American Culture

Let’s Stick Together: It’s all about the base

moral monday

The moral movement is out in force. ALEC is whining about “church activists” countering their money machine with common sense and the free exchange of ideas. Moral Mondays in North Carolina begin with prayers by a Baptist Minister, a Jewish Rabbi, a Muslim Imam, and whoever else happens to be there. It’s a no-brainer for the social justice front that the Tea Party must be stopped. Their anarcho-capitalist methods have already bled Kansas dry and we might be next. Cuts to health care, food security, and education cannot be ignored by the vast majority who rely upon them.

Meanwhile in cyberspace, shiny new startups flush with cash have begun disseminating warlike rhetoric in favor of fundamentalist Atheism. Perpetrators include Tornado Alley Atheists, Atheist Republic (always in the sidebar a “Let’s Fire Kay Hagan” ad), and whoever is supplying Lee Camp with atheist propaganda. Their modus operandi involves creating a meme, a picture with a caption, that stands out against the mostly text background of the social network. Thematically these memes involve a logical fallacy juxtaposed with inflammatory rhetoric. For example:

According to Christians, if Hitler had prayed for salvation before he died, he would now be in heaven, and his Jewish victims in hell. What kind of bullshit religion is that? (coupled with a Third Reich propaganda picture)

Response: Lying about Christians to stir up ignorant fearful hate against them is exactly what I would expect from Hitler. Not from you, though. You’re better than this. Don’t sink to their level.

Love is not a Sin. (coupled with a photo of homosexual lovers)

Response: Sin is choosing the self over connection or inter-being. It’s basically the opposite of love. Love is the foundation of all just law and authority. The war on Christians and the war on homosexuals is the same war, Hitler’s war. Don’t think you can make an alliance with this type of evil, because once it is finished with the Christians and the homosexuals, it will come for you.

Could outlaw either slavery or shellfish: Shellfish. He chose shellfish. [Coupled with a painting of a guy with a beard (presumably God)]

Response: Forget about the fact that shellfish or slavery was never a binary choice. Forget about the fact that Moses led the Israelites out of slavery (according to the story) or that Christian activitists led the abolitionist movement in this country. This propaganda is suggesting that God is pro-slavery. Really?

It’s the old divide and conquer technique. The moral movement is out in force, therefore if the immoral minority want to win, they must split the vote. Convince the secular humanists, the believe-in-good-but-not-God crowd not to vote, and achieve a Clinton-esque plurality rather than majority victory.

Moral Mondays includes all faiths plus labor, social, anti-fluoride, and every other group that shows interest because things are so bad on the ground here in North Carolina that we have no choice but to band together to weather this storm. Individually we are doomed to be eaten by these parasites. Together we can give them a shampooing they will never forget. Let’s do it.

13 replies »

  1. I could quote Luke 4:23 for this article.

    The author, while attempting to take some atheist groups to task, basically accuses atheists of acting like nazis (“Lying about Christians to stir up ignorant fearful hate against them is exactly what I would expect from Hitler”), while complaining about hateful stereotyping.

    Also, the author hasn’t exactly refuted the first or third statements (the second one uses the religious term ‘sin’ which makes it too malleable to have much agreed-upon meaning).

    Many Christians believe both that deathbed confessions can forgive any past crimes, and that you can only get to heaven by believing in Jesus. Moses may have lead HIS people out of slavery, but enslaving non-Hebrews was just fine. And Christians (and non-Christians) being against slavery centuries later doesn’t refute the fact that many Christians also used the bible to defend slavery. Look into the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    In any case, all of these statements are against a RELIGION, not against people. “Hate the sin, love the sinner”.

  2. Just tried to go and see what Lee Camp’s (his FB page) was saying that was atheist propaganda and got this message:
    “Your connection is not private

    Attackers might be trying to steal your information from m.0.facebook.com (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards).

    Back to safety
    Advanced”

    Are we sure it IS Lee Camp? Your link only took me to his website containing his Podcasts, etc. Where is the information you refer to above? I can’t find anything specific regarding his atheist propaganda. Thanks, Joshua

  3. A couple things here. First off, as to the Hitler deathbed repenting thing, I can’t stress enough that for many Christians this is absolutely true. It’s consistent with what I was taught as a Southern Baptist youth, and that was back before the SBC went completely batshit crazy. So that is not a straw man. I’m not sure it’s especially germane to the discussion one way or another, though.

    That aside, you’re working to somehow position atheists as being … I don’t know, on the side of the Tea Party and Art Pope? If we’re going to get the battle lines drawn properly here, once you get past the philosophy arguments and more into the tactical realities of who’s voting for whom next Tuesday, I think you’ll find that in general atheists, New Agers and neo-Pagans and progressive Christians form a natural coalition against the neo-Feudalist/dingbat social conservative alliance that’s doing all it can to usher NC into the Dark Ages.

    I’m trying to understand both your view of the landscape and your purpose in writing this. You seem bent on attacking a lot of people who are 100% on your side, both personally and politically.

  4. I’m saying the Christians and the Secular Humanists are on the same side here, but someone is trying to drive the Christians away from the Secular Humanists. Why? October surprise.

    • Ah. Okay, yes, that makes sense. Sort of. Not all Christians. Christians are at least two distinct groups in the US. The progressive Christians – the social justice camp – allies naturally with the Humanists and New Agers. The social conservatives ally more naturally with the Romulans.

    • “…someone is trying to drive the Christians away from the Secular Humanists.”

      Now, who would do such a thing? And why? Oh, yes, the forces of ALEC and their puppet masters: the Koch brothers, Art Pope, et. al. Why? People standing up for their rights and for decent treatment of fellow humans makes such as those very nervous…. It could mean that their private jets might only seat 60 instead of 62, for example….

  5. On the slavery vs. shellfish meme… Seriously? That’s your response? “It was never a binary choice”? Like, THAT’s your takeaway?

    I’m glad Christians led the abolitionist movement in this country. They also led the pro-slavery movement, so if you’re going to credit them with one, you have to credit them with both.

    And the fact is, the pro-slavery Christians had the Bible on their side. Old Testament and New, God never banned slavery. Lobster, he banned. “Thou shalt not pick up sticks on Saturday” was important enough to God that it cracked his top 10 list of important rules by which man must live. “Thou shalt not own each other, no matter where you’re from or how you met, period, one human being may not own another” didn’t make it onto the list of ALL COMMANDMENTS.

    Moses may have led the Israelites out of slavery, but keep reading. He also led the Israelites INTO proper, responsible and godly slave ownership. It’s not deniable.

    So yeah, “he chose shellfish” tells you something about the supposed author of “objective and absolute moral values.”

  6. Matthew 19:8 says [Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.]

    So what we have here are God’s laws curated by men who didn’t want to adhere to them, who sought loopholes, willfully misinterpreted, and eventually succeeded in changing the law to suit their own selfish ends. However, at the present time, not only have men been unable to destroy the law, it is more popular than ever.

    Genesis 21:8-13 says [[The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

    The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”]

    Abraham is distressed because the evil of slavery has finally hit home. His own son Ishmael is a slave and the evil of slavery, including separation of families, can be visited upon him. God will not take away human free will. He will not make the slaveholders stop their evil. He will not make the men stop divorcing the women, basically treating them as property rather than equals. But God does promise to make a great nation out of Ishmael, despite his extremely poor prospects for upward mobility. This is exactly the same promise made about Isaac the chosen, so before God they are equals.

    Both the bible and the world are full of men doing evil. It does not follow that said evil can be attributed to God.

    I should mention that I’m not a priest, rabbi, imam, or Biblical scholar. This is what one normal person just like you can do by looking at the text and sincerely considering the question “how does slavery look to God?” I could tell you that as a Christian I have no dietary restrictions, but I have experienced moral and spiritual improvement through fasting. It increases the ability to focus on connection and inter-being rather than on the self. This makes doing right and thinking right easier. So I applaud people who place restrictions on their own behavior as spiritual training, in moderation of course.

    It really all comes down to whether you want to learn or you want a quote that validates an opinion you’ve already formed. An “expert” could tell you that Charles Dickens is rubbish, that he contradicts himself, saying “It was the best of times it was the worst of times,” in one run-on sentence. Therefore you should not read Charles Dickens. But you and everyone you know would be a lot worse off if you took that “expert” advice.

  7. I appreciate the reply and your courteous tone, but your argument does not wash. To say that God was limited by the hard heartedness of the people is a major league cop-out. It just is. He is GOD. He told them not to work on the Sabbath or he’d order their execution, and He meant it. He said no shellfish, and He meant it. He said no going after other gods, and He meant it. If He meant “thou shalt not own human beings and trade them as property,” he would have said it. He didn’t say it because He didn’t mean it, and it’s disingenuous to lay the blame for that on the people receiving the law. These people had JUST LEFT 400 YEARS of bondage. If anyone would be open-hearted to the notion that slavery is wrong, it would be these people. Instead, God regulated slavery and placed limits on how bad you could hurt your slaves.

    “It really all comes down to whether you want to learn or you want a quote that validates an opinion you’ve already formed.”

    Yes, I’ve already formed the opinion that slavery is always immoral. Why haven’t you?

  8. I’m glad that you are still engaged and I hope it is an indication of your desire to learn. However low you are, however little you are able to move, if you sincerely try, God will bridge the distance. In time, you will climb to great heights and be capable of tremendous leaps, although God will still have immeasurable distance to bridge, because God is that far above us.

    As I explained before, Matthew 19:8 says [Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.]

    So, once again, your are illogically attempting to hold God accountable for human behavior. A human leader (Moses) set down a law that humans demanded, not the true law. This does not erase the true law, the law which rends our hearts when we see slavery in the real world, as Abraham did, the evil visited upon men by men.

    The true law is a function of our identity as creation. Humans share certain characteristics with our creator, which are not found elsewhere in nature. The first is reason. The universe seems to be made for rational minds to discover, unlock, piece together, puzzle out, and yet the only rational minds we encounter are human, and it is absolutely certain that humans did not create the universe.

    The second is free will. Humans are unpredictable. This is why psychologists have so much trouble predicting human behavior, even though pigeon behavior or ape behavior is highly predictable. Hence altruism. Hence daring rescues. Hence the statistically unexplained success of the underdog in sporting competitions. These things are not an endless string of coincidences happening throughout our lives. They are part of what makes us human, a drive that other animals do not have, a capacity for abstract thought that transcends both the self and the perceived limits of physical reality.

    Of course, God has reason, too. That’s why the universe is rational. More to the point, God has free will. God can choose not to punish the baby for acting like an animal, even if the baby deserves it. Even if the baby erases the rules that are written on the chalk board. Because the rules are also written on our hearts. Just like we share the capacity for reason and free will with our creator, we share the capacity for justice. We instinctively know when we have been wronged, and we can learn to extrapolate that knowledge to include others.

    That’s why you respect my courteous tone, even if you can’t make that leap yourself yet. Keep at it. You will.

  9. Can you not see how unimaginably condescending you are being? I mean, patronizingly condescending, the total opposite of a humble participant in a two-way conversation?

  10. You wrote: “So, once again, your are illogically attempting to hold God accountable for human behavior. A human leader (Moses) set down a law that humans demanded, not the true law.”

    That is simply not what the Bible teaches. Read Exodus 20 and 21. That’s not Moses telling God what the people wanted. That’s God telling Moses what HE wanted. So it is indeed God’s true law, not a human leader setting down a law that the people wanted.

    And honestly, if the people wanted an immoral law, God fails as a moral agent simply by virtue of his refusal to say “NO! You can’t have slaves. Thou shalt not own people.”

    Once again, you are illogically attributing helplessness to an omnipotent God, acting as though the Israelites were twisting his arm to get him to endorse slavery.

    He endorsed slavery because a. The Israelites endorsed slavery and b. He didn’t EXIST to stop them.

    Not hard at all.

    • The irony here is that you are the Israelites. You are denying reality because it’s more important for you to get what you want. You argue that the Israelites could not do what every historian, scribe, and editor does, could not revise the text, tailor it to suit their own ends, and the basis for your argument is the assumption that God negates free will, that, if God exists, it is impossible to do something against God’s will.

      In order to make this assumption you must forget that we are discussing a law, because the idea of a law presupposes free will. If a law exists, if the Israelites must be forbidden from doing something, it follows that they have the capability of doing it.

      Of course, I’ve explained all this above, but you are willfully misunderstanding so that you can continue to argue despite your lack of any legitimate argument against my position. You cannot argue with me, so you continue to argue with your straw man, who cannot possibly be a Christian if he believes what you say he believes. Of course, he doesn’t really exist except in your mind and your anti-theist echo chambers.

      The truth is, willful misunderstanding and shock value are the rhetorical tools of children. If you feel like I’m patronizing or condescending, it’s because the arguments I am refuting are children’s arguments. You must present a mature argument in order to give me the opportunity to respond in a different way.

      Read the gospels. Read the old testament in light of the gospels, i.e. with the help of a Teacher who founded a school of teachers who spread their knowledge throughout the whole world, not by force, but against the might of empires. If that Teacher were an artist or philosopher, you would not be so insistent on your preconceived opinion. You would hear the evidence and trust the truth to come to light. You are intolerant of religious figures because you have been taught to be intolerant, the way some children are taught to be racist. Do not be afraid. The truth will make you free.

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