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Aug 08 2011

They will defend their debris to our death

I can’t say that I’m very keen on this lawsuit by American Atheists opposing the “9/11 cross” in some museum in New York; I can understand that in principle it’s promoting religion, and I look at that random chunk of steel that forms a crude cross and can see that it is abysmally stupid to consider it a holy relic, but man, if atheists have to police every single act of stupidity committed by the human race, we’re going to get very, very tired. We need to pick our battles better, and this one is just plain pointless.

Except for one thing: look at the response it generated when aired on Fox News. EIGHT THOUSAND DEATH THREATS from arrogant Christians. Here’s just a sampling.

I have a recommendation for American Atheists.

Back off on the lawsuit. Come right out and tell the world it’s your error, it’s clear the serious objections to memorializing a fragment of metal that has the simple shape of a cross will not be considered in a rational way, and instead point to these insane, hateful messages from Christians. Point out that you can step away from a divisive issue on the recommendations of many of your constituents, but that Christianity clearly has little to distinguish itself from the terrorists who committed the Trade Towers atrocity: religion turns people into ravening monsters who abandon common decency to defend their bogus tribal mythology.

That people can stupidly fall for pareidolia (and trivial pareidolia at that; that pieces of metal would be connected at right angles in a modern building has zero significance) is not a surprise or a major revelation. That they can defend their misbegotten perceptions with threats of murder and rape is a more important issue.

89 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    I argued with a few of the Christians on the ole Fox News article before they closed comments. It was infuriating for two major reasons besides the simple Christian “love” above:

    1) Separation of church and state isn’t in the Constitution
    2) The AA didn’t protest the Ground Zero Mosque and that’s the same thing

    *facedesk*

  2. 2
    GenghisFaun

    Sounds like an irony cross.

  3. 3
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Personally, I would say for the suit to go forward, until each and every death threat is publicly apologized for. Make them back down with their rhetoric. Then, and only then, drop the suit.

  4. 4
    slignot

    I’m so sick of people that pick and choose when they want to truly be American.

    See, this sounds just like a whole phalanx of Rethuglicans who believe that only Christians are Americans or have rights under the Constitution. Where do these people even fucking come from, and why is that when loving, kind Liars for Jesus like Bryan Fischer start saying this stupid shit, no one stops them?

    Moreover, these are the same people who are militantly anti-Muslims because they’re all “jihadists.” What do you think you’re proposing when you want to murder all atheists for not believing in your sky fairy?

  5. 5
    Le Havre en Chêne

    Nerd:

    You’d have to wait an awfully long time before that could happen!

  6. 6
    LegalAction

    You’re dead wrong here, PZ. For someone who argues against accomodationalists, I find your desire to back off here surprising. If we make a point of backing off controversies, then we’ll be left with the situation we have now.

  7. 7
    PZ Myers

    I’d agree with you, except that I don’t see this suit as having a chance of succeeding.

  8. 8
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You’d have to wait an awfully long time before that could happen!

    I know, but just asking them to publicly atone for publicly posted death threats would really create a news storm on the issue. And I think it would make the atheists look good, as they aren’t the one being mean with death threats. Especially, if after a significant number of public apologies (say 75%), the suit is dropped.

  9. 9
    Le Havre en Chêne

    LegalAction:

    It’s a pretty silly lawsuit – as far as I’m aware, the cross isn’t going to be anything like the main “attraction” in the museum and constitutes only part of a section that features memorials to all the ethnic and religious groups that were affected by the attacks. While AA are technically correct about it being a violation of Church and State, they probably need to pick their battles a little better, given how keenly the effects of 9/11 are still felt. No matter how they phrase it, it’s always going to be seen as an attack on “Americanism” and is pretty poor PR.

  10. 10
    Le Havre en Chêne

    Nerd:

    Fair enough, though there’d still be quarters who would maintain that the atheists somehow deserved it. I certainly agree with your point in principle, however.

  11. 11
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Yea. Pretty much what Le Havre said. This is not going to reflect at all well, but it’s different from the usual fight where we’ve got an actual point. This is not a public memorial based around a single religion. It’s a museum near the memorial grounds. IIRC there’s other artifacts they found in the rubble too that are other religious items.

  12. 12
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I certainly agree with your point in principle, however.

    Sometime you need to be noisy to get folks attention. And showing America how “Xians” give out death threats routinely just like jihadists, would get a lot of peoples attention. It isn’t the atheists fault they would be getting bad publicity. After all, the “xians” opened their mouths before thinking.

  13. 13
    Le Havre en Chêne

    And showing America how “Xians” give out death threats routinely just like jihadists, would get a lot of peoples attention.

    Definitely, potentially followed by a lot of “No True Christianing”. Alternatively, publish the death threats anyway, while still dropping the lawsuit, which I think is pretty frivolous.

  14. 14
    Cuttlefish

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2011/08/02/kill-the-atheists-2/

    Too late to do the right thing; they should have allied with non-christian (and even christian sects that don’t like this sort of thing) religious groups, and presented a united case. I doubt any group will want to join at this point.

  15. 15
    Glen Davidson

    Damn those Muslims with their inflammatory rhetoric.

    Oh, it’s Xians? Must be all right, after all.

    Glen Davidson

  16. 16
    LRA

    How very Christian of them!

  17. 17
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    But PZ, Christianity is all about LOVE!

  18. 18
    llewelly

    Backing down now would send the message that death threats worked.

  19. 19
    Alverant

    So not only are christians breaking the law, they are breaking the law to defend them breaking the law. What they’re doing should be considered terrorism. All the memorial has to do is accept other religious symbols and the lawsuit goes away. But no, elitist christians think their religion is the only one that matters and refuses to give equal time to others.

  20. 20
    Michael S

    At first, I thought the death threat reaction could provide a justifiable excuse to bow down out of the lawsuit.

    On the other hand, they also make me feel that much more angry about the topic. For those describing the lawsuit as an atheist’s PR nightmare, Fox’ urgent need to cover up this reaction sounds like a good reason to keep up the PR.

    It might be useful to consider that, as stupid as the threats are, they may still be coming from a sense of hurt and fear in those Xians. At the end of the day, it’s just a stupid, ignorant, hateful attack. On the other hand, the person working to bury these comments and keep focus on the evil atheists is very aware of what they’re doing.

  21. 21
    Freerefill

    I’m not one for accomodationism unless an argument is sound and reasonable, and in this case, legal… I can’t honestly say if I would continue this lawsuit; PZ’s suggestion of backing off and pointing to the death threats may score the atheist community some points, or at least show how hated we are. Still, the appeal of equality… I mean, if you want to put a cross up there, fine, as long as you put every other religious symbol. I mean, that’s freedom, right?

    So I don’t know… but on a more personal note, those comments send a shiver down my spine… I mean, these are real people who.. well it is the Internet so they may just be tripping… but the idea that they would murder another human being simply for disagreeing with them is truly frightening. And these aren’t fundamentalist nutjobs who are writing 1,500 page manifestos, these are average people, the kind of folks you’d run into walking down the street to get an ice cream.

    I don’t know what’s scarier… being mugged by a desperate, half-sane individual in a dark alley… or disagreeing with an armed Christian…

  22. 22
    beergoggles

    At this juncture if atheists backed down it would look like xtian terrorism worked.

    I would recommend that American Atheists find 2 steel girders that fell in a ‘/\’ pattern or perhaps one girder that was bent in a ‘L’ shape and just turn it 45 degrees clockwise and claim it as an A for Atheist and request it be included in the museum exhibit.

  23. 23
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Sorry, I don’t get this one. How is this any more a separation of church & state issue than having a religious painting in a gov’t funded art gallery? This is going into a *museum*, where religious artefacts belong, no?

  24. 24
    Alverant

    Ibis3
    Three reasons
    1) It’s the only religious symbol there
    2) Other religious symbols are not allowed
    3) By virtue of the first two, an unconstitutional preference for one religion over another is inferred.

    Look at the response, christians are so upset about having to share the spotlight with us heathens that they are making death threats. In their eyes, we’re “stealing” their victimhood.

  25. 25
    Daniel S

    How stupid can one be not to see the resemblance between threatening to kill (or calling for the deaths) of people only based on their religious orientation (or lack thereof) and the 9/11 attacks…
    Honestly. Either these people are either thoroughly and willingly retarded, or they are bigoted hypocrites. I don’t know which is worse.

  26. 26
    'smee

    Daniel S said

    Either these people are either thoroughly and willingly retarded, or they are bigoted hypocrites.

    Why either?

    These people are both thoroughly retarded and bigoted hypocrites.

  27. 27
    Horse

    Some of those accounts have to be trolls.

    For example, Sindy Clock’s FB addy is http://facebook.com/hopeyougetraped

    That couldn’t be real… I hope it isn’t real.

  28. 28
    PZ Myers

    The photo of what looks like a church choir is a nice touch to Sindy Clock’s facebook page.

  29. 29
    Non-Biblical Paul

    I don’t know, Professor Myers. What about the argument that religion is dangerous, and what is a bigger symbol of how dangerous religion is than the debris of the World Trade Center? Of all the messages we should have found in that rubble, what could be a more offensive message than the message that there is one true god who somehow cares about us because he shoved a t-section of i-beams into the rubble of a skyscraper (amongst countless other t-sections of i-beams) and waited for someone to happen upon it who had never seen what a crucifix actually looks like, and then relay upon that person to get his message across? It is extremely offensive, and if I had died in the WTC attack I think it would be even more offensive if that’s how people chose to memorialize me.

    Am I right in now assuming that the leaders of the atheist movement have quit the argument that religion is dangerous?

  30. 30
    Non-Biblical Paul

    *Relied, not relay. Sorry.

  31. 31
    Horse

    I still find it sickly amusing that people view this thing as a sign of hope.

    Looks like more of a calling card to me.

  32. 32
    ThorGoLucky

    So much vitriol over a symbol of a torturous execution device, and mix that with ritual eating of flesh, drinking of blood, and death threats against those that don’t follow such demonic nonsense. Echos of the Nazi Christians.

  33. 33
    Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM

    Is Bill O’Reilly going to claim that the Fox News viewers who called for the murder of atheists are not really christian?

  34. 34
    DangerousTalk

    I have written three articles on this whole 9/11 Cross thing and I support American Atheists on this one. Here is why:
    9/11 Cross: In opposition – http://exm.nr/pTMmGE
    ’9/11 Cross’ turns museum into church – http://exm.nr/nOxe4Z
    Christian death threats aimed at atheist – http://exm.nr/q5tpYJ

  35. 35
    Arcadia's ashes

    Daniel S @ 8 August 2011 at 9:10 pm and ‘smee @ 8 August 2011 at 9:18 pm

    May I ask you to please reconsider your use of “r*******”

    Firstly, it is a slur and secondly, people who are cruel and willfully ignorant are not the same as people with developmental disabilities more often than would be expected by chance.

  36. 36
    Francisco Bacopa

    The fundies want to kill us, but they know they can’t without facing criminal prosecution. This holds most of them in check. That is a sign we have triumphed.

  37. 37
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ Dan S.

    Hi Dan, good to see you here.

    …………………………….

    [The cross of jeebus]:

    Xtians really get their nickers in a knot about the cross. If only they could prove that the whole story was not just sucked out of someone’s thumb. Here is an posting by a christian researcher that contends there was likely no crucifixion and no cross. Link: http://www.exegetics.org/

    (My take: Crucified jeebus was likely derived from contemporaneous corn god ceremony (someone like Attis or even perhaps Apollo) but they screwed it up trying to use it as a vehicle for political propaganda. He should have been tied to a pole and flogged to death to ensure a good harvest. Xtians – know your history.)

  38. 38
  39. 39
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ Alverant #19 et al

    All the memorial has to do is accept other religious symbols…

    Here is a picture of the equivalent muslim symbol recovered from 911. (Perfect crescent shape is a sure sign of Allah’s mercy.) I wonder if this will also be on display soon.

  40. 40
    ss123

    If the Star of David formed from those I-beams I’d really be impressed…

    Anyhow, what is really dumb is that those people posting the death threats actually used their full names. Idiots.

  41. 41
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    Borked link at 38: Try this.

  42. 42
    The Lone Coyote

    ss123: Do you think there’s actually a remote chance of legal action being brought against them for their threats though?

  43. 43
    alex

    I’m serious: the bible freed me!

    ‘Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’ (Matthew 7:20)

    This quote opened my eyes back in the days when I was trying to get religious.
    I took the quotation seriously and started observing and thinking.

    This was the first step of many. It took me about 15 years to cure my insanity called ‘being religious’.

    Now I left all these lies behind me and it feels good!

    This bible quote was a real eye opener.

    Now applied to the raving comments of the cristians on facebook, you can clearly see how that tree spews seeds of hate.

    This tree is rotten to the roots.

    religion is a disease. poisoning and destroying life all over the world.

    Remember: Don’t hate these folks for what they are (doing). You are better than that.

    fight them with reason. it is our most powerful weapon.

  44. 44
    Sili

    Interesting how they think that killing an atheist won’t make a difference.

    We‘re the ones insisting this life is all there is. They‘re the ones who claim that something much, much better awaits.

    And yet they‘re the ones who’re notoriously afraid of dying.

    Wankers.

    Oh, and someone needs to slap Are-You-Kidding-Me Guy across the face.

  45. 45
    David Marjanović, OM

    Anyhow, what is really dumb is that those people posting the death threats actually used their full names. Idiots.

    Sue them all. Every single one of them, including the obvious trolls. A death threat is a death threat.

  46. 46
    amc

    Stuff like this makes me really proud to be an atheist. Jesus, give Christians enough nails and they’ll eventually (thankfully) crucify themselves.

  47. 47
    'Tis Himself

    Sue them all. Every single one of them, including the obvious trolls. A death threat is a death threat.

    Don’t sue them. Uttering an on-line threat is a criminal offense. Let the cops deal with them.

  48. 48
    tkreacher

    Yeah. I’m still fucking livid.

    I need help I’m so fucking mad.

    Anyone work at Greenpeace or an nonprofit that I can work for, and probably take over?

    Anyone?

    Email me, I’m fucking finished dealing with the general public, and can’t ever lie to people for money. Puts me in a tough spot.

  49. 49
    Carlie

    I think it depends on how the piece is displayed in the museum. If it were accompanied by text saying something like “the beams were twisted into many shapes; some members of one religion (Christianity) felt comforted that this beam melted into a configuration that somewhat resembles one of their symbols” I don’t think it would be a church-state violation so much as a tidbit of trivia.

  50. 50
    richard howland-bolton

    Freerefill

    but the idea that they would murder another human being simply for disagreeing with them is truly frightening

    Don’t you remember the history of xtianity? Or any other religion for that matter. That’s just business as usual for most of the buggers.

  51. 51
    Erulóra

    A lot of those sound like something a small handful of very devout religionists may have said on 9/10/01.

  52. 52
    DangerousTalk

    I wrote three articles on this topic. The first was on the death threats which I consider the more important article. The other two articles I support American Atheists.
    9/11 Cross: In opposition – http://exm.nr/pTMmGE

  53. 53
    trevindor

    Leave the cross alone. I honestly can’t think of a better shape for a pigeon shit receptacle.

  54. 54
    lordshipmayhem

    Frankly, no, PZ, they should not back down. It’s gone too far. As Pastor Martin Niemöller put it in 1946:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

    If we back down, then who is there to speak for reason against religious bigotry, especially when it is violently expressed?

  55. 55
    DesktopChair

    Those guys are idiots. I hope they get fucked sideways with a rusty knife.

  56. 56
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @DesktopChair:

    Now now. No need to advocate that kind of violence.

    Here we prefer they get fucked sideways with a Leica Rangefinder.

  57. 57
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Daniel S:

    Either these people are either thoroughly and willingly retarded, or they are bigoted hypocrites. I don’t know which is worse.

    False dichotomy.

    It’s a dessert topping and a floor wax.

  58. 58
    Twisty

    But Christianity is such a loving and peaceful religion!

    All they want to do is like, love us and save us. And shoot us, apparently.

  59. 59
    Erulóra (formerly KOPD)

    I’m tempted to change “atheists” to “infidels” and “God” to “Allah”, then forward this to some of my family and see what they think of it.

  60. 60
    lazybird

    All they want to do is like, love us and save us. And shoot us, apparently

    Tough love!

  61. 61
    'Tis Himself

    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort #56

    That’s the wrong Leica. The official, recommended by John Kw*k, Pharyngula Leica rangefinder camera is the M7.

  62. 62
    Ing

    Frankly, no, PZ, they should not back down. It’s gone too far. As Pastor Martin Niemöller put it in 1946:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

    If we back down, then who is there to speak for reason against religious bigotry, especially when it is violently expressed?

    Oh fuck off. It’s a piece of shitty art they’re including. It’s not cute when the Teaparty co-opts the Holocaust, raping the fucking corpses for their benefit, and it sure as hell isn’t cute when you do it.

  63. 63
    dean the bean

    Let’s see:

    1) Islamists fly jets into twin towers
    2) Towers collapse a short while later
    3) In the rubble is a section of structural steel that happens to look like a cross

    Now we all know this is coincidence, but I’m trying to parse the Christian mindset here. They seem to think, what, that somehow the cross says that Jesus is with them?

    If I was of a superstitious bent, I’d look at the cross and picture Jeezus saying “Pwned, motherf*ckers!”

  64. 64
    JoeKaistoe

    Every day I see this kind of thing in the US makes me glad I’m in a less fundamentalist country.

    I would hope that they would refer these comments to the police, and they would investigate them. Unfortunately, I would bet that most police agencies would likely either pass it off as harmless, or pass it off as justified.

    It would be sweet to have each of them have to appear in court to explain themselves. That alone might teach most of them that their actions have consequences.

  65. 65
    Ing

    @Dean The Bean

    Jesus will not save you, but he will send a Hallmark card afterward.

  66. 66
    Doctor Jonesy

    Does anyone know what other religious groups are saying about this? I mean groups that don’t recognise the cross as a holy symbol. Seems like it would be useful to have a range of people – theists and atheists – speaking up about the way Christianity is often over-privileged in society.

    With that said, in this particular instance, I find myself agreeing with PZ. I just don’t think there will be a rational response to this, no matter what arguments are used. Better to drop the lawsuit (and state exactly why) than to have AA become the common foe that people unite under. At this point, I imagine there are moderate Christians who might be fooled into thinking of AA as bullies – after all, what could possibly be so bad about such a positive symbol, right? In dropping the lawsuit and exposing the violent reactions of these commenters (and others like them), it’s possible that some moderates might start to re-think their assumptions.

  67. 67
    Kriss

    It appeared to me just recently how absolutely horrific it is to fantasize a story about someone being tortured to death and make the instrument of torture the symbol of a new sect.

    No wonder they are so aggressive

  68. 68
    The Pint

    I’m leaning toward agreeing with PZ on this one – the steel cross wasn’t constructed specifically for the exhibit, it was found in the rubble and if people want to interpret it as a Christian symbol, well, not everyone has to and that can at least be a point of discussion. It’s going to be one museum piece amidst many, not a prime focus.

    However, the sheer vileness of the response to AA’s suggestion that the 9/11 memorial is not the exclusive province of Christians and pointing out that there should be separation of Church and State must be pointed to over and over again to anyone who claims that Christianity is not violent and that atheists and non-Christians have no reason to feel threatened. “No True Scotsman” is not an acceptable excuse – anyone who identifies as Christian should be ashamed to share that label with lunatics like these and instead of making excuses, should stand up and loudly condemn them.

  69. 69
    Ulgaa

    It is illegal in most jurisdictions to make such threats, but due to the cost and sometimes difficulty in prosecuting, most law enforcement agencies will just write up a report and file it. Nothing more will come of it unless they have other charges to go along with it or if they actually do follow through with the threat. They list them as terroristic threat or criminal threat. Some places are just misdemeanors others are felonies.

  70. 70
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @dean the bean:

    I know you’re arguing the Christian mindset, so I’ll argue the rationalist mindset:

    1) Islamists fly jets into twin towers
    2) Towers collapse a short while later
    3) In the rubble is a section of structural steel that happens to look like a cross

    Rationalist answer: The entire freakin’ WTC skeleton was made up of sections of structural steel that look like crosses. It’s not anything special.

    However, some people found it to be comforting, so I’m not gonna rain on their parade. Some people find brownies comforting.

  71. 71
    CWayne

    Agreed. There is no point in this.
    The religious are quick to take offense, and oddly, lack empathy.

  72. 72
    CJO

    Here is an posting by a christian researcher that contends there was likely no crucifixion and no cross. Link: http://www.exegetics.org/

    That is not Samuelsson’s thesis at all. What he did was basically a massive survey of the ancient literature on crucifixion and related punishments and he found a great variety of practices subsumed under the words used in the gospels for “cross” and “crucifixion”: stauros and stauroun. His point is more or less that the gospels don’t go into enough detail for us to say that the traditional image of Jesus nailed to the separate crossbar attached to a tall pole is how it necessarily would have been done at that time and place, because the Romans (and their predecessors) applied the punishment of suspension on a stake or pole, with and without the crossbar, on an ad hoc basis and by a variety of means.

    In the Q&A at that site, he is very clear that he is a believing Christian (he is, in fact, a pastor) who professes the crucifixion: “I believe that Jesus was forced to carry a part or the whole execution device toward Calvary, I believe that he was executed by being nailed (nails implied outside the passion narratives, e.g., John 20.25–27) to it. I believe also that Jesus rose from the death on the third day, that he at this very moment is with the Father and that he will return in glory to judge the living and dead.”

  73. 73
    Ray

    I like the idea among the death threats by Chris Dunn of putting someone up on the cross to show how his imaginary christ must have suffered, PROVIDED he is the one to do it, AND he then demonstrates the ability to resurrect after a few days and ascend bodily into heaven like christ supposedly did after his “really bad weekend”. As a good christian he should be eager to volunteer and show us heathens, right? Oh, almost forgot, we would need a diverse team of trained observers and scientists to verify and record it all. That would go a long way toward making up for the death threats.
    Cheers and Happy Monkey,
    Ray

  74. 74
    GravityIsJustATheory

    I’m tempted to change “atheists” to “infidels” and “God” to “Allah”, then forward this to some of my family and see what they think of it.

    As a point of pedantry, I’d like to point out that “infidel” is an English word, derived from Latin, meaning “not of the faithful”, and would originally have been used by Christians to describe anyone who wasn’t a Christian (Muslims in particular).

    An Arabic-speaking Muslim would most likely say kafir, unless they were translating it into English for your benefit.

    (I’m not picking on you in particular, its just that I see a lot of people using the word “infidel” in such a way that suggests they think it is an Islamic/Arabic term, when actually it is Christian/European in origin).

  75. 75
    Erulóra (formerly KOPD)

    GravityIsJustATheory,

    Thank you. :-)

    Unfortunately, if I try being accurate about Muslims, most Americans won’t have a clue what I’m talking about.

  76. 76
    UpAgainstTheRopes

    For the love of christ, really.

  77. 77
    PeteJohn

    I’m gonna hop up on the fence and say that I can genuinely see both sides of the “drop the suit vs. don’t drop the suit” debate. I’ll be boring and and avoid weighing in on that.

    However, I think it would be a lovely idea if AA were to loudly and proudly show off these death threats. Make the moderate Christians defend this nonsense or condemn it. Advocating the death of another person in public is something that should relegate the threat-maker to a lifetime of selling used tissues out of a trashbag, and yet these individuals seem to have no problem with spewing violent hatred. Why? Because the moderates let ‘em. They don’t make these people realize that their rhetoric is borderline-psychotic and thoroughly-nasty, so the lunatics can say whatever they want under the impression that most people agree with them. Maybe I’ve misjudged humanity, but I don’t think most people agree with this hateful drivel.

  78. 78
    dean the bean

    PeteJohn: I think they should put that facebook screenshot on a giant billboard. Names and all.

  79. 79
    dean the bean

    @Katherine Lorraine:

    What I was actually trying to say was that if I were Christian the cross should probably appear more like Jeezus was taking credit for the attack, rather than offering solace.

    Or maybe you got that, and your comment just whooshed right over my head! ;)

  80. 80
    ss123

    @The Lone Coyote… No.

  81. 81
    BWE

    PZ, this one you nailed. Fundamentalism flew planes into the trade towers, drove trucks into the federal building, murders doctors and writes these death threats. Rigid religion has clearly lost its legitimacy and that’s just the way it is.

    It’s too bad that we have to be wary around fundamentalists wherever in the world they originate, but that’s just the way it is. Like it or lump it, religion has become potentially violent and it pays to deal accordingly.

    I would hope that more community oriented associations, unitarians or quakers or whatever find a way to distance themselves as community organizations with a code that is more like guidelines. Some may disagree but an awful lot of community structure does still take place in churches. I think pointing out that moral authority comes from objectivity, compassion, whatever, but from human traits and human training rather than a book which is a sort of a stand-in for a God who can hate the same people as the local pastor.

    Parables are specifically parables to avoid being viewed as concrete truths. It’s kind of surprising that people used to understand that and then changed their minds.

    Oh well.. /stream of consciousness.

    Thanks for the post.

  82. 82
    theophontes

    @ CJO #73

    That is not Samuelsson’s thesis at all.

    I should rather say: “Here is an posting by a christian researcher that raises the likelyhood that the popular christian notion of a crucification and a cross may be off the mark. (Whatever he choses to believe about this fairytale in spite of this.)

    It would appear that most christians treat the story of the crucification as historical fact. But this appears to be a fable within fairytale and finds little support even within the texts of the fairytale itself.

    Unfortunately his book has not been published yet. Here is a summation by Eisenbaums:

    … A survey of the ancient text material shows that there has been a too narrow a view of the “crucifixion” terminology. The various terms are not simply used in the sense of “crucify” and “cross,” if by “crucifixion” one means the punishment that Jesus was subjected to according to the main Christian traditions. The terminology is used much more diversely. Almost none of it can be elucidated beyond verbs referring vaguely to some form(s) of suspension, and nouns referring to tools used in such suspension. As a result, most of the crucifixion accounts that scholars cite in the ancient literature have to be rejected, leaving only a few.

    The New Testament is not spared from this terminological ambiguity. The accounts of the death of Jesus are strikingly sparse. Their chief contribution is usage of the unclear terminology in question. Over-interpretation, and probably even pure imagination, have afflicted nearly every dictionary that deals with the terms related to crucifixion as well as scholarly depictions of what happened on Calvary. The immense knowledge of the punishment of crucifixion in general, and the execution of Jesus in particular, cannot be supported by the studied texts.

    (Link: Eisenbrauns )
    ……………………………………………

    Mythological aspect:

    In pagan ceremonies, the sacrificial victim would be divine and viewed as the god itself in human form. It would be reborn through death and hence keep the cycles of nature renewed. Further such a victim would be a scapegoat and die for the sins of the community. Typically the victim would be scourged as a purification rite and suspended above the ground (so as not to be contaminated by the earth. It is unusual to use metal on the victim, as it has its own mojo. More likely the victim would have been tied to a pole (or stump or tree).

    The similarities go on and on. The one disparate point in all of this is the christian insistence on their particular cross. With that out of the way we would be looking at a common-or-garden-style pagan ceremony padded out for religious consumption. (This is my point of view not G.Samuelsson’s.)

  83. 83
    Kriss

    Why argue about something that did not happen: there was no Christ.

  84. 84
    raven

    There are a lot of proofs that the xian god doesn’t exist.

    One of the strongest is…xians.

    8,000 death threats from xians? Really. Fox news actually had to take down their facebook page because they just kept coming.

    If their religion was true, they wouldn’t have to lie. Or kill people.

  85. 85
    Rorschach

    LegalAction @ 6,

    If we make a point of backing off controversies, then we’ll be left with the situation we have now.

    Wake me up when they erect that cross at the museum entrance, or on the White House lawn. Until then, AA might want to find something useful to do.

  86. 86
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Dean the Bean:

    Yea, I got it :D I was just providing the intelligent half of the whole reasoning tree.

  87. 87
    DesktopChair

    “Here we prefer they get fucked sideways with a Leica Rangefinder.”

    “Agreed. There is no point in this.The religious are quick to take offense, and oddly, lack empathy.”

    What beautiful irony. When we use ‘violent’ expressions of anger we’re hilarious/justified. When “they” do it it’s terrible, and a serious threat not an exaggerated emotional response like ours, and “they” lack empathy.

  88. 88
    lazybird

    When we use ‘violent’ expressions of anger we’re hilarious/justified. When “they” do it it’s terrible, and a serious threat not an exaggerated emotional response like ours, and “they” lack empathy.

    Right, because “get fucked sideways with a Leica Rangefinder” is EXACTLY like “KILL THEM.”

  89. 89
    Therrin

    But if we back down, we lose!

    Wait, this wasn’t the politics thread.

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