god(s) mentioned. Confucianism is often described as an nontheist religion.


Simply because they are not mentioned does not indicate he did or did not believe in a god. As I said, Confucianism is a philosophy, despite what "some" would like to describe it as being.

And yet, Voltaire's "witty aphorisms" lit the fires of the Enlightenment, without which the United States could not have come into being. I'll take that over Aquinas propping up a corrupt church keeping it's followers mired in superstition and fear.

Wrong on both counts. The United States is a product of many things, including Sparta and, according to some, the Iroquois confederation. Voltaire didn't start the Enlightenment all by himself and, even if he did, the people who founded this country made very clear their religious justification in its foundation.

Aquinas established much of the Church's teaching on ethics and, particularly, natural law, such a large part of the Enlightenment you prize - and a great many people in the Enlightenment were Deists, believers in a "watchmaker" God.

As for Darwin (Watson and Crick are brilliant, to be sure, but that does not make their opinion outside the study of the human genome infallible), he left his theory with a lot of holes in it - and a great many people are driving Mack trucks through them every day. That's the problem with "nontheists", they want to replace God with their own deity of "science", whether it's Evolution or global warming, it's every bit as dogmatic - and anyone who disagrees goes to the Inquisition.

You mention Dr. Leakey. Anthropology is the study of man, the animal, not man, the higher being. Science cannot resolve the fact that there is an uncaused cause to life in the Universe, or to the Universe itself. Anthropology does not preclude religion. Never make the mistake that belief in the Bible means that one dismisses science. We know that there was an "Eve", and this according to anthropology. Did it happen exactly the way Scripture says? Maybe not, but Scripture can be seen as allegory to reveal greater truths.

But your line about keeping people mired in superstition and fear is more your religion - good ol' Father Karl. Class warfare and dependence on government. There is no morality, so we make it up as we need it.

You still lose.

Revenant said...

I just can't get over what a jerk Hume is. Someone who is going through a difficult time could use the stability and familiarity of the religion they were brought up in

Elin Woods is "going through a difficult time". Tiger's children are going through a difficult time. Tiger's parents are going through a difficult time. Tiger, however, is not "going through a difficult time". He is facing the predictable results of immoral behavior. He doesn't need advice on how to feel good about himself -- he needs advice on how he can be a better person. He obviously isn't getting that from Buddhism, or he wouldn't have banged every woman in America with blonde hair and a D-cup.

Now, personally I don't think he'll get it from Christianity either. But saying that what he needs is the comfort of childhood religion is crap. Whatever moral system he's been using thus far in his life obviously failed, because he grew up to be a scuzball. He needs a new approach.

reader_iam said...

1) People sharing their faith, particular religion, agnoticism or atheism with me personally has never gotten me upset nor has it offended me.

2) I stand by my original comment that I found Hume's choice, in context, to be inappropriate and even presumptuous.

3) No pearl-clutching is, or need be, involved with either #1 or #2 above.

wv: ident

Jason (the commenter) said...

Freeman Hunt: Perhaps religious people actually believe in their religions and want to offer what they believe to be their religious benefits to others.

So let's all go clutching our pearls about it.

Offering advice like this might be forgivable in person, depending on how the person acted, but not when it's done over the television.

And calling out one particular person and criticizing their religion, again, on television, is rude and disrespectful.

Revenant said...

Aquinas established much of the Church's teaching on ethics and, particularly, natural law, such a large part of the Enlightenment you prize

Aquinas came along around 1500 years after the Greeks popularized the idea of natural law. He did, however, have a huge impact on the Enlighenment... inasmuch as the major works of Enlightenment philosophy were written, in part, to explain why he was wrong. :)

In the sense that a large part of Enlightenment natural law philosophy consisted of correcting Aquinas' mistakes? :)

Revenant said...

And calling out one particular person and criticizing their religion, again, on television, is rude and disrespectful.

It is no more disrespectful than criticizing their political views, sexual habits or fashion sense.

Chef Mojo said...

But your line about keeping people mired in superstition and fear is more your religion - good ol' Father Karl.

Oh, please. From Wiki on Aquinas:

The desires to live and to procreate are counted by Aquinas among those basic (natural) human values on which all human values are based. However, Aquinas was vehemently opposed to non-procreative sexual activity; not only did this lead him to view masturbation, oral sex, and even coitus interruptus, as being worse than incest and rape, but also he condemned all sexual positions other than the missionary position, on the assumption that they made conception more difficult.

Oh, how very enlighted!

Your Aquinas was nothing more than flea infested, sexually repressed, sackcloth & ashes and superstitious man with a clever knack cleverly appropriating Classical philosophy and bending it to service of a church that was quite comfortable picking and choosing it's belief system from a myriad of available religions while eradicating those same religions..

You denigrate science with your beliefs. So be it. But that science has done more to advance humanity in 300 years than all the rest of human history combined.

And that really scares the "faithful".

And having veered way off topic, I'll leave you to your superstition and your thunder god. I have no need of either.

Freeman Hunt said...

They're discussing a specific person's adultery and possibility of public recovery. I don't see how religion gets more personal than that. In fact, religion seems, perhaps, particularly appropriate to the discussion of personal crisis.

Henry said...

@Balfegor -- Thanks a lot for your posts this thread. Very interesting.

Henry said...

I agree pretty much with Freeman Hunt. Of course I am an atheist when it comes to television. Other than a minimal number of televised events, there is nothing that happens on television that I choose to care about. Regularly scheduled television is almost entirely about variations on presumptuous and idiotic behavior. Brit Hume fits right in.

bagoh20 said...

"You denigrate science with your beliefs. So be it. But that science has done more to advance humanity in 300 years than all the rest of human history combined.

And that really scares the "faithful"."


Yea, that 20th century was the height of humanity alright.

edutcher said...

Chef Mojo said...

...

You're using Wiki as the source on anything? Good luck on that one.

Most societies view procreation as vital. Those that don't tend to be in decline. Aquinas was observing the line of thought established in the Old Testament and extended by Paul in the New. It is also common in places with those "nontheistic" religions like China.

The sex-for-pleasure crowd has given us pandemic rates of venereal disease, as well as doing everything they can to advance every deviant form of sex they can find.

That's so much more enlightened!

As for superstition, thanks to the noble Romans, we know Joshua Bar-Joseph lived and was put to death for his acts. With regard to "my" thunder god, what do you think created the Universe, dumb luck?

More to the point, you may say you have no need of god, any god, but you have need of the moral code laid down in His name, every time you depend on the law or someone else's compassion. The Alinsky/Marx end-justifies-the-means crowd brings us back to the jungle. Religion has brought us out of the wilderness before, it will do so again.

PS If I denigrate science by my beliefs, then your science has a damned poor foundation.

Revenant said...

Aquinas came along around 1500 years after the Greeks popularized the idea of natural law. He did, however, have a huge impact on the Enlighenment... inasmuch as the major works of Enlightenment philosophy were written, in part, to explain why he was wrong. :)

In the sense that a large part of Enlightenment natural law philosophy consisted of correcting Aquinas' mistakes? :)


Since Aquinas is still studied and revered, they didn't entirely succeed :)

PS I don't consider myself to be an Aquinas expert by any stretch of the imagination. I had to read him in college and was impressed by the depth of his thought, however. I'm continually surprised at how I've run into a lot of awfully smart religious people over the years, considering how some people say only the dumb ones believe in God.

The Crack Emcee said...

bagoh20, give it up:

The 20th Century was better than anything than came before it.

Don't let your beliefs make you look stupid, too.

The Crack Emcee said...

edutcher,

"I'm continually surprised at how I've run into a lot of awfully smart religious people over the years, considering how some people say only the dumb ones believe in God."

I, too, have met quite a few smart religious people, and I listen to quite a few on the radio, but they're not smart in the traditional sense, but in the moral one. I mean, how intelligent do you have to be to know how to keep your pants up? To me (and I say this all the time) we're suffering from a glut of secular idiots. They can't read, understand complexity, or keep their pants up - shit, they're almost still the equivalent of monkeys.

As far as intelligence goes, no matter what we may know, we all have blind spots - some bigger than others - and I appreciate that religious folks are at least open about one of theirs:

Being "fools for Christ".

wolfsden said...

Makes sense. Faux News is pretty much a a right wing pseudo-conservative propaganda machine and Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christianity is at the heart of pseudo-conservatism.

newscaper said...

I'm a Catholic atheist if that makes any sense -- raised in the former, came to the latter, but still later have renewed appreciation for the intellectual/ethical contributions of [elements of] the former.

I think that without being accused of particular bias, I can claim that there is a definite prejudice against Christianity from the obvious quarters: bashed by those who treat an intellectual appreciation of Jewish tradition by not-particularly religious jews as legitimate, charges of ignorant superstition by *Marxists* (lol), and claims it causes too much passivity in the here and now from those who are very respectful of the far more passive Buddhism, not to mention bashing for all sorts of sins (some earned) by those who turn a multiculti blind eye to Islam..

Bill said...

Governor Sanford and Senator Ensign turned their life over to Christianity way before they committed adultery. As far as is known, never been a Buddhist in Congress that committed adultery. Tiger should hang in with Buddha.

newscaper said...

BTW, speaking of the Enlightenment...
it went thru a trajectory, with the US founding fathers getting off before the French component went all the way to setting up the justification for socialism/communism.

The catholic Scholastics (of which Aquinas was one IIRC) actually had some pretty well thought out opinions on the moral aspect of property rights as early as the 12th century. I remember one example being a discussion of why it would be wrong to steal a poor prostitutes earnings even though they were the results of her sinning.

Revenant said...

"In the sense that a large part of Enlightenment natural law philosophy consisted of correcting Aquinas' mistakes? :)"

Since Aquinas is still studied and revered

So is Karl Marx. Are we to conclude that Marxism has not been soundly refuted both in theory and practice?

they didn't entirely succeed :)

You have confused two separate things: demonstrating that a belief is wrong, and convincing everybody that the belief is wrong. In the case of, e.g., Aquinas and Marx, the former has been accomplished; the latter, less so.

But even the people who ostensibly "revere" Aquinas mostly still think he was wrong on critical Enlightenment-related issues; his belief that monarchy was preferable to democracy, for example, is rightly condemned.

newscaper said...

Interesting reading for the more explicitly anti-religion majority of my fellow atheists: a moral system that emphasizes forgiveness (though not doormat status) actually has a solid foundation in game theory as a winning strategy.
----

Colm O' Riordan (2000)

A forgiving strategy for the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation vol. 3, no. 4,
http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/JASSS/3/4/3.html

Abstract
This paper reports results obtained with a strategy for the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. The paper describes a strategy that tries to incorporate a technique to forgive strategies that have defected or retaliated, in the hope of (re-)establishing cooperation. The strategy is compared to well-known strategies in the domain and results presented. The initial findings, as well as echoing past findings, provides evidence to suggest a higher degree of forgiveness can be beneficial and may result in greater rewards.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bill,

The Buddha laughs at Tiger - and everyone else. We Americans will all be much better off when we can laugh back at him, and his "teachings", in return.

Revenant said...

Yea, that 20th century was the height of humanity alright.

All sarcasm aside, yes -- it was.

Certainly it was bloody, especially between 1915 and 1975. But it was still less bloody than the history that preceded it. The average human lifespan more than *doubled* during the century (after hovering around 30 for the preceding 2000 years), and the percentage of humanity living under despotic rulership plummeted.

Revenant said...

Interesting reading for the more explicitly anti-religion majority of my fellow atheists: a moral system that emphasizes forgiveness (though not doormat status) actually has a solid foundation in game theory as a winning strategy.

Depending on the parameters of the experiment, it does either slightly better or slightly worse than "nice tit for tat", i.e. "start out nice then do unto others as they've done to you".

But I'm not sure why that's of particular interest to atheists, since no religion in the world actually advocates the "forgiveness" strategy described in the experiment (which is, in summary, "if somebody does something bad to you, give him a second chance, but retaliate if he keeps it up"). Christianity teaches "always forgive", which is a losing strategy (and the reason why few Christians listen to Jesus' "turn the other cheek" admonition). Judaism teaches, basically, "nice tit for tat"; Islam takes a "nice tit for tat" approach to interactions with Muslims and a hostile approach to non-Muslims.

kentuckyliz said...

Desire is suffering.

There is the Buddhist crux of the matter.

Buddhism is ascetic and Tiger is ruled by his appetites.

All his current suffering is caused by his desire.

End the desire, end the suffering.

Works for Elin too.

She is Exhibit A of the Genesis curse:

your desire shall be for your husband

There's that desire problem again.

Stop the desire, put down the club, end the suffering.

I think Tiger could benefit from a reflection on the woes that Jesus pronounces in Luke's Gospel. It could cause an empathic shift and self-transcendence...although it violates Buddhist noninterference to show charity towards others. It would at least spit a big ol' loogey into his soup.

And now for something completely different.

What if in Islam men were subject to honor killings the way women are?

Stinking great pile of bodies in the soccer stadium.

edutcher said...

Revenant said...

So is Karl Marx. Are we to conclude that Marxism has not been soundly refuted both in theory and practice?

Problem is, and I'm not trying to drag this out, Marx has been on the losing side since Uncle Joe and the purges. Marxist thought is prized only by those who can view it as an ideal with having to live under it and those who have no clue of its true implications (i.e., people out in the boonies living under despotism).

As I say, Aquinas is still studied and revered, and, yes, debated, but, as newscaper pointed out, people still find material of value in his writing. His defense of monarchy, of course, is in a specific context devoid of the concept of a federal republic, such as we are supposed to have in this country today. Edmond Burke defended monarchy in the face of the Terror, but he is also prized - a similar situation.

My only point is that Aquinas' work, like Augustine, is the result of a great mind, the caliber of which is rare. Scientific thinking is of a somewhat different order, more toward the concrete. The list of names Mojo offered had few who conceived of the kind of paradigm shift someone like Augustine did.

And if you give me the old bromide that anyone who believes in God checks his/her brain at the cathedral door, I'll be very disappointed.

PS How many people ended the 20th century in freedom is up for grabs. I submit Putinist Russia and Red China illustrate that material progress does not compensate for political repression.

And exactly how many people died in all the preceding centuries due to political violence, as opposed to the other Three Horsemen, would be an interesting tally. We can put a figure of 120 million at the hands of three people, - Adolf, Mao, and Uncle Joe in the 20th century without any of the other players (Ho, the Ottoman Emperor, etc.).

PPS Lifespan, as better statisticians than me will tell you, is a lousy way to measure improvement in the human condition.

Beth said...

It's just me, myself, and I.


Crack, it's just you and Joan.

David said...

Revenant:

The 29th Century was less bloody that the ones that preceded it?

Damn, man, you need to catch up on your reading.

(Meanwhile . . . . "Let us pray."}

(No, no, not prayer, anything but prayer, oh, the horror!)

We have indeed come a long way. Unfortunately the journey has been a circle.

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

That would be the 20th Century, not the 29th.

The 29th? The eve of the year 3000?

Just imagine how silly all our huge concerns will look from there.

Just imagine how silly they look to God. That perspective alone is a sufficient reason for religion.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Freeman Hunt said...

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Not the most effective spam I've ever read.

newscaper said...

Revenant said...
Christianity teaches "always forgive", which is a losing strategy.

Funny, I went to parochial schools for 12 years as a kid don't recall being taught to grab our ankles as Christians: forgive in response to those sincerely (and penitent), and even if one has to protect oneself (or others) from deception or endless backsliding, one should try for that elusive goal of hating the sin, but not the sinner. We were never taught to never hold people responsible for their actions.

You're grasping at some caricature, when Christianity has never been monolithic.

newscaper said...

oops -- supposed to be

"forgive in response to those sincerely contrite (and penitent)"

The Crack Emcee said...

Beth,

That was awful music.

David,

"The 29th? The eve of the year 3000?

Just imagine how silly all our huge concerns will look from there."


If you listened to Hip-Hop you'd already know what life was like in 3000.

"Just imagine how silly they look to God. That perspective alone is a sufficient reason for religion."

Funny, I don't hear him mentioned anywhere in the future,...

Revenant said...

Problem is, and I'm not trying to drag this out, Marx has been on the losing side since Uncle Joe and the purges.

Christianity has been on the decline for even longer than that. I'm not sure I see the point you're trying to make, here. The popularity of Aquinas peaked around 600 years ago.

My only point is that Aquinas' work, like Augustine, is the result of a great mind, the caliber of which is rare.

I understand the point you're trying to make, but you're not supporting it. I would expect a "great mind" to make some sort of lasting contribution to human knowledge or understanding, and neither Aquinas nor Augustine did either of those things. If neither man had ever been born we would be no worse off than we are now.

In contrast, tens of thousands of scientists have made lasting contributions to human knowledge and understanding in the past hundred years alone. Jonas Salk's contributions to humanity dwarf those of the entirety of Christian theology, simply because those aspects of Christian theology worth celebrating (e.g., charity, kindness, and brotherly love) were cribbed from the Greeks in the first place. :)

Revenant said...

Funny, I went to parochial schools for 12 years as a kid don't recall being taught to grab our ankles as Christians

Could you cite which part of the New Testament endorses retribution -- by humans, not God -- for wrongdoing? Because it is easy to find places where Christ and/or the apostles taught that the proper response to being wronged was to yield.

Revenant said...

The 20th Century was less bloody that the ones that preceded it? Damn, man, you need to catch up on your reading.

In percentage terms it was less bloody, yes. Napoleon's wars killed a greater percentage of Europe's population than WW2 did, for example. Mao killed around 5% of China's population, but there were *multiple* Chinese civil wars during the 19th century that killed larger percentages than that. Etc, etc.

The 20th century saw record death tolls simply because more people were alive to be killed. But it was the safest century to live in, thus far.

William Dunigan said...

Greetings to one and all: In that most precious name. That name which is above every name, the name: "Jesus"

There's tremendous power in that name. I'd suppose we'll never fully realize all that can truly be accomplished, by us simply calling out that name in true faith.

There's an old, old, gospel song that goes like this: Faith in the Father, faith in the Son, faith in the Holy Spirit, great victories are won. Demons will tremble and sinners will awake, faith in Jehovah will anything shake.

For you who have never come into this realization, if you're reading this, just give him a welcome into your heart and life. You will both feel and see an awesome difference. You will have also purchased the ticket to heaven (by accepting, therefore making him welcome to come into your life. You will also sup from His cup that contains living water. (As did the woman at the well of Bethesda.) John 4:10

Much love,

Your brother in Christ Jesus, who is both our Lord, and Savior.

www.eloquentbooks.com/BeyondTheGoldenSunsetAndByTheCrystalSea.html
http://www.eloquentbooks.com/OffToVisitTheProphetElijah

LoafingOaf said...

Brit Hume is off his rocker. Tiger Woods hits a golf ball really well. What the fuck business is it of Fox News douchebags to be lecturing him about how he should change religion, blah blah blah.

Maybe he should be lecturing his fellow "journalists" who have had a feeding frenzy the last couple months about the sex life of a dude who hits a ball.

The only real issue in the Tiger Woods thing, to me, is whether or not he was criminally assaulted by his wife. Other than that, I think that other sports icon, Lebron James, is vindicated for having a baby momma instead of a wife. Tiger's wife was quoted over the holidays as saying, when asked what she got for Christmas, "I got $300 million".

kynefski said...

For you who have never come into this realization, if you're reading this, just give him a welcome into your heart and life. You will both feel and see an awesome difference. You will have also purchased the ticket to heaven

You forgot to mention the eternal torment due those who would fail to accept your invitation. C'mon, man, that's a critical part of the ask.

No wonder we're losing ground.

Pogo said...

"The 20th century saw record death tolls simply because more people were alive to be killed. But it was the safest century to live in, thus far."

I guess some people might be comforted that the percentage killed in mass murder didn't increase.

Henry said...

I guess some people might be comforted that the percentage killed in mass murder didn't increase.

Well you have to be, don't you?

Outside of the sarcasm of the word "comforted" if the raw number of bad things in the world controls your thinking, you can't function. Or think.

Paddy O. said...

Revenant, you hit on the exact conflict people had with Jesus. Forgiveness is not a winning strategy.

That's the argument right there. And we're brought to the very edge of our perspective on reality.

Jesus did not lead a rebellion and he told his followers not to follow the path of violence.

The question remains, though, was this the end? Christians say that his death on the cross was not the end. Jesus overcame even death in the resurrection, which becomes a sign and a promise.

The path of forgiveness leads to a peaceable kingdom. Not yet, but we can as we embrace this path, find already a foretaste as we let go the ideals of vengeance.

Was Jesus victorious? Well, that's the question. History can't tell us for certain, though it can make plausible arguments for either direction. The early church movement sure seemed charged up to forgiveness for quite a while, after all, which led to massive persecution until the Roman Empire itself became a Christian empire.

The rise of global Christianity outside the West points to a continued influence, not declining at all, except as a civil religion in Europe and the US.

Forgiveness ends the cycles of violence, not out of fear or passivity, but because of hope there's something more to life and this world than our momentary concerns. At the same time, theology argues that those who perpetuate violence and inflict evil will not find satisfaction. Those who embrace this path do not have hope.

Is this really the case? That's the big question. And there's certainly not a cut and dry answer. We all take leaps of faith if we live according to certain paths, proposing some version of reality that isn't yet provable.

Paddy O. said...

By the by, I think Brit Hume was wrong in all this. Not because I think his opinion wrong, but because I think this kind of impersonal, indirect evangelism is more about projecting an image to the audience about the speaker, rather than an actual attempt to help the intended recipient.

As such, it tends to weaken the message precisely in the ways that the message has been already culturally weakened over the last sixty years or so, by making a public show of a religion without offering substantive interaction or depth.

But, then again, maybe there are conversations developing because of this that are worthwhile, and maybe Tiger has picked up on the controversy and it tickled his mind. I suspect, though, a private message would have been more helpful, and less of a pose.

Balfegor said...

Re: Paddy O.:

Was Jesus victorious?

"Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath;
We have drunken of things Lethean, and fed on the fullness of death."

Revenant said...

I guess some people might be comforted that the percentage killed in mass murder didn't increase.

When discussing how bloody a time period was, the murder *rate* is the only intelligent metric to use.

David said...

As usual Revenant just makes things up. For those interested in the actual facts, see the following web page: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/war-1900.htm

Opus One Media said...

The "so wierd" is thinking that anything that comes out of FauxNoise or its "newsies" has anything remotely to do with news.

Revenant said...

And would you mind explaining which of my claims you think that graph refutes?

It appears that you're sharing Pogo's obsession with the total number of deaths from violence; as discussed earlier, it is the *rate* of violent death that matters. For example, your chart puts the death toll for WW2 at around 40 to 50 million -- around 2% of the world's population. Certainly a bloody war, but it pales next to (for example) Kublai Khan's campaign of conquest, which killed around 5% of the world's population.

People who think the 20th century was especially nasty are simply ignorant of human history.

Methadras said...

Revenant said...

Whatever moral system he's been using thus far in his life obviously failed, because he grew up to be a scuzball. He needs a new approach.


One could argue that his moral system, based on Buddhism, I assume, is what failed him or that he, as a Buddhist failed to live up to it's moral standing. Another argument could be made that his Buddhism was nothing more than surface fluff and he wasn't a practicing Buddhism and in that non-practice, could never live up to the moral/ethical standing that would have saved him a lot of trouble. However, if you look at Buddhism in terms of what it says about infidelity, it really doesn't. Most of the philosophy related to Buddhism/infidelity is that the person committing the infidelity is an imperfect person who has hurt those people they made a commitment to and in that imperfection is the insatiability of the mind and yet the offender would rather seek forgiveness from the offended so they can both move on lest the pain hurt more because one doesn't choose to get past the offense. In essence, Buddhism doesn't treat infidelity in any other different light than any other act. It is just.

Did TW's scuzballness emanate from his non-adherence to Buddhism? I don't think so and I certainly wouldn't blame Buddhism for his behavior. If he was a Christian, he would be seeking penance, forgiveness from his family and from Christ for his sins because of the infidelity he committed based on the vows of fidelity he took on the day of his wedding. And in that forgiveness would seek redemption, reconciliation, and to repair the wound, if he can that he created to begin with. Christianity places a much heavier burden through judgment and guilt to first punish your behavior, to see the error of your behavior, correct the behavior, then to seek guidance, to seek forgiveness, to heal, if it's possible your family and marriage.

However, considering his multitudinous philandering, I'd say that he is a sociopathic sex addict with very little regard not only for himself but for his wife or children. No moral/ethical system, in my opinion will alleviate his behavior if this is the type of personality that he really is. It's his baseline personality and that is a very rare thing to change if not impossible altogether.

peter hoh said...

O'Reilly had Hume on his show.

After playing the clip, O'Reilly asked, "Was that proselytizing?"

Hume's reply: "I don't think so."

How might Hume understand the word "proselytizing" such that his response was honest?

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