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Apr 23 2012

Robertson’s Bizarre Screed on Anti-Semitism

Pat Robertson delivered this absolutely bizarre, rambling diatribe about anti-Semitism. He claims that Satan is behind anti-Semitism because Israel is proof of the existence of God — and the “poor Jews” just don’t understand it because they don’t believe in Jesus.

Say what?

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  1. 1
    Ing

    Anti-Semite rails against antisemitism?

    Cause you know, I consider reducing an entire group of people down to useful puppets for your own purposes, the end game of which is hoping that they all get tortured forever while you get exalted, to be rather Anti-them.

  2. 2
    raven

    Whenever Pat R. says something, he comes across as a doddering old fool showing signs of age related cognitive decline.

    OTOH, 30 years ago he sounded exactly the same.

    Between him, Palin, Michele Bachmann, and many others, my latest theory is that fundie religion causes cognitive impairment. Who knows, maybe high levels of cognitive dissonance and the effort of maintaining a worldview that has no resemblance to reality makes it hard to even cross a street safely.

  3. 3
    Michael Heath

    Worse yet, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. is making a horrific argument claiming anti-semitism as well. Last evening Sixty Minutes did a segment on how Israeli policy in the West Bank is leading to Christians moving out of the area. The ambassador had no argument to back-up his assertions, he just made his assertions with this look on his face as if he was about to start weeping at any second. He even asserted the segment was fundamentally flawed prior to and during his interview, and therefore prior to its broadcast. One of the strangest interviews I’ve encountered.

  4. 4
    heddle

    Ing,

    the end game of which is hoping that they all get tortured forever

    Pat Robertson is a jackass, a fool and an embarrassment. However, I don’t believe I have ever heard him express hope that the Jews get tortured forever. You have a reference, I suppose?

  5. 5
    Midnight Rambler

    Not so much hope that they get tortured, but hope of the endgame in which they inevitably will get tortured forever, because they will refuse to accept Jesus even after seven years of the rule of the Beast. That, of course, makes all the difference.

  6. 6
    Raging Bee

    Whenever Pat R. says something, he comes across as a doddering old fool showing signs of age related cognitive decline. OTOH, 30 years ago he sounded exactly the same.

    That’s probably because he never had a cognitive rise to begin with.

    However, I don’t believe I have ever heard him express hope that the Jews get tortured forever.

    No, that lot always sound SOOOO regretful when they predict you’ll be in Hell forever. But the self-satisfied tone (and sometimes even a twisted smile) give it away.

    Dumbest. Hairsplitting. Apologetics. EVER!

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    Heddle describes:

    Pat Robertson is a jackass, a fool and an embarrassment.

    Pat Robertson is far more than that. He’s one of the key figures which made conservative Christians one of the most powerful political movements in the history of our country. To the point the current Republican social agenda, as demonstrated in each state and the U.S. House of Representatives where Republicans now enjoy a legislative chamber majority, is driven by the very group Mr. Robertson helped create. This has been true since at least 2000.

    No single ideological entity has more voting power within either party than conservative Christians. They are the base which allows gays to be contemporaneously persecuted and discriminated against at the local, state, and federal level. And even far worse than that atrocity, they are the base which provides a relative handful of plutocrats the ability to have the GOP both deny climate change and obstruct all meaningful mitigation efforts – which guarantees increased future human suffering at a global level.

  8. 8
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #3

    As usual, Heath’s opinions on the Middle East are fatally flawed by his visceral dislike of the State of Israel.

    The exodus of Christians from the West Bank gained momentum at the time of the Oslo Accords as they rightly feared the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in an independent Palestinian State. This is, in fact, what has happened in the Gaza Strip after the takeover by the Hamas terrorist regime, as nearly all Christians have left. I would also point out that Christians in Iraq are increasingly nervous about the Shiite government there and Christians in Egypt are also concerned about the looming takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood. Further indications are that Christians in Syria are also concerned about the po0ssibility that a potential fall of the Assad kleptocracy there would end up with a Muslim Brotherhood takeover. So Israel is the least of Christian worries in the Middle East.

    Just to make it perfectly clear so that there be no misunderstanding, I don’t have any particular brief for the current Israeli ambassador in Washington; like his boss, Avigdor Lieberman, he is not the world’s most trustworthy individual. And as I have stated previously on this blog, I agree with French President Sarkozy that Bibi is a liar and a thoroughly untrustworthy individual.

  9. 9
    juice

    Poor Christian idiot.

  10. 10
    d cwilson

    Pat Robertson delivered this absolutely bizarre, rambling diatribe

    Pretty much all of his diatribes these days are bizarre and rambling.

    Given that Crazy Uncle Chuckles is one of the prime advocates of the view that all the Jews need to be relocated to the Holy Land for the fire to start following from the sky AND that the story ends with all the Jews either converting to Jeebus or being toasted, asking him about anti-semitism is a complete waste of time.

  11. 11
    heddle

    Midnight Rambler,

    That, of course, makes all the difference.

    It does make all the difference. I, like most Christians, hope for the return of Jesus. That does not mean we hope for the consequences of those who do not come to Christ. It is one of the myths of anti-Christian bigots that we take delight in the thought of the lost being tortured.

    Robertson’s eschatology, with which I wholeheartedly disagree, at least gives people a chance after the so-called rapture. Competing viewpoints have a “time’s up” quality to them–when Christ returns, human history is over.

    Raging Bee,

    But the self-satisfied tone (and sometimes even a twisted smile) give it away.

    In other words, you nothing. The “twisted smile” argument is similar to the white bigot’s argument: “I just know them black guys want our white wimmen. I can see it in their eyes.” Dumbest. Support. For a Position. Ever.

    Michael Heath #7,

    So you’ve said..a gazillion times.

  12. 12
    Raging Bee

    That does not mean we hope for the consequences of those who do not come to Christ.

    Puh. Lease. I’ve heard enough Christian hellfire rhetoric to know that significant numbers of the people you call “we” do indeed hope the people they hate will be tortured forever. Why do you think they spend so much time blathering about Hell in the first place? If they didn’t hope for such a consequence, and didn’t think it good, they would have found a way to write it out of their ideology. I’ve spent YEARS listening to smug, self-satisfied born-again assholes (who, despite being born twice, have yet to grow up once) assuring me, with nothing but smiles, that everyone who rejects their One True Religion will suffer while they party forever in Heaven; and if I’m less than happy with the idea, that’s because of my own spiritual condition and I need to get right with God.

    It is one of the myths of anti-Christian bigots that we take delight in the thought of the lost being tortured.

    Observing that some people in your camp sound and act like resentful sadists makes us “bigots?” Wasn’t that the Catholic Church’s first response to the child-rape accusations?

  13. 13
    heddle

    Raging Bee,

    Puh. Lease. I’ve heard enough Christian hellfire rhetoric to know that significant numbers of the people you call “we” do indeed hope the people they hate will be tortured forever.

    Well maybe the people that they hate–but we are moving the goalposts aren’t we? That’s far different from saying they delight in the generic “lost” being tortured. If Uday Hussein actually put people in meat grinders, as it is alleged, then I’ll shed no tears at his torment. But you are claiming (or supporting the claim) that Robertson hopes for “the Jews” to be tortured, and all you appear to have have are the “vibes” he sends to you on TV.

    Why do you think they spend so much time blathering about Hell in the first place? If they didn’t hope for such a consequence, and didn’t think it good, they would have found a way to write it out of their ideology.

    Logic FAIL. I can’t write it out of my ideology because it is right there in the text of my bible. It doesn’t follow that I think it is good–I hate the idea of hell. It simply doesn’t follow that if you don’t like it, you’d dump it. What would you even think that?

    Observing that some people in your camp sound and act like resentful sadists makes us “bigots?”

    When you don’t bother to say it is a minority, yes. At least it is suggestive–negative stereotyping (Christians delight in the prospect of the lost going to hell!) is certainly a symptom of bigotry.

  14. 14
    Michael Heath

    slc1 wrote:

    As usual, Heath’s opinions on the Middle East are fatally flawed by his visceral dislike of the State of Israel.

    On some issues you come across as absolutely insane. My post in no way opines on Israeli policy, it merely states a fact, Christians are leaving the West Bank, and provides a report of a horrendous argument, to the point it’s absolutely surreal, delivered by an Israeli ambassador. The fact this ambassador provided an incoherent response to 60 Minutes says possibly nothing about the cogency of Israeli policy on this topic, where I certainly didn’t comment on it.

    Here’s what i wrote in full.

    Worse yet, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. is making a horrific argument claiming anti-semitism as well. Last evening Sixty Minutes did a segment on how Israeli policy in the West Bank is leading to Christians moving out of the area. The ambassador had no argument to back-up his assertions, he just made his assertions with this look on his face as if he was about to start weeping at any second. He even asserted the segment was fundamentally flawed prior to and during his interview, and therefore prior to its broadcast. One of the strangest interviews I’ve encountered.

    Please slc1, for the sake of your sanity, blockquote exactly what it was I wrote that has me opining on Israeli policy. And at least unconsciously you probably already knew I never opined on Israeli policy because you didn’t bother to blockquote what I wrote, you created your charge out of thin air which as noted above, has no content from me making an argument one way or the other regarding Israeli policy on this matter but instead criticizing a person.

    I bet you posted your comment prior to even watching the segment. If you had watched you’d realize this ambassador didn’t really express any reaction we can tie back to Israeli policy, instead it was just a vacuous interview with a guy seemingly on the verge of bursting in tears. Here’s my opinion – this guy’s got some personal problems, whether they’re related to Israeli policy, and whether I’d support or disparage that policy, I have no idea.

    I’m certainly not going to judge a country’s policies based on the fact one of their officials appears to have personal problems.

  15. 15
    Michael Heath

    slc1 wrote:

    The exodus of Christians from the West Bank gained momentum at the time of the Oslo Accords as they rightly feared the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in an independent Palestinian State.

    Please provide a citation which empirically validates there is a causal relationship between the two rather than some other motivating factor. This sounds like a talking point by a partisan to me.

  16. 16
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #14

    I didn’t watch the segment as I haven’t turned on my TV set for some 2 years. I download and watch movies on my computer instead.

    The Israeli ambassador to the US is an asshole, as is his boss and as is Bibi. However, the notion that Israel is responsible for driving Christians out of the West Bank is totally false, unless one is going to make the argument that signing the Oslo Accords was responsible.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    heddle to me:

    So you’ve said..a gazillion times.

    Do you concede what I report as facts are true? I know a couple of years ago you claimed the rise of the religious right and their influence in politics was not true in spite of dogmeat, myself, and others providing what I think is convincing evidence: voting patterns, surveys, legislation, lobbying efforts, sources of financial support for certain initiatives, etc. – as conceded by every single expert I’ve encountered. And not just convincing from an empirical perspective, but self-evident to anyone who merely follows politics in the news. It’s not like conservative Christians rely on being effectively covert, their efforts are predominately transparent and their motivations overtly stated – even when they initially attempt to be covert (just can’t help it).

  18. 18
    Nick Gotts

    I, like most Christians, hope for the return of Jesus. That does not mean we hope for the consequences of those who do not come to Christ. – heddle

    I hate the idea of hell. It simply doesn’t follow that if you don’t like it, you’d dump it. What would you even think that? – heddle

    Since you worship the (fortunately imaginary) being you believe will have people tortured for ever, the thought of Hell clearly doesn’t bother you that much, your frequent protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. They just make you look like a hypocrite as well as a worshipper of infinite evil.

  19. 19
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #15

    Please provide a citation which empirically validates there is a causal relationship between the two rather than some other motivating factor. This sounds like a talking point by a partisan to me.

    For Heath’s information.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/04/a-couple-of-notes-about-christians-jews-and-muslims/256251/

  20. 20
    Michael Heath

    heddle writes:

    It is one of the myths of anti-Christian bigots that we take delight in the thought of the lost being tortured.

    As a long-time follower of critics of conservative Christians, like Ed and his commenters, I’ve rarely encountered people who’ve described the population of Hell-believing Christians as taking, “delight in the thought of the lost being tortured.” Certainly criticizing such people when they demonstrate such delight would in no way justify the label of bigot, where I’ve encountered both. In addition such bad form by misrepresenting Christians in general is a mere atom of a speck relative to the board in the eyes of Hell-believing Christians who also celebrate the existence of the Christian god.

    I currently conclude you’re using this rhetorical device as a way to avoid your inability to reconcile the fact you celebrate such evil while humanity predominately demands and enjoys a far higher standard of objective morality and behavior from us, in spite of the fact we humans are not even close to being all-powerful or all-knowing. I concede I may be wrong regarding your motivation, this is how it appears to me.

    And back to your original point we do understand that conservative Christians have a disproportionate number of adherents who are right wing authoritarians, where this population is disproportionately inclined to lack empathy towards those they perceive as not being in their group. So while such behavior may not be an attribute of conservative Christians, they certainly display such evil more often than others who aren’t RWAs.

  21. 21
    heddle

    Michael Heath,

    I know a couple of years ago you claimed the rise of the religious right and their influence in politics was not true

    Please point out where I stated “the rise of the religious right and their influence in politics was not true” so that I may utterly recant my own statement.

    KG,

    the thought of Hell clearly doesn’t bother you that much,

    And you know this how? Is this with some sixth sense that only the more highly evolved humans known as the pharyngulytes have? So in addition to their uber-rationality and minimal three-sigma IQ it is also true that they can determine, remotely, what bothers the little people?

  22. 22
    Nick Gotts

    And you know this how? – heddle

    I’ve already told you: because you continue to worship the being you believe created and maintains the place; and what’s more, you make a point of letting everyone know that you worship that vile monster, infinitely worse than Uday Hussein.

  23. 23
    Michael Heath

    heddle writes:

    If Uday Hussein actually put people in meat grinders, as it is alleged, then I’ll shed no tears at his torment.

    If your theology is true, there’s a chance based on your theology that Uday Hussein could end up in Heaven while those he ground-up suffer eternal punishment. In addition, I find your position evil; not just immoral, but outright evil. How can you be so un-empathetic when it comes to eternal torment per the type asserted in the Bible? Have you ever considered the concept of eternity? How can you justify turning a blind eye to a human’s sins in this life being so grave as to justify eternal torment?

    Now to be clear heddle, I in no way find you to be evil; it’s your position which is clearly evil. That you take a position strongly suggests you’ve avoided sufficiently confronting the implications of what the Bible promises when it comes to the type of punishment being promised coupled to the concept of eternity. I’m not surprised since I’ve never encountered even one Hell-believing Christian who has ever confronted this topic and remained a believer in Hell, in spite of it being a core part of their dogma.

    I have encountered Christians where such consideration was a factor in their realizing the Bible is contradictory in terms of its described nature of God, which required something to give and so they conceded such a god with the positive attributes described in the Bible disqualified God from being the type to condemn anyone to an eternal hell.

  24. 24
    slc1

    Re Heddle @ #21

    What is a 3 sigma IQ?

  25. 25
    Nick Gotts

    I’ll help you with an analogy, heddle, since you find comprehension of the point so difficult. Suppose there were a Uday Hussein Fan Club, and you were a member of it, and furthermore, made sure this fact was widely known. Would I not be justified in concluding that, at the very least, you do not find the thought of torture particularly troubling? I would not need some special sixth sense to reach that conclusion, would I? Now by your own account, the god you worship intends to subject people to eternal torture. Why should I not make the analogous deduction?

  26. 26
    Michael Heath

    slc1 writes:

    I didn’t watch the segment as I haven’t turned on my TV set for some 2 years.

    There’s no need for a TV to watch 60 Minute segments reported after they’re broadcast. Here’s the link to subject segment: http://goo.gl/2z79M . I have no opinion on the cogency of the report presented here. My conclusion posted above was solely about the Israeli Ambassador’s surreal interview.

    slc1 writes:

    . . . the notion that Israel is responsible for driving Christians out of the West Bank is totally false, unless one is going to make the argument that signing the Oslo Accords was responsible.

    Well, the Sixty Minutes report convincingly falsifies your assertion here since some did leave due to Israeli policy as shown on the broadcast. That finding by Sixty Minutes doesn’t necessarily mean Israeli policy is the predominant factor Christians are leaving; I don’t recall Sixty Minutes providing any compelling evidence of such. So right now I’ve got you obviously lying about what I wrote and obviously lying about why at least some Christians leave while Sixty Minutes presents a reason which lacks compelling evidence. So I’ll remain on the fence due to a lack of evidence.

  27. 27
    heddle

    KG,

    I’ve already told you: because you continue to worship the being you believe created and maintains the place; and what’s more, you make a point of letting everyone know that you worship that vile monster, infinitely worse than Uday Hussein.

    There is no because. There is no logic that demands “you worship god therefore you love everything he does.” I know you (and Heath) wish that to be inescapable–but you don’t get to claim it, as a matter of convenience, and ergo it is true. Even the super-race of pharyngulytes must respect the laws of logic, and there is no logic that demands that I love everything god does or create. There is plenty I do not like, starting with the Fall. And I don’t like that the forgiveness of sins requires the shedding of blood for reasons that are never provided. And I don’t like hell. And your insistence that I must like it “because” is asinine.

    Michael Heath,

    If your theology is true, there’s a chance based on your theology that Uday Hussein could end up in Heaven while those he ground-up suffer eternal punishment.

    I wouldn’t bet the farm that Uday Hussein is in glory–but yes God will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy so it is possible. The thief on the cross makes your case.

    In addition, I find your position evil; not just immoral, but outright evil.

    Yes, so you have also said gazillion times.

    How can you be so un-empathetic when it comes to eternal torment per the type asserted in the Bible?

    I am not un-empathetic– as I said the thought of hell, in general, is abhorrent. However in the extreme case of a monster like Uday Hussein (if he was indeed as bad as the stories suggest–which is doubtful–but for the sake of argument) I would, as I said, not shed a tear.But for the legions of unbelievers who lead normal lives–in many cases much more moral than my own–it repulses me to think of them suffering eternally.

    I’m not surprised since I’ve never encountered even one Hell-believing Christian who has ever confronted this topic and remained a believer in Hell, in spite of it being a core part of their dogma.

    Well here I stand and I can present you with many others. You can only maintain your position if you simply, without evidence, assert that I have never confronted the topic.

    I have encountered Christians where such consideration was a factor in their realizing the Bible is contradictory in terms of its described nature of God,

    I would be interested in reading their exegesis. I predict, not matter how carefully concealed, that they will bring something extra-biblical into their view of the the nature of god–something that makes god more like they think would be, if they were god.

  28. 28
    heddle

    slc1,

    What is a 3 sigma IQ?

    Three standard deviations above the mean–or a minimum 145 IIRC.

  29. 29
    Nick Gotts

    And I don’t like hell. And your insistence that I must like it “because” is asinine. – heddle

    I didn’t say you liked it, liar. I said it doesn’t bother you that much. Nor did I say, liar, that because you worship your god, you must like everything you believe it does. I said that I concluded that Hell did not bother you that much because you continue to worship its founder and proprietor – and to make a public show of this worship. It is very telling that your only response is a complete distortion of what I have said, accompanied by insults aimed at Pharyngula. (Which, incidentally, don’t bother me at all. I enjoy the company and conversation at that blog, I greatly admire some of the regulars while regarding others as tedious and limited in intellect, but I don’t identify with it to the extent of feeling slights against it as slights to myself. You, on the other hand, are quite evidently obsessed with it.)

  30. 30
    Michael Heath

    Me earlier:

    Please provide a citation which empirically validates there is a causal relationship between the two [SLC1's, "exodus of Christians from the West Bank gained momentum at the time of the Oslo Accords"] rather than some other motivating factor [like Christian Arab claims they're leaving due to Israeli policy]. This sounds like a talking point by a partisan to me.

    slc1 writes:

    For Heath’s information.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/04/a-couple-of-notes-about-christians-jews-and-muslims/256251/

    Where in that piece is your point corroborated? All I see is red herrings pointing to other events beyond one bald assertion by one reporter known to be biased to the point of being repeatedly refuted on the facts, where Jeffrey Goldberg’s assertion doesn’t even cover the recent past. I also have long had a subscription to The Atlantic and therefore know Mr. Goldberg is, unfortunately, as trustworthy as George Will discussing climate change.

    Mr. Goldberg is the man who in 2002 falsely asserted there was a close relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda and also falsely asserted that Hussein had biological and chemical weapons and was close to having nuclear weapons. This is your evidence? Here’s a cite on validating Goldberg’s claims, from the man himself: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/03/25/020325fa_FACT1 . So excuse me for relying on an assertion alone from this one person, if he’d referenced a legitimate study, sure I’d have considered it, but he didn’t and his word obviously means squat.

  31. 31
    heddle

    KG,

    I didn’t say you liked it, liar. I said it doesn’t bother you that much.

    Now, now don’t get in a rage–you can always sooth your ego by going to pharyngula and declaring victory.

    I stand by my statement. Your own words

    I concluded that Hell did not bother you that much because you continue to worship its founder and proprietor

    are not substantively different from “I like hell because I worship god.” Granted, there can be a big difference between “doesn’t bother me that much” and “like,” but I think an unbiased reader would be comfortable with my reading and not infer that you were being nuanced.

    Especially since you wrote:

    the thought of Hell clearly doesn’t bother you that much, your frequent protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

    You would have a stronger case if my frequent protestations were that hell doesn’t bother me that much. But my protestations are consistently that I do not like the concept of hell–I find the concept abhorrent. If my protestations are hypocritical, as you also stated, it is fair to conclude that you have indeed suggested that I like the concept of hell.

  32. 32
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #30

    I haven’t watched 60 minutes for some 25 years and have no intention of starting now.

    As for Mr. Goldberg, the fact that he was wrong 10 years ago about something which almost everybody else was also wrong about is unimpressive. He made the mistake of believing the Bush Administration’s big lies. Since Heath, by his own admission, voted for Bush twice, he too was taken in by the lies.

  33. 33
    Michael Heath

    heddle responds:

    Please point out where I stated “the rise of the religious right and their influence in politics was not true” so that I may utterly recant my own statement.

    Well first off I’m glad you now acknowledge this. I’m surprised you don’t recall and now need a cite since so many of our debates, I’m guessing at least a dozen if not dozens, revolved around the topic of the existence of an influential conservative Christian political base, with you refusing to acknowledge such back then and below as I present here.

    I searched Ed’s old blog using the following key words in this order and then chose the first hit: heddle dogmeat heath survey poll. In the below linked-to blog post thread I asserted conservative Christians and their interpretation of the Bible is what harms gay rights and when challenged this was true you would not acknowledge this group provided the votes and justification to persecute gays in spite of being repeatedly challenged on the point. I only present some of those challenges to heddle in this post, I present all the relevant responses I found heddle making, if I missed one or more it was inadvertent – it’s a very long thread. Because of a two-link limit I’ll do a quick overview of this blog post thread and then post two links to specific comment posts inside that thread which validates the above assertion I made which was challenged.

    Someone brought up Christians wedded to Old Covenant laws, you made the case they don’t apply – basically your theology shared by some other Christian denominations. I noted that while some certainly hold your point, that millions of [politically] conservative Christians don’t, at least when it comes to public policy, and their voices and votes dominate the public square in their obstruction to denying gays equal rights.

    So here’s the post linking to my comment post:

    I know your [heddle's] argument on why these [Old Covenant prohibitions about same-sex practices] don’t hold, that’s beside the point. The point is that these passages exist, many Christians believe these passages should [sic] interpretated [sic] in their plainest sense, and you failed to consider them when disputing healthphysicist as if no competing argument even existed.

    heddle’s response in that same linked comment post:

    Ahh, the old “some Christians interpret them that way, therefore who cares what you say, as long as we have the counter examples that fit our bumpkin stereotype– one that we can kick around and make fun of and cause their heads to explode” argument.

    My direct response further down the same linked thread:

    Not merely some heddle, Christians who dominate the conservative political landscape on social issues, like gay rights. Who provides the dominant argument in the public square justifying our denial of gay marriage rights heddle? You are acting like Fox News, Pat Robertson and his media outlets, James Dobson, et. al don’t exist. You are arguing as if there is no dominant socially conservative group getting their beliefs from the OT that deny evolution and fight to keep our schools from adequately teaching it. Your ‘no true Scotsman’ argue continues to make you appear to be a denialist of unbelievable proportion on the issue of what conservative Christians who bring their beliefs into the public square actually believe and how that affects all of us.
    We had a popular ’08 candidate, Mike Huckabee, with a decent shot in ’12 actually argue we should amend the Constitution to better abide by biblical law where given other arguments he makes, clearly means OT as well.
    You are the minority or outlier within inerrant Christendom heddle, to argue we’re wrong on this defies reason. I’d argue outlier given the enormous amount of financial influence SW Michigan Calvinists have on the nation’s social conservative movement where they too rely on the OT for the positions they want to impose on all of us, even when it denies equal rights for all.

    heddle doesn’t directly respond to the core point [though he justifiably questions whether he's an outlier or minority]; so I once again directly challenge him:

    Do you deny that Christian dogma is the primary justification used to deny gay marriage, both by the populace and our politicians?

    heddle’s response, which validates the assertion heddle challenges me with in this blog post, where I emphasize the core point in italicized bold::

    Of course, since I do not think that orthodox Christian dogma has anything to say about whether or not the state should legalize gay marriage. I think the state should legalize gay marriage because it is not a biblical issue, not in spite of it. Precisely because it is not a Christian dogma I can simply turn to politics where my support for civil rights allows me to support the legalization of gay marriage. Now I do believe is that there is a significant population of homophobes, some of them no-doubt sincere Christians, who will co-opt Christian doctrine to justify their bigotries–much like others did in the past with slavery. I also believe (or rather know) that there are large numbers of conservative Christians who don’t care about gay marriage (and who believe that the NT does not condone slavery.) I also know that I know, personally, a large number of conservative Christians, and more of them are of the latter viewpoint than the former. By far.

    Since this could be construed other than a refusal to accept this group exists and is powerful, I restate the challenge again:

    We are talking about the population of conservative Christians. And it can’t be merely “some” to get the numbers they get to move the body politic. No one but you argues that conservative Christians aren’t the primary force denying gays their right to marry – by their votes, by what they publish, by their special interest groups, and by providing the biblical mandates and justification to oppose gays.

    Ed then scolds us for going off-topic . . .

    We then get into a discussion about definitions, “conservative Christians”, “religious right”, Christianists etc. I note the conservative preceding Christians is a political label, not a religious one, so its equivalent to “religious right” except more descriptive.

    As best as I can tell, it’s a really long thread, the above last quote from heddle is what we’re left with when it comes to his being challenged on how conservative Christians / the religious right dominate politics. We get an argument that somehow the social conservative block who consistently votes social issues predominately dissipates on gay marriage where non-conservative Christian homophobes covertly, hidden from pollsters and political scientists, pyschologists ,and sociologists, magically replace them in nearly the same numbers they vote other issues, along with a claim the very Christian dogma used by conservative Christians is another ‘no true Scotsman’ argument, heddle’s comment, “I do not think that orthodox Christian dogma has anything to say about whether or not the state should legalize gay marriage.

    Do clearer examples exist since this isn’t a vivid example, merely the first retrieved? I’m confident there are, especially since in that same thread I noted how this was once again heddle making a ‘no true Scotsman’ argument plus my memory of such debates. But this is time-consuming work so I’m content using this one and happy if heddle or someone else provided another relevant example.

  34. 34
    Michael Heath

    I wrote earlier:

    . . . I’ve never encountered even one Hell-believing Christian who has ever confronted this topic and remained a believer in Hell, in spite of it being a core part of their dogma.

    Heddle responds:

    Well here I stand and I can present you with many others. You can only maintain your position if you simply, without evidence, assert that I have never confronted the topic.

    You’ve never demonstrated you’ve confronted the topic, including in this thread when given the opportunity to to do so. The question isn’t whether you like the idea of Hell as you assert here as if that confronts the point, that’s child’s play and avoids the moral dilemma. The challenge is how you justify celebrating a god so evil he promises eternal torment to more than two people.

    And KG’s point about a Oday Hussein fan club is a good one. I can understand someone submitting to such a god because they believe the Bible is true, but I’ve yet to see anyone justify a celebration of a such a god. You bring up Oday Hussein as an example of someone so depraved they deserve our contempt, I agree; but KG’s point that your god promises infinitely worse can’t be credibly shrugged off as you do here while maintaining the same moral standard, or any defensible moral standard for that matter.

  35. 35
    Michael Heath

    Me earlier:

    I have encountered Christians where such consideration was a factor in their realizing the Bible is contradictory in terms of its described nature of God,

    heddle responds:

    I would be interested in reading their exegesis. I predict, not matter how carefully concealed, that they will bring something extra-biblical into their view of the the nature of god–something that makes god more like they think would be, if they were god.

    I’ve encountered two different types, one personally and the other through surveys. I suspect both use the same rationale. The ones who personally make such a claim still belong to denominations who preach the existence of Hell, they just refuse to believe it and claim they believe the Bible was inspired by God but was written by men, where some passages promote human ideas and motivations. Some have migrated to another denomination, e.g., Catholic to Congregationalist.

    The polls show the same, where we observe people from biblically inerrantist denominations, even evangelicals, who not only have abandoned belief in Hell, but also inconsistent with their denomination’s doctrine, believe many non-devout Christians will also be saved.

    While I’ve read a couple of Spong’s books several years ago, perhaps more than a decade ago, I don’t recall if he ever believed in Hell prior to making a case it’s not true. So I don’t recall any theological argument emanating out these decisions, instead it was people starting to critically think a bit and deciding their own reasoned conclusions trumped what the Bible asserted in some cases while making claims about the nature of God which they thought refuted the idea of Hell. The handful of stories I’ve been told kept their reasoning at a remedial level, I concluded they were motivated to avoid the repugnant feelings they encountered thinking about the nature of such a god, but not enough to take on other theological topics that risked their position within their respective community of believers. The people who changed denominations did so after moving from one town to a distant town where the devout Catholics in their family also died-off prior to their migration.

  36. 36
    Michael Heath

    slc1 writes:

    As for Mr. Goldberg, the fact that he was wrong 10 years ago about something which almost everybody else was also wrong about is unimpressive. He made the mistake of believing the Bush Administration’s big lies. Since Heath, by his own admission, voted for Bush twice, he too was taken in by the lies.

    I was a public and ardent supporter of John Kerry in 2004, I’ve never claimed to have voted for W. in 2004. And yes, those egregious lies by Jeffrey Goldberg systemically validate his inability to be trusted. And again, Goldberg merely asserted something from several years ago, he never actually attempted to refute Israeli policy is causing some West Bank Christians to recently leave, nor did he provide a cite. He did rely on some rhetorical fallacies, mostly red herrings, to insinuate such; which validates his 2002 dishonesty continues. You appear to be committed to your narrative regardless of the reality you have absolutely no evidence supporting it, but still are wedded to believing it.

    Do you least concede your rant about my supposed opposition to Israel was based on nothing I wrote but instead some other inner motivation which continues to have you misrepresenting my position on Israel? Do you wonder why you repeatedly do that to a whole host of commenters here, even when it’s undeserved?

  37. 37
    democommie

    Religion, not goin’ there, no sir.

    SLC1 asks, “Re Heddle @ #21: What is a 3 sigma IQ?

    And I just blurt out that it’s prolly 666, then heddle sayz it’s like 145 and higher. Yay, that’s me!!

  38. 38
    bones

    It sounds like he’s using the terms ‘Jews’ and ‘Israel’ non-interchangeably, as fundies often do. ISRAEL is the ‘people of God’ which now includes Christians, according to fundies; JEWS are the swarthy little Dead Sea pedestrians that don’t pray to Jesus. ROMANES EUNT DOMUS!

  39. 39
    heddle

    Michael Heath,

    You are being silly. Your statement was

    I know a couple of years ago you claimed the rise of the religious right and their influence in politics was not true

    You have not found anything to substantiate your claim–nor will you because I never made it. Only a fool would claim that the religious right had/has no influence in politics. And I would be double the fool to deny it given that I have bemoaned the influence of the religious right on my own blog.

    I knew exactly what argument you referred to, and it was never, ever a debate concerning whether the religious right had influence in politics. Your statement is flat-out wrong. The debate that we had was more or less on whether there was a silent majority of conservative Christians who were not very political. And, to a lesser extent, whether some non-Christians can co-opt Christianity to claim support for a socially conservative agenda. Regardless of whether or not I was right or wrong–it wasn’t even close to a denial that the religious had substantial influence in politics. You blew it completely.

  40. 40
    Raging Bee

    First heddle says:

    I can’t write [Hell] out of my ideology because it is right there in the text of my bible. (As if neither you nor any other sect ever wrote stuff out of your ideology that was “right there in the text of their bible.”)

    But then you say:

    When you don’t bother to say it is a minority, yes.

    So make up your mind — is Hell written inextricably into your beliefs, never to be questioned or removed? Or is it a minority position that most Christians feel they can ignore and still think they’re in God’s good graces? If other people can kick the Hell stuff to the curb, then you bloody well can too; and you can be held responsible for refusing to do so.

  41. 41
    Nick Gotts

    heddle the liar,

    I didn’t say you liked it, liar. I said it doesn’t bother you that much.

    Now, now don’t get in a rage–you can always sooth your ego by going to pharyngula and declaring victory.

    I stand by my statement. Your own words

    I concluded that Hell did not bother you that much because you continue to worship its founder and proprietor

    are not substantively different from “I like hell because I worship god.” Granted, there can be a big difference between “doesn’t bother me that much” and “like,” but I think an unbiased reader would be comfortable with my reading and not infer that you were being nuanced.

    So you admit there “can be” a big difference. This in itself is dishonest: there is a big difference, liar: one asserts that you have a positive attitude to hell, the other, the one I chose because it expresses what I meant to convey, that you do not have a strong negative attitude to it. I note also that you confirm my point about your obsession with Pharyngula.

    Especially since you wrote:

    the thought of Hell clearly doesn’t bother you that much, your frequent protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. [your emphasis]

    You would have a stronger case if my frequent protestations were that hell doesn’t bother me that much.

    Here you’ve simply ceased to make any sense at all – often the case when liars try to defend their lies. If your frequent protestations were that hell doesn’t bother you that much, then I would not need to make a case at all, would I, liar?

    But my protestations are consistently that I do not like the concept of hell–I find the concept abhorrent.

    In other words, that it bothers you a great deal – exactly what I am contesting, on the grounds that if it did, it would be impossible for you to worship its founder and proprietor.

    If my protestations are hypocritical, as you also stated, it is fair to conclude that you have indeed suggested that I like the concept of hell.

    No, it is not, because I have not suggested that, liar. In fact, I did not say your protestations are hypocritical; I don’t know whether they are or not, you may simply be fooling yourself – something you appear to be very good at, as evidenced by your risible repeated claim that the only possibilities are that you are “nuts”, or that Calvinism is largely true. I said they make you look hypocritical, which they do, liar.

  42. 42
    Michael Heath

    heddle to me:

    You blew it completely.

    I disagree, I’m comfortable with the fact you’ve continually argued that conservative Christians have not been the predominate driver of social policies and other insane positions the Republican party now takes. To the point that when I’ve attributed those policies’ base support predominately to conservative Christians, you’ve either implied or directly asserted I was a bigot for disparaging an entire group, claiming this was not a quality of this group when in fact we empirically know it is (with some exceptions of course).

    The fact you do it in the very post I found and refuse to own up to it after I validated such is disappointing.

  43. 43
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #36

    They say that nothing is more devastating to an opinion then a number. OK, here’s some numbers.

    Israel is the only Middle East nation where the Christian population has grown in the last half century (from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today), in large measure because of the freedom to practice their religion.

    The Christian population declined 29 percent in the West Bank and 20 percent in the Gaza Strip from 1997 to 2002. By contrast, in the period 1995–2003, Israel’s Arab Christian population grew 14.1 percent (see also CAMERA’s December 24, 2004 report after a NY Times story that also got the facts wrong).

    http://blogs.jpost.com/content/bob-simon-cbs-throw-jews-lions

    Now, of course, Heath will add Yisrael Medad to Jeffery Goldberg in his list of liars.

    By the way, 60 Minutes is notorious for hiring Jewish Israel bashers like the late Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, and Bob Simon. They belong to a select company which includes such notables as M. J. Rosenberg, Noam Chomsky, and Norman Finkelstein.

  44. 44
    Michael Heath

    More evidence:

    It seems you want to make villains of all conservative Christians and simply declare that those who don’t fit your mold are numerically insignificant. It’s not true.

    And no, I’ve never attempted to make “villains of all conservative Christians”, but instead to point out the general attributes of the population which we encounter from the religious right. This was only the second link I skimmed validating the claim you never denied the rise of the religious right. However I do see a pattern here, I point out this group’s attributes and you attempt to disclaim their attributes by claiming not all are like this and therefore such a general characterization of the group is not true, where no one ever asserted there are no exceptions.

    So I’ll concede your pedantic point that you never claimed there is no rise of the religious right. But I do assert you’ve continually claimed they’re not representative of conservative Christianity in a way that has you avoiding any personal culpability for the enormous harm they’ve done to humanity. I also continue to assert you’ve long attempted to rebut this group defines conservative Christianity in the public square, in spite of the fact few groups in the public square act in such a consistently monolithic manner in terms of their financial contributions, voting patterns, rhetoric, and issue positions.

  45. 45
    Raging Bee

    Israel is the only Middle East nation where the Christian population has grown in the last half century (from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today), in large measure because of the freedom to practice their religion.

    Did the Christian population grow because greater religious freedom caused them to have lots more babies? Or did it grow because of selective immigration policies that allowed people of the “right” religions to come and enjoy “religious freedom” (while fleshing out their precious settlements)? (And which sects of Christianity are we talking about here, anyway?)

    By the way, 60 Minutes is notorious for hiring Jewish Israel bashers like the late Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, and Bob Simon.

    By the way…citation, please? You sound like a Republican reflexively labelling all liberals “anti-American.”

  46. 46
    slc1

    Re Raging Bee @ #45

    It would appear that Mr. Medad is referring to the Arab Christian population in Israel; thus the increase in that population would be due to the birthrate being slightly above replacement level. The only immigrant Christians living in Israel are associated with the various churches or educational institutions there.

    As for the claim of Israel bashing, back when I used to watch 60 minutes, I found Safer to be a two fisted Israel basher. Several commentaries on Wallace in the Israel media, that were published after his demise, pointed out his record in this regard. Apparently, Simon is a newcomer to the Israel bashing fraternity, as evidenced by his one-sided report which is at issue.

  47. 47
    Raging Bee

    A jump “from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today” is entirely due to births, not immigration?

    Oh, and when I said “citation, please?” I meant CITATION (as in, you know, actual quoted instances of unwarranted Israel-bashing), not just repetition of your original unfounded assertions.

  48. 48
    eric

    A bit behind the times, but…Heddle @13:

    Well maybe the people that they hate–but we are moving the goalposts aren’t we? That’s far different from saying they delight in the generic “lost” being tortured. If Uday Hussein actually put people in meat grinders, as it is alleged, then I’ll shed no tears at his torment

    Like Heath @23, I find your position horrendous. If you believe in a god with the power to fix people, there is simply no rhyme or reason for endless torture. I guess technically, there is no rhyme or reason for any punishment at all from such a god, but if you take ‘an eye for an eye’ to trump ‘turn the other cheek,’ then there’s at least justification for limited punishment.

    And your own position in this post, Heddle, undermines your earlier argument against the claim that there are Christians looking forward to watching people burn in hell. The only premise we have to assume is that there are Christians in the world who – for irrational, emotional, or other reasons – feel towards other people the way you feel towards Uday, and we can conclude that some or even many Christians do relish the show that hell provides. And that, I think, is a fairly reasonable assumption.

  49. 49
    Raging Bee

    eric: the actual desire for eternal punishment of people Christians consider “bad” or “unsaved” or whatever, is pretty much built into the entire idea of Hell itself. If you believe in an all-powerful all-knowing God who created EVERYTHING, including Hell and the mechanism that gets certain people there after they die; and if you believe this God is good and everything he does is right, good, and error-free; then that leads inevitably to the conclusion that the eternal punishment of certain people in Hell, at God’s discretion, is good. And once you’ve taken that step, then saying “but we don’t actually ENJOY that thought” is totally meaningless at best, and a lie at worst. And why do you think anyone would convert to a religion that preaches eternal punishment of unbelievers in the first place? Because they enjoy the thought. One of the reasons I dumped Christianity is because I most certainly do NOT enjoy that thought. Duh.

    If you don’t enjoy the thought of Hell, that’s probably because in your own heart you really don’t think it’s right, or consistent with your idea of a good God. Which means either you really don’t think it’s something a truly good God would do, or you’re willing to believe your morality is invalid because there’s something God understands and you don’t. And if you believe the latter, then you open yourself to the possibility that God really isn’t as wise or good as you in your fallible mortal state think he is. (And if you pretend ignorance of such an important part of God’s plan while lecturing others about God, and/or calling yourself a priest, disciple, or spiritual leader, then you’re also a fucking hypocrite. Hell is too important and basic a thing to be hazy about.)

    The only way you can believe in both Hell and a good God, is by assuming that God did NOT create Hell, and can’t control who gets in or out, but can only run after us and pluck us out of a danger he can’t actually control, like the Coast Guard pulling people out of a turbulent sea. And I’m pretty sure heddle, and all the Christians he claims to represent, worship the God who created the sea and made it stormy, not the much punier Coast Guard (or Kevin Costner vanishing into the sea and mysteriously rescuing people at random years later).

  50. 50
    slc1

    I’m not quite sure what the issue with Oday Hussein is. Since he is a Muslim, he is certainly destined for the hot place according to the Heddles of the world, regardless of his actions during his lifetime.

  51. 51
    Michael Heath

    Raging Bee writes:

    . . . you open yourself to the possibility that God really isn’t as wise or good as you in your fallible mortal state think he is.

    Not just that, but also that the biblical god isn’t all that bright, emotionally mature, emotionally intelligent, lacking in junior management skills let alone executive ones, or very good at communicating. In fact I’d argue the most spectacular communication failure of all time is how the biblical god attempts to convey his existence, nature, desires, and predictions; especially when we consider the best method available to actually understand objective truth, the scientific method.

    Bob Altemeyer’s research on why some young people leave fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity attributes this emergent understanding of a defective god within these young people when they’re still teenagers. Another key factor he’s found is that the constant crowing about truth in their faith community’s indoctrinal practices actually causes these young developing apostates to legitimately value the truth far more than the general population of all humans, which in turn causes them to actually analyze dogmatic fails and in spite of being mere teen-agers, falsify much of the claims due to contradictory evidence or illogical assertions which contradict others.

    I think it’s being lied to by authority figures when one is young enough you don’t have control of who has access to you that causes so many young raised-to-be-fundie atheists to be so angry. The road to emotional maturity requires growing out of this. That can be difficult given we observe conservative Christians more fiercely committed than ever to abusing both their own children and others.

    The cycle of abuse continues and given the rise of more home-schooling and private fundie/evangelical schools, far more harmful than it was decades ago when at least these kids had the public schools as an oasis of sanity – if the fundies had no influence. Though in many cases the fundies did have influence or even control the local schools – which was true in my case even prior to the so-called Moral Majority’s more systemic and successful effort to get fundies to take control of local public school boards which started around the time I was graduating from high school in the late-1970s.

  1. 52
    The Riviera Times

    The Riviera Times…

    [...]Robertson’s Bizarre Screed on Anti-Semitism | Dispatches from the Culture Wars[...]…

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