Mikey Gets Email


The avalanche of disgusting emails to my friend Mikey Weinstein continues to flow. I’m almost jealous. Why don’t I warrant these kind of incoherent screeds as often as he does? I’m an asshole activist too!

hey kikey whinercrybabystein give it up already jewboy. your MFRR is just a bunches of queer lesbians and homos, kikes, sand nigger lovers and athiests, feminazis and hollywood spineless commies and of course totaly fake Christians. Who are not really true servints of Christ. You don’t think we know this? your wife is made a pathitic cripple with no chance and your nasty spawn children are a disgrace to Christian America. And its Chrisitan army and military forces. which gave them and you there free education also. you jews just love that ‘free’ dont you kikey? Just like pigs to filth and garbage. its over for you all now. All of you are just fuel for the hellfire. You just don’t know it yet. your family and children and mfrr are just snakes and vipers. Jesus has already sentenced you all to hell (Matthew 23:33). There is no escape for you and your works of evil. Our Lord and Savior knows your demon plans.

Notice the pattern of these emails almost always involving the most vile anti-Semitism? That’s not a surprise.

Comments

  1. raym says

    All of these inspirational tracts appear to be created using the same basic recipe, but with different mis-spellings thrown in as added spice.

    They all help to convey a warm fuzzy feeling about christianity.

  2. GibberishWord1 says

    “hey kikey whinercrybabystein”

    Funny how these letter writers always seem to be middle school students.

  3. garnetstar says

    I guess that the writer, not being a “kikey jewboy”, *didn’t* love the “free” in free education, and so sent his kids to private schools for $40,000 a year each.

  4. Michael Heath says

    Most Hell-believing Christians would argue they predominately don’t wish others eternal hell-fire and therefore this guy is not representative of Christianity. They’re right; but the reality still remains this guy’s wish for others to suffer eternally and the Christian celebration of a god they believe will punish some eternally is close to morally equivalent. That fact is one Christians are predominately too cowardly to authentically confront, I’ve yet to see one do so while assuming a handful must exist.

  5. Couldn't think of a decent nickname says

    Try posting under the name Ed Braytonstein, that should be enough to fool this morons and get you your fair share of their love letters.

  6. Larry says

    All of these inspirational tracts appear to be created using the same basic recipe, but with different mis-spellings thrown in as added spice.

    I think there is a MS Word template you can use. It has a random word mis-speller and the finest random letter capitalizer in the business. No brain-damaged, racist fuck should be without it.

  7. slc1 says

    I’m sure that Prof. Heddle will be along to declare the email’s author to be no true Scotsman.

  8. Yoritomo says

    Standard template:

    Hi, antisemitic slur, your organization is pathetic. Also, I insult your wife and children. America is a Christian nation. More antisemitic slurs. You will burn in hell (Bible quote). Bad things will befall your family and co-workers. [Sprinkle with typos.]

    What is it with Weinstein’s family? They don’t even work for the MRFF, do they?

  9. says

    Ah, True Christian Love™ but really it should be in Comic Sans.

    Try “Ed Braystein” or better yet “Edwina Braystein” and watch the insults pour in.

    It’s Judeo-Christian only when they want to co-opt the mantle of historical respectability from ancient Judaism. Otherwise, it’s True Christian ‘Mercan.

  10. tfkreference says

    If Clippy were still in MS Word, he’d pop up after “hey kikey” and say, “I see you’re writing a hate letter, do you want some help?” and turn off the spellchecker.

  11. tfkreference says

    @John P: think of a group of people who predominantly live in desert areas and are hated by these loving Christians as much or more than they hate African Americans. (And the Christian military has been trying to kill for the past 10 years.)

  12. noneedforaname says

    I wish I got emails like that. I need some artwork on my wall. That shit’s worth framing.

  13. slc1 says

    Of course, the commenters are laughing at the moron who wrote the email but it should be noted that such people can be dangerous, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Weinstein has to hire a bodyguard.

  14. says

    slc1,

    I’m sure that Prof. Heddle will be along to declare the email’s author to be no true Scotsman.

    You pavlovian-vomit this type of response on almost every one of Ed’s posts of a Christian behaving badly. As an aside, I think one of that most jackass comments people make are of the “cue so-and-so in 3, 2, 1…” variery. WTF? Is it really satisfying to predict that someone will comment on a topic that they have, in the past, demonstrated a passion for? I don’t get it.

    That aside, I challenge you to show where I have ever said about anyone “they are not a True Christian.”

  15. had3 says

    I don’t know, but suspect that those activists on the other end of the political spectrum from Mikey, never get this type of hate-filled email. If my suspicions are true, that too tells us a lot about their supporters and detractors.

  16. had3 says

    Heddle, you raised a good point that raised a question in my mind: what do you define as a true Christian, and are there non-true Christians? Just curious. Thanks.

  17. says

    has3,

    what do you define as a true Christian, and are there non-true Christians? Just curious. Thanks.

    I always let Jason Rosenhouse of evolutionblog fame answer that. He said (I paraphrase) If someone said “I am a Christian; I believe Elvis was the Christ” then we would not (most of us) regard him as a true Christian.

    The point being (which Rosenhouse acknowledges but many of his fellow atheists deny) is that there is some minimal set of doctrine that anyone claiming to be a Christian must accept–it goes beyond the mere self-identification as such.

    And another point–all one can do is choose whether to regard a person as a Christian. One cannot see his heart.

    I have said many times I do not regard Fred Phelps as a Christian. I would not treat him as one. I would not serve him communion. If he was a member of my church I would push for excommunication. Whether or not he actually is a Christian, well that I don’t know and can never know this side of the river.

  18. ArtK says

    @ heddle

    … is that there is some minimal set of doctrine that anyone claiming to be a Christian must accept–it goes beyond the mere self-identification as such.

    Ok, I’ll bite. What is that minimal set of doctrine?* Who determines what that set is? What large groups of self-identified “Christians” does that set include and what large (say, 100,000 people or more) groups does it exclude? I’m looking for a Lemon Test-like rubric so that I know who is a Christian and who isn’t.

    (* And please, please, please try to avoid what it seems all the other “Christian” groups do and define it as “what I believe in.” We’re looking for objective criteria from outside the group.)

  19. jjgdenisrobert says

    What keeps me up at night is that those are the people currently in charge of the US military… Think about that for a minute. And if you think it’s just some thick-necked private, I refer you to Lt Gen Boykin (ret.) for a dose of reality.

  20. matty1 says

    Judeochristian means “I am an overtly Christianist political activist who wants votes/donations from Jewish people”. It has little if anything to do with Judaism or even those Christians who don’t fit a particular political pigeon hole.

  21. left0ver1under says

    That “writer” of that idiotic diatribe is lowbrow that he can only see his feet when standing up.

    He spends more in a year on bandages for his dragging knuckles than I do for my gym membership.

  22. oranje says

    @tfkreference:

    “Is this a business hate letter or a personal hate letter?”

    Actually, making a template would be another good step in my diabolical plan to take all of these people’s money. Add that to my to-do list, alongside getting a WND column and an adjunct professorship at Liberty University or something. Really, we could spawn an industry off of their stupidity.

  23. coffeehound says

    My kingdom for a bigot who can spell.

    W.F. Buckley Jr., where are you when we need you?

  24. matty1 says

    Defining Christian, well I’m not one but I’ll have a go (Warning long and possibly incoherent post as i think out loud)

    Christianity is a family of beliefs, we recognise Christians because their stated views resemble that family more than any other. However there are not fixed criteria that everyone I would call Christian shares rather a series of overlapping similarities.

    Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_resemblance

    Or we can look at it this way, imagine a hypothetical person who acts as our starting point for defining Christian (you have to start somewhere), lets call him D.

    DH regards certain things as key to his Christianity

    -Addressing prayers to someone called Jesus
    -Believing that Jesus lived, died and came back to life in 1st Century Judaea
    -Attending a Church every Sunday
    -Believing the Bible contains no errors
    -Trying to forgive people who wrong him
    -Making donations to a Church fund

    Now we’ll introduce two more people A and B

    A
    -Addressing prayers to someone called Jesus
    -Trying to forgive people who wrong him
    -Attending a Church every Sunday

    B
    -Believing that Jesus lived, died and came back to life in 1st Century Judaea
    -Believing the Bible contains no errors
    -Making donations to a Church fund

    Now I think it is possible to make a case that A and B are both Christians even though they don’t have a single one of the defining characteristics in common, they are linked by their resemblance to D. If I was in the mood I could go on to extend this to Christian linked by their resemblance to A or B who had nothing in common with D but you get the idea.

    How much resemblance does it take, well there probably isn’t a fixed percentage but if someone resembles people another group normally considered incompatible with Christian (say atheist) more than Christians we can probably exclude them.

    And that is how you identify Christians without either relying or self identification (at least after our first D) or requiring that all Christian must meet a fixed standard.

  25. says

    ArtK,

    Ok, I’ll bite. What is that minimal set of doctrine?* Who determines what that set is? What large groups of self-identified “Christians” does that set include and what large (say, 100,000 people or more) groups does it exclude?

    There are no objective criteria. Rosenhouse’s example, like the proverbial gal who will do it for a million bucks, sets the precedent. Where the line is drawn is personal. Nobody gets to set the standard.

    For me, fwiw, I set the doctrinal line in the sand at affirmation of the Nicene creed. Of major groups claiming the mantle of Christian, the means I do not regard Mormons or JWs as Christian. But there is also a behavioral standard–by their fruit you will know them. It is on that basis that I refuse to regard someone like Fred Phelps as a Christian.

    And again I don’t really know about any individual person, be they Baptist, Mormon or atheist. It is only a question of who I will treat as a Christian.

  26. cptdoom says

    Interestingly Jackie Mason is participating in an anti-Obama telethon today, along with such luminaries as Herman Cain & Victoria Jackson, as well as the typical laundry list of anti-gay hatemongers. Apparently Jews are also ok if they hate the same people as you.

    As for defining a “Christian,” in addition to heddles mention of the Nicene Creed, I was taught in Catholic school that true Christians could also trace their religious tradition back to the early church. That means that mainline Protestants like Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians count, but Baptists, Christian Scientists, Seventh-Day Adventists and non-denominational evangelicals are SOL. Mormons are part of a “pseudo-Christian cult” and I am not sure where the Quakers fall. Of course the Roman & Orthodox churches count – those are the only non-heretical options.

  27. islandstrust says

    Hello! New reader here. At this rate, I’ll end up reading all the ftblogs.

    Any chance you could post a link to what this is about? Google reveals a lot of Mike Weinsteins.

  28. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    But there is also a behavioral standard–by their fruit you will know them. It is on that basis that I refuse to regard someone like Fred Phelps as a Christian.

    I would argue this standard effectively fails, that it creates an impossible paradox no one I’ve encountered meets. How can someone both celebrate a god who promises to punish eternally while also demonstrating authentic love and grace for others as also demanded by certain passages of the New Testament? To celebrate a god who promises to punish celebrate is to act out an incredibly high level of evil, not believe or submit to, but to celebrate.

  29. edmundog says

    Islandstrust – Welcome to the site. The Mikey Weinstein referenced here is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a multi-denominational group that protects the religious rights of all military members. This has earned him the enmity of Christian supremacists. Now that you know his organization, your Googling should be much easier.

  30. slc1 says

    Re Had3 @ #21 and ArtK @ #23

    I believe that Prof. Heddle, in a previous comment on another thread, has defined a necessary condition for being a believing Christian, namely that one must accept the physical Resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth. I don’t think, however, that he considers that a sufficient condition. On this basis, I would think that he agrees with me and our host and disagrees with Heath that Thomas Jefferson was not a believing Christian.

    Re Heddle @ #19

    Ah, the good professor, as always is entirely predictable.

  31. jayarrrr says

    I believe this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of Heddle’s writings, and all I can say is that it’s the same chrome-plated “Oh, *HE* is not a RealChristian(tm) because it embarrasses me that he says he is and besides, he’s not a member of my denomination…” stuff I read from all the Scotsman Deniers.

    Granted, these mouthbreathers probably can’t even PRONOUNCE “Nicene”, much less spell it, but if you ask them, they’ll get all weepy-eyed with their testimony of how Jeebus saved them from alcohol, Meth, Pr0n, etc… And then tell you how their pastor, who graduated from the “Close Cover Before Striking School of Divinity and Taxidermy Institute” tells them how much Jeebus hates people who don’t love them some NASCAR.

    The point being, Heddle, if you don’t like being lumped in with these throwbacks who claim a kinship in Jeebus, why don’t *YOU* do something about them?

    Until then, i’ll just consider them your “Brothers in Christ”.

  32. slc1 says

    Re jayarrrr @ #41

    Just to introduce Prof. Heddle to Mr. jayarrrr, he has a PhD in nuclear physics and is currently on the physics faculty of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. The last I heard, he is also serving as the chairman of the mathematics department at that school. Take it from someone who has a PhD in elementary particle physics, there ain’t no mouth-breathers in the world of physics.

    As Mr. jayarrrr can gather, he’s a somewhat testy individual who reacts poorly to any criticism of Christianity.

  33. ArtK says

    @ heddle

    There are no objective criteria. Rosenhouse’s example, like the proverbial gal who will do it for a million bucks, sets the precedent. Where the line is drawn is personal. Nobody gets to set the standard.

    This contradicts your first comment in which you claimed that there “is some minimal set of doctrine that anyone claiming to be a Christian must accept” So is there a minimal set or not? In that post you further complained that atheists (other than Jason) don’t accept that such a minimal set of doctrines exist. Here I am, an atheist, willing to grant you that such a minimal set of doctrines does exist. So, what are they? How can I, an atheist, evaluate someone’s claim to being a Christian as being true or false? Do I have to depend on your assertion whether someone is a Christian or not?

    Further, you used the word “accept” originally, but then modified it to action. What actions define a Christian? If you can look at an action and say “that is not Christian,” can you explain how you come to that conclusion, so that I can come to the same conclusion? Or, is this like Justice Stewart’s statement about pornography? It’s hard to define but you “know it when you see it?” Not a very useful tool if it is.

    If the definition of a Christian is personal, why should I accept yours over someone else’s? How is that different than someone self-professing to be a Christian? Fred Phelps has a definition of Christian that includes himself and his family. Why is his personal definition wrong and yours right? You’ve just said that it’s personal and “nobody gets to set the standard.” Yet you set a standard in declaring Phelps to be no true Christian.

    Let’s take a concrete example here. You claim to be a Christian, as does the letter writer in the blog post. How can I, as an independent observer, decide which claim is true and which is false?

    If I were given the task of determining these minimal doctrines, I’d probably start with Jesus’ teachings. But then, nearly all self-professed Christians would fail. Have you given up all of your worldly possessions? (Or is that a requirement only for the extra-super-special Christians?) Frankly, I’ve met very few people who could truly say that they “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” Shall I become another Diogenes, searching vainly for a True Christian?

  34. steve oberski says

    @heddle

    I have said many times I do not regard Fred Phelps as a Christian.

    I regard both of you as true christians.

    I would not treat him as one.

    Good news for Fred. Would that you could apply that to the rest of the world.

    @slc1

    I was going to post pre-emptive heddle bait myself but in this weather it spoils too quickly.

  35. dogmeat says

    You pavlovian-vomit this type of response on almost every one of Ed’s posts of a Christian behaving badly. As an aside, I think one of that most jackass comments people make are of the “cue so-and-so in 3, 2, 1…” variery. WTF? Is it really satisfying to predict that someone will comment on a topic that they have, in the past, demonstrated a passion for? I don’t get it.

    Heddle,

    What I found amusing is that it was SLC, they guy who will defend any policy of Israel no matter how horrific and argues that anyone who doesn’t advocate for an “Islamic final solution,” or “lobbing a few nukes into Iran” as viable Middle East policies is an anti-Semite, called you out. Blew the hell out of my irony-o-meter.

    The point being (which Rosenhouse acknowledges but many of his fellow atheists deny) is that there is some minimal set of doctrine that anyone claiming to be a Christian must accept–it goes beyond the mere self-identification as such.]

    I have to cry “foul” here a bit Heddle, over the years we’ve disagreed regarding what constitutes an Atheist, you’ve argued that simple self identification means you’re an Atheist. Now you require greater standards for your classification of Christian. That seems like a rather significant double standard, and more than a bit hypocritical.

  36. iangould says

    “Why don’t I warrant these kind of incoherent screeds as often as he does?”

    I believe the answer to that question can be found in the secord word of the current message.

  37. iangould says

    I’d like to know the rational basis for regarding Mormons as Christians and Muslims as non-Christians given that both groups regard Christ as a major religious figure while disputing the standard western Christian view of him (i.e. neither group regards him as an eternal and equal component of a unfied God), both revere the Jewish prophets and teach that their adherents should live by the Ten Commandements and both insist on the validity of additional supplementary Scriptures created after the first century.

    The obvious difference is that Joseph Smith had access to the Old and New Testaments nd accepted them in their entirety (subject to his own interpretations) where Mohammed seems to have relied on oral accounts of the events of the Old and New Testaments and contradicts them at various points.

    (For example, the Muslim version of the flood is positively sane when compared to the biblical version: the flood wasn’t world-wide it only affected Mesopotamia. “Two of every kind” applied only to domestic livestock. There were 72 people on the ark most of them unrelated to Moses so their greatgrandkids didn’t all end up with six toes and degrees from Liberty University.)

  38. says

    Is it bad that I’ve seen enough of these horrible letters to the MRFF that the first think that jumped to my head when I read that was “Wait, aren’t snakes and vipers the same thing?”

    Good on the MRFF though. They wouldn’t be doing their jobs right if they didn’t get vile, ignorant bullshit like this.

  39. dingojack says

    Damn, late for the party!
    I was going to wonder how long it would be before SLC declared Mikey not really a Scotsman, but dogmeat beat me to it!

    Heddle – are Copts Christians?
    Dingo

  40. shockna says

    The point being (which Rosenhouse acknowledges but many of his fellow atheists deny) is that there is some minimal set of doctrine that anyone claiming to be a Christian must accept–it goes beyond the mere self-identification as such.

    There are no objective criteria. Rosenhouse’s example, like the proverbial gal who will do it for a million bucks, sets the precedent. Where the line is drawn is personal. Nobody gets to set the standard.

    These statements seem to contradict each other; if there is a minimal set of doctrine, acceptance of which is necessary for being a Christian, but nobody can set up an objective list of criteria (e.g. that the “minimal set of doctrine” is subjective to each person), how is that any different from not having a minimal set of required doctrine?

    If that’s the case, then why would the Elvis worshipper have any less credibility than the Jesus worshipper? After all, the line is personal, and nobody gets to set the standard.

  41. says

    Elvis worship is every bit as valid as Jesus worship. More, as Elvis really was the King.
    In His name, we’re all shook up. Uh huh. Thang-yuh very mush.

  42. conway says

    I have no king but Lawler!

    Emails like that are fun and funny. But I once wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper about the foolishness of religion. A couple of days later a hand-written letter very similar to that was left in my mailbox. No stamp. No address. How he got my address, I don’t know. It would have been scary if my attitude wasn’t, “Bring it.”

  43. ArtK says

    Is it really satisfying to predict that someone will comment on a topic that they have, in the past, demonstrated a passion for?

    It’s certainly amusing when someone predictably enters with the same logical fallacy every time. It’s hilarious when they try to deny that logical fallacy with the same muddled logic and circular reasoning each time. The passion just adds spice to the mix.

    Try “Yes, the world looks at this guy (the letter writer) as a Christian and his bad behavior reflects badly on Christians everywhere. We, as the people tarred with his brush, need to do more to change this.” Simply denying that he’s a Christian is refusing to take any responsibility. [i]You[/i] are a representative of the religion that this man is using to justify his hate, yet all you can do is hand-wave and say “he’s not really one of us.”

  44. dingojack says

    Ah yes, but:
    ‘Oh and while the King was looking down,
    the Jester came and stole his thorny crown’
    (Don McLean told me so)…
    Dingo

  45. steve oberski says

    @Modusoperandi

    I just had a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich in His name.

  46. iangould says

    There is certainly far more evidence for the resurrection of Elvis than for the resurrection of Jesus.

  47. iangould says

    Then too, there are those who believe that Elvis was not just The King but The King of Kings.

  48. oranje says

    iangould says:
    …their greatgrandkids didn’t all end up with six toes and degrees from Liberty University.

    And now there’s orange juice on my keyboard. Well done.

  49. says

    As an atheist, I won’t get into who is a “true” Christian, but the other day I read in my local paper on Long Island, Newsday, of a Christian woman who told the man who killed her husband in a drunk driving accident that she forgives him. I would say she is a Christian in the most decent and noblest sense.

  50. says

    I see the “true Christian” debate as an exercise in semantic futility, not because of Heddle’s position, but because Christianity could not be more clearly a social construct. Well into my lifetime, many protestants did not regard Catholics as Christians. Many people who call themselves Christians today don’t consider Mormons Christians, but Mormons seem to think they’re Christians. Many people who think of themselves as Christians don’t consider Jehovah’s Witnesses or Adventists to be real Christians and, from what I’ve heard, the attitude is mutual. And for many who call themselves Christian, the belief is that fundamentally, no one knows the truth of what is in someone’s heart, i.e. only God knows for sure if you’re a Christian.

    So the definition of Christian used by those who would say that the email author is a Christian has no more substantive reality than Heddle’s claim that the author isn’t a Christian. In fact, I’d say that anyone who believes they are a Christian can lay claim to believing, rightly or wrongly, that there is, somewhere, some actual substantive reality that defines a real Christian, even if people calling themselves Christians might disagree about what that is. But if you don’t believe in God, then there is no basis for belief in a substantive reality behind the definition of a Christian.

    We use the word Christian for practical purposes in everyday conversation, but when it comes down to case-by-case judgments of who is and who is not a Christian, it’s my definition versus yours definition, versus hers, versus his, because it is a social construct about which there is considerable disagreement. This is why I regard the argument as futile.

  51. says

    steve oberski “I just had a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich in His name.”
    May He soon return in His Pink Cadillac for the Great Comeback Special and bless you by shooting your TV. Amen.

  52. slc1 says

    Re dingojack @ #51

    I was going to wonder how long it would be before SLC declared Mikey not really a Scotsman, but dogmeat beat me to it!

    Huh?

  53. anubisprime says

    Christians everywhere must be so proud of this little trooper.

    He must have encapsulated their righteousness so well they do not have to correct or add a single statement!

    Know them by their works…indeed!

  54. says

    I’d just like to point out that this is why Orthodox Jews get all worked up about those who muddle the definition of “Jewish”. For centuries, a Jew was the child of a Jewish mother OR someone who went through a rigorous conversion process. That’s it.

    I admit that there may have been some minor disputes over various conversion practices in different communities (Jews are notoriously judgmental of other Jews), but overall the rules were pretty plain up until the middle of the nineteenth century. Then the Reform movement began and everything got unbelievably messy.

    Orthodox Jews, though, haven’t changed their tune on this one. And given the nature of this conversation, it’s easy to see why.

  55. slc1 says

    Re jonathankrivitsky @ #66

    The orthodox of whatever faith never change their tune about anything (that’s why there are still YECs around). As Martin Gardner put it there is no ox like the orthodox.

  56. jerthebarbarian says

    ArtK @43 –

    Here I am, an atheist, willing to grant you that such a minimal set of doctrines does exist. So, what are they? How can I, an atheist, evaluate someone’s claim to being a Christian as being true or false? Do I have to depend on your assertion whether someone is a Christian or not?

    I don’t think that this is something that a believer can answer and heddle has shown exactly why. He believes that there is a minimal set of doctrines that a Christian must believe in order to be accurately called a Christian, but he doesn’t actually know what that minimal set is. It’s like Stewart said of pornography – “I know it when I see it”.

    Religious folks take it on faith that there is some minimum standard of “Christian-ness” to be considered a “Christian”. But like so much else about their religion there is no actual evidence that this minimum standard exists. And this makes sense – because IF there was a minimum standard by which a believer had to acknowledge that another believer was a Christian, then what the hell’s up with all of the OTHER stuff that goes beyond that “minimum standard”? For example, if the minimum standard for a Christian is a belief in the Nicene Creed, then why do Protestant Christians need the Bible at all?

    Heddle even phrases it this way – there is no objective standard but HIS standard is (list of things he considers Christian to be). Well that’s fine. MY objective standard is that if someone calls themselves a Christian I take them at their word because there isn’t a definitive checklist of doctrine and behavior that marks someone as a Christian vs. a non-Christian. It’s a meaningless term as Heddle himself points out EVEN TO CHRISTIANS. Which is why terms like “Roman Catholic” or “Methodist” or “Mennonite” or “Calvinist” or even “Evangelical Protestant” are much more meaningful when talking about “Christians” because at least there’s some kind of goddamn consensus about what those terms mean.

  57. ArtK says

    @ Dr. X and Jer

    That’s sorta my point. Heddle arrives, declaring that “X isn’t a Christian” and even complains that atheists won’t acknowledge a “minimum set of doctrine” that define a Christian, but then cannot describe that minimum set. It just highlights the fact that there isn’t any such set.

    But my real point is in the last part of my comment @ #55. It’s not the futile attempts to define Fred Phelps and others as being “not Christian,” but using those to avoid addressing the actual problem — people bearing the mantle of Christianity while acting in an objectively bad way.

    @ Heddle

    Until a comment above, I hadn’t realized your academic credentials. Tell me, how would you grade a math student who gave you a proof that started out “there exists a minimum set of X,” then refused to state which X were in the set and which were out, then later said “really, there are n sets of X where n approaches the number of human beings ever to live”?

  58. slc1 says

    Re jerthebarbarian @ #68

    As I state above, Prof. Heddle has identified a necessary condition for labeling someone a believing Christian, namely the requirement that one must accept a physical Resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth. He submitted this opinion in response to a question from me as to whether Prof. John Haught of Georgetown, Un. could be considered a believing Christian. Prof. Haught’s testimony at the Dover trial for the plaintiffs could be construed as accepting a visionary Resurrection as opposed to a physical Resurrection.

  59. Doug Little says

    Heddle,

    Off topic but I have to ask since you popped up in this thread. What do think of the news from CERN? Do you have any take on what it means to particle physics and where it will take us going forward. Also I have been looking around but I haven’t found a good explanation on what will be gained or what the target physics is once the LHC ramps up to it’s full design energy. I did notice that they are going to extend the run this year before the big 2 year shutdown to try and pin down some of the properties of the new boson (Higgs?). Maybe Ed can give you a guest post on the topic or something.

  60. slc1 says

    Re Doug Little @ #71

    As Bob Park, who is a physics professor at the Un. of Maryland opined several years ago, it would be a tragedy if the only result to come out of the LHC was discovery of the Higgs boson.

    It is hoped that experiments that can be performed there might provide insight on the nature of dark energy and dark matter. In addition, hope is held out that some experimental result might provide insight into the string hypothesis, particularly relative to the multiple universe hypothesis. Note that I referred to strings as a hypothesis. As we sit here today, it would be incorrect to refer to it as a theory as, so far, no testable hypotheses have come out of it. It might be best described as a branch of mathematics which may or may not have application to physics.

  61. dugglebogey says

    Also notable for the Rush Limbaugh coined term “feminazi.”

    This is Rush’s audience. I hope he’s proud of all his “real” Americans.

  62. KG says

    There are no objective criteria. Rosenhouse’s example, like the proverbial gal who will do it for a million bucks, sets the precedent. Where the line is drawn is personal. Nobody gets to set the standard.

    For me, fwiw, I set the doctrinal line in the sand at affirmation of the Nicene creed. Of major groups claiming the mantle of Christian, the means I do not regard Mormons or JWs as Christian. But there is also a behavioral standard–by their fruit you will know them. It is on that basis that I refuse to regard someone like Fred Phelps as a Christian.

    And again I don’t really know about any individual person, be they Baptist, Mormon or atheist. It is only a question of who I will treat as a Christian. – heddle

    Heddle here is admirably clear, and does not appear to be claiming any special authority to say who is a Christian and who isn’t. Give credit where it’s due, people.

  63. birgerjohansson says

    Heddle, I approve that you do not condone the bats*it-crazy bigots. Unfortunately, there is probably no objective criteria for separating the theology of bigot asshats from the theology of more enlightened christians.

    The truth is, everyone assumes God would be OK with their own personal interpretation, and ignore any scripture that appears to counter their own beliefs

    (this is not really an issue in Scandinavian countries, since the default culture of believers and non-believers alike is what ‘merkuns would consider “liberal”, that is, tolerant but having little love for violence, or violence apologists*)

    *no slapping children, for instance.

  64. birgerjohansson says

    BTW, I would like some famous arsehole (Fred Phelps, for instance) to write a letter damning me for being a communist-nazist atheist satanist, preferably with bad spelling. I would have it framed, and put in a prominent place.
    — — — — —
    Those letters might just be the result of a random letter generator, inserting catchphrases to create the appearence of an intelligent operator. Maybe you guys should write such a program and charge the dimwits for its use…

    Yours
    Birgerstein

  65. dingojack says

    SLC – could you please post a guest blog explainong all of this? It would be very much appreciated [just stay away from Iran, Israel and pedophiles :) ]
    Dingo

  66. slc1 says

    Re dingojack @ #77

    Unfortunately, I don’t feel competent to discuss these issues in any detail without a considerable amount of boning up. However, the FTB blogs does have someone who is, I believe, competent to present such a discussion, namely Prof. Mano Singham who is a professor of physics at Case Western Reserve Un. in Cleveland, Oh. Perhaps we can prevail upon Ed Brayton to give us a guest blog from Prof. Singham on the subject.

    In lieu of that event, I would recommend to anyone interested to mosey over to Phil Plait’s blog on the Discovery network or Ethan Siegel’s blog on the Scienceblogs network, both of whom are astrophysicists, where there are numerous posts on the subjects of dark matter and dark energy. In fact, Prof. Siegel has a couple of recent posts on the Higgs boson which I am going to read shortly, describing why we should care.

  67. Doug Little says

    slc,

    It is hoped that experiments that can be performed there might provide insight on the nature of dark energy and dark matter. In addition, hope is held out that some experimental result might provide insight into the string hypothesis, particularly relative to the multiple universe hypothesis.

    Yes I understand that, I’m more interested in the details, what would they exactly be looking for? What result would they be expecting for say supersymmetry? I understand that they found the Higgs particle indirectly by comparing the results of the collisions within the experiments to what they would expect theoretically without the Higgs and looking for excesses in certain decay events.

    I’m wondering now that they probably needed to nail the Higgs first including its properties before they can get further and look for other things. My assumption is that they probably need take the Higgs into account and then look at the collisions to see if there is anything else going on. I’m probably wrong on that, but I haven’t found a good source of info that explains exactly what they would be looking for or how they would go about doing it.

  68. slc1 says

    Re Doug Little @ #79

    To tell Mr. Little the truth, I’m not at all sure as to what kind of experiment could be performed to give insight into dark energy, dark matter, or string theory. I recall reading several months ago that, with the super high energies available from the LHC, there is speculation that somehow insight into these topics might be forthcoming.

    Off the top of my head, one possibility is that the hypothesis that dark matter consists of WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) might be verified if they are produced as a result of the high energy collisions and can somehow be detected.

  69. Michael Heath says

    ArtK writes:

    This contradicts your first comment in which you claimed that there “is some minimal set of doctrine that anyone claiming to be a Christian must accept” So is there a minimal set or not?

    I agree with heddle that there has to be, e.g., Muslims are not Christians. I think an acceptable standard in the public square, as opposed to inter- and intra-denominational debates, is to acknowledge Christians who are:
    a) self-proclaimed Christians,
    b) who belong to religious denominations who proclaim themselves Christian and
    c) see the character of Jesus as a central part of their faith. [“character” since it’s possible for some Christians to acknowledge there is no evidence of even a human Jesus existing, let alone a resurrected human who was also God. That biblical Jesus character provides the channel to a relationship with God.]
    d) theists.

    When we start going further than that in the public square we begin to make easily destructed arguments, as slc1 does when he conjures up his own version of what is Christian which ostracizes millions of practicing Christians, past and present, e.g., Congregationalists, United Church of Christ congregants, liberal Mennonites, and Quakers for starters.

    For example, if we claim an evangelical is a Christian because their beliefs somewhat square with the Bible where they also believe all the supernatural claims, they still fail miserably when it comes to following even the simplest of the biblical Jesus’ edicts regarding how we treat each other. On the other hand the Congregationalists I know don’t believe in hardly any of the supernatural stuff yet are often exemplary in behaving as the biblical Jesus mostly argued we should behave towards others. So one group fails on faith, the other on works (with individual outliers of course existing). So running down this rabbit hole as slc1 likes to do, a hole he proudly dug on his own, has those of us following him disqualifying nearly every single Christian – at least all the ones I’ve met or encountered.

  70. Michael Heath says

    iangould writes:

    I’d like to know the rational basis for regarding Mormons as Christians and Muslims as non-Christians given that both groups regard Christ as a major religious figure while disputing the standard western Christian view of him

    Jesus plays a central role in the Mormon faith. While Muslims perceive Jesus as a prophet of God, he was not their prophet, Muhammed was. Jesus is not a central player in the Muslim faith but instead a peripheral character they acknowledge is central to other populations coming to know God.

  71. Michael Heath says

    jerthebarbarian writes:

    Religious folks take it on faith that there is some minimum standard of “Christian-ness” to be considered a “Christian”. But like so much else about their religion there is no actual evidence that this minimum standard exists.

    Given the lack of evidence and irrationality for Christianity, the problem beyond that is that there is no authority to set and defend such a standard.

  72. steve oberski says

    @Micheal Heath

    yet are often exemplary in behaving as the biblical Jesus mostly argued we should behave towards others

    gawd, I hope not.

    A quick perusal of the NT attributes all sort of vile ethical directives from the Jesus construct, such as hate your family to become his disciple, it’s okay to own and beat slaves, it’s more important to anoint him with precious ointment than to give it to the poor, anyone who denies his rulership must be killed, no matter how vile you have been during life if you but repent on your death bed it’s salvation for you.

    So then we’re back to using innate human values to decide which parts of the NT should be used to modify our behaviour.

    So these Congregationalists are just cherry picking the NT, assuming they have read it at all, rejecting the bad bits then adding a dollop of confirmation bias to come to the conclusion that they are getting their morality from the NT.

  73. Michael Heath says

    steve obereski,

    I’d appreciate your responding to what I actually wrote; rather than the strawman that you wished I’d wrote. E.g., avoiding my qualifier, “some”. Also your conflating passages attributed to Jesus with NT passages attributed to other biblical characters; where the context is Congregationalists who are not in any way inerrantists.

  74. says

    Michael Heath, you’re still wrong. Everybody knows that Jesus was for the Second Amendment, low taxes, a strong Defense, mandatory public school prayer, keeping black people away from voting machines, and [recently] no State assistance for untethered ladyparts.

  75. Doug Little says

    Off the top of my head, one possibility is that the hypothesis that dark matter consists of WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) might be verified if they are produced as a result of the high energy collisions and can somehow be detected.

    So I guess thy are just going to keep smashing protons together at higher and higher energies and see what kinds of excesses above background they get. Obviously they are only going to be able to detect what they can currently detect and then have to recreate the collisions. I do wonder if knowing the Higgs exists give them another tool to analyse the data differently. Also there are other experiments other than ATLAS and CMS. I wonder what they have found?

  76. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #81

    When we start going further than that in the public square we begin to make easily destructed arguments, as slc1 does when he conjures up his own version of what is Christian which ostracizes millions of practicing Christians, past and present, e.g., Congregationalists, United Church of Christ congregants, liberal Mennonites, and Quakers for starters.

    Well, our host and, presumably Prof. Heddle, agree with my argument as to who is not a believing Christian. Apparently, Heath has failed to deconstruct those arguments to their satisfaction. Heath disingenuously keeps dropping the word believing in believing Christian, which modifier makes all the difference. So I’ll say it again. Someone who rejects what Jefferson rejected, which I have cited ad nauseum previously, is not a believing Christian. Period, end of story.

  77. steve oberski says

    @Michael Heath @85

    Point taken.

    I was in the main addressing the biblical Jesus mostly argued part, contenting that in no way did he mostly argue for exemplary behaviour and that in no way is the bible, OT or NT, any sort of guide to moral behaviour.

  78. Michael Heath says

    slc1 writes:

    Heath disingenuously keeps dropping the word believing in believing Christian, which modifier makes all the difference.

    I’m not disingenuously dropping the word “believing” since I never took up that modifier. That’s your schtick and I find it redundant and quite frankly, childish. We are discussing people’s religions; so of course Christians who are Congregationalists and meet the other conditions I laid out earlier are in fact believing Christians. Adding “believing” doesn’t change that observation, it merely notes we’re talking about people’s religion rather than than their cultural identity, where the former is obvious given the context framing this thread.

    Earth to slc1: Christians don’t share the same set of beliefs regarding the divinity of Jesus. And they never have as far back as we can go back in time and compare beliefs between “believers”.

    slc1, what are devout Congregationalists who identify as Christians but don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus if not Christians as you claim?

  79. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #90

    I agree with Prof. Heddle. Someone who does not believe in a physical Resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth is not a believing Christian. Such an individual does not believe in one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity.

    However, let’s consider the case of certain Reconstructionist Jews who have partially rehabilitated Yeshua and consider him one of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, although rejecting any divinity claims on his behalf. In fact, their set of beliefs might almost have been written by Jefferson. Are they Christians too?

  80. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier to slc1:

    slc1, what are devout Congregationalists who identify as Christians but don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus if not Christians as you claim?

    slc1 avoids my question:

    I agree with Prof. Heddle. Someone who does not believe in a physical Resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth is not a believing Christian. Such an individual does not believe in one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity.

    so I’ll ask it again though reframe it to insure clarity in the question: slc1, what should we call devout Congregationalists who identify as Christians but don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus? I call them Christians, especially since the Congregationalist denomination encourages their members to have a wide continuum of differing beliefs; so what should I instead call them? I can think of no more accurate term than Christian.

    Also, an argument from authority on a matter where no authority exists, whether it be heddle or any other individual, is hardly compelling but instead strong evidence you can’t made a credible argument in defense of your position and therefore resort to rhetorical fallacies to prop up your lack of a credible argument.

  81. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #92

    Actually I did answer Heath’s question. The Congregationalists to whom he refers are Christians but not believing Christians. It would probably be more correct to add the modifier cultural but Heath apparently is allergic to that particular word. And to expand further, his hero Spong is a cultural Christian, not a believing Christian.

    I also note that, after erroneously criticizing me for not answering his question, he then declined to answer my question about Reconstructionist Jews.

    Here’s another one for Heath. How about the Jews for Yeshua of Nazareth movement, who accept everything that Jefferson rejected but steadfastly refuse to call themselves Christians, considering that the term has been, in their opinion, hijacked by heretics and apostates who make up the Christian churches as they exist today.

  82. says

    Michael Heath, et all, there is a single, simple, objective test to determine if some is a Christian or not: Is there a fish on the back of their car?

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