The Problem With Reza Aslan’s Book About Jesus


aslanThe Leftist media is in an uproar over Reza Aslan’s recent interview on Fox News — see the Huffington Post’s account here. Many people have sent me tweets and emails skewering Fox’s supposed inconsistency for giving Aslan trouble for writing about Jesus as a Muslim but welcoming me writing about Muhammad as a Christian.

This is not actually the case, but I am getting so many emails about this that I thought I’d make it clear: I have no problem whatsoever with Reza Aslan writing about Jesus as a Muslim. I do not believe that one has to be a Muslim to write about Islam, or a Christian to write about Christianity, or a Hindu to write about Hinduism.

I did put up one Jihad Watch post that touched on the fact that his Muslim religion was not being mentioned in the media, but my emphasis was on his dishonesty, as well as his links to the bloody mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On July 25, I posted this: “Liberal media love new Jesus book Zealot, fail to mention author is Muslim — and member of lobbying group for Iranian mullahs,” commenting on a Fox News commentary by John S. Dickerson. In his article, Dickerson noted: “Media reports have introduced Aslan as a ‘religion scholar’ but have failed to mention that he is a devout Muslim.” This is true. In this NPR interview a section entitled “On his religious affiliation” has Aslan responding, “I wouldn’t call myself a Christian…” and going on and on from there, but he never gets around to mentioning that he is a Muslim.

That’s not exactly an honest answer when the question was put to him directly, and so I thought Dickerson’s piece had merit. The emphasis of my post, however, was on Aslan’s affiliation with a lobbying group for the Iranian mullahs and other unsavory connections to jihadists and Islamic supremacists, and the general fact that the mainstream media overlooks Aslan’s superficiality, numerous errors of fact, and obnoxious demeanor because he reflects their ideological perspective.

What’s more, in the notorious Fox interview, Aslan lied about his scholarly credentials. Matthew J. Franck explains in First Things that it was Aslan, not Fox’s Lauren Green, who steered the interview into a discussion of himself rather than of the book:

In fact, it is Aslan who immediately turns the interview into a cage match by reacting very defensively to Green’s first question. And here is where the misrepresentations begin. For roughly the first half of the interview Aslan dominates the exchange with assertions about himself that seem intended to delay the substance of the discussion:

I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament . . . I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions . . . I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually . . . To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.

Later he complains that they are “debating the right of the scholar to write” the book rather than discussing the book. But the conversation took that turn thanks to Aslan, not Green! By the final minute he is saying of himself (and who really talks this way!?) that “I’m actually quite a prominent Muslim thinker in the United States.”

Aslan does have four degrees, as Joe Carter has noted: a 1995 B.A. in religion from Santa Clara University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and wrote his senior thesis on “The Messianic Secret in the Gospel of Mark”; a 1999 Master of Theological Studies from Harvard; a 2002 Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa; and a 2009 Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

None of these degrees is in history, so Aslan’s repeated claims that he has “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” and that he is “a historian” are false. Nor is “professor of religions” what he does “for a living.” He is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside, where his terminal MFA in fiction from Iowa is his relevant academic credential. It appears he has taught some courses on Islam in the past, and he may do so now, moonlighting from his creative writing duties at Riverside. Aslan has been a busy popular writer, and he is certainly a tireless self-promoter, but he is nowhere known in the academic world as a scholar of the history of religion. And a scholarly historian of early Christianity? Nope.

What about that Ph.D.? As already noted, it was in sociology. I have his dissertation in front of me. It is a 140-page work titled “Global Jihadism as a Transnational Social Movement: A Theoretical Framework.” If Aslan’s Ph.D. is the basis of a claim to scholarly credentials, he could plausibly claim to be an expert on social movements in twentieth-century Islam. He cannot plausibly claim, as he did to Lauren Green, that he is a “historian,” or is a “professor of religions” “for a living.”

Here again, the problem is Aslan’s dishonesty. I don’t care about his scholarly credentials. Even if everything he had said about his degrees had been true, it would confer on his book no presumption of accuracy or truth. I am constantly assailed for lacking scholarly credentials, but as it happens, when it comes to writing about religion I have exactly the same credentials as Aslan, a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.A. in Religious Studies. His other two degrees are in other fields.

But anyway, it doesn’t matter: there are plenty of fools with degrees, and plenty of geniuses without them. My work, and Aslan’s, stands or falls on its merits, not on the number of degrees we have. Aslan’s pulling rank on Lauren Green and starting to reel off (inaccurately) his degrees was a sign of insecurity: it implied that he didn’t think his book could stand on its merits, and had to be accepted because he had a lot of degrees. And in fact, his book doesn’t stand on its merits. Marvin Olasky notes in World Magazine:

Aslan states as fact, not theory, that “the gospels are not, nor were they ever meant to be, a historical documentation of Jesus’ life. These are not eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds. They are testimonies of faith composed by communities of faith written many years after the events they describe.” That’s what theologically liberal commenters propose, but Aslan either skipped or banished from his consideration the theologically conservative half, which states that Matthew, Mark, and Luke reported eyewitness accounts and emerged during the lifetimes of other eyewitnesses.

And indeed, there is no scholarly consensus that the Gospels were not meant to be historical or eyewitness accounts. Whether or not they really are historically accurate is a question that has been debated for centuries and will be debated until the end of time, but Aslan’s claim that they were not “ever meant to be a historical documentation of Jesus’ life” is false on its face. Luke’s Gospel begins: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.” (Luke 1:1-4)

That sounds like a document that wants to be taken precisely as “a historical documentation of Jesus’ life.” So does John’s Gospel when it says, “He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe” (John 19:35) and “This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24). Again, whether these claims are true or not is another question, but the fact that the claims were made at all completely refutes Aslan’s claim. As a scholar of the New Testament he thus stands as incompetent or — here again — dishonest.

Likewise his statement in the NPR interview: “I do not believe that Jesus is God, nor do I believe that he ever thought that he was God, or that he ever said that he was God.” In the Gospels, Jesus takes upon himself the name “I am,” the Holy Name of God according to Exodus 3:14, at least four times: see Mark 6:50, Matthew 14:27, John 6:20, and John 8:58. Aslan may, as a practicing Muslim, believe that the Gospels have been corrupted and that Jesus never actually made these statements, but not even to note that they (and others) exist is, yet again, dishonest.

And that’s the problem with Aslan’s book: not that he is a Muslim, but that he is not an honest man or a reliable scholar, no matter how many degrees he has. But after all, as his prophet said, “War is deceit.”

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  • herb benty

    I watched the Interview of Aslan by Green and what a typical arrogant academic! ” I have degrees” shows me how cheap these degrees come nowadays. He is definitely a dissembling muslim fanatic. Islam wishes to caricature Jesus as only human, HIS crucifixtion as fiction, and His mission on Earth as a community organizer. Jesus Christ is clearly,God in the flesh, healing everyone, raising the dead, feeding the 5000 with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread. ” the world was made through HIM, but the world didn’t recognize HIM”. The book of Malachi in Chapter3…” and the Lord( Almighty God), who you seek, will suddenly come to HIS Temple”. And HE did, the rest is history, no matter what Islam says.

    • Consider

      Aslan is a muslim fanatic while herb benty is pure science (or objective historian if you like it more) when he says that ‘Jesus Christ is clearly,God in the flesh, healing everyone, raising the dead, feeding the 5000 with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread. ”

      And all this science, scinetific method (or historical scholarship) is based on trustworthy hustorical sources similar to the ‘book of Malachi Chapter3…’
      Realy an example of superiority of the western rational mind over medieval muslim bigots.

      • herb benty

        Practically everything Jesus Christ did was supernatural you either believe or you do not. I suggest you read the Koran, then the Holy Bible, the difference is clear. Would an Almighty Creator God be “superior” to a demonic invention? Sorry if I offended you, I have been in high gear since Muslims started putting things like.”Jesus was a muslim” on American city buses and murdering children etc ., etc.

        • Consider

          I am not offended at all, I only react to nonsense.
          I appreciate very much that line of reasoning that says: “Mybook is true because it is written in Mybook that it is true”
          The ‘Almighty Creator God ‘ is as much an invention as the other, ‘demonic’, invention.

          • kate5778b

            And yet YY predicts that in the last days:

            -Scattered Israel will return to YYs land which he gives to Israel, not Arabs

            -all nations come up against Israel, slander her, make her desolate, make her a mockery to the rest of the nations around

            -all surrounding nations will be confederate in belief to annhiilates Israel and say ‘aha the ancient heights have become our posession’ and say ‘these 2 nations and these 2 countries shall be mine, and we will possess them’, this is not Israel, as it gave away TransJordan, Sinai, Gaza and by the looks of this the ancient heights will be going, that’s the mountains of Samaria and Judea)

            - Israel will be a people until the end (her 1st mention is history is the Merneptah Stele which is Israel’s 1st obituary, everyone’s been an it since the Parohs)

            Doesn’t look like nonsense does it? There’s tons more clues – we know we need to brace ourselves for the near future, but we know the outcome.

          • Consider

            ????

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Kate is referring to prophecy that has undeniably come true.

            You’re stunned response is more evidence that your criticizing something that you know nothing about.

          • EarlyBird

            “You’re stunned response is more evidence that you’re criticizing something that you know nothing about.”

            And everything about is proof that whatever you may know about Christianity, you don’t have a clue about what Christ was about.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “And everything about is proof that whatever you may know about Christianity, you don’t have a clue about what Christ was about.”

            You’re certainly in no position to judge that. You don’t even think you need the Old Testament.

            But lecture on.

          • EarlyBird

            No judgement at all. I just see people getting wrapped up in the ins and outs of what the religion of Christianity is or is not, while forgetting what being a Christian really means.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “No judgement at all.”

            How can that be? How did you decide what to say?

            “I just see people getting wrapped up in the ins and outs of what the religion of Christianity is or is not, while forgetting what being a Christian really means.”

            Well when people are so nebulous it’s no wonder they can’t understand each other. The question is; do you really think you’re adding clarity with such confusing rhetoric?

            I know that I for one can’t see your point unless you’re falling in to the “it’s all about your heart” stuff that came from the socialists. Your heart is supposed to follow reason.

            That’s the biggest problem with Christianity today in my opinion, that people only read the Bible selectively or not at all, and they fail to see the narratives in context.

            God wants to reason with people. He DOES NOT want blind faith. Blind faith leads to people following tyrants and cult leaders.

            Spreading or reinforcing confusion is not something God would want if he wants them to understand his message. Isn’t that sensible?

            The heart should follow the brain. The heart leading the heart is a recipe for narcissism. That’s what we see around the world today in most cultures.

          • EarlyBird

            So, in the absence of understanding my (admittedly) unclear post, you argue with points I didn’t make – all which assume my position being akin to soft-headed, feelings-only “socialism” (aka, your “Explanation for Everything Which Goes Wrong In the Universe”). Oy.

            “God wants to reason with people. He DOES NOT want blind faith. Blind faith leads to people following tyrants and cult leaders.”

            Fully agreed. In fact I made that exact point to someone else on this thread.

            “The heart leading the heart (“head”) is a recipe for narcissism.”

            Absolutely. The whole message of “if it feels good do it,” or “if it feels right, do it,” is creating rotten kids, adults and a crueler society. That ethic requires nothing of the individual but to feel good. That is among the core aspects of decadent – vs constructive – modern liberalism which I abhor.

            Real morality and kindness requires the discipline of intellect, the ability to discern when to be hard and when to be soft, when to be cruel and when to be kind.
            But all kindness starts in the heart.

            The great saints in the world are not the great clerics or religious scholars, but ultimately those immensely compassionate, mushy, bleeding heart feelers – who employ their heads – to do good for the persons and other living beings around them.

            So let me try to clarify my original point: it doesn’t matter how solid one’s Christian intellect, training, or knowledge is if that person doesn’t ultimately ACT in a Christian way towards one another. Christ’s message was ultimately very simple: be kind to one another. “That which you due unto the least of my brothers, you do unto Me.”
            That’s it. That’s what a Christian is. It’s why I can’t get too exercised about “technical” debates like the ones taking place on this thread. If we’re not acting like Christians we are just wearing a Christian cultural uniform.
            When someone asks, “Are you a Christian?” I answer: “I try to be.” Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not (like when I abuse people who enrage me on chatboards).

            One of the best “Christians” I know is an atheist – doesn’t believe in God, thinks there’s no such thing as a soul, that when we die the lights go out, denies the physical evidence that points towards a conscious Creator, etc.

            But he is the most kind-hearted, generous, loving person I’ve ever met. He gives enormous amounts of time, hard work, energy and money (he’s got a modest income) to people in need – including people who are unpleasant to be around. He does it extremely quietly, not looking for kudos. He’s practically a one man charity.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “So, in the absence of understanding my (admittedly) unclear post, you argue with points I didn’t make – all which assume my position being akin to soft-headed, feelings-only “socialism” (aka, your “Explanation for Everything Which Goes Wrong In the Universe”). Oy.”

            It’s not my job to make you clear. If I want to make something clear that builds on what you were talking about, I feel free to do that.

            And I also think you are the one misunderstanding still. You have a hard time asking for clarification. You painted yourself in to a corner because you bill yourself as the enlightened one here, you can’t go around asking too many questions because then you risk losing your entire persona.

            I see many times when things are clearly way over your head, but breaking down your unjustified arrogance has to come before you are in a position to explain precisely what you misunderstand. Only then can we get you specific answers that may satisfy you.

            “The great saints in the world are not the great clerics or religious scholars, but ultimately those immensely compassionate, mushy, bleeding heart feelers – who employ their heads – to do good for the persons and other living beings around them.”

            “Great saints” are not do-gooders. They are evangelists that do good. Unless you adopt the secular or Catholic definition.

            “So let me try to clarify my original point: it doesn’t matter how solid one’s Christian intellect, training, or knowledge is if that person doesn’t ultimately ACT in a Christian way towards one another. Christ’s message was ultimately very simple: be kind to one another. “That which you due unto the least of my brothers, you do unto Me.”"

            Matthew 22
            34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

            So you got the essence of the second great commandment and left out the first.

            “That’s it. That’s what a Christian is. It’s why I can’t get too exercised about “technical” debates like the ones taking place on this thread.”

            Because you don’t consider the first great commandment, you’re not interested in God’s word. Therefore you’re not interested in finding his values, and his will. You’re not interesting in defending it against slander. It seems meaningless because you think you’re to care only about your neighbor. That too can be narcissistic because what happens is people focus on the neighbor that is willing and able to reciprocate.

            “If we’re not acting like Christians we are just wearing a Christian uniform.”

            If you don’t know the Bible, how do you know what a Christian is to “act like?”

            “When someone asks, “Are you a Christian?” I answer: “I try to be.” Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not (like when I abuse people who enrage me on chatboards).”

            The first requirement is to believe. That doesn’t mean you understand or accept every single traditional interpretation. It means you want to strive to learn more. Again, not about what others consider Christianity to be. But instead your primary source is the Bible. If you don’t mature by mastering what it says, you’re learning Christianity from 2000 years (approximately) of tradition. And if you don’t know what the Bible says, you might not be aware of what Jesus thinks about the traditions of men.

            “One of my closest friends, an atheist, is among the best “Christians” I know. He doesn’t believe in God, thinks there’s no such thing as a soul, that when we die the lights go out, denies the physical evidence that points towards a conscious Creator, etc.”

            You mean that he models the modern interpretation of the good man. What Christ would have wanted if he was a hippy from 2000 years ago. That doesn’t mean that if he’s God that he’d want the opposite. It just means that the image is radically distorted. You can’t be a Christian while rejecting Christ. We don’t hate him for that, but neither do we hold him up as an example of a good Christian. That should be self-evident.

            “But he is the most kind-hearted, generous, loving person I’ve ever met.”

            So you’re saying we should let him live?

            “He gives enormous amounts of time, hard work, energy and money (he’s got a modest income) to people in need – including people who are unpleasant to be around. He does it extremely quietly, not looking for kudos. He’s practically a one man charity.”

            It sounds like you have the ideal best friend. That doesn’t make him the ideal Christian and it doesn’t make him a Christian at all.

            There is enough atheist rhetoric out there to keep someone confident for a lifetime that Christians are lunatics. I was raised on that kind of thinking. Leftists have taken Jesus and re-imagined him as a socialist.

            If you study the ideology of socialism and read your Bible a lot more, you might understand some of the points that I make.

            If I’m sharp, it’s not because I’m cruel. It’s because so many others have already tried the soft approach. They have their role. I’m trying to wake people up to the fact that being an atheist or a skeptic that quotes BS is not smarter than someone who investigates complex issues and accepts reasonable arguments even when they ultimately don’t agree with the conclusions.

          • EarlyBird

            “It’s not my job to make you clear.”
            No, but when someone is unclear it’s your job to write, “You are not clear. Try again so I can respond to what you are trying to say.” Or ignore the post, rather than going on a tangent against straw men.
            “I see many times when things are clearly way over your head, but breaking down your unjustified arrogance…”
            Dude, I’ve hardly been challenged by something “over my head” on this board. Don’t flatter yourself.
            “Unless you adopt the … Catholic definition.”

            Bingo.
            How is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” in conflict with “That which you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me”? Of course they go together.
            “If you don’t know the Bible, how do you know what a Christian is to “act like?”
            And you can be a Bible scholar and treat people in an un-Christian way. Don’t dodge this, OFM. I’ve met a lot of scholarly, hard-headed born again types who know the Bible inside and out, call themselves Christians, but don’t really act in a Christian way except for the cultural uniform they wear. I’ve also met a lot of very Christian-acting ones.
            It’s about actions, and yes, feeling good towards other human beings and creatures, not just intellect. In fact, intellect is a tool to inform the heart, but if you don’t have heart, you don’t have anything.
            And I understand my friend is not “Christian” and that’s why I put the word in quotes. Words mean things.

            “It’s because so many others have already tried the soft approach.”
            It’s because you’re angry and you’re fighting a culture war, rather than really being interested in WWJD?
            I hope I’m wrong. I hope in fact you’re using your brief time on earth to provide comfort and charity to the least of our brothers, rather than fighting over religion and conflating it with politics

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Or ignore the post, rather than going on a tangent against straw men.”

            Other people can read what we write. Even if I give up on getting through to the author of a comment it’s often worth commenting for the sake of the other readers.

            “Dude, I’ve hardly been challenged by something “over my head” on this board. Don’t flatter yourself.”

            It’s scary for anyone to have that kind of confidence. How would you know if it’s over your head or not?

            “How is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” in conflict with “That which you do to the least of my brothers you do unto me”? Of course they go together.”

            I never said they were in conflict. The problem comes from leaving God out. Which was my entire point. If you love God before you love your neighbor (since God doesn’t actually need anything from you), you’ll actually do a better job at loving your neighbor because your love for God will drive you to find out more about what he said the standards are for loving your neighbor.

            So without doubt the 2 go together. The first commandment is required in order to even know how to pursue the second.

            “And you can be a Bible scholar and treat people in an un-Christian way. Don’t dodge this, OFM.”

            That’s true. But you have to at least know the Bible before you become the one who decides when that happens. You can’t see the logic in that?

            You’re correct in theory that it can happen, but you’re not entitled to be the judge unless you can make your case. Put another way; a Bible scholar can of course fail to live according to the Bible’s instructions, but someone that doesn’t know the Bible will always fail to live according to its instructions. That’s all I’m saying.

            “It’s about actions, and yes, feeling good towards other human beings and creatures, not just intellect. In fact, intellect is a tool to inform the heart, but if you don’t have heart, you don’t have anything.”

            That’s fine, but you have to have objective standards for discernment. Without that, you’re just placing yourself in the role of God, or a god.

            “And I understand my friend is not “Christian” and that’s why I put the word in quotes. Words mean things.”

            And my point is that you are using subjective measures to say he is “like a Christian” and I’m simply providing contrast to that argument. In results, I see your point that his behaviors are consistent with Christian values. I was not entirely rejecting your idea. I’m saying that’s a deceptive paradigm if you leave out the rest of Christian doctrines.

            Like when you talk about loving your neighbor without mentioning love of God as the top commandment. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong, it means you’re incomplete. You told a partial truth.

            “It’s because you’re angry and you’re fighting a culture war, rather than really being interested in WWJD?”

            Christ very often used harsher language than I do. Again, you need to become more familiar with the Bible. But I’m not here as Christ. I’m not even here as a Christian per se. I’m here primarily as a witness to facts. And Christ was not out to build a cookie cutter clone army. The kind of thing you expect from me is not in short supply from others.

            “It’s depressing. It’s why Christians get such a bad rap.”

            That judgment calls for the assumption that you understand the Bible better than I do, along with other assumptions.

          • EarlyBird

            How much clearer can I make this, OFM: you know the Bible much better than I do. You’re a virtual scholar. I have conceded that throughout this conversation. Okay?
            But I do know enough about the Bible and Christ’s life to know there is a way that a Christian should act in this world, an example that person should give, some proof in one’s behavior beyond merely reading the Bible and swearing that He is one’s Savior.
            For all I know you have a rich spiritual life and are living a joy-filled life in Christ. I hope so.

          • EarlyBird

            By the way, OFM, I’m disappointed this conversation has seemed to degrade once again into the standard “you’re a debauched know knothing socialist hippy” denouncement.
            I ABSOLUTELY recognize I am anything but knowledgeable about the Bible, or at least not nearly as much as most serious Protestants or fundamentalists. I hardly was questioning your knowledge of the texts; I defer to them.
            I am stating what I believe and hope is obvious to any Christian: when we get to the pearly gates, we will not be judged by how well we know the Scripture, but how well we lived it. That does not mean falling all over ourselves like hippies; but it means being kind, does it not? Isn’t our job to really act in the way that the Christ would want us to?
            And if not, what’s the whole point of the religion?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “By the way, OFM, I’m disappointed this conversation has seemed to degrade once again into the standard “you’re a debauched know knothing socialist hippy” denouncement.”

            You take things too personally. It’s not really about personalities. It’s about positions. I don’t even know you.

            “I ABSOLUTELY recognize I am anything but knowledgeable about the Bible, or at least not nearly as much as most serious Protestants or fundamentalists. I hardly was questioning your knowledge of the texts; I defer to them.”

            But you don’t defer to anyone here. So why don’t you give people the benefit of the doubt at least until you’re more certain you understand their points?

            “I am stating what I believe and hope is obvious to any Christian: when we get to the pearly gates, we will not be judged by how well we know the Scripture, but how well we lived it.”

            Fine, but you’re missing my point: How are you going to know how well you lived by it, if you don’t even know it well? Knowledge is the foundation, not the final standard. That’s my point. You should worry both about living it, and judging others when you admit you don’t even know it that well.

            Most urgently you should realize that arguing with people who might otherwise be able to help you learn it better means that you have little excuse for pursuing more knowledge. So that you can be more certain you are living it.

            “That does not mean falling all over ourselves like hippies; but it means being kind, does it not?”

            Actually, I think this is a good time to point something out. Arguing against socialist government policies is not cruel. It’s a reminder that we are all called to do this ourselves. If the government wants to lead the charge, the leadership should call for and encourage volunteerism, give deeper tax credits to charities, and so forth. It achieves better results that way. And it avoids the problems of having our government grow too big and powerful.

            I don’t oppose socialist policies because I’m selfish. I oppose them because I do care. I understand the deception and stupidity of pretending that only the government can take care of people. Where did that idea come from? You think that is Biblical, but it’s just as Biblical as Satan enticing Eve to eat the apple. It seems Biblical if you’re not paying attention. It’s just as Biblical as any other Satanic deception.

            “Isn’t our job to really act in the way that the Christ would want us to?”

            Again, how do you know how Christ would want you to act in the face of these current challenges if you don’t even take the time to try to learn the Bible? I’m not talking about memorizing. I’m talking about knowing it well enough to contemplate what He would want based on your understanding of it. Including being a lot more humble to the ideas presented by others.

            The thing is that I know your arguments already. I heard them growing up as the only interpretation of Christ. I never even met anyone that considered Christ to be divine in any way until I was well in to adulthood. Well I am sure I met them but none of them ever tried to convince me. Christ was always the guy who inspired us to be nice to each other. That’s about it. Fine. Christ wanted those things. Socialism is coercive. Why did Christ warn that the poor would always be with us? He wanted us to make sure LBJ would become president to finally lick that problem? Obviously not. He didn’t want us to be complacent but he didn’t want us to be delusional either.

            When I say that the argument is over your head, I’m not saying that you’re a stupid person. That might be the effect in any conversation, but I don’t really know or care to be honest. What matters is that I’m trying to get you to recognize that there is more depth than you’re acknowledging. If you want to defeat me rhetorically you should challenge me to prove what it is that’s over your head. At that point the burden of proof is mine.

            “And if not, what’s the whole point of the religion?”

            In most cases, religions are man made and the point is to use belief to control people. The Bible is an invitation to follow the teachings of the prophets and finally of Christ. But his teachings are in the Bible. If you don’t know it well enough you shouldn’t have confidence that you’re following him. That doesn’t mean you aren’t, but displaying too much confidence about something you know you’re ignorant about…is certainly not a good start in following him. He quoted from the Old Testament all the time. Why aren’t you? That’s something anyone can do. He doesn’t need you to perform miracles, but showing value for his entire message seems fundamental to me.

          • TheOrdinaryMan

            The Shroud of Turin is true; not because it is “written in my book,” but because the world’s best scientists can’t explain it.

          • Progressives Rule

            There is no scientific proof the Shroud of Turin is anything more than a rag. It is as much the image of Christ as the little man that appears when you split a Planters Peanut apart. ROFL!!!

          • objectivefactsmatter

            He said scientists can’t explain it and they can’t.

            How was the image created?

            It’s not important, but what Herb said has some merit. We just don’t know what it is.

            “It is as much the image of Christ as the little man that appears when you split a Planters Peanut apart. ROFL!”

            Another “wise man” imbecile. Done a lot of research then, have you?

            We’re not talking about a grilled cheese sandwich from San Diego. I guess you must have been confused.

          • Consider

            The shroud of Turin was carbon dated to the 13th century C.E.by three independent laboratories.
            Later an American fanatic couple claimed that the examined piece of fabric was later intervowen in the original cloth.
            However following the sampling, the custodians of the shroud treated it with compounds (allegedly for better preserving it) that make any additional carbon dating impossible.
            So the field remains open for endless fairy tales…

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The shroud of Turin was carbon dated to the 13th century C.E.by three independent laboratories.
            Later an American fanatic couple claimed that the examined piece of fabric was later intervowen in the original cloth.”

            It can’t be true because a fanatic discovered the problem.

            “So the field remains open for endless fairy tales…”

            Try again:

            http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/03/30/shroud-turin-display/2038295/

            Not that it matters if it can’t be determined. The Bible is in no way dependent on that shroud. But it could be authentic. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that it is actually what Christians suggest that it is.

            Which I know is very upsetting to you.

          • OfficialPro

            not only that, but the Shroud isn’t even how the Jews traditionally buried their dead in that time and in that place. Jews buried their dead wrapped in strips of cloth, and that is how it is described that Jesus was buried.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Good point. I think the shroud is thought to be the “grave clothes” brought to him by Joseph of Arimathea. Was there some kind of “upgrade option” for wealthy people? I don’t know. I don’t think people are ignoring the strips. I think the theory is that the shroud was put on after or over the strips. But as I say, I’m not that in to it that I did much research.

            I’ll say that a lot of bad teachings have come as a result of that shroud, but that doesn’t make it a forgery. It’s not clear at all what to think about it. Not to me.

            The most interesting thing to me is how strongly some atheists feel they need to attack it as a forgery.

          • Progressives Rule

            Isn’t that the same attitude you Christians take? Oh, you don’t see the hypocrisy do you? LOL!

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Oh, you don’t see the straw man argument, do you?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I appreciate very much that line of reasoning that says: “Mybook is true because it is written in Mybook that it is true” The ‘Almighty Creator God ‘ is as much an invention as the other, ‘demonic’, invention.”

            You’ve done a lot of research in to Biblical archaeology then? Some statements have been proved, others are a matter of faith to be decided after examining available evidence.

            It’s nearly universally agreed in the West that the Babylonian captivity happened and that the texts from that point on are dead accurate.

            The skepticism about the narratives before that period are only controversial because it would require believing in some of the miraculous claims. There is plenty of physical evidence going all the way back to Jericho. But if an archaeologist doesn’t question that, he or she is seen as gullible.

            IOW, the standards expected for Biblical evidence are many times greater than any other. And I’m not just talking about evidence for feeding multitudes or whatever. I’m talking about establishing whether ordinary historical claims are true. Even with these higher expectations, the Bible has proved to be unblemished in terms of historical accuracy. It’s just not enough to convince all of the skeptics.

            The reason they need to be skeptical is because at some point, the fact that the history is accurate implies that the prophecies are also accurate. This is obviously a problem for atheists or competing religions like Islam. So they reject a lot of the claims because they *know* that prophecy is impossible. THAT sir or madam, is circular logic.

            Other atheists then often refer to the most skeptical analysis without even looking at the data used to arrive at the those conclusions. And then we just have these memes repeated by the likes of you.

            Any time I see someone refer to the Bible as requiring circular logic to believe in it, I know I’ve run in to another ignorant skeptic who thinks he’s the wise one.

          • Consider

            It has been proven that there was no Nazareth by the year 0, that king Herod died 4 years before the alleged birth of Jesus, who witnessed the creation of the world and of the first man that could give an account, who said according to Luke 19:27 “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. ” etc.
            Some sience, some thruth, some logic, some morality, some love for fellow humans…

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “It has been proven that there was no Nazareth by the year 0…”

            By who?

            “…that king Herod died 4 years before the alleged birth of Jesus…”

            Citations please.

            Luke 19:27 “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. ”

            Luke quotes Jesus delivering a parable. So what is your point? Surely you don’t think those are instructions for believers, do you?

            “Some sience, some thruth, some logic, some morality, some love for fellow humans…”

            I’ll look forward to your next attempt.

          • Consider

            par·a·ble

            /ˈpærəbəl/ Show Spelled [par-uh-buhl] Show IPA

            noun

            1.

            a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.

            Well the (some) truth is that those who do not want to follow Jesus should, in his opinion, be killed (preferably in front of him).
            Included is the principle, and as a bonus comes the moral lesson.
            I shall deal with the other points latter.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Well the (some) truth is that those who do not want to follow Jesus should, in his opinion, be killed (preferably in front of him).”

            Wrong. Did anyone follow these instructions as you claim? No. So all of Jesus’s disciples were disobedient not only till after Jesus died but even until their own deaths. I see. Well then you have nothing to worry about because nobody is actually going to do that in the name of Christ. At least not citing that passage. I never even heard that one applied as you have before today.

            In any case, the most you can say is that it applies generally to judgment. You have something against justice? It’s not a recipe for how to actually treat people. It’s a warning about facing judgment and justice.

            And combined with other texts, it’s 100% clear that the only direct application for Christians is to be warned about the judgment in the afterlife.

            You read the Bible the way Muslims do. That’s the problem. They think any text they read is or can be a “recipe” and you seem to have followed the same fallacy.

            “Included is the principle, and as a bonus comes the moral lesson.”

            Oh your wisdom is so impressive.

            “I shall deal with the other points latter.”

            That ought to be a treat.

          • Consider

            Herod

            World English DictionaryHerod (ˈhɛrəd) — n called the Great. ?73–4 bc , king of Judaea (37–4). The latter part of his reign was notable for his cruelty: according to the New Testament he ordered the Massacre of the Innocents

            Nazareth

            Excavations by Michael Avi-Yonah at Caesarea in 1962: Caesarea History and archaeology actually begin to coincide with the discovery of a fragment of dark gray marble at a synagogue in Caesarea Maritima in August 1962. Dating from the late 3rd or early 4th century the stone bears the first mention of Nazareth in a non-Christian text. It names Nazareth as one of the places in Galilee where the priestly families of Judea migrated after the disastrous Hadrianic war of 135 AD.

            Irrelevancy of Luke 19:27

            Well this is really silly. No disciples of Jesus followed that advice!

            Huh, but too many of his latter followers practiced it on large scale until few decades ago. Or will you deny this? Poor translation, parable, methaphor or what other trick?

            So what’s the big difference from Islam? When a religion’s main advantage is that its followers don’t take it seriously, it means that it has a serious problem.

            Prophecies

            Since some have introduced prophecies as arguments for, huh, something, presumably the veracity of the Bible, let me quote one essential:

            Luke 9:27
            But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

          • Headed4TheHills

            An’ yet, when Stephen was stoned, he did look up an’ saw for himself the Kingdom of God and Jesus at the right hand of the Father. Then, he did die. Or does that not answer the prophecy?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “An’ yet, when Stephen was stoned, he did look up an’ saw for himself the Kingdom of God and Jesus at the right hand of the Father. Then, he did die. Or does that not answer the prophecy?”

            It sure helps us understand what Jesus was talking about.

          • Headed4TheHills

            An’ of course, there was only the one Herod, right? There jus’ weren’t any other of that name ever in Judea.

          • Consider

            One that was king at the time in question.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “World English DictionaryHerod (ˈhɛrəd) — n called the Great. ?73–4 bc , king of Judaea (37–4). ”

            And when was Jesus born? His historical birth occurred some time between 4 and 6 BC according to the calendar we’re both referring to today. See Will Durant and others.

            We can get to Nazareth later since ‘first mention” hardly proves anything.

            “Irrelevancy of Luke 19:27: Well this is really silly. No disciples of Jesus followed that advice! Huh, but too many of his latter followers practiced it on large scale until few decades ago.”

            Complete horse-shirt. Who followed this text?

            “Or will you deny this? Poor translation, parable, methaphor or what other trick?”

            The burden of proof is on you. I don’t know of anyone taking that parable as instructions for life on earth.

            You must be referring generally to Christian civilizations and violence. All civilizations experience violence.

            There were some Christians who followed what we can call the cult of Constantine. That was about 3 centuries after Christ. And that cult lost its regional cultural hegemony more than 3 centuries ago.

            So even if you can attribute “violence” to “some people calling themselves Christian,” it might be relevant if you can somehow find cause and effect with the texts, but you can’t. So making random accusations, no matter how silly, is all you have.

            “So what’s the big difference from Islam?”

            All the difference in the world. Muslims are to follow the example of Mohamed, a sand-pirate warlord pedophile rapist. If that “nuance” is lost on you, what hope is there to reason with you?

            “When a religion’s main advantage is that its followers don’t take it seriously, it means that it has a serious problem.”

            Well obviously the discourse is over your head.

            “Luke 9:27: But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

            The kingdom of God is Heaven. The prophecy is that some day in the FUTURE it will also replace this earth. There is no expiration date on when. Future prophecies obviously are not used to authenticate other future prophecies. Past fulfilled prophecies are used to authenticate prophets, and then additional prophecies written by those prophets are considered authentic as well. There is no reasonable logic to your implication that all prophecies must be fulfilled before one can authenticate the Bible. We’re not at the “end of time” by anyone’s calculations.

          • Consider

            Since this topic is sinking fast I shall be breif.

            When whas Jesus born?

            First we must establish was he born at all.

            See Doherty and others, there are good reasons to believe that he was not a historical person (but this would rob us of all the fun looking at appologist floundering)

            Second we are told that we are counting the years from the year of his birth. Now it is argued that he wasn’t born on that year, neither on that place (there was no Roman census on that year) etc. so many lies nad fabrications that the question has he existed at all is fully legitimate.

            Nazareth

            “In the 3rd century Church Father Origen knew the gospel story of the city of Nazareth – yet had no clear idea where it was – even though he lived at Caesarea, barely thirty miles from the present town! Even in Origen’s day, as the Church became more institutionalised, intense rivalry was developing between the patriarchs of Caesarea and Jerusalem. This rivalry was only resolved (in Jerusalem’s favour) at Chalcedon in 451. Part of the rivalry centred on control of ‘Holy places’. Hence, ‘finding’ the lost city of Nazareth was a matter of major importance, -”

            Luke 19:27

            You try to build a capital on the difference between calling to kill and giving a personal example.

            After the protagonists are dead the distiction blurs.The Christians have all the theological support (if they look for any) to kill all those who reject JC as their lord.

            Luke 9:27

            You mentioned bullshit and this is the place in your answer where we find most of it.

            A classical atempt to explain the unconvenient passages by arguing that they mean the opposite of what is said.

            The second comming of JC (and all that follows) was to be within the lifespan of some who listened the sermon.

            This was a false prophecy.

            No amount of verbal acrobatics can change this fact.

            It is someone else who brought in (allegedly fullfilled) prophecies as a proof that the Bible is true.
            Now help yourself.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “…so many lies nad fabrications that the question has he existed at all is fully legitimate.”

            Yes indeed. Liars and confused people who have so much emotional investment in “proving” Christ did not exist. You never see atheists with more pride than when they show their confusion over handling archaeology and history.

            “In the 3rd century Church Father Origen knew the gospel story of the city of Nazareth – yet had no clear idea where it was – even though he lived at Caesarea, barely thirty miles from the present town! Even in Origen’s day, as the Church became more institutionalised, intense rivalry was developing between the patriarchs of Caesarea and Jerusalem. This rivalry was only resolved (in Jerusalem’s favour) at Chalcedon in 451. Part of the rivalry centred on control of ‘Holy places’. Hence, ‘finding’ the lost city of Nazareth was a matter of major importance, -”

            Maybe their GPS was faulty. Maybe you have no clue about the history of the region if you think your quote is meaningful. If you want to hang your hat on your own doubts, that’s fine. You’re not looking to resolve your own confusion, you’re using your confusion as evidence and then asking me to convince you otherwise. Given the number of false assumptions you make, that would take some time. Somehow I’m skeptical whether you’ll hang around for that.

            “Luke 9:27: A classical atempt to explain the unconvenient passages by arguing that they mean the opposite of what is said.”

            It was a freaking parable you lunatic. People die. People are judged. The parable was intended to remind hearers of that. And even if it was a parable to be used as you say, then all we can conclude is that Jesus believed in capital punishment.

            I dare you to show your work in how you arrived at your conclusion. We’re just to take your word for it that your delusion-based impressions are how others read it? I’ve never even heard your interpretation. Never, not once.

            “The second comming of JC (and all that follows) was to be within the lifespan of some who listened the sermon.”

            You are again proud of your own confusion.

            “This was a false prophecy. No amount of verbal acrobatics can change this fact.”

            This from the man who thinks that the Gregorian calendar came directly from the Bible itself.

            “It is someone else who brought in (allegedly fullfilled) prophecies as a proof that the Bible is true.”

            There are a huge number of prophecies about Israel that have been fulfilled, so even if someone like you doubts that Christ existed, you can still look at the Bible as non-fiction and see that there is more to it than you’re presently willing to give it credit for.

            I don’t care what you believe in the end, but don’t lie about the evidence and say such absurd things. At least show your work and if you’re not willing to accept that you might be wrong, as you were about the calendar, then what’s the point in arguing over your delusional interpretation of a parable or any other text?

          • Consider

            All that you said is bullshit.

            I would in particular point to the 1-2 weeks difference between the Gregorian and th Julian calendar that you think (or so it seems), can account for the 4 years difference between the claimed birth of JC and the death of the king Herod, who, we are told, ordered the slaughter of all male newborn (JC hopefully included) that might pose a threat to his rule.

            However, things beeing as they are, I shall limit my comment on the question of Luke 19:27.

            The difficulty with this passage has been recognized by Christian scholars. Here’s an example of an attempt to cope with this problem:

            “…there is a verse at the end of parable of the pounds…which is generally omitted when th story is read (tipically, I would add). In Luke 19:27 appear the words: …(you know the words, my comment)… Why do we ommit it?

            Because it don’t sound like Jesus!”…. and yaba, yaba.

            (Georgia Harkness: Christian ethics, 1957)

            Very impressive argumentation!

            It also raises questions about the reliability of the Bible but I leave this problem to someone with more mental capacity than you have.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I would in particular point to the 1-2 weeks difference between the Gregorian and th Julian calendar that you think (or so it seems), can account for the 4 years difference between the claimed birth of JC and the death of the king Herod, who, we are told, ordered the slaughter of all male newborn (JC hopefully included) that might pose a threat to his rule.”

            Ur so smart. Not talking about annual shift, the date of origin was not precise either. They didn’t have the extensive research capabilities at that time. You’re criticizing a Christian and his available resources in order to attack the Bible.

            “(Georgia Harkness: Christian ethics, 1957)Very impressive argumentation!”

            I’m not defending Georgia Harkness or any other Christian.

            “It also raises questions about the reliability of the Bible but I leave this problem to someone with more mental capacity than you have.”

            Raise all the questions you want. You’ll always find the answers you’re looking for because of your circular logic that is somehow deemed (by you) to be superior because you’re an atheist.

            I suppose it’s just me and my limited mental capacity.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “In the 3rd century Church Father Origen knew the gospel story of the city of Nazareth – yet had no clear idea where it was – even though he lived at Caesarea, barely thirty miles from the present town! Even in Origen’s day, as the Church became more institutionalised, intense rivalry was developing between the patriarchs of Caesarea and Jerusalem. This rivalry was only resolved (in Jerusalem’s favour) at Chalcedon in 451. Part of the rivalry centred on control of ‘Holy places’. Hence, ‘finding’ the lost city of Nazareth was a matter of major importance, -”

            Discussing Catholic history doesn’t really help us with the topic at hand.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Second we are told that we are counting the years from the year of his birth. Now it is argued that he wasn’t born on that year, neither on that place (there was no Roman census on that year) etc. so many lies nad fabrications that the question has he existed at all is fully legitimate.”

            Modern consensus is that he was not born in 0 AD. We discovered that as we reconciled findings from archaeology and other texts. So know that the Bible did not bring perfect knowledge about all things to all believers. That was never the claim.

            When does the Bible say that Jesus was born?

            Expecting all Christians to have perfectly harmonized records about everything you need to argue about for the past 2000 years is incredibly naive. What serious students look for is whether the answers can be discovered and harmonized.

            But if you’re a deranged atheist that simply wants to attack Christianity you pull out inconsistencies across time, people and even civilizations and then claim the discordant claims are proof of something, with no need of further investigation. In other words, you reject the explanations as excuses just because you don’t like the implications of the efforts to harmonize.

            That’s not how objective investigators operate.

          • OfficialPro

            John got to see the Kingdom of God (in visions, recounted in Revelation) before he died.

            That excavation doesn’t mean Nazareth didn’t exist prior to that. It’s not something an archaeologist can say with absolute certainty. There’s probably more excavating that needs doing.

            That ‘advice’ wasn’t advice at all. It was the words of a Ruler judging some unwilling (traitorous) subjects. The base parable, is the parable of the TALENTS. It’s a tale of how one who doesn’t use his abilities, will have those taken from them.

          • Consider

            ‘You read the Bible the way Muslims do. That’s the problem. They think any text they read is or can be a “recipe” and you seem to have followed the same fallacy.’
            Due to my superficiality I missed this wisdom.
            It results that the Bible and the Koran are essentially the same the difference being in the reader.
            Cheers!

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Due to my superficiality I missed this wisdom.”

            Due to your superficiality you missed virtually everything relevant.

            “It results that the Bible and the Koran are essentially the same the difference being in the reader.”

            All you really need is a good dictionary and then what need do you have to read anything else? You’ve got all the words so you can make up your own narratives.

            Right? That’s the implication of the logic you present.

          • OfficialPro

            You fail to see the words in the CONTEXT OF THE PARABLE. It does NOT mean that “those who will not follow Jesus should be killed.” It means, those who don’t follow Jesus will perish.

            Refusing to accept a monarch was treason, back in the day, so OF COURSE they’d be killed (in the context). This is a government issue, not a religious issue.

          • OfficialPro

            Lemme show you a site that tackles that Nazareth thing in a bit more detail: http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?112974-Rene-Salm-The-Myth-of-Nazareth-As-Honest-as-quot-Doubting-John-quot

            Consider has no clue about parables.

          • Butseriously

            It is blatant the Quran is made of extracts of the Gospels & Hebrew bible, lifted off a Latin script [ABrahim instead of AVraham: Arabic had no 'V']; with nothing more than name changing [Ishmael instead of Isaac] .

            The first Arabic writing emerged with the Quran, so there is no way the events of centuries ago can be credibly known. To make it all even more absurd: Ishmael was not an Arab but half-Jewish & half Egyptian – and Egypt was not Arab.

            It all aligns with the absurdist premise of Muslims as Palestinians, a falsehood accepted by the Vatican and all Christian countries. And a so-called religion expert accounting Judea 1st C as Palestine – this name was applied in 135 CE – exposes a lot.

            Now we know why it is death to question or criticize Islam :)

          • OfficialPro

            The traditional timing of Jesus’ birth is off but about 4-5 years. Jesus was most likely born in 4 BC, not 0 AD. The Herod slaughter of the babies of Bethlehem was likely when Jesus was a bit younger than 2 years old.

            There isn’t any proof that Nazareth ‘didn’t exist’ before 0 BC. You’re listening to morons that don’t know what they’re talking about.

            Your comment about the enemies in the PARABLE (read the whole parable, seriously, context is EVERYTHING; and furthermore, parables are things that are STORIES, not things that happened!) just shows your ignorance. Not only of what parables are, but of how being a king worked back in the Ancient Near East.

          • Progressives Rule

            Blah blah blah. Talk about talking in circles. LOL! What’s been proved to true from the bible? The flood? Nope. The existence of the ark? Nope. Any proof the “disciples” even wrote the books with their names on them? Nope. Did Nazareth even exist when Christ supposedly walked the earth? Nope.
            .
            Come on, show us that facts matter to you. So far, your name is a farce.

          • EarlyBird

            Actually, proof of a massive and devastating flood during modern human existence in the area known as today’s Middle East, Central Asia and Mediterranean, is undisputed by even the most atheist of scientists.

            Don’t think there’s ever been proof of an ark floating around with animals, though.

            There is no question that a man known as Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter who became a religious leader who lived where the New Testament places him at the time it places him, and who was ultimately crucified by the Romans at the time and place the New Testament places him.

            Not only did his disciples (who named themselves as authors of their respecive books) write their accounts independently of each other at different times, but the whole story of Jesus meshes perfectly with what scholars and archeologists know about that society at that time. Israel was crawling with prophets, religious leaders and sects at that time.

            This does nothing to “prove” the divinity of Jesus, heaven and hell, miracles, religious claims, etc. But there really are known, physical, records and facts about his life. We can know an enormous amount of information about societies and people who lived 8,000 years ago, let alone a mere 2,000.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “What’s been proved to true from the bible?”

            Jericho through most books of the New Testament.

            The flood has not been “disproved” unless you follow circular logic of skeptics. How do you explain the Grand Canyon?

            Answer, anything BUT the flood. That’s the atheist response including from many incompetent scientists, about the evidence for the Bible. But anyone who seriously wants to know will examine the primary sources for the data and consider all theories.

            “Any proof the “disciples” even wrote the books with their names on them?”

            In most cases the books were named after they were written. They’re generally titles, rather indications of the authors. In some cases the traditions might be wrong.

            “Come on, show us that facts matter to you. So far, your name is a farce.”

            If you’re prepared to examine evidence, that’s fine. But to demand immediate definitive proof of something in a discussion forum about something from ancient history is pretty lame. Especially something where atheists have a huge incentive to fight.

            So if you’re prepared to examine the archaeology and if you’re prepared to consider that you might be wrong, for at least long enough to look at the evidence, then that is fine.

            Otherwise you’re just another idiot atheist who was programmed by his parents to think he’s superior by shouting down anyone that disagrees with atheistic science. Science should just be about evidence, not an agenda. But humans are fallible, so anyone who wants to know the truth must be willing to wade in and reject flawed science, or flawed analysis of objective facts.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Did Nazareth even exist when Christ supposedly walked the earth? Nope.”

            Right. Because you say so.

            There was quite some time when atheists claimed that Babylon – among many other places and things – didn’t actually exist. That’s where you get your information.

          • OfficialPro

            There’s a ton of “skeptic” fundy-atheists sites that regurgitate balderdash such as the nazareth thing. ProgressivesRule could have picked from any of them, and they all have dubious scholarship (but we knew that).

          • objectivefactsmatter

            They have so much confidence in it too that they don’t even investigate.

            Hey, atheists would never lie, now would they? They’re pure. That’s why they’re atheists.

            Um, well…

          • kate5778b

            Israel is still a people with the same book/rules.

            Israel is back in Israel’s land, that’ll do me.

          • OfficialPro

            Proof of worldwide flood:

            Fossils. On mountain tops. Clearly deposited under water.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            The logic of the atheists developed something like this:

            Well, the Bible said the world is flat and it’s not. They clearly only new about that flat part where the Bible took place. It must have been a regional flood. Global floods just aren’t possible.

            Later…gee, we found all this stuff on the mountains, and that must prove how old the world is for those mountains to grow so high from the ocean. Each layer must represent X bazzillion whatevers in order for Darwinism to work.

            And then came microbiology and the law of biogenesis, which of course they ignored because it didn’t fit the narrative. They don’t have to make sense. They just have to agree with each other and then mock Christians who don’t care enough to find the precise answers to their loaded questions.

            By the way, most of the fossils we find are also evidence of the flood. Direct evidence. Atheist scientists just can’t account for how they could be created so they set that aside. Just like the bio genesis problem they have.

            I don’t mind if a skeptic tells me that the evidence is not strong enough for them to believe. I can respect that. It takes time when you’ve been programmed to think the opposite is true. But when you pretend that there is no evidence or just plain lie about it, that is not something I find easy to tolerate without a response.

          • Progressives Rule

            About those fossils…. why aren’t there all kinds of animal fossils on those mountain tops?
            .
            Where did all that water come from to cover the earth?
            .
            Where did it all go?
            .
            Why no mention of the flood in Greek or Chinese or any other civilizations?
            .
            For someone with “facts matter” in your name, you provide very few facts.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “About those fossils…. why aren’t there all kinds of animal fossils on those mountain tops?”

            Because the flood created the fossils, but there is quite a bit of latency between the event onset and the actual process where you have fossils.

            Any animals that were not encased would have decayed before the fossils were created. The water would have receded for a very long time before fossils could have been created. You’d never expect fossils in mountains unless there were very unusual cave collapses where the animals were hiding,

            Most fossils were created in valleys that were at one point higher than where the animals were located at the onset of the rain and flooding.

            “Where did all that water come from to cover the earth?”

            The strongest theory is that prior to the flood, the atmosphere was more stable and higher in humidity. In addition, there is evidence that water underneath the crust had been accumulating under pressure. From the perspective of the crust, they would have seen winds stirring the hazy looking conditions in to forming clouds for the first time, and then at some point in the event the crust erupted with water geysers. There was a major series of seismic events associated with the flood, not just “same rain.”

            “Where did it all go?”

            It’s still here. Water flows in the direction of gravity. Rain and geysers don’t deposit their water directly in to the oceans.

            Most skeptics imagine a simple impossible event and then stop there. They don’t do the hard work if seeing whether there are any plausible scenarios.

            “Why no mention of the flood in Greek or Chinese or any other civilizations?”

            If you can’t find it, perhaps it wasn’t the most important historical event in their minds and it wasn’t widely preserved. And your inability to find it means almost nothing.

            “For someone with “facts matter” in your name, you provide very few facts.”

            The fact is that there is testimony to an event. Skeptics say that the event is impossible when they don’t actually know. I’m giving you plausible scenarios based on known facts. There actually is quite a lot of objective research, but skepticism and a skeptics interpretation of the data has dominated most sciences, therefore legitimate questions that could be asked are not asked. Plausible scenarios are laughed at because in their minds Darwin already proved the Bible is a joke.

            Scientists are supposed to value objectivity. But they also work in groups and depend on others. Therefore pretending that culture doesn’t influence science just because it shouldn’t influence science, is very naive.

            If you want facts, you need to look at the data used in the investigations of the fossils, the various landmarks around the world like the Grand Canyon and so forth, but you’re already so convinced that there was no Biblical flood that you won’t examine those facts objectively.

          • Progressives Rule

            Yes, I am convinced. Science has a way of doing that. If you really believe the Grand Canyon was formed in less than 10,000 years you truly did miss out on an education. If the world was covered with water enough to cover all the mountains (and I’ll let you decide on the height of the tallest) then where the hell did all that water go? It’s not on the surface. It’s not under the crust.
            Admit it, the flood is just like all the other ubiquitous miracle stories in so many other religions. It may also have some roots in a local flood. There is evidence of the ocean breaking through a small land wall flooding out the area surrounding a fesh water lake. But, a world wide flood? Heck man, they thought the world was flat back then, remember?
            Your sea shells being the only creature to be fossilized (why again?) is devoid of science. You talk about the need for “a very long time” for the follization process to happen. You do realize you only have several thousand years for all that to happen, right? You did not explain why no other animals were fossilized. And you think those mountains rose up from continents smashing into each other with nobody writing about such a huge event?
            It’s one thing to be a fervent believer. It’s another to not engage your common sense.
            Conclusion: Facts do not matter to you. You need to change your name to BiasedFactsOnly. Then people will know what they’re dealing with when they read your fiction.

          • OfficialPro

            oh that “Nazareth didn’t exist yet” canard? Sorry, you’re referencing idiots that haven’t got an archaeological clue.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Biblical archaeology is one of those fields where you can make an entire career out of your failure to find or understand something. Thanks to atheists.

            They celebrate losers when it suits their agenda.

          • EarlyBird

            And so, what was the last act of Christian charity you practiced, professor?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I ate a roasted baby, but I was gentle when I killed it.

          • EarlyBird

            That’s kind of you.

          • The End of Islam

            As the nature of the debate is centered on religious specifics, I think it is appropriate that the ‘holy books’ themselves be brought into it. Anyway, the contents of the New Testament are way more palatable than anything in Islam, even to an atheist like me.

      • EarlyBird

        Consider, I guarantee you that the 5 “up votes” you received were from people who didn’t get your sarcasm, all but mine, “up vote” number 6.

        • Consider

          I made several typing errors, I guess that’s why I recieved so much support.

          • EarlyBird

            Yes.

            By the way, I think I disgree with you about a major notion, if I understand you correctly.

            You question the very historic existence of Jesus as a person? That’s really surprising. In fact, I don’t know of many atheist scholars who suggest Jesus’ entire life was made up. It’s a rare claim.

            There is in fact very strong archeological evidence of an historic Jesus having lived in the time and place that Bible scholars place him, who was in fact a carpenter who became a spiritual leader (the entire area was awash in people starting their own religions and cults), who was in fact condemned and crucified by the Romans in the way the New Testament illustrates.

            There is evidence that the apostles did attempt to write eye witness, I was there, accounts of his life after his death, and did so independently over a period of decades after they fled the general area.

            In terms of time, it’s tough to be super accurate, but the understanding that Jesus was born around 2,000 years ago is considered pretty close, give or take 20 years. (There is even geological evidence that a massive flood occurred in the area of the Middle East during modern human existence.)

            I just mean to say this is basic historic scholarship, not faith. You don’t have to believe anything about God, Jesus, religion, to accept that historic evidence and scholarship seems to be pretty clear that he existed, in the same way as Buddha, Mohammed and other religious figures clearly existed. Most religious texts, including the Bible, were attempts to record history, along with a lot of magic and parables thrown in.

          • Consider

            As far as I know, there are, say, 4 or so scholars that have studied the matter in depth and reached the conclusion that Jesus was real, and as many of those who also studied the matter in depth and who manintain that he is an invention.

            Now, most of other Bible scholars (for obvious reasons related to their intelectual and social positions) agree with those (four, say) that claim that Jesus was a historical figure and so a ‘consesus’ is fabricated that is not only an pure concesus but is also ‘wide’.

            The fact is that no idependent (that is non Christian) source records his life and miracles (apart of some mentions that have been since discredited as later Christian falsifications) while even trivial events were accounted for by contemporary historians.

            No one reported for example that:
            Matthew
            27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
            27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
            27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
            27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
            Do you think that this may have passed unoticed?

          • EarlyBird

            I may be missing you, or we may be agreeing:

            “The fact is that no idependent (that is non Christian) source records his life and miracles (apart of some mentions that have been since discredited as later Christian falsifications) while even trivial events were accounted for by contemporary historians.”

            The miracles are what I refer to “the magic thrown in” as part of a religious text, but it seems you concur that there were historians at the time who recorded his existence, i.e., the “trivial events” of his life. Do I understand you?

            Again, I’m not making the case for God, etc., I’m just pointing out that there really does seem to be a consensus – and a much broader one than you seem to accept – across Christian and non-Christian scholars, that the person in the Bible known as Jesus existed in and around that time and was crucified by the Romans. That he was a myth made up of whole cloth has far less support.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “As far as I know, there are, say, 4 or so scholars that have studied the matter in depth and reached the conclusion that Jesus was real, and as many of those who also studied the matter in depth and who manintain that he is an invention.”

            As far as you know, eh? Again, bragging about how certain you are in spite of being led by your biases to look only at atheist sources. That’s pretty amazing stuff.

            “The fact is that no idependent (that is non Christian) source records his life and miracles (apart of some mentions that have been since discredited as later Christian falsifications) while even trivial events were accounted for by contemporary historians.”

            “No one reported for example that: Matthew
            27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”

            No one but those stupid lying Christians, who had so much to gain by their claims, reported it. Those stupid Christians!

            This is yet again, more circular logic from you. You expect people to observe miracles and then remain “non Christian” in order for you to believe them?

            So the moment someone comes forth as a witness, that pretty much makes them Christian. Or do you expect someone to talk about miracles and then say, but it’s really all nonsense. They would not be considered a valid witness either. They are defined as Christians because they are witnesses.

            In other words, there is no possible valid witness because you reject their testimony no matter what.

            Which is very funny.

          • Consider

            They say: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs.
            Apart from this neither all Christians report this extraordinary event. There is no mention of it in other gospels.
            If I witnessed houndreds of people rising from their graves (for istance my late mother and father) I would instatly become a Christian.
            How then all the people of Jerusalem did not become Christians?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “They say: extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs.”

            Is that what they say? Too bad they don’t also say that you should have started out with that position rather than trying to bluff your way through BS parable analysis to prove your extraordinary claim that Islam and Christianity are essentially the same.

            “Apart from this neither all Christians report this extraordinary event. There is no mention of it in other gospels.”

            If the gospels were identical, there would be no need for more than one.

            “How then all the people of Jerusalem did not become Christians?”

            How then, would you expect them too? Your reading is that this all happened in an amphitheater?

          • Consider

            Unfortunately for you there is nothing extraordinary in the claim that there is not much to chose between the Bible and the Koran, violence wise.

            Since your other comments are not worth an answer I salute you with two more quotes from your saviour, one advocating peace and the other, love:

            Matthew

            10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

            Luke

            14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

            Peace is not the most important idea, because justice and discernment come first. If only our POTUS understood this. In this case, the sword is one of discernment. His word is to be used to divide right from wrong.

            Or maybe Jesus was known to carry a sword? Most Christians do. Especially those that quote verses with no context.

            “14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

            A clumsy translation. I think it’s better rendered as place below the mission in affection, or something like that.

            But yeah, you’re typical. We get this nonsense all the time. It’s so obvious you’re just looking for explanations.

            At least you recognize that you failed and all you have left is hit-and-run copy-pasting. Maybe you’ll wise up some day.

          • Consider

            Ah, standard excuses: out of context, poor translation and I would add, dirty polemical trickery.

            They teach you this in the Sunday school, together with Kung Fu and other defensive techniques?

            ‘Or maybe Jesus was known to carry a sword?’
            Of course not. Neither was Hitler (after he became the Fuhrer; he was a solider in WWI and presumably he carried weapons. But on the other hand we don’t know what Jesus carried until he was 33. Maybe a knife? or a sling?).
            They had other means.

            If it is possible to falsify the perfectly clear messages according to ones’ momentarily needs and to argue that they mean the opposite of what is said , one can think no other than that the Koran may have been unfairly misrepresented, by poor translation, quotations out of context and so on.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Ah, standard excuses: out of context, poor translation and I would add, dirty polemical trickery.”

            Standard tools for atheist tools like you.

            “They teach you this in the Sunday school, together with Kung Fu and other defensive techniques?”

            I don’t know what they teach in Sunday school. You’re making endless false assumptions. What a shock from a rabid atheist.

            “Of course not. Neither was Hitler (after he became the Fuhrer; he was a solider in WWI and presumably he carried weapons.”

            I see. Since Jesus led his armies to destroy so many others, it doesn’t really matter if he carried the sword himself because he promoted death and destruction everywhere.

            That’s your point? You’re turning out to be one of the most delusional rabid atheists I can ever recall.

            “But on the other hand we don’t know what Jesus carried until he was 33. Maybe a knife? or a sling?).
            They had other means.”

            Well isn’t it in the weapons and tactics section of the Bible? Since Christianity is fundamentally about imperial conquest – just like Islam. There has to be something.

            “If it is possible to falsify the perfectly clear messages according to ones’ momentarily needs and to argue that they mean the opposite of what is said , one can think no other than that the Koran may have been unfairly misrepresented, by poor translation, quotations out of context and so on.”

            The koran is distinct from the Bible for many reasons. The koran itself is not a problem. It’s how the supporting texts explain it and how it’s been used by Muslims for all it’s recorded history. If I wanted to defend the koran, I could do a better job than you, but I wouldn’t be claiming it’s more or less the same as the Bible. That’s real retarded, sir.

            If all they had was the koran, maybe we wouldn’t have Islamic terror. The problem is that we have the hadith and other writings that show how Muslims interpret it. When it’s used for imperialist conquest, I’ll fight against it.

            And you’re full of BS to think that your renderings are the “perfectly clear” meanings. It’s sad to think you might not even be fully aware of how delusional you are. You are a hypocrite talking about being programmed. I heard not one original thought from you, and you didn’t prove a single point. You failed to show evidence even after claiming to have proof. Citing some who are skeptical about evidence is not proof of anything.

            Do you even know what context means?

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/context

            con·text noun ˈkän-ˌtekst

            Definition of CONTEXT

            1: the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

            2: the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs : environment, setting

          • Consider

            Now when completely cornered you became totaly hysterical.
            Your ran out of arguments, and your posts are no more than a series of personal insults.
            I have finished with you.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Now when completely cornered you became totaly hysterical.”

            Delusion knows no bounds apparently.

            When I’m confident you are finished, I’ll summarize the bold statements that you failed to support.

            Some things about Islam and Christianity being essentially the same. Some things about how you can take any word from any book and use it as you please. Uh, context doesn’t matter…What else?

            I’ll review later and then summarize.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Unfortunately for you there is nothing extraordinary in the claim that there is not much to chose between the Bible and the Koran, violence wise.”

            Speaking of the sword of discernment, it’s obvious you have none.

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discernment

            dis·cern·ment noun di-ˈsərn-mənt, -ˈzərn-

            Definition of DISCERNMENT

            1: the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure : skill in discerning

            2: an act of perceiving or discerning something

          • EarlyBird

            OFM, why did you quote some other person and reply to me as if they were my words? You meant to respond to someone else. I’m on your side about this: there is overwhelming historical evidence that Jesus existed in the time and place that New Testament indicates.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I’m not sure. I try to work too fast some times.

          • Consider

            1. I said that they (contemporary historians) recorded even trivial events happening in that area, but have not recorded his existence and the exraordinary deeds that he allegedly performed. Which is strange.
            2. I agree that there is a widespread concesus that he existed albeit not necessarily as son of god. But I think that I explained why is t his so: many people from this branch of knowledge and “knowledge” owe their daily bread to the belief that he existed.

          • EarlyBird

            “I agree that there is a widespread concesus that he existed albeit not necessarily as son of god.”
            Agreed. I thought you were under the belief that there is a general lack of consensus on whether or not he even existed. I understand you now.

          • OfficialPro

            dude, there are atheist scholars that believe Jesus existed as a human being.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            And a lot more than 4.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “No one reported for example that:
            Matthew: 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. ”

            What it looks like from the outside is simply that he yelled out before he died. So where’s the controversy? How many witnesses do you want for that “crucial” claim?

            “27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;”

            Uh, how many people had access to the Temple veil, smart guy?

            IIRC, there was an earthquake reported at that time, along with an eclipse to explain the darkness reported elsewhere.

            “27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,”

            That’s more interesting. But we call them Christians, and many of the were killed for testifying to such controversial claims. Wondering if you actually are family with the entire gospel accounts of Jesus during his ministry?

            “27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

            Again, he either limited his appearances to believers, or those he appeared to became believers. Remember, the claim is that he is God. So if he is God, he doesn’t have the same limits that men do.

            The inability to account for every claim is not the same as having “no evidence.” All you can honestly say is that the evidence is not sufficient for you.

            Yet that didn’t occur to you before running your mouth. You’re not the first.

    • Headed4TheHills

      Herb, are you arguin’ with the trolls again?

      • herb benty

        Ya, I have had a lifelong attraction to the truth and their idiocy is hard to not answer, however, I see common sense doesn’t make a dent.

    • EarlyBird

      Herb, what makes you consider Aslan “arrogant”? The reason he pointed to his degree is because the interviewer was challenging his credentials to even write the book in the first place. If he was a Christian fundamentalist declaring the literallness of the Scriptures, she’d never have done so.

      What makes you think he was “dissembling”?

      What makes you think he is a “fanatic”?

      • herb benty

        I’ll bite. Christians are being slaughtered in muslim countries as we speak, en masse, and that is a fact. The Koran orders muslims to annihilate Jews and Christians, to conquer the world and make the only religion Islam. Aslan is a devout muslim who supports Islamic groups that have been found in court to be “unindicted co-conspiriators”.. in their support of overseas terrorism. His Ph.D is not in history and I would not change my opinion even if he had one. I have studied history for 45yrs and you either get it or you don’t. History is bare for all to see who can read. He is arrogant if you watched the interview, he constantly referred to his degrees so as not to deal with the facts. I can show you many verses in the Bible that plainly presents our Lord Jesus Christ as the messiah, God’s only Son, who left Glory, took on a human body, gave Himself a sacrifice for OUR sins. He was crucified, died, and ROSE from the grave because death could not hold our Creator. Those last 9 points, muslims DENY. And what do you know, so does Aslans book! What a coincidence. He Knows what our Judeo-Christian Bible says, but instead adopts the Commie/Islam tactic of historical revisionism.( dissembler). He is similar to Major Hassan at Ft. Hood, Hassan used bullets, Aslan uses words, making him a fanatic with a haircut.,and a few degrees. Jesus came to save our SOULS, He was not a poor hustler or race hustler, He was not a community organizer. Reza tries to frame our Lord in Progressive and Islamic terms-two ideologies God would not waste His precious time on. Your welcome

        • EarlyBird

          If the Koran requires of all Muslims to put infidels to the sword and take over the world (very similar to what Christians believed the Bible told them was their job, and acted upon for a good 1,000 years) what need to even differentiate between “devout” or “fanatic”? They are all fanatics, right? The world simply can not co-exist with any Muslim short of adopting Islam itself, am I right?

          Wrong. There are objective differences in the way many Muslims interpret and live that religion, thank God. Not all are jihadists or would be jihadists. There is a massive swathe of Muslims across the world who want nothing but to live in peace, regardless of your religion. It is up to us to encourage and ally ourselves with them, because they are in the midst of a civil war within Islam between decent people and evil people.

          “…I can show you many verses in the Bible that plainly presents our Lord Jesus Christ as the messiah, God’s only Son, who left Glory, took on a human body, gave Himself a sacrifice for OUR sins. He was crucified, died, and ROSE from the grave because death could not hold our Creator.”

          Oh stop it! Any Muslim, Jew, Buddhist or Zoroastrian can point to a book which “plainly presents” different things from the Bible. “My book says it!” is hardly a defense of Christianity.

          Living Christian values is the greatest defense. They are superior to the others’.

          • herb benty

            Hi Early, its early here too, ha ha. Like your tone today, so I’ll give you a try. 1.” If” the Koran requires….I took out a Koran from my local library a while ago and all non-muslims,are slated for elimination, beginning with the Jews and Christians. ” so the religion will only be Allah’s”. There is no getting around it. You say Christians did the same thing for a thousand years, using the Bible. The Roman Church in it’s quest for world power did terrible things for a long time, thats true. The thing is the RCC is not Christian, something I have studied for decades. Buying away sins, the Inquisition( all over Europe, not just Spain), calling a man Father when the Bible says to ONLY call God our Father, Mary worship instead of Jesus, well I could go on and on about that but you may see why we were called Protestants.I know about this personally. My own relatives were persecuted by Rome long ago,( St. Bartholemews Day Massacre- YOUtube). Christians like me would live happily beside Muslims if ONLY they would! Note the slaughter of Christians worldwide right now wherever Islam is the majority or gaining in population.You say ” we should align with “moderate” muslims- there isn’t any. Show me anywhere that moderates speak out against Islamic atrocities, if they do, they are killed. Sunni vs Shia.. they both ascribe to what I said above, their doctrinal struggle aside. I just gave you a short version of who Jesus is and what He came for, and you say “stop it”. You don’t believe the Bible, fair enough. I can’t speak to other Religions but the Hebrew Torah, Psalms and Prophets is the vehicle God chose to carry the Promise of Jesus. From Genesis to Malachi. Gen; From a woman will come a man who will crush Satan’s head, Malachi: YahwehAlmighty God will suddenly appear in HIS Temple(Jesus taught in the Temple). It really is FUN to look these up, you can find His pierced hands, terrible thirst(crucifixtion- from the word excruciating), riding into Jerusalem on a young donkey, betrayed for 30 pcs of silver, betrayed by a friend, a man born in Bethlehem who has always been, and on and on. Bearing OUR sins to make us sinless in the Fathers eyes. Early, Jesus said, “In the volume of the book I am found”, and He is also the WORD, ie., “the word of God came to Moses, etc.,etc. Early, I do agree with your last sentence, I do not want an argument, I know there is LOVE, and I wish LOVE comes to you. Thanks for the discussion, we will see each other some day, goodbye.

          • EarlyBird

            “.” If” the Koran requires….”
            Sorry, I didn’t mean to question the validity of your statement that the Koran requires putting infidels to the sword. It’s a pretty bloody book. I could have stated, “Given that…”
            Though I disagree that the RCC is “not Christian” (you’re talking to an ex-altar boy, Herb!), your point about the Church serves my point. The Church WAS Christianity until and well into the (very sorely needed) Reformation. And it was hardly just Catholics who have committed countless atrocities in the name of bringing Christendom to the “pagans” (“infidels”).
            The words in the Bible didn’t change; the interpretation and focus of Christians did, and continues to.
            Protestants started out as Catholics and were wiped out by the RCC (equivalent of radical imams) in their time. What if during the Reformation there was a massive outside global power condemning and pressuring ALL Christians in their lands as one big lump of Catholic savages? It would have made that reformation and rebirth of Christianity far harder, almost forcing them into a single bloc.
            But what if that outside power supported the Protestants in changing their religion to make it more peaceful and kind?
            Yes, violent interpretations of Islam are on a rampage, and reformists in those zones hardly stand a chance. Those violent people are our enemy. But the majority of Muslims around the world are moderates in their deeds, live good lives, and are struggling with the radicals who are trying to wrest control and meaning of their religion. And remember, Muslims have suffered far, far more at the hands of violent Islam than Christians or any other group, given this civil war within a religion.
            It is just not possible as a Western strategy, not to mention incredibly ungenerous, to write off Islam as unreformable. It’s like declaring that Christianity was unreformable hundreds of years ago.
            My “stop it!” comment simply meant that declaring one’s book to be the truth isn’t much of an argument for the religion. The values, as put into action, are what counts.
            “I know there is LOVE, and I wish LOVE comes to you.”
            Same to you and yours, Herb. Thank you.

          • herb benty

            I understand your position and appreciate your candour. I do believe that when Jesus Christ returns all these Doctrinal differences won’t matter.My best friend in my youth was an altar boy, we went to weekend dances at “Queen of Angels” school gymnasium, I attended Midnight Mass at Christmas as did a lot of kids who weren’t Catholic, but they invited us and it was always a nice night. The Gospel means Good News. The Word says concerning being saved……even those that believe in His Name. How can anyone dispute that? Muslims, heck, I’m supposed to pray for them if anything. Take care Early Bird.

          • EarlyBird

            Thanks, Herb.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Though I disagree that the RCC is “not Christian” (you’re talking to an ex-altar boy, Herb!), your point about the Church serves my point. The Church WAS Christianity until and well into the (very sorely needed) Reformation.”

            The Roman Catholic Church is Christian because it is based on the Bible and it has a lot of authentic believers who attend.

            It is not Christian in the sense that the leadership teaches significant false doctrines. However, individuals that think for themselves can work out that purgatory and other absurd ideas simply served the interests of those in the church leadership that wanted to manipulate the flock. I’m sure it wasn’t an overt conspiracy (I don’t think so anyway) but rather an organic one where someone comes up with ideas that creep in to full on tyranny over time because they are able to sell it little by little, even without trying very hard.

            To say that the RCC was the only game in town until the reformation is false. It was the only big political player, but there were many dispersed believers We don’t know how many. Why? Because the church ran a totalitarian belief system and they controlled most of the records of any significant governments in the regions they controlled. The history recorded by the church survives because they were dominant politically. The reformers didn’t come out of nowhere. Many of them were quiet because they had no way to unify. Once they could circulate printed Bibles and be confident in their positions, as a group, it was then easier to unify and that is what drove the reformation.

            It was the Bible itself that unified believers against the RCC leadership.

            I actually find it common for many Catholics to be a bit naive about Islam out of the sense that their church went through the same thing. It’s not the same at all. It only looks that way through the distorted lens of modern historians. The RCC was far from perfect, but at it’s worse it was never like Islam.

            Islam can’t reform because they’re already following the fundamental texts. Christianity was reformed because technology suddenly put the authentic texts in to the hands of the believers at large and gave them a way to unify, not just be being able to read the Bible but being able to wage massive simultaneous rhetorical and political campaigns. The printing press was an essential invention to allow democratic republican ideas to be exchanged freely. Modern democracies were born out of the reformation, which was born out of the Bible finally being placed in the hands of the believers The modern “grass roots” movement was born.

          • EarlyBird

            “Islam can’t reform because they’re already following the fundamental texts.”

            But that wrongly presupposes that the reformed Christians, by holding closer to the Bible, no longer committed atrocities in the name of God as the Catholics did. They of course did throughout North America and many other places.

            Conveniently, they found parts of the Bible which “allowed” them to wipe out and/or Christianize natives and take over their lands, at the time when they most desired to do so. Once most of those goals were reached, they further reformed, reinterpretated those texts, and looked back in horror at their deeds.

            So, what about Islam, whose Koran directly commands laying the infidel to the sword? Well, through the broad, thriving middle centuries of the Islamic empire, Islam stopped being nearly as fundamental, the empire stopped expanding, and they even managed to treat local Jews with some decency. (It takes a lot out of a society to constantly war.)

            And we can see that even today, with glaring exceptions, most Muslims live decent, peaceful lives, and can co-exist with the knowledge that non-Muslims exist. It’s the radicals among them who are “already following the fundamental texts,” and they are the odd ones going backwards.

            It is helpful to understand that the Islamists are fighting for tangible goals – land and geopolitical power. They want their own land, governments and resources back from the West and other outsiders. We might be surprised at how quickly the starch goes out of the jihadists’ shirts once they get a bit of control over their lives again, don’t feel so pressured from the outside, and have to practically govern.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “But that wrongly presupposes that the reformed Christians, by holding closer to the Bible, no longer committed atrocities in the name of God as the Catholics did. They of course did throughout North America and many other places.”

            They peeled away traditions over the generations. It was a process.

            “Conveniently, they found parts of the Bible which “allowed” them to wipe out and/or Christianize natives and take over their lands, at the time when they most desired to do so. Once most of those goals were reached, they further reformed, reinterpretated those texts, and looked back in horror at their deeds.”

            See, that’s BS. The clashes with the natives were largely over culture. The natives were due consideration as humans, not sovereigns. They did not achieve sovereignty and it is delusional to treat them a if they did.

            And in order to form those opinions, you are clearly influenced by anti-Christian revisionist historians. People didn’t go around quoting the Bible as justification for what today would be considered unjust. You need to cite examples if you want to promote that line of BS.

            And the salient point is that the Bible does not teach coercion, while Islamic texts do. It teaches to go along with justice according to the established authorities. How are you going to get around the fact that Islamic texts go in the opposite direction?

            “It is helpful to understand that the Islamists are fighting for tangible goals – land and geopolitical power.”

            Sure. But it’s never ending because the ideology behind their ethos is that they must fight for global sharia. You can’t say that about Christianity or any civilization that was supposedly Christian, except for the popes and a few Catholic kings.

          • EarlyBird

            “See, that’s BS. The clashes with the natives were largely over culture.”

            Exactly! I’m not saying the Bible directed Europeans to wipe out the Native Americans. I’m saying they were being anti-Biblical, but clearly had created an idea that they were superior to the natives due to being Christian and felt they had the right or duty to “Christianize” the natives – whether the Bible actually directed them to.

            “The natives were due consideration as humans, not sovereigns. They did not achieve sovereignty and it is delusional to treat them a if they did.”

            And they weren’t given that consideration as humans. As for “sovereignity,” I don’t buy the “no flag, no rights” concept. That said, it has been Christians who have done more for the remaining native Americans than others.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I’m saying they were being anti-Biblical, but clearly had created an idea that they were superior to the natives due to being Christian and felt they had the right or duty to “Christianize” the natives – whether the Bible actually directed them to.”

            But it’s so much more complicated than that. This was an expansion of a powerful civilization that made many sincere attempts to integrate the indigenous populations. While some individuals probably did do things that are in conflict with Biblical teachings, I think it’s a fiction to look at the end result and say that what happened was unjust to them collectively.

            Basically the indigenous people were hurt by their leaders more than by Western leaders. You can’t hold back civilization when there is no sovereign. We had to establish sovereignty before we could ensure justice. How could be establish sovereignty of the natives want to pretend they already had?

            The natives were hurt by their lack of vision and comprehension that they were simply unable to govern without adapting. Some adapted and others did not. Their civilization collapsing makes them look like collective victims, but that’s just naive to think that way.

            Many ancestors of the natives are very grateful for what happened. Most of the complainers today are victims of the same leftist agitation lies that get white kids to march on Wall Street calling bankers thieves It’s a bunch of BS.

            There was no clear plan to go in and rob the natives. There were some waves of Europeans who did not give them any chance to show if they could adapt, but our founding fathers for the most part did try. Simply going around pretending that they had some kind of sovereign claim is just silly.

            There is a reason we called them uncivilized, and it wasn’t to insult their manners. It was because they had a very crude society that was no match of modern competing ones. Or put another way, if we hadn’t established sovereignty, some other competing civilization would have.

            And then we could write emails complaining about the cruel so and sos that settled America and made victims of the natives.

            But if you want to talk about victims, you need to make your case explicitly. Just because a civilization was wiped out, does not mean there were victims. There were, but those are individual cases based on how it happened, not just because it happened. And these stories are often told without any explanations for why strict measures in many cases were justified. Not always, but most of the time. We like to tell the poignant stories in order to make us more sensitive and that is fine. But when you take all of the exaggerated stories and try to make the case that we treated them unjustly as a people, that’s a lot harder case to make.

            We’re not responsible for sustaining any other civilization but our own. In fact the whole idea of multiculturalism is pure insanity. If we were as stupid then as we are today, there would be no USA.

          • EarlyBird

            “…While some individuals probably did do things that are in conflict with Biblical teachings, I think it’s a fiction to look at the end result and say that what happened was unjust to them collectively.”
            That is so fundamentally at odds with what we know about history I hardly know how to respond to that. There were conscious campaigns by Christians – and I do not wish to overstate that these were explicity “in the name of Christianity” – to in essence do what rampaging Muslims would do: convert or kill. But it was done expressly for the reason of expanding and obtaining wealth and resources and power, not merely for the fun of killing indians.

            “Basically the indigenous people were hurt by their leaders more than by Western leaders.”
            In terms of sheer numbers they were hurt more by European diseases, which the Europeans had no intention or knowledge of using against anyone.
            I am about as big a defender of Western civilization as one can get. And I get history: there are winners and there are losers. We won. But you are off the rails.
            Your general shrug and dismissal of those who some how didn’t have “soveregnity” is a bit much. That’s what many good Christians said: “Because you don’t organize around formal borders, written treaties, flags and parliaments, not to mention run around half naked and pray to sky gods, we get to take your land. And your remaining ancestors 300 years from now will be happy you were all slaughtered.”
            Geez man. We can hold both thoughts in our heads: a recognition of Western sins and Western virtues, and we can celebrate that our virtues are far worth any sins we’ve committed.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That is so fundamentally at odds with what we know about history I hardly know how to respond to that. ”

            Take all the time you need. Get back to me when you’re ready.

            “There were conscious campaigns by Christians – and I do not wish to overstate that these were explicity “in the name of Christianity” – to in essence do what rampaging Muslims would do: convert or kill. But it was done expressly for the reason of dominating those populations in order to expand and obtain wealth, resources and power, not merely for the fun of killing indians. The savages were just in the way.”

            That’s the Hollywood version. And yeah, many leftist professors will go along with that. You’re going to have to cite examples though. Otherwise it’s just disputed history where we disagree.

            “We were just more adept at killing.”

            That’s only relevant after their leaders led them in to war.

            “And in terms of sheer numbers they were hurt more by European diseases, which the Europeans had no intention or knowledge of using against anyone.”

            So why is that charged against Christianity, or our supposed European cruelty?

            “Your general shrug and dismissal of those who some how didn’t have “soveregnity” is a bit much.”

            What matters if it’s true. Look at the definition of sovereignty. There is formal sovereignty and de facto sovereignty. They didn’t even know the lands they proposed to be sovereigns of. They certainly did not achieve any de facto sovereignty by any definition except their own. They were not in a position to rule. It wasn’t that we decided that they were inferior rulers. They proved it. They were inferior rulers. They were incapable of ruling anyone but themselves, and they wanted to basically share sovereignty as equals (or in many cases as our superiors) with a much greater society. That’s not realistic.

            “That’s what many good Christians said: “Because you don’t organize around formal borders, written treaties, flags and parliaments like we do, not to mention run around half naked and pray to sky gods, we get to take your land. And your remaining ancestors 300 years from now will be happy you were all slaughtered.”"

            That’s a false characterization. You’re conflating individual rights with rights of a civilization. Basically if you can’t achieve sovereignty over your own people, you will be integrated or destroyed if a superior civilization comes along. Multiculturalism seems cool, but it’s absurd. Especially the native ideas for it back then. They were totally unrealistic. For the most part, we tried to reason with them.

            If we had intended on destroying them from the beginning, how long do you suppose that would have taken? If you want to read history, read all of it, or at least read samples of objective history from various points. I think you have no idea how much the revisionists have dominated the modern discourse.

            “We can hold both thoughts in our heads: a recognition of Western sins and Western virtues, and we can celebrate that our virtues are far worth any sins we’ve committed.”

            I’m not denying actual sins. I’m rejecting false grievances. That’s not saying there were no legitimate grievances, but most of today’s historical narratives are based on gross distortions and half-truths designed explicitly to attack our republic.

          • EarlyBird

            “That’s the Hollywood version. And yeah, many leftist professors will go along with that. You’re going to have to cite examples though. Otherwise it’s just disputed history where we disagree.”
            No, it’s the serious scholars’ version. You yourself admitted it was a matter of an expanding civilization. And oh right: if anyone points out sins of America they are “leftist” anti-Americans. That is ridiculous, and very convenient.
            “That’s only relevant after their leaders led them in to war.”

            A few native American tribes or “nations” immediately lashed out at the first Europeans (and generally wiped out far outnumbered settlers), but that was rare. Up to the establishment of the US, most tribes interacted with Europeans quite successfully and benefited greatly with a few exceptions. It was around the time the US was formed that the many treaties that existed were constantly abrogated. Read “Facing East From Indian Country.” Read “American Lion” about Jackson’s presidency.
            “So why is that charged against Christianity, or our supposed European cruelty?”
            I never did that. You are setting up left wing straw men and attacking them. I’m merely pointing to facts: a European Christian sense of being innately (INNATELY) superior to the non-Christian “savage” was part of the ethic that allowed them to expand violently into North America and force European civilization upon the people already existing there. And I specifically stated that it was not to be confused with a general Christian crusade. Stop fighitng hippies that aren’t involved in this conversation.

            “Multiculturalism seems cool, but it’s absurd.”
            And who in this thread is arguing for multiculturalism?
            “If you want to read history, read all of it, or at least read samples of objective history from various points. I think you have no idea how much the revisionists have dominated the modern discourse.”
            You have not read all of history, either. Drop the pretense of having some trump card to bring to bear on this conversation, professor. You seem to have no idea how victors sweep their sins under the rug to build mythologies. (That includes the myth of the “noble savage” which has been built wrongly around many native American tribes. Some were very peaceful; many were bruta. rapacious and cruel.)

            “I’m not denying actual sins. I’m rejecting false grievances…”
            Denying actual sins is all you’ve done so far. You do so by conflating them with pushes of “mutliculturalism” or post-modern leftist claims “false grievances” against Western civilization. Frankly I’m surprised I haven’t seen you rail against “socialists!” and “communists!” yet. It’s a very brittle, defense and immature view you take. And it must be exhausting.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “So, what about Islam, whose Koran directly commands laying the infidel to the sword? Well, through the broad, thriving middle centuries of the Islamic empire, Islam stopped being nearly as fundamental, the empire stopped expanding, and they even managed to treat local Jews with some decency. (It takes a lot out of a society to constantly war.)”

            It’s consistent with sharia because “people of the book” can live under Islamic law if they submit to it. Not as equals. And not like today’s leftist historians want you to believe.

            In short, no progress is allowed in Islam because Mohamed was the perfect leader. Progress as Westerners understand the concept is haram unless it can be integrated with Islam as taught be Mohamed.

            Mohamed is the ideal, a warrior. Jesus is the ideal, a man who never hurt anyone.

            Can you see the difference, and why getting back to fundamentals might be different for each set of believers So reforming Islam around the fundamental texts is a bad thing, unless they truly reflect the will of God. Considering the death and destruction that follows, I’d say it’s crucial that jihadis prove their case first. Which we know is not possible.

            Reforming Christianity around the fundamental texts is a good thing.

            And remember that mass communications didn’t really exist before the printing press, and the next big leap was radio (ignoring the telegraph because it was point to point). Today we have better teaching tools than ever, and people have access to the texts like never before. Expecting such strong Christian cultural hegemony as we have today, and the ability to evaluate society based on today’s standards during periods when many were still ignorant, is also ignorant.

            And finally, since Christianity is not coercive, you can’t blame Christian ideology for what some people do unless you can show a specific theory. Christianity is not a recipe for Utopia and doesn’t claim to be. Islam does. It’s not the same kind of Utopia that was imagined by Westerners but it’s still the same kind of delusion that allah will spread favor on all of the uma as ever greater submission is demonstrated.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “But that wrongly presupposes that the reformed Christians, by holding closer to the Bible, no longer committed atrocities in the name of God as the Catholics did. They of course did throughout North America and many other places.”

            They peeled away traditions over the generations. It was a process.

            Remember that they were replacing a totalitarian system with something that didn’t tell them what to do for most cases. Their default position is going to be tradition if there is no specific guidance to do otherwise.

          • EarlyBird

            In Islam, there is the first stage – bloody and expansionist – followed by a much less violent and much more “progressive” interpretation, followed now by a reversion to the “old days” of Islam. There is a long existing tradition of “moderate” Islam, and that’s what most of the world’s Muslims exist in.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “In Islam, there is the first stage – bloody and expansionist – followed by a much less violent and much more “progressive” interpretation, followed now by a reversion to the “old days” of Islam.”

            In 14 centuries of history, that’s a pretty generous way to distill and excuse a lot of bloodshed.

            The ebb and flow of jihadi expansion can be explained by 2 things when there was less blood. First would be the inability to marshal resources, and second would be a leader who personally did not want to terrorize people, and used the language of the hudna as justification for his lack of motivation, explaining to the radical elements the need to wait while they marshal resources.

            But the thing is that because of the history of Mohamed, and the texts pointing to him as the ideal man and perfect role model, the radical elements will always be able to marshal resources at some point.

            So it’s not really about indicting every Muslim of every era. It’s recognizing the danger of the ideology and the need to expose these dangers, and the blatant fictions that should alert believers that they are being scammed.

            “There is a long existing tradition of “moderate” Islam, and that’s what most of the world’s Muslims exist in.”

            Sure. They’re moderate when they’re not radical. Most radicals are moderate for most of their lives while they eat, sleep, go on some kind of binge or whatever.

            Most “peaceful” eras of Islamic sovereignty can be explained by lack of capability rather than a lack of will. Or as I’ve explained, the only way a peace-loving leader can hold back the radicals is by claiming to have bigger goals and the need of preserving and acquiring more resources. Put another way, an Islamic leader can not come out and say that now is the time to live in peaceful co-existence with non-Muslims. The radicals would take this as either deception or blasphemy. Deception is fine while marshaling resources and waiting for the strategy. You’ll never get the fundamentalists to accept that they must remain quiet if there is a chance to compel others to submit to Islamic law.

            Basically a peace-loving Islamic leader has to pull off a grand deception among his people if he wants to live in peace with infidels within his reach. If it is clear that he simply lacks the will to spread Islam, he will be declared an apostate.

          • EarlyBird

            Let me be super clear: not all religions are the same. Some are superior to others. Not “all rivers lead to the same sea,” and all that. There are vast differences between Christianity and Islam.
            Though today’s current, violent Islamists consider themselves the “reformers” because they are going back to fundamentalist interpretations of the texts, I am saying the vast swathe of Muslims who want to live and co-exist in peace with others are the real reformers – whose forebears are the ones who advanced Islamic society in a much more open and non-violent way as during the mid-part of the Islamic heyday. “Reformers” are not just those who interpret texts in the most fundamental manner. Today’s Protestants are not demanding an eye for any eye, for instance.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Though today’s current, violent Islamists consider themselves the “reformers” because they are going back to fundamentalist interpretations of the texts…”

            Perhaps. But most people who talk about reforming Islam speak as if evolution is organic. Those people are talking about a reformation that roughly corresponds to what Christianity did after the printing press empowered those who called out the institutional church on its hypocrisy and lack of fidelity regarding those texts. It was a specific trigger for a specific reform that was entirely circumstantial. Most people who talk about reforming Islam in terms we in the West would welcome, are talking about some organic reformation as if those kinds of things just happen if you have enough patience. That is one big fat huge lie.

            “I am saying the vast swathe of Muslims who want to live and co-exist in peace with others are the real reformers…”

            Well…they could be in theory. If any of them are reformers it would come from them. That’s not so much reformation as it is conceding that Western values are superior to Islamic values. That’s a problem for the fundamentalists because it’s such a clear rejection of Islam and Mohamed. Islam is fundamentally an attack on Jews and Christians, and blames their holy texts.

            But I agree that these are the reformers. Calling the others reformers is silly. Now the problem is that the jihadis are well aware of all these competing ideas and they use the surrounding confusion against us.

            So some times we “Islam-o-phobes” sound like we’re attacking every last Muslim when in fact we’re simply saying that you have to be very careful about parsing them. There are a lot more stealth players, deceivers, then people realize.

            Take 0′Bama, who may be a sincere democratic socialist. Maybe he just thinks that his life history gives him a special role to play bringing the Muslim world together in to the fold of the West. Even if I give him credit for that, I must then consider him a dupe because of his failure to deal with the full scope of the civilization jihad against the West.

            But the effect of his actions are that he is aiding the civilization jihad. Given what I’ve described, it almost doesn’t matter what he actually believes unless we can find out how that might affect his future behaviors. We’re left guessing, but there is so much circumstantial evidence, and so much at stake that we are foolish not to try in good faith to figure out what is going on.

            “Today’s Protestants are not demanding an eye for any eye, for instance.”

            An eye for an eye is not a call to get revenge. It’s a call to limit revenge. It means like for like. Equity. It’s abused to sound like revenge, blood for blood, but that’s not how it is interpreted by most believers.

            In the time and culture it was delivered, injuries used to cause great endless feuds. So limiting compensation to an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, simply means don’t ask for more compensation than your own injury. It IS a guideline we use today in our justice system. We some times allow punitive damages, so we’re actually often more harsh.

          • EarlyBird

            “But most people who talk about reforming Islam speak as if evolution is organic…”

            They say that about democracy too, as if systems are pre-programmed to evolve in a nice way. They are not.

            “Most people who talk about reforming Islam in terms we in the West would welcome, are talking about some organic reformation as if those kinds of things just happen if you have enough patience. That is one big fat huge lie.”

            I wouldn’t call it a lie, but I’d call it wishful thinking.

            “I am saying the vast swathe of Muslims who want to live and co-exist in peace with others are the real reformers…”

            “Well…they could be in theory. If any of them are reformers it would come from them.”

            There are reformers, and that’s where they’re coming from. These tend to be people who’ve gotten out of the belly of the beast, and moved to the West and speak out for a more moderate Islam.

            “That’s not so much reformation as it is conceding that Western values are superior to Islamic values.”
            Agreed. It’s a situation where they are going to have to directly refute, or refuse to live within, some basic tenets of Islam. And they’re doing that.

            “An eye for an eye is not a call to get revenge. It’s a call to limit revenge. It means like for like.”

            I understand. But it was interpreted to exact revenge, however limited, and that seems to have gone away. Western Christian nations are marked by some very humane punishment practices.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “They say that about democracy too, as if systems are pre-programmed to evolve in a nice way. They are not.”

            I’m not sure about who says that. What they seem to think from my point of view is that anything that seems progressive will always be some kind of improvement just because evolution is organic. And yes, they apply it to democracy, which is also false.

            The difference is that as conservatives, we’re not arguing for certain changes to happen. You first have to correctly identify progress before you can hope to achieve it. Conservatives ARE NOT opposed to progress. They’re opposed to delusion. The burden of proof always lies with the party proposing change. That is where the contention comes from. Progress does happen constantly, and it mostly comes from the private sector. For the most part, progress is not driven by the government.

            The burden of proof is on the party suggesting change, especially when it comes to change lead or driven by the government, and even more so when it harms liberty.

            “I wouldn’t call it a lie, but I’d call it wishful thinking.”

            Some times there’s not much difference between wishful thinking and a lie when we’re talking about popular ideas. It’s a useful delusion for liars that exploit it. It’s both.

            “There are reformers, and that’s where they’re coming from. These tend to be people who’ve gotten out of the belly of the beast, and moved to the West and speak out for a more moderate Islam.”

            I’m fully aware of them. I don’t mean to sell them short as humans that mean well, but they’re not really able to help us fight against the ones that are dangerous. They more often than not end up assisting he jihadis, albeit unintentionally. I’m fully aware of all these difficult issues. It’s why we need to have a lot more reality-based conversations so that things don’t explode before the angry Westerners learn to tell the difference between the actual threats and the legitimate apostate-reformers. You think I’m inciting people when in reality I’m inciting some to investigate, and others to show more patience. In some cases.

            It would be a shame to wait until things are so bad that we immediately start deporting Muslims without any discernment. We need a rational approach and we haven’t even started. My fear is that it will get too late and then when it explodes, the finer points won’t matter.

            We need to radically curtail our visas, make it far more difficult to get citizenship, and also make it clear that some citizenship will be based on continuing loyalty. There should be a process for stripping people of their citizenship in some cases.

            Right now our attitudes as a nation regarding immigration and citizenship are insane. It absolutely does not matter that virtually all of us came from immigrants. The point is that you don’t sponsor your enemies to infiltrate when you can identify them. Yet we pretend these enemies don’t exist. Or we pretend that they would never try to deceive us.

            No, or course not. Deception from an enemy? Huh?

            “But it was interpreted to exact revenge, however limited, and that seems to have gone away.”

            Whether it was or it wasn’t, this interpretation can’t actually be supported as being fundamental, nor is it interpreted that way today.

            This is yet another opportunity to point out distinctions between following the Bible and following Islam. Mohammed was a totalitarian military leader. He’s the role model. That will never change. Jesus is the role model for Christian. That will never change either. But the Bible has about 40 authors. And it’s a work that cover a period of many centuries. There is more written about examples of what not to do than there are examples of what to do. Plus it does not teach that belief is coercive.

            Predicting what Muslims will do according to what some Christians once did in the past just doesn’t have any merit. The comparisons break down once you get past the superficial arguments. And most religions don’t change all that much. A religion that refuses to change after 14 centuries should be taken as one that doesn’t change. Especially when that is one of its fundamental claims; that it never changes.

            ‘Western Christian nations are marked by some very humane punishment practices.”

            Christians have a lot of influence over their churches, not their governments. They vote. Christian influence on society has been in my view a good one, but it is also not coercive, or it’s not Christianity. Again, it’s a false comparison. And even if it was valid, it would still be a fallacy to argue equivalence between sharia and “some Christian societies” based on results as well.

            If you’re saying that to remind us that no society is perfect, that’s fine. But we’re not interrupting people who criticize Christianity. This forum is about the dangers of Islamic ideology. Once those issues are discussed, then it’s fine to use nuanced statements and remind us about our imperfections. But if the timing is wrong, it comes across as an intentional disruption of the legitimate critiques of Islam.

          • EarlyBird

            “…What they seem to think … is that anything that seems progressive will always be some kind of improvement just because evolution is organic. And yes, they apply it to democracy, which is also false.”
            Well put.

            “…Conservatives ARE NOT opposed to progress. They’re opposed to delusion.”

            Hubristic nonsense. Being humans, conservatives are as susceptible to delusions as anyone else. Conservatives have not cornered the market on scientific objectivity, even though they honor objectivity more.

            Success may be its worst enemy, because success tends to build movements, and before you know it you have a “conservative movement,” which ossifies into orthodoxy, which is deadly to conservatism. It’s how intellectual frameworks devolve into tribes, and where conservatism has gone in the past 20 years.

            It’s why, for instance, though it had its place after the overregulated, enervated economy of the ’70s, Trickle Down Economics became THE answer to every economic circumstance since. “Times are good? Cut taxes and regulations, cut all other spending, but increase military spending.” “Times are bad? Cut taxes and regulations, cut all other spending, but increase military spending.” “In two wars, in hock to China, buried in debt and the financial industry almost took down the world economy? Cut taxes and regulations, cut all other spending, but increase military spending.”
            “I’m fully aware of them. I don’t mean to sell them short as humans that mean well, but they’re not really able to help us fight against the ones that are dangerous.”
            I think they are really or only hope. We encourage and build them up to establish a viable counter-pold to the hateful radicals. Otherwise, we can only decide to be at war with Islam for centuries more (if it doesn’t go nculear).
            “You think I’m inciting people…” when in reality I’m inciting some to investigate, and others to show more patience. In some cases.
            I don’t think you’re inciting people, but I think you don’t give enough credit for other not to differentiate.

            “We need to radically curtail our visas, make it far more difficult to get citizenship, and also make it clear that some citizenship will be based on continuing loyalty. There should be a process for stripping people of their citizenship in some cases.”
            I could live with that.

            “Predicting what Muslims will do according to what some Christians once did in the past just doesn’t have any merit.”
            I’m predicting it based on past Muslims and the big majority of current Muslims. There really are plenty of well-adjusted Muslims living peacefully and loyally in the West. I am making zero comparisons between Christian and Muslim tenets.
            “A religion that refuses to change after 14 centuries should be taken as one that doesn’t change.”
            But it has changed That’s my point.

          • WW4

            Herb, if I may butt in. I am not overly impressed with Islam as a religion, because I tend to think the people who claim to follow it to the letter are indeed pretty much the bad guys. No I am not a Koran scholar–what I’ve read seems like a long harangue in which I find little of the joy that I think God means for us. I think there is a clear pathology in Islam-but there has been such in humanity since the beginning of time. Early Bird points out our own historical failings.

            I would say, however, that many people who call themselves Muslims are capable of joy, love, forgiveness, and would probably not prefer to live under any religious totalitarianism.

            Christ continues to show us the way, sometimes obliquely, whether it is through the founding fathers’ conception of the freedom and creator-derived rights, up through the civil rights struggle, when the nation recoiled at the treatment of fellow human beings.

            I believe he tells us to keep our hearts open. Aslan may not be your cup of tea but my sense is that he is culturally a Muslim by heritage, but probably one of those who would much rather live in freedom than in, say, Iran. Let them call themselves what they wish, so long as liberty is a shared value.

          • herb benty

            Thanks, there is a lot of truth in what you said. My vehemence towards Aslan was probably based on some assumptions and I am the last person that should pass judgement on anyone. I saw a review of Aslan’s book, “Zealot” and the suspicious wheels started to turn. You know how it goes, Jesus wasn’t God’s Son, wasn’t crucified, He was a ” community organizer”. That, combined with those city buses proclaiming,”, Jesus is a muslim”, when in reality He is Jewish, had me on edge I guess. Finally, your good thoughts reminded me that there are good Arabs, Good Muslims. America and Canada allow a person to worship as they wish, as long as they share the core values- you are bang on with that. Wise words and I appreciate and accept them, Bye.

          • The End of Islam

            Islam by its very nature is fanatical. Polls show that even Muslims living in the west “who want nothing but to live in peace” support violent Jihad, the eventual imposition of Sharia, and the killing of homosexuals. Thirty per cent claim not to have these views, but it does make them harder to seek out.

          • EarlyBird

            The question is who among Muslims wants to give their lives in holy war against the West. The answer? Very few. The one thing that unifies the average, non-West threatening Muslim wants that the hyper-violent jihadist wants is to rid themselves of Western control of their governments, economies and lands. Why the hell are we there anyway? Let them have their land back. Nothing could do more to take the wind out of the sails of the jihadists.

    • Butseriously

      Its OK to lie to infidels. So of course the Hebrew is distorted [as per a new, non-original religion says] because it says the reverse: “Thou shall not lie to the stranger”.

  • Judahlevi

    It is always fascinating how the left embraces Muslims. I guess the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” holds true in this case. Since leftists hate Christians most of all (even though Christians are not murdering innocent people), they will support Muslims who also hate Christians.

    Leftists are willing to overlook homophobia by Muslims, intolerance by Muslims, sexism by Muslims, violence by Muslims, etc. just to oppose Christians or religious Jews.

    Amazon has dozens of leftists singing the praises of Aslan’s book (many of them haven’t even read it) just to spite Christians. Their hatred and intolerance of Christians is a pathology with them.

    • Lefty leftist

      If they are leftists — does that make you a facist?

      • Judahlevi

        It is fascist, not “facist.”

        Fascism was a left wing ideology using collective thinking, statism, and workers rights. Nazism was also a leftwing ideology for the same reasons.

        So, no, it does not make me a fascist.

        • Headed4TheHills

          Judah, please remember to not feed the trolls.
          All Lefty leftist (an’ if that name din’t give it away, not sure what would have) was doin’ was stooping to the lowest level of trollism – name callin’. See, ol’ Lefty wanted to get a rise outta you. So, instead of startin’ a logical debate using coherent thought processes and solid facts, it called you a name (an’ weren’t smart enough to even get it right, or failed to use spellcheck). An’, Judah my friend, ya fell for it.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            One should not have an emotional reaction to trolls either to answer or ignore.

            It was an opportunity to point out that fascism is from the left. It comes from socialism.

            Any modern collectivism is based on fantasy that requires total control over the populations that are supposedly helped. Modern collectivism ALWAYS comes from the left.

          • EarlyBird

            “Any modern collectivism is based on fantasy that requires total control over the populations that are supposedly helped. Modern collectivism ALWAYS comes from the left.”

            The problem is that you seem to condemn any collectivism as “total control” and not even “socialism,” but “communism!”

            Social Security, a common tax base, public parks, schools, public emergency health services, infrastructure, armies, police force. All of these things are “collective” and require considerable coercion of individuals to make them work, if not “total control.” Where do you draw the line? When does a nation go from intelligent pooling of resources to socialism and “communism!”?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collectivism

            Excerpt: “Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human. Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism in human nature (in the same way high context culture exists as the reverse of low context culture).”

            I use that word because of it’s definition. I never say, “collective thinking” or “social concern’ or “charity.”

            Collectivism is when the rights of the individual are subverted for the “social good.” But who decides that, since individuals are now less important than the grand plan? We need elites to decide. You know, like the Soviets, or the People’s Committee. You can’t have socialism without someone to judge what social policies are “fair” AND our courts are not compatible with the idea of classes going in and arguing for example that Affirmative Action may be in need of some updates, or it might even be time to retire the whole idea.

            What about tax policy? Who decides when fair is fair in progressive taxes? We don’t. The rich will always be a great target because their votes are diluted relative to their assets. That’s very for some policies but not for taxation.

            Collectivism in government is essentially socialism. And socialism is essentially communism that hasn’t achieved it’s end goal. Socialism is the interim plan between “exploitative capitalism” and communism. Socialism is communism in waiting.

            I criticize collectivism when people apply their ideology to politics when their expectations can only be answered by the delusions of socialism and communism.

            There is no such thing as social justice. There is justice, and degrees of tyranny. Groups can’t actually demand due process in our courts.

            Think about it. Collective action should not be coercive unless there is no other way, like the need to defend society from violence or other serious emergencies.

            Follow the constitution. Our founders (founding founders?) were brilliant thinkers and got it right.

          • EarlyBird

            We agree on the fundamentals. I get it.

            Yet, the Founding Fathers themselves debated fiercely over what projects should be undertaken by government, and executed many of them. By their forcibly levying taxes to collectivize such things like post roads, the postal service, national treasury, and a shared currency, they may have decreased negative liberty, but they increased positive liberty. In other words, more people could actually USE their liberty to trade, travel, communicate and “pursue happiness.” The measure of actual liberty increased.

            Sure, roads could have been left to the businesses who needed them (and of course many were), but imagine how inefficient, costly and chaotic that was. A logging business had to become a road business, too.

            Fast forward to the 1970s and government attempts to increase positive liberty at the expense of negative liberty, and to make everyones’ outcomes equal (Sowell refers to this fantasy as “the quest for cosmic justice”) had set us on the road to serfdom.

            So the Reagan Revolution came. (I was the raging Reaganite wearing a “Reagan-Bush ’80″ pin in high school.) And conservatives learned his lesson too well:

            “Collective action should not be coercive unless there is no other way, like the need to defend society from violence or other serious emergencies.”

            I know you’re not suggesting this would bring on Eden, just more freedom. Well, in terms of negative freedom, yes. But we’d be a bizarre, chaotic, explosive, mostly impoverished, fragmented, embattled, Hobbesian, frightening society today, if we still existed as a nation. Very few of us would enjoy much positive liberty at all.

            In big, complex societies there often IS “no other way” but to collectively combat disease, ensure an educated workforce, promote scientific discovery, ensure we don’t annihilate the shared resources needed to exist, etc. – to provide the stable society where the most actual positive liberty can exist.

            Many collective things work towards ensuring societal stability, which is central to conservatism. It’s why it is conservative to be alarmed about the instability that comes from dramatic gaps between the rich and poor (which a pure market would allow).

            Conservatism rejects utopia, including its own visions of perfectly pure forms of negative freedom, is able to live with necessary contradictions, and is wiling to “cheat” in ways as to maintain and conserve as MUCH negative liberty as possible. It is both radical, while being practical.

            “I criticize collectivism when people apply their ideology to politics when…”

            I criticize ideology. Timeless principles are to be our guiding light, not ideology. Ideologies are principles set in amber while circumstances are forever changing. It’s why, since ’80, no matter WHAT is happening in the economy and the world, we hear conservatives repeat the mantra, “less taxes, less spending, more spending on the military.”
            It’s become an orthodoxy, which is the bane of conservatism.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Yet, the Founding Fathers themselves debated fiercely over what projects should be undertaken by government, and executed many of them. By their forcibly levying taxes to collectivize such things like post roads, the postal service, national treasury, and a shared currency, they may have decreased negative liberty, but they increased positive liberty. In other words, more people could actually USE their liberty to trade, travel, communicate and “pursue happiness.” The measure of actual liberty increased.”

            Now you’re getting to the crux of the matter. I never said that all projects are invalid. My position is that most modern arguments for the projects are invalid. And those invalid arguments come come collectivism and socialism.

            There are going to be some cases where people will disagree about where the greater good should take precedent over individual liberty. But when people start talking about “social justice” and then defining “human rights” as including “the right to eat” (and have taxpayers pay the bill), the right to health care (ditto) and so forth. It’s an endless list of lies.

            Now even if we agree as a society that funding welfare projects is in our best interests, lying about it still creates problems. Calling them “rights” leads people to have attitudes of entitlement and they refer to taxpayers as thieves for having the gall to earn money and create wealth. Over time, projects like “The Great Society” or “The War on Poverty” end up destroying society, not because poverty is good, but because they give a sense of entitlement to people who are programmed to believe they are victims when they really are most of the time just envious and lazy.

            For the most part, I don’t have a problem with programs that help people, but they should be done by private organizations whenever possible. That’s the first thing. And don’t make outrageous arguments about supposed rights that poor people have over those who are being asked to help.

            It’s ridiculous and makes me angry. It’s destroying our culture. I’m angry about attitudes that lead people to waste their time marching for $15 per hour in pay for entry level jobs when they could be spending all of that time, energy and emotion on learning how to produce things with skill and intellect.

            Socialism ends up leading people to spend all of their energy in negotiations and politics, because their individual merit is predetermined by their class. In a supposedly classless ideology.

            We should never let anyone think that when we give them assistance that they somehow earned it as a birthright. They should learn to be grateful.

            The tipping point on this attitude came with “The War on Poverty” but the stage was set long before that.

            Anyway, if you’ve been raised on these attitudes, you don’t recognize that it’s not actually Christian. It’s a distortion of Christianity. It’s an effective deception, I’ll grant you that.

            Who is the great deceiver?

            The earliest known straw man argument comes from Satan talking to Eve. She fell for it too.

          • EarlyBird

            I absolutely agree 100% with your talk about “social justice” and how every human need has become a “basic human right” which others end up having to pay for, etc.
            But you previously wrote this: “Collective action should not be coercive unless there is no other way, like the need to defend society from violence or other serious emergencies.”
            That’s a VERY high bar for collectivized efforts, and I don’t know if you really appreciate that. We would have to wait for everything to become a “serious emergency” or lead society to the edge of violence to do anything collective. I’m thinking of just things like a corporation’s ability to corner a clean water resources, for instance.
            It’s a slippery slope, I understand.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That’s a VERY high bar for collectivized efforts, and I don’t know if you really appreciate that. We would have to wait for everything to become a “serious emergency” or lead society to the edge of violence to do anything collective. I’m thinking of just things like a corporation’s ability to corner a clean water resources, for instance.”

            It is a high bar, but that’s what we need for democracy to work in the future. We need voters to understand issues better so that we can make the right choices for the right reasons, rather than doing things that seem generous but destroy our economy and leave huge bills for our children. And fail to even accomplish what they set out to do.

            Here’s the thing. It’s theoretically possible that a “war on poverty” could have actually made the economy stronger. But it didn’t. But my point is that we had a much better chance at success if we had been more honest about how to prosecute this “war.” It ended up being a taxpayer funded war on conservatives and capitalists. And all humans are capitalists, it’s just that some pretend not to be.

            We should have understood that he policies we put in place would create incentives that harm us. We could have predicted these results.

          • EarlyBird

            I think we have had such a reaction to the disastrous “Great Society” projects and the bad ideas which have sunk into our society from that, we have swung too far the other way, to believe that government is no longer there to amelioriate the harsh effects of our attempt to maximalize negative liberty. We’ve flirted with the extremist libertarian ideas that government is always the problem, never the solution, and that we sort of no longer have any real interest in how society as a whole is going, just individuals.
            Our tax base is out of whack, our Congress is in the hands of interests groups like never before in modern times, the middle class is shrinking and the poor are getting poorer. We are spending less and less on the stuff that ordinary people rely on – public transportation, libraries, infrastructure projects – while taxes on the very wealthy have plummeted from historic norms.
            We are no longer even near the top of nations where people can expect to climb the “class” ladder. There are many complex reasons for this, but among the large ones I believe, is the radical libertarian ethos that has seeped in, particulary “trickle down economics.” And gee, who doesnt’ want to believe that we can all have very low taxes so that all of our boats rise and we can strip government to the bone and grow our way out of debt? “We can have it all!” Sort of the conservative flipside of the left’s socialist fantasies and give aways. And now that ethic is so deep, to confront this one is called a “socialist!” or engaging in “class warfare!”
            It’s all about balance.
            Read Myron Magnet’s “The Dream and the Nightmare” by the way, for the best treatise you’ll ever read on how the good intentions of the Great Society undermined the very people it was designed to help. You will become angry.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “If they are leftists — does that make you a facist?”

        No. It makes us skeptics of their delusion.

    • WW4

      Just because people think Aslan endured a lame, off-topic interview, they’re “embracing Muslims?” OK. Sure. Critical thinking at its finest!

    • EarlyBird

      “It is always fascinating how the left embraces Muslims. I guess the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” holds true in this case.”

      I think you’ve missed the mark. This dysfunction within leftism isn’t so much to help “the enemy of my enemy,” but an amoral reflex to sympathize with anybody perceived as the underdog. It’s what Chomsky does: figure out who has the least power, and side with the less powerful. If you’re a traditional underdog – poor, a racial or religious minority – you’re really in like Flynn. In this world it’s not a question of morality but power relations.

      A serial killer had a bad childhood? He’s the “real victim.” A Palestinian just blew up a bus filled with kids? Well, we need to understand he’s fighting for his homeland.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        Wow, you got it right.

        Perhaps a new day will dawn and the lion will lie down with the lamb.

        In the case of the Palestinians and others. it goes deeper than that in terms of politics, but that’s the root of the left’s ability to dupe others.

        Chomsky believes that most injustice flows from asymmetry in wealth and power etc. He thinks people are largely fungible.

        • EarlyBird

          Exactly. Chomsky’s view is worse than immorality, it’s amorality. We’re not conscious beings with a will to do good or bad; we’re merely meat puppets programmed by environmental input. It’s the most bleak and degrading view of humanity there is.

          And the left didn’t even know the Palestinians existed until Arafat became their cool kid anti-hero. Even if their sympathies for the Palestinians are correct, their inability to morally parse the PLO’s atrocites is appalling.

          Objy, did we just have a civil, agreeable conversation? I need a stiff drink.

          • WW4

            Nice Meat Puppets reference!

            Yeah, Chomsky’s a stroke.

      • Judahlevi

        I don’t think it is quite that simple. If it was all about power, they would side with homosexuals in Arab countries – and they don’t. They would advocate for women’s rights in Arab countries – and they don’t.

        The left hates the West (with Christianity being the West’s most popular religion and moral authority), Muslims hate the West, and therefore you have a commonality which is not based exclusively on power structure.

        On the surface it may seem to be about power, but there are deeper issues involved.

        • EarlyBird

          “…If it was all about power, they would side with homosexuals in Arab countries – and they don’t. They would advocate for women’s rights in Arab countries – and they don’t.”

          Good point. And yes, I’m sure I’ve oversimplified it.
          Perhaps they side with whomever they see as the underdog to the Establishment, the Establishment being Western. Yes, there is a very strong current of Western self-hatred at work here.

          On the other hand, let’s not overstate the problem. There are in fact human rights groups, which tend to be lefty, which strongly advocate for these groups’ rights in Muslim countries.

          • The End of Islam

            These groups are very quiet, though, and don’t seem to be having much success.

  • kate5778b

    And yet even the Qur’an confirms Jesus’

    virgin birth: 19:16-22
    Jesus is peace 19:33
    Jesus is blessed by YY where mo isn’t 19:31
    Jesus is the healer and revealer of secrets which should say it all 3:49
    Jesus has the Holy Spirit, mo doesn’t 2:87
    Jesus raises the dead n creates a bird from clay, again should say it all 3:49, 5:110
    Jesus provides 5:112-115
    Jesus is the giver of Love and Mercy, mo CERTAINLY isn’t 57:27
    Jesus is sinless 19:19
    Jesus commands the obedience of all Muslims sura 3:50

    so then why choose to follow Mo who abrogates the Torah when Jesus states that he hasn’t come to abrogate it but interpret it correctly (ie fulfil, that’s what this word means) in Matthew 5:17

    • objectivefactsmatter

      What’s sad and laughable is that Muslims claim that Mohamed is “the comforter” that Jesus spoke about coming. That’s about as rational as it gets from them trying to pull it all together.

      “Let me comfort you with my sword, after I rape you.”

    • Butseriously

      It would be more impressive if a 1st century archive mentioned anything/anyone from the Gospels. Islam is not a reliable source – it accepts lies to non-Muslims.

      “when Jesus states that he hasn’t come to abrogate it but interpret it correctly (ie fulfil, that’s what this word means) in Matthew 5:17″

      Fulfill = negate. And no Messiah or anyone can do so. It is a totally failed attempt: the world turns by the Hebrew laws, none coming from the Gospels or Quran. The Jews & the Hebrew writings have proven themselves more intel and honest, more vindicated & evidenced, than both Christianity & Islam combined.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “It would be more impressive if a 1st century archive mentioned anything/anyone from the Gospels. Islam is not a reliable source – it accepts lies to non-Muslims.”

        It is obviously reliable enough for them to believe in Mo.

        “Fulfill = negate.”

        Nope. Doesn’t.

        “The Jews & the Hebrew writings have proven themselves more intel and honest, more vindicated & evidenced, than both Christianity & Islam combined.”

        You must be confused, but that’s OK. Your confusion is harmless for the most part.

        • Butseriously

          Harmless? Muslims are not Palestinians; Samaria is a 3000 year old Hebrew name that Jordan illegally changed to West Bank in 1949. There is no such place as ‘EAST’ Jerusalem. A 3-state is not a 2-state. Such horrific falsehoods cannot possibly have anything to do with a Godly belief.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Harmless? Muslims are not Palestinians; Samaria is a 3000 year old Hebrew name that Jordan illegally changed to West Bank in 1949. There is no such place as ‘EAST’ Jerusalem. A 3-state is not a 2-state. Such horrific falsehoods cannot possibly have anything to do with a Godly belief.”

            What did I say? I said that your confusion is harmless. I didn’t say that you’re confused on every point. You’re confused when you conflate or remove distinctions between Islam and Christianity.

            Look at what I wrote in context: After you said:

            >”The Jews & the Hebrew writings have proven themselves more intel and honest, more vindicated & evidenced, than both Christianity & Islam combined.”

            I said: You must be confused, but that’s OK. Your confusion is harmless for the most part.

            Christians don’t reject any Hebrew prophets. And if you want to discuss where you think your interpretation is superior, go for it. Be explicit.

          • Butseriously

            All the factors I stated were explicit. A Pope, whose own Roman ancestors dumped the name Palestine on Judea, cannot credibly anoint an Egyptian born agent of the Brotherhood, Arafat, as one. Silence of the blood libels & Protocols, horrific falsehoods from the bosom of Christianity and parading the Islamic world – cannot be responded to with total silence. Nor can a God fearing people deny Israel’s existence when their representatives perform Heil salutes at the UN for 60 years with vile manipulations and distortions of Israel’s history & rights. It exposes the fulfilling away doctrine, and these will surely be accounted. Christian silence of such deeds are not a neutral stance.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I’m in agreement that some self-identified Christians get things tragically wrong.

            I simply disagree with this statement:

            “The Jews & the Hebrew writings have proven themselves more intel and honest, more vindicated & evidenced, than both Christianity & Islam combined.”

            Christian texts were written by Hebrews.

            “Christian silence of such deeds are not a neutral stance.”

            There are no leaders appointed for Christianity other than local pastors and so forth at a “grass roots” level. Any centralized leadership that you think speaks for Christianity is not conforming to the Christian texts that were written, again, by Hebrews.

          • Butseriously

            “Christian texts were written by Hebrews.”

            There is an obligation to pursue truth by verification. Produce a 1st C evidence of this – or anything pre-4th C?

            There is a controversy in the camps. The premise of a Messiah comes from here:
            “Therefore “I” will send “THEE” Moses [unto Pharaoh]..”
            Christianity has given transcendence to the ‘THEE’ instead of the ‘I’.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “There is an obligation to pursue truth by verification. Produce a 1st C evidence of this – or anything pre-4th C?”

            The Christian texts consist of the entire Bible. If you want a good English-language example, try the King James version. Most of the books are shared with the Hebrews.

            I take it that you know this and are wondering about the “New Testament.”

            This article covers more than who the authors were, but I can’t think of a faster way to answer your question. I’ll think about it a bit more than that I know more precisely where your skepticism lies.

            http://www.provisionftv.com/Articles/Testimony%20of%20the%20Evangelists.pdf

            Excerpt from the above pdf:

            By Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853)

            Greenleaf, one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, originally set out to disprove the
            biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen.

            Made available online by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink, this essay is in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The premise of a Messiah comes from here:’Therefore “I” will send “THEE” Moses [unto Pharaoh]..’ Christianity has given transcendence to the ‘THEE’ instead of the ‘I’.”

            There is a lot more to it than that. The idea of the Messiah begins in Genesis, the first book of the Pentateuch.

            You might learn to qualify your statements a bit more.

          • Butseriously

            The verse I quoted is the explicit one, it cannot be manipulated to suit. The creation chapter is about creation, did not require a messiah are is pre-beliefs. Moses was indeed the Messiah of his time and remains the most revered human who ever lived – by period of time, impact & consensus. Math does not lie: 14M Jews, 2B Christian & 1.4B Muslims – all revere and turn by the world’s supreme teacher.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I think you’re having trouble following the conversation.

          • Butseriously

            I was responding to the flow of the posts. No one else said there was no 1st century Palestine, a name applied by the Pope’s Roman ancestors in the 2nd century [135 CE]. Such false claims made by the author gets its legitimacy by a silent Pope & silent Christians who say Israel must be fulfilled away, demanding serial 2-states in the same tiny land, always accounting each one as a 2-state. Its poor math – any true Messiah will tell you that.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “No one else said there was no 1st century Palestine, a name applied by the Pope’s Roman ancestors in the 2nd century [135 CE]. Such false claims made by the author gets its legitimacy by a silent Pope & silent Christians who say Israel must be fulfilled away, demanding serial 2-states in the same tiny land, always accounting each one as a 2-state.”

            I agree with some or even most of your free verse, but having a bilateral conversation with you is a little dicey so far.

            Any “Christian” that fails to call Islam for what it is, is not a Christian. At best they can be described as immature dupes. If they are in leadership positions, they are definitely false Christians who care only about political power.

          • Butseriously

            ‘Any “Christian” that fails to call Islam for what it is, is not a Christian. At best they can be described as immature dupes. If they are in leadership positions, they are definitely false Christians who care only about political power.’

            You said it better than I could. It is for the Christian’s benefit to stand up to truth. My definition of a “Kaffur” [unbeliever in God] is one who lies openly with no fear of God. No honesty = no belief.

      • Headed4TheHills

        Jesus did not come to negate the Laws. He literally fulfilled them Kept the feasts, lived a wholly sinless life. He did it all. He fulfilled the Laws. And where does fulfill = negate? In what dictionary?

        • Butseriously

          Non-observance = negate/passe/dead/obsolete.

          A totally failed doctrine. All 613 laws are active. There is no truth of belief w/o the law.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “A totally failed doctrine. All 613 laws are active. There is no truth of belief w/o the law.”

            They are not observed because they were applied to specific people in a specific time and place with a specific mission. If ll of your laws are still active, then you fail because you can’t observe most of them.

            Been to the Temple recently? If you can’t keep that law…who are you to talk about failure in others?

          • Butseriously

            All 613 are active today, bar none. The ritual laws [prefixed 'unto you'] are active. The judiciary, moral, ethical & civic laws, as well animal rights laws [all 40 of them come exclusively from the Hebrew bible] are all active today. Check with your local sheriff. I know of no laws the world’s institutions accept from the Gospel or Quran – do you?

      • kate5778b

        Exactly what Jesus and I said; please read carefully. The Hebrew writings include the New Testament, if you cared to read them you;d see that Jesus or Joshua/Yshua and his disciples all remained Jews, read John 10, Jesus has a flock brought into Judah, not the other way around. As far as evidence goes, there are few who follow the Bible, fewer still who understand it, and Joshua/Jesus claims to be the Torah (see Targums) and so cannot abrogate Himself. I suggest you read Isaiah 43:3,11, 45:21 in the Hebrew to convince you to read ALL the Hebrew writings, just because they were nicked by Rome doesn’t mean they’re ‘Christian’. Ask why America and UK possess the gates of their enemies since when they were Christian (bases in enemy countries such as Saudi).

        • Butseriously

          It is blasphemous to call the Hebrew bible as OLD. I have read Isaiah and all the Hebrew prophets. I suggest you read what some Christian scholars say of it – many have long apologized for its manipulation. Christianity & Islam are again perpetrating enormous & horrific crimes against Israel the past 60 years and its followers play dumb dead. These two beliefs are the least possible Godly in history.

          • kate5778b

            Where have I called it old? Please leave your rants to Christians who won’t follow Torah, thank you. But your attitude to them, won’t endear you to them, nor want to make them discover the beauty of the Law for themselves. I call the Bible the Tanach and I call the New Testament the New Testament because that’s what they are called. You don’t seem to be able to

            a) read
            b) understand

            I don’t care what Christians say, I am only interested in the scriptures and the commentaries pre-Jesus.

            If Christians really understood, they would keep the holidays of Leviticus 23 – no amount of apologizing and purposely following a golden calf system proves to me they’ve understood.

            My reasoning for quoting the Qur’an is to get Muslims to realise, the point of Torah is the Messiah, they have one and it’s not Mohamed. If Mo is the perfect man sura 33:21 then do they really want to follow him?

            I agree that the actions of ‘christianity’ has been ungodly since ger came into belief in the 1st century, not just in the last 60 years as you state, BTW Israel is reborn 65 years.

          • Butseriously

            OK, you seem to agree OLD, as with FULFILLED, are covert negation doctrines of a more honest & truthful scripture which substantially turns humanity today. Christianity & Islam must think of ceasing horrific scriptural vilifications & racism, everyone being baseless and unverifiable – for the sake of their own people. It is the true reason Israel is being attacked the past 60 years at the UN.

          • kate5778b

            I think the scriptures are sound, but people don’t seem to understand what the temple is for or about, take it out and you do actually have a form of sharia. No-body reads or understands their own scriptures; they all go along with the group mentality, and each belief has its group mentality within one shul, church or mosque – there are doctrine-less doctrines if you know what i mean e.g circumcision should be a choice not ‘inflicted’ upon a child.

            I think people need to be a lot kinder without compromise, as a parent, I don’t like conflict with my grown children, and `i want my family to get bigger, not smaller. Remember between Senacherib and Nebachudnezzar’s time a lot of Israel had been assimilated, not until Judah was scattered as well did Israel want to come back, but Judah was elitist, just like in the return under Ezra elitist and racist – so, considering Jacob needs to number as the stars and sand, they must be somewhere; I suggest they are lost either within religions or mainly in the ME.

            Concentrating on the negative or using a pejorative tone has never worked, it’s not endearing; this is why under Messiah, Ephraim will not envy Judah and Judah will not harass Ephraim: everyone doesn’t have to be Judah (and Benjamin), though they must be Israel, or with her.

          • Butseriously

            Making too big a deal about a Messiah is bordering paganism. Its just a person like everyone else; its more about a Messianic time, than rendering the Creator a secondary after thought: that is what the text says, tho others want to make it what they want rather than what it says. Circumcision cannot be a choice for newborns anymore than breast feeding can. If Israel was not exiled she may not have survived, as seen with all other nations. Besides, Israel was given a mandate to be a light unto others – this was done. Ezra was not racist – things are relative to a period’s condition and that was a de-scatter period. Its what Israel should have done last century: now she faces serial 2-state demands thanks to Christians doing what they do at the UN.

          • kate5778b

            You ought to know the sages say everything was made through and for messiah, so the sages are pagan? And no, Isaiah would disagree with you.

            I agree that circumcision isn’t a choice, you really ought to read what people wright, it was a talk at a reform shul, with big wigs talking, that I disagreed with.

            Israel should never have been exiled, it wasn’t the plan, it wasn’t the plan that Israel should separate from Judah, it wasn’t a plan that certain people that Ezra didn’t seem fit be sent home segregating israel, yet again, so I disagree with you here. However it was all expected and can be dealt with and scripture supports a union again of both Northern and southern kingdoms who are still, largely scattered.

            It’s good to speak to someone with a different point of view.

          • kate5778b

            Yet the sages say everything was made through and for Messiah, so the sages are pagan?

            The Eternal is the creator and saviour and not an afterthought, the Isaiah text I gave you, previously would seem to disagree that he’s just a person, you can’t put your trust in mere man, that’s blasphemy.

            I agree that circumcision is not a choice, I was stating doctrine-less doctrines which are going around today, it was a talk at a reform shul with big wigs on the panel, I don’t agree with them, but I don’t stifle free speech. The law is eternal as forever YYs word is settled in Heaven, it’s undisputable.

            It wasn’t the plan for Israel to be exiled, it was for non-compliance to the Mosaic covenant, it wasn’t the plan for Judah to be apart from Israel, but it will be sorted in the end. I disagree with you about Ezra which is allowed, gerim were always allowed to be part of Israel, look at Ruth, a Moabitess – no-one argues King David’s Jewishness – Ezra would have done well to demand an adult education programme instead.

            But it’s still good to talk to someone with a different point of view. Have a good evening.

          • Butseriously

            Hebrew sages say the reverse of a Messiah, his only effect is for peace on earth among nations and with other life forms; the Messiah personally is inconsequential. The verse you quoted is of Isaiah quoting Moses quoting the Creator as the only savior. Applying such to a person is an impossible grammatical tangent. Many scholars have now admitted the errors in interpreting Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc as inclined with the Gospel, but this cannot be dislodged from a 2000 belief anymore. Islam does the same: Moses, David, etc were Muslim. The 2nd command from Sinai is the most wordy, non-confusing paragraph size command.
            It is also wrong to think the Jews of 1st century were religiously lacking – they were more observant here than anytime in their entire history and were the greatest heroes in all recorded time. They had a choice to live but over a million sacrificed all to uphold their right of belief knowing they cannot prevail against mighty Rome: not even recorded or mentioned in the Gospel. The most non-religious & un-Godly premise is ignoring a holocaust of this time and dancing in a passion it was their fault. Very Roman; very un-Abrahamic; very un-love; very un-Godly.
            In Ezra’s time there were no education programs, law courts, judges or police: one was executed for a parking fine. Do a timeline check and see why meager offenses of today got death sentences in ancient times – even without a law book. You will find the Hebrew laws are correct and stand today in all Judiciaries – while the punishments 3000 years ago were less severe with Israel than the other nations, even for a long time, even in some countries today: burning at the state 500 years ago in Europe; beheading in Islamic countries for asking tough questions. Israel is the first nation that forbid sacrifice for any reason other than accidental crimes [sins] and the forbidding of human sacrifice and transferring sins upon children and next of kin.

          • kate5778b

            The Sages can argue all points and 2 apparently opposing ones at the same time, it’s called a pilpul. Scholars do admit to reading incorrectly, that’s why it’s good to go to the ancient apologists, pre-Jesus ;-)

            I think the 1st century and and prior Jews were more superior in their thinking, you are using your stock phrases you use for a Christian.

            Rome was killing Jews well before the unfortunate Roman ‘church’ was. I even mentioned in a previous post about the sentences under the law.

            This piece isn’t about Jews being ganged up upon, you are pulling away from the main issue, it’s about the misinterpretation of Jesus, which the organised church has been doing since non-Jews came into it.

            Shabbat shalom. Nice talking to you, but my time is needed elsewhere.

          • Butseriously

            No misinterpretation by the church or the mosque. Both thought Israel was dead and danced in a passion of it everything Hebrew was free for the taking, soiling their people’s hearts with falsehoods as truths.

    • herb benty

      The Koran has updates as it goes along, with all the kill the infidel, kill jews and Christians as the imperative NOW. Satan quoted Scripture and knows the Bible also. I don’t give a damn what muslims say about our Lord. Aslan, shows his dissembling purpose when he states our Lord Jesus did not claim to be God etc .amongst other errors. Jesus was asked one time if He was the Messiah and HIS answer enraged the experts, HE said, I AM They were mad because that is what God had said on Mt.Sinai was HIS NAME. They yelled, He claims to be God!” I like what GOD said in MALACHI 3:1 “Behold, I send MY messenger,(Elijah) and he will prepare the way before ME. And the LORD( Almighty GOD), whom you seek, will suddenly come to HIS Temple………..Behold, HE is comming, says the LORD of hosts. Of course the disciples, who were with HIM knew who HE is. Aslan is an intellectual weasel, a muslim cultural jihadist doing the mullahs dirty work.

      • kate5778b

        Yes, I agree with you; I’m addressing Muslims. I want to show them in a kind and gentle way from their OWN scriptures:

        - Messiah is the point of scripture
        - Everything in THEIR scriptures about Jesus is kind/beautiful
        - If Mo is the ‘perfect man’ sura 33:21 how does he compare with Jesus – can they teach “what would Mo do?” to their kids?

        - That creation comes through Jesus in the Qur’an, even
        - THEIR scriptures claim a virgin birth
        - & claims Jesus is the ‘revealer of secrets’ HaShem’s attribute
        - Jesus is the resurrection and the life from THEIR scriptures

        - Muhammed is full of sin, yet Jesus in THEir scriptures is sinless.

        Do you see where I’m coming from now?

        • herb benty

          I would love to believe you. I read portions of the Koran but I think I should read it again in full, if I am going to make informed comments. I have read about the steady influx of ex-muslims into Christianity. I do certainly see where you are coming from, you sound like a loving person and I wish you well. Wanting to be a defender of our country, and wanting to be a defender of our Faith is a little tricky at times. God Bless you kate, and thank you for your godly comments.

          • kate5778b

            Hello herb – Jesus was always kind except to those who ought to know better, so I do understand where you are coming from.

            I have put all the refs up for all to check. The good thing is that things about Jesus can’t be changed – the mansook (abrogated) verses of the final Qur’an erase all the ‘nice’ parts about Jews and Christians and replace it with sura 9 the sword, so you are right that the qur’an and ahadith are not nice scriptures.

            Blessings to you and your family, too.

  • Mikael T

    “The critical examination of Islam is no longer possible as it is deemed “hate speech” that is prosecuted in some Western nations and swiftly condemned in all the rest. The left-dominated mainstream culture has created a philosophy of anti-anti-Islam to vilify critics of Islam just as it created anti-anti-Communism to
    suppress criticism of Communism.” – Jason Pappas

    Yet, leftist media applaud this severely disingenuous book. How much hypocritical can these Islam-sympathizers get?

    • Jon MC

      As much as it takes to continue feeding the Islamic crocodile!

      • sybarite123

        Nice reference! But you should give credit to Winston who first said, [and I paraphrase] “Appeasement is akin to feeding the crocodiles, all the while hoping that you will be the last to be eaten.”

  • Diana Cowdry

    Excuse me, but there are conservatives in this country that are sick and tired of STUPID being associated with our political point of view. This article by Robert Spencer is a complete embarrassment to any intelligent thinking person. Spencer, could you please stop calling yourself a conservative and a christian? Neither would have anything to do with an article so full of just plain unthinking – stupidity.

    • Kinneddar

      Can you show us where this “plain unthinking – stupidity” is evidenced in this article by Robert Spencer?

      To give consideration to your criticism here, we need to know the details. “Stupid,” “embarrassment,” and “unthinking” are big on emotion, short on facts.

    • Ron Lewenberg

      Ms. Cowdry,
      You are not a conservative. You are not even a descent leftist plant.
      Every single post of your is from the left attacking a conservative.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      So you’re the true “conservative Christian?” How is that argument made? Inquiring minds want to know.

      You call the author stupid. Check. What’s next?

    • Butseriously

      These should be banned as the ultimate hate speech:

      ITS A BLESSING TO KILL JEWS.
      FIRST THE SATURDAY PEOPLE, THEN THE SUNDAY PEOPLE.
      WE SHALL DOMINATE.
      ITS OK TO LIE TO THE INFIDELS.
      MOSES WAS A MUSLIM.
      NO OTHER RELIGION SHALL PREVAIL IN ARABIA.
      ALLAH BLESS HITLER.
      WAIT FOR THE REAL HOLOCAUST.

      First respect other beliefs, then should Islamophobia.

  • Bryanna Dillington

    Robert you claim to be a Christian
    and a conservative, yet you make intelligent people (of which, I believe, includes Jesus) embarrassed to be both. Your speaking and writing actually works against what Jesus stands for and you profit from it. It just sickens me.

    • Kinneddar

      Bryanna, you and Diana Cowdry both claim to be embarrassed. Yet, both of you are short on specifics. Details please of how Robert’s work goes against Christian teaching?

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “Bryanna, you and Diana Cowdry both claim to be embarrassed…”

        I think it’s the same person.

  • Bryanna Dillington

    Robert you claim to be a Christian and a conservative, yet you make intelligent people (of which, I believe, includes Jesus) embarrassed to be both. Your speaking and writing actually works against what Jesus stands for and you profit from it. It just sickens me.

    • kate5778b

      Jesus stands for Truth and Robert is doing exactly what Jesus did to certain pharisees, Jesus didn’t shut up about it, at one point you’re wishing ‘quiet now, Jesus, you’ve said enough’ (Matthew 23……after Jesus tells people to listen what the Pharisees tell them, just don’t do what they do, then he goes into the woes bit).

      Nobody profits from lies. The Quran commands a Muslim a)to follow Jesus 3:50 and b)that it confirms the Torah sura 3:3 – it doesn’t, so we have a duty to tell them that aren’t they lucky, we’ve got the Dead Sea scrolls which proves that todays Bible is true, so therefore the Qur’an must be wrong, the Quran offers no atonment, it offers only justice with no mercy and their god is incapable of LOVE. Love gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want.

    • crossbow87

      How do you figure Bryanna? Mr. Spencer has not misinterpreted nor misrepresented Biblical scripture and has done nothing to dishonor Christ. Please explain.

  • Ufupuw

    The Firstthing article is misleading, His PhD was not in Sociology, but Sociology of Religion. Big difference.

    In fact, check the comment section on Firsthing article and you will find:

    Mark Juergensmeyer
    July 29th, 2013 | 9:19 pm
    Since i was Reza’s thesis adviser at the Univ of California-Santa Barbara, I can testify that he is a religious studies scholar. (I am a sociologist of religion with a position in sociology and an affiliation with religious studies). Though Reza’s PhD is in sociology most of his graduate course work at UCSB was in the history of religion in the dept of religious studies. Though none of his 4 degrees are in history as such, he is a “historian of religion” in the way that that term is used at the Univ of Chicago to cover the field of comparative religion; and his theology degree at Harvard covered Bible and Church history, and required him to master New Testament Greek. So in short, he is who he says he is.”

    • The End of Islam

      Well, what he is is an Islamic fascist, but that never looks good on a resume. Not yet, anyway.

  • JoJo

    You conveniently left out that fact that he has a Sociology of RELIGIONS PhD… and not just any random sociology degree. And make no mistake UC Riverside bills him as a religious scholar, and specifically refers to him as a “scholar of religions” in his official university profile, as all his previous books have been about religion as well as 20th century Middle Eastern literature.

    • Kinneddar

      Having the word “religion” in there doesn’t change the fact that this is a sociology degree. I commented elsewhere that studying Philosophy of Science, for example, doesn’t make one a scientist. There’s an important distinction here that needs to be kept in mind.

      As for Aslan’s position at UC Riverside, his background as a “scholar of religion” doesn’t seem to have much relevance, no matter how his employer bills him. Hence, Robert Spencer correctly challenged Aslan’s assertion that he is a “professor of religions.” Aslan’s loose way with words isn’t a good indicator of a skilled writer—or scholar.

      • Jenny

        I appreciate this debate about Aslan’s credentials. While UC Santa Barbara confers doctorates in Religious Studies and Sociology, I’m curious, if Aslan was truly committed to the scholarly study of religion, why he didn’t choose to exclusively pursue the PHD in the Religious Studies department? Also on Aslan’s very website, he is not explicit in stating in what field he’s earned his PHD. It seems like he’s been oscillating amongst a variety of fields – BA and MA in religous studies, PHD in sociology, final degree was MFA in creative writing. Given his extensive publications, his credentials suggest why he doesn’t have a faculty appointment in a religious studies department, as he doesn’t hold a PHD in that area. He teaches creative writing and has appropriate credentials for that – an MFA. To me, he is misrepresenting his credentials for the sake of extra credibility and to me this leads me to think OK what else is he extenuating from his background. He should not insist upon calling himself a religious studies academic scholar without a PHD in that area and professorship at a University. He might be a well reasoned and researched writer (ala John McCullough who was a great, award-winning historical writer) but he is not an academic or academic scholar in this subject area.

        • Jenny

          Meant to type DAVID McCullough.

        • WYNEMA GONZAGOWSKI

          Ph.D in Sociology of Religions, BA and MA’s in Religious Studies, sounds like he has studied religion and history of said subject.

      • moneekwa

        oh, i don’t know. he’s got a fiction-writing degree and teaches writing fiction. so this book is fiction. that makes sense.

  • perfectlyGoodInk

    “when it comes to writing about religion I have exactly the same credentials as Aslan, a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.A. in Religious Studies. His other two degrees are in other fields.”

    A Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion is not about religion?

    And for someone who claims this ad hominem line of argument doesn’t matter, you sure spill a lot of ink on it.

    Furthermore, it is widely believed among scholars that the gospels weren’t actually written by the people they were named after. Does this also call into question the honesty of those writers and their reliability?

    • Kinneddar

      No, a PhD in “Sociology of Religion” is not about religion—it’s about sociology. Vast difference there. You can study “Philosophy of Science” but it doesn’t make you a scientist, or you can study “Philosophy of Relgion” and it doesn’t make you a religious expert. What both those lines of study would make you is a philosopher. Same with sociology. Study the sociology of a particular area of human activity or thought, and you are a sociologist.

      • perfectlyGoodInk

        By that argument, Ph.D. in history of religion is not about religion either, but about history.

        From what Juergensmeyer (see three comments down) and others from the schools in question have said (and from what I know of social sciences myself being an economist), these fields are very interdisciplinary in nature, and the vast majority of Aslan’s graduate coursework was in the religious studies department.

        • Kinneddar

          If Aslan’s degree were interdisciplinary (sociology and religious studies) then both departments would be involved in supervising the content. Perhaps that was the case, but Aslan’s continual re-phrasing of his credentials isn’t helpful. And wouldn’t the degree be along the lines of “PhD in Sociology and Religious Studies” not “PhD in Sociology of Religion.” Do you see the difference? If I study the sociology of medicine, does that mean I can practice as a physician?

          • perfectlyGoodInk

            The fields of sociology and religious studies are both inherently interdisciplinary.

            But note, Aslan doesn’t exactly have an interest in being helpful. Why would he want this controversy to end? This is continued free publicity for him.

            Also, color me unsurprised that you did not respond on whether the gospel writers not exactly being who they claimed to be would have similar bearing on their honesty and reliability. Aslan is charitable on this point in his book, saying this was common practice at the time, but an all-knowing God had to realize this would look bad in the 20th century when people nitpick credentials and you would figure He would have warned the writers working for Him.

          • Kinneddar

            You’ve told us twice that you’re an economist – we believe you. The credentials of the gospel writers are a vastly different issue than Aslan’s credentials, the subject of this article.

          • perfectlyGoodInk

            Sorry for the repeat, this isn’t the only thread I’m participating in.

            Kinnedar: “The credentials of the gospel writers are a vastly different issue than Aslan’s credentials.”

            In other words, you admit to a double-standard when judging an author’s credibility.

          • Kinneddar

            Simplistic reasoning.

          • perfectlyGoodInk

            Yes, identifying your mistake is a key first step towards critical thinking.

          • perfectlyGoodInk
  • Raju

    I wonder if anyone- Muslim or a Christian- wrote a book about Muhammad not calling him divine or naming it “Zealot”- in a Muslim country, what would happen to him? Would the state or Muslim mob let him live?

    • herb benty

      That would be “blasphemy’, PUNISHABLE by death, the morons.

  • Stone

    Alsan simply repeats what has been standard scholarship in the Jewish view of Jesus for a long time. “Zealot” is an adherent to the rebellion of the Jewish people against the Roman Empire in the Holy Land. In the Jewish view, Jesus was the “Messiah”, the one who would throw out the Romans and establish the Kingdom of Israel. As Haim Maccoby claims, and with good reason, it was Paul who invented Christianity after the continuous failure of the Jews to defeat the Romans. Both ‘Zealot’ and ‘Messiah’ are Jewish political terms of the 2 centuries around 0 AD.

  • quousque

    Interesting arguments here; it appears that Mr. Specer is collecting some lumps and bumps but his main thesis stands. Let the work of Reza Aslan stand on its own merits or become another politcally expedient parallel for Howard Zinn’s ” A People’s History of the United States”. Time will tell.

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    I’ve seen the Aslan interview at least twice. There’s no question that Aslan didn’t want to talk about the substance of his book; thus his calculated defensiveness. There’s also no question that this mealy-mouthed weasel is dishonest. Lauren Green did a good job conducting the interview, but she might have asked Aslan for an example or two; that would have really exposed his dishonesty. I wonder what Aslan has to say about the Shroud of Turin?

  • Progressives Rule

    I haven’t read anything on all of these right wing rags yet about the content of this book. All their complaints are basically “shooting the messenger”. He must make some really good, true points to rile them all up like a hornets nest. LOL! Talk about hypocrites. The entire right wing Tea Bagger types think it’s okay for them to write about the Koran and Muslims as if they are experts. What’s good for the goose…

    • Judahlevi

      Here is a perfect example of a ‘progressive.’

      The hate, intolerance, name-calling, and bigotry exhibited is the common practice of the left.

      And they actually believe they are the superior individuals.

    • Edward

      Prpgressoves Drool,

      What exactly is “progressive” about siding with people who force dress codes on women, stone girls to death over “family honor”, hang gays, describe Jews in dehumanizing ways, hail socialist hitler, threaten europe with 9/11 scale attacks, throw acid in the face of girls who want an education, place bombs on passenger planes like Pan Am 103…

      • Progressives Rule

        What in the world are you yapping about? If you’re not going to pay attention, stay in the sand box.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “All their complaints are basically “shooting the messenger”.”

      For example?

      “The entire right wing Tea Bagger types think it’s okay for them to write about the Koran and Muslims as if they are experts. What’s good for the goose…”

      Anyone can write anything they want, and then people react. It’s not a question of “right to publish” but nobody authors must accept the consequences of their statements. Let the best arguments win.

      Not that you’re actually paying attention. Just bluff your way through. There’s is actually a lot more that could be said about freedom to criticize religions, but I doubt you want to go there. Any in any case, we’re not even trying to hold him up to sharia standards. We just ask that people make their presentations honestly and in good faith.

      • Progressives Rule

        Help me to pay attention. Stop doing your straw man dance. What are your complaints about the book? Ya’ll are whining about the author’s religion. Didn’t you, and your fellow bigots, ever hear the saying, “You can’t tell a book by its author”?

        • objectivefactsmatter

          Killing the messenger usually refers to people who are angry about “the message,” coming from someone other than the messenger, but can only take it out on the one who delivers it…

          Now if he’d been delivering “sad news” based on objective facts, you might be able to claim that he’s merely the messenger and we can’t handle the truth. Is that your position? Because I’m going to need for you to show your work on that.

          In this case, we know the messenger already (at least I do) and we’re talking about him for that reason. Nobody even thinks there is anything original in the book. Truthfully, the cleverest aspect of the book is the title. It’s actually pretty stupid because the Zealots were active in his time, in the region. And Jesus certainly was a Zealot. It’s just something to grab attention and piss people off. But really people who know how stupid it is will likely just roll their eyes…we’re used to phonies who want to pose as “inquisitive” but who in reality want to promote their own religion by making ridiculous statements.

          He’s not unbiased. I can say that because the first dozen or more times I heard him speak, I wondered where they got this student and why they’d be putting a mic in front of him.

          He just repeats memes. He’s so far from being original, it’s not even funny. But the thing is, I don’t have a problem with him personally because I don’t know him that well. I think he is being used.

          Is he a crazy leftist who regurgitates propaganda fed to him? Or does he actually come up with some of this stuff on his own? I think he’s probably a true believer in the shia jihad who learned to pose as an effeminate liberal and he managed to meet just the right people and say just the right things, which led to some gigs that he’s currently bragging about.

          AFAIK he owes most of his “fame” to PBS. That’s how he got all of his early exposure; saying the things they wanted to hear and being able to present it from the perfect face…from a marketing perspective. Does he look like a crazy jihadi? NO! How cute!

          Maybe his book is awesome and I’m really missing out. But I’m judging him and this book (in terms of opting out) not by any cover but by everything I do know about the author up to this time.

          That’s why I didn’t comment on the book itself. I don’t know much about it. And I’ll trust those who tell me he hasn’t changed.

          I think that’s more than fair. Pardon me if I dismiss your opinion as useless.

  • garyfouse

    My question to Aslan the scholar is this: In all his research into the life of Jesus, did he ever discover that Jesus had killed anyone, ordered anyone killed, led any armies into war or ever taken slaves a booty of war?

    • WYNEMA GONZAGOWSKI

      Jesus advocated killing… The bible is far from a peaceful and loving book in many ways. Here is a response to some of your questions, from the bible itself.

      Luke 19:28 Jesus said, “…who would not have me reign over them, bring them hither and kill them before me”
      God told the Israelites to kill all the men and rape the women and children in the towns they invaded (Deuteronomy 20:13-16).
      God told the Israelites to take any child who dared to disobey his parents to the town square and hurl stones at his body and head until the tot’s corpse was lifeless (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
      Jesus, Himself, admitted that he is subordinate to the Father who rules over Him (1 Corinthians 11:3).
      Jesus told the apostles that He had not come to destroy the law of the prophets of old, rather, He had come to fulfill that law (Matthew 5:17).
      Jesus approved of his Father’s command that children who curse their parents are to be put to death (Matthew 15:3-4).
      Jesus chastised the Pharisees for failing to kill those children who defied their parents’ commands (Mark 7:9-13). J
      esus told us we are to live our lives in fear of God for God has the power not only to kill us, but to torture us forever in Hell (Luke 12:5)
      Jesus told the disciples to bring before Him any man who didn’t believe in Him, and to violently slaughter the non-believer while Jesus watched (Luke 19:27). Jesus killed one man by having his body eaten by a swarm of worms because the man failed to give Jesus His due (Acts 12:23).
      Jesus struck a Jew blind for thwarting His teachings (Acts 13:8-11).
      He struck a man dumb for failing to listen well (Luke 1:20).
      He took the lives of a husband and wife by scaring them to death for not forking over all the money they made on a real estate transaction (Acts 5:1-10).
      Jesus will use every weapon at His disposal to torture sinners. He will send an earthquake to kill 7,000 people (Revelation 11:13).
      He will exercise his wrath by inflicting bodily sores, turning the seas and rivers to blood, scorching everyone with fire, causing people to consume their own tongues in pain, and causing horrendous storms which will strike dead the now speechless (though sated) sinners (Revelation 16:1-21).
      Matthew 10:34 – “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword”
      Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that looseth his life for my sake shall find it.
      Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. Whether by parable or directly, the message is clear in the scriptural context.

  • Samuel

    With all due respect, an MA in Religious Studies from Harvard and a PhD in Sociology are more than adequate credentials to write about Jesus. I mean look at someone like Pamela Geller, who has a high school diploma and who was an unindicted co-conspirator in a money-laundering case (google it). She’s never been criticized by Robert Spencer for writing about Islam.

    • Edward

      Salman Rushdie wrote a book a book of fiction based on the koran. And he now lives in fear for his life because an islamofascist savage didn’t like the book – and bookstores in the West were in fear of attacks by islamofascist terrorists.

      CAIR tells American Muslims to not tell the FBI about fellow Muslims planning attacks on Americans.

      CAIR is a Fifth Column terrorist organization operating in the USA.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Britain/100003802091841 Geoffrey Britain

      With all due respect, Spenser does not question Aslan’s academic qualifications, he questions his honesty. So you have constructed the classic strawman argument, in which you accuse someone of a position they never advocated. You also avoid addressing Spenser’s primary point; Aslan is a dishonest ‘scholar’. And intentionally dishonest ‘scholarship’ completely discredits Aslan’s degrees.

      Nice try at obfuscation, which BTW makes you dishonest as well.

      • WYNEMA GONZAGOWSKI

        Actually, Aslan is what he said he was… anyone with a lick of common sense knows that sociology of religions includes its history UGH!

  • Butseriously

    This no historical PHD expert. The author accounts 1st Century Judea as Palestine – when this name was applied by Rome in the 2nd Century [135 CE under Hadrian]. Its a dead giver what constitutes Muslim Taqiyah. Maybe his next book will be about a Muslim called Moses?

    • The End of Islam

      We are all Muslims, according to Rabid Reza’s topsy-turvy ideology, waiting to ‘revert’ to the true religion. Prompting at the point of a sword or gun will help us, I’m sure, for Islam has never depended on leafleting campaigns.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Britain/100003802091841 Geoffrey Britain

    Just more taqiyya…

  • chuckie2u

    I am still confused as to how the Marxist (Progressive) athetists are compatible with Islam. Islam according to the Quran should look upon Progressives as infidels even though they can use them to reach world dominance.
    I can see the Progressives using Islam to shut up and elliminate the Christians in America .

  • WW4

    So Aslan is perfectly credentialed to write the book he wrote–which was of course the problem the fluffbrain from Fox had with him (“Duh duhh you’re a Muslim! duh duhhhh…”)–but the problem is that he “misrepresented” his CV by claiming to be a historian of religion when he “only” studied the history of religion under a different departmental discipline’s degree?

    Yeah. OK. Brilliant!

  • EarlyBird

    Too bad Mr. Spencer couldn’t have done that Fox interview with Aslan, because he sounds far more level headed and fair than Green was.

    From the get-go Green, who didn’t seem to have even read Aslan’s book, challenged Aslan’s very right to even comment on Christianity as a non-Christian, and assumed that as a Muslim he had to be antagonistic towards it. Rather than challenging him on the content of his book (as Spencer fairly does, and does well), Green’s entire thrust seemed to be to discredit Aslan’s having the right to even write about Christianity, based solely on his identity. No wonder Aslan looked “insecure.”

    But that’s Fox for ya!

    The best thing for the faithful is to be challenged and have to defend, honestly and intellectually, the underpinnings of one’s faith. That what “apologetics” is all about. Otherwise you simply have fundamentalist robots who can’t defend their religion on intellectual grounds, because they never engaged their intellect to begin with. That’s how religions become sclerotic and die.

    • gray_man

      Asinine nonsense, Ms. Green didn’t challenge him at all. She was simply trying to ask a human interest question. He was the one who got all defensive,
      Next time actually watch the interview before commenting on it.
      But that’s morons for ya!

      • EarlyBird

        I did you stupid f**k!

        • gray_man

          Then slap your teacher for not teaching you how to comprehend anything you stupid f**k! Or go find a 5th grader to explain it to you, you stupid f**K!

          • WW4

            gray, you (unsurprisingly) seem to need it explained:

            1. Ms. Green did NOT read his book. If she did, she would have discovered on page 2 Aslan mentioning he was Muslim;

            2. Ms. Green either intended, or more likely was instructed, to make a big deal out of Aslan’s religion–which, among other things, is not a polite way to treat a guest.

            Mind you: Not reading the book is no big deal, as long as your interview prep contains prompts based on facts.
            And asking once about his religion is fine–it’s an interesting perspective.

            But she belabors it. She beats the horse dead. By continually implying that Aslan is being audacious by daring to write about Christ due to his religion, Ms. Green forced him to make repeated references to his professional credentials to justify himself–credentials which Mr. Spencer, here, admits are more than adequate (even while Mr. Spencer disingenuously claims Aslan was being disingenuous about them). Aslan is obviously flustered at her ignorance, and surprised his credentials are called into question when they are a matter of record.

            The whole thing was never intended as a book discussion. Do you get that? It was meant as divisive chum thrown to an audience who, like you, unfortunately never had the opportunity or the capacity to learn how to think critically. And that is Fox SOP.

          • gray_man

            Mrs Green never said she read the book.
            And she didn’t imply anything.
            He was the one implying that his being a muslim was a problem.

            She was trying to get the perspective of how a muslim and a Christian see Jesus different. Every time she tried to bring it up he keeps going off on diatribes about his education. Which by the way if you do some research, he was being disingenuous. One thing I know about life, if you keep bragging about how smart you are, you are probably not that smart.

            “The whole thing was never intended as a book discussion. Do you get that? It was meant as divisive chum thrown to an audience who unfortunately never had the opportunity or the capacity to learn how to think critically. And that is Fox SOP.”

            Horse s**t. Now you are the one talking out your sphincter because your mouth knows better.
            Do you get that?
            Or, do I have to explain it more simply for you?

  • ratonis

    The interesting thing here is that Aslan’s ideas are pretty much indistinguishable from those of your garden-variety liberal protestant minister and their seminary professors.

  • WW4

    I prefer the Jesus of Mark (though he is not much different than the Jesus of Matthew or Luke). In Mark, he seems the most frustrated with his disciples (and thus, us) in their failure to grasp what he means, who he is, and why he is there. It puts into perspective the divinity aspect, and the “supernatural” aspect in general–by which I mean, it de-emphasizes those aspects in favor of his teaching and of the “mystery.”

    It’s why I favor a “Jewish” outlook on faith. To many Christians, faith is everything. To Jewish people, God is more a “fact of life,” something lived with every day, whether you happen to “believe” in Him or not. Whether Adam and Eve really happened does not make it any less of a true story. It strikes me as a more mature spirituality–but to each his own!

    • EarlyBird

      Very interesting. As I’ve gotten older, I am far, far less concerned about what I consider “the details,” but which many Christians consider the core of the entire faith, i.e., the absolute literalness of the Bible, the what I call the pledge of “raising my right hand and swearing that Jesus is my lord and savior” or “being saved.” (Being raised a Catholic which doesn’t get much Bible, that was easier for me.)

      Because of that last one, most if not all, Christians would define me as “non-Christian” and I accept that and am fine with that.

      About so many things like this that Christians believe, I am more and more comfortable with saying, “I don’t know.” And ironically, my faith in God has grown much stronger from that.

      • WW4

        Same here.

        As objectivefacts mentions, there’s a tremendous diversity among Christians, including those under the evangelical umbrella. And they get a bad rap. Sure, some just use their “faith” as a way to feel superior. That’s human nature. And Herb, above, has a typically distorted attitude about Catholicism. That comes from looking at the trappings (but also the history) rather than studying for the spirit. But these are also, by and large, good, loving, spiritual people.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “To many Christians, faith is everything.”

      Well, I think the lens for us to view “Christians” has been distorted by modern politics. Both Christians and Jews have been attacked viciously by atheistic delusional dreamers who see the Bible as standing in their way of building the perfect Utopia.

      But they must attack Christians and Jews separately for the most part and many of these attacks leave Christians and Jews attacking each other.

      WRT “faith is everything” I think what you mean is blind faith. The Bible does not teach blind faith. It teaches faith from reason. The heart is supposed to take over in faith to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown, not between the fantasy and the dream.

      It’s leftists that have blind faith in their Utopian ideals. And there are a lot of cultural Christians who’ve been duped by the leftists. How could any Christian believe that the Bible teaches them to build Heaven on earth by their own efforts? What was the lesson from the Tower of Babble? Wait for modern architects?

      There is tremendous diversity in the Christians you see, and Christians you hear about. And plenty of lies. It would be easy to get lost and fail to learn anything useful. Try to understand the texts first, and then judge Christianity by that, and by what you see from those Christians that seem to understand the texts.

      It’s stupid to blame “the Jews” for guys like Karl Marx. It’s not that much smarter to look at the worst Christians in order to try to understand fundamental Christian texts and ideology. Which as I’ve said several times already, came from Hebrew authors.

      • WW4

        By that statement, I meant that some people emphasize the “faith” aspect, and some emphasize the “deeds” aspect. I am not as interested anymore in whether the supernatural events described “really happened.” I am content to say “I don’t know” and ask what those events teach us.

        It’s not a stretch for people to “read” a Marxian vision into Christ’s teachings. Obviously, there are points of similarity. But I think you rightly point out the error in this line of thought: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

        And yet there is a mystery to that; to think the kingdom is “not of this world” simply means some new realm when we die is, to me, the same error the Marxists make: “Do not think to say it is here or there; the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “By that statement, I meant that some people emphasize the “faith” aspect, due to Paul’s famous scripture–and rightly so if they mean to say we, ourselves, cannot bring about salvation simply by stockpiling good deeds.”

          OK. I’d say that’s fair if you’re talking about the focus of their rhetoric. It’s a mistake though to think that people who talk publicly about faith are not also doing good deed but being lower profile about it.

          “But I am less concerned on the point of “faith.” I am not as interested anymore in whether the supernatural events described “really happened,” and I am content to say “I don’t know” and ask what those events teach us.”

          But the lessons change accordingly for most people.

          “t’s not a nonsensical stretch for people to “read” a Marxian vision into Christ’s teachings.”

          Except that you first have to convert him in to a narrower atheistic version of Jesus. And I make that point all the time. Socialism is basically a variant of atheistic Hebrew-Christian values. Since he’s not really God, he really wants us to make life perfect or idyllic here on earth. It can’t be he’s talking about Heaven after you’re dead.

          “But I think you rightly point out the fatal error in this line of thought: “My kingdom is not of this world.”"

          And if you miss that, you give pretext to people for the tyranny of playing God here on earth.

          “But here is the mystery, right? To think the kingdom is “not of this world” simply means some new realm when we die is, to me, the same error the Marxists make.”

          I don’t think so. Unless you take it to mean that you can’t ever try to improve things, because that’s not what it means. It simply means that you have to consider your end goal is not to make this world idyllic. God’s promises for the most part are due after you’re dead, so don’t try to recreate those visions here. You can’t.

          Progress is good. Delusion is bad.

          “For “Do not think to say it is here or there; the kingdom of God is in your midst.”"

          The invitation to the kingdom is everywhere. When Christ was on earth, we could also refer to his presence. People teaching about the kingdom can also be seen as a taste, but on balance the text makes it very clear that the kingdom itself is not in this physical realm. We can only learn about it and respond to the call. The invitation is here, the response is here, and that means the hope is also here. But the hope is not a delusional atheistic DIY project.

          If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that even if we expect Heaven, we should not use that as an excuse to ignore opportunities to make the world a better place. Most Christians would agree with you. There is strong support for that in the text and I don’t think it’s controversial. It just seems that way some times because many people like me are getting sensitive about delusional people that want to re-engineer society when they don’t understand anything about how it truly works.

          • WW4

            Comments from modern popes (I am probably already in trouble with you, here), who we can say understand scripture at least as well as you and I, have noted the excesses and moral dangers of capitalism and also called on governments to act in service of the poor, in very specific terms.

            Mind, they also speak about human liberty and human rights. I would submit these things are not contradictory, and that these leaders are not “infected by Marx,” but merely observers of the modern age.

            Granted, what these religious leaders understand about how society truly works may be different from your own understanding–but are they wrong to say what they say? Have they misinterpreted the Gospel? History bears witness to the spiritual price of capitalism just as it does to that of Marxism. I think it’s been well-established that the former is superior to the latter in compatibility with human liberty–but that does not exempt it from correction, nor necessarily preclude government intervention. Is noting, and attempting to correct, the moral flaws of our own system, then, necessarily Marxist or atheistic?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Comments from modern popes (I am probably already in trouble with you, here), who we can say understand scripture at least as well as you and I…”

            Even if they do, they’re understanding is through the lens of what previous popes wrote. Those previous “great popes” are the totalitarians that threw huge parties and abused their own people far worse than anyone can with capitalism. What about the pope that had parties with naked boys? One even had a naked boy painted with gold paint, and the poor kid died from this experience.

            Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Modern popes have more sense, but they also have their traditions written by tyrants.

            So let’s just look at their arguments alone to see if they make any sense. A pope has no more credibility than anyone else except as a loyal church member that made it to the top. I’ll perhaps take his career advice more seriously than I would anything else. Or I can read Machiavelli again. See my point? Not disrespecting every pope, just saying that the office itself doesn’t imply much about the man. Not to me.

            “…modern popes…have noted the excesses and moral dangers of capitalism…”

            Well, that’s like saying there are “moral dangers and excesses” in life. Does that mean we should all kill ourselves? Clearly we need law and order. That’s not an indictment of capitalism. That’s like attacking the rain because some water eventually gets polluted.

            “…and also called on governments to act in service of the poor, in very specific terms.”

            Then I guess the church is giving up on it’s fundamental role in society. It would rather lobby for more taxation and big coercive government policies than asking its own members to do their share. That’s sad. It’s also hypocritical coming from someone living in a castle in the middle of ancient Rome’s capital.

            So they are saying that helping others should be coercive. What other moral choices does the government need to coerce?

            “Mind, they also speak about human liberty and human rights. I would submit these things are not contradictory, and that these leaders are not “infected by Marx,” but merely observers of the modern age.”

            Asking the government to do something that takes away private choice is by definition coercive, and therefore against liberty. In other words, you’ve always got to recognize that tension so that you can be sure to make your case that it’s the right thing to do. Case by case.

            Socialism inverts the burden of proof making the citizen prove he needs liberty and otherwise assuming the inefficient and corrupt government is to run things.

            All of these socialist ideas are far more popular and accepted because of Marx as well as others. Referring to Marx just makes it clearer to more people.

            Yes, they are observers of the modern age, including many of the modern fallacies. I don’t object to Marx personally, I object to the fallacies.

            “Granted, what these religious leaders understand about how society truly works may be different from your own understanding–but are they wrong to say what they say?”

            They’re not wrong to say it, but what they say is for the most part wrong. And what one understands and what one can demonstrate are different matters. No modern society can live without capitalism. Unless you’re talking about a farming commune somewhere. If you want to use modern utilities, that involves capitalism. It’s almost like rain and water, but not quite. It’s much closer to that than you apparently think.

            And the point of all this is not to be cruel. The point is to understand that socialism undermines capitalism. So socialism is as dangerous as something that undermines our ability to deliver clean water. There are many legitimate uses for water, and you can make your case for each idea, but attacking the rain or lakes because you’d like to have water “redistributed” is kind of dumb.

            Socialism will always use capitalism in a different way under an oligarchy. It’s hypocritical, tyrannical and inefficient It always fails.

            But understand that the same policies presented under different theories might be good for society. What is the difference? If you help people under the theory that it’s good for society to help people through rough patches, and they end up rebuilding their lives or moving on to a more positive position, that’s good. When you do it under socialism and tell them that it’s only fair to do it this way (“social justice”), you’re removing incentives for them to be grateful and for them to strive to find their own solutions.

            And that is the great failure of socialism and it’s critique of capitalism. It teaches deadly ideas. That’s why it always fails.

            I would even say that in the USA, most of the policies we have implemented to this point could have been executed well, if presented differently. The problem is that we’ve intoxicated entire classes of people with false ideas about how to succeed and how to live. We’ve infected them with ideas about “social justice” that are deadly to any society. I didn’t hear one valid idea from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Virtually everything they complained about was caused by flawed socialist policies. But they just think we need more socialism rather than less.

            So ultimately socialism fools its believers. Not because generosity is flawed but because the ideology is completely bogus. It seems generous on the surface, but it’s the same generosity that leads parents to never say no to their children, let them eat what they want and then blame the media for showing bad role models to the kids.

            And yes, you can “observe” this today because socialist ideology has infected our societies all around the world. That doesn’t make it valid. That just shows that it’s viral.

            “Have they misinterpreted the Gospel?”

            In some cases. Certainly many of them have. Many of them are functional atheists. But hopefully if you read this far, you’ll understand that their recommendations are often hypocritical. They should look to their own church to perform charity. And they should at most ask others to volunteer as they do. That’s what the Bible calls for. The Bible does not call for making Caesar even greater in the expectation that Caesar will be ever more generous and efficient than what volunteers, especially Christians, can achieve.

            In the end they are working against the Gospel because non-Christians see them as hypocrites.

            “History bears witness to the spiritual price of capitalism just as it does to that of Marxism.”

            You have certain ideas about capitalism that are flawed. Socialism can’t actually replace capitalism. All it can do is reduce individual rights and create an oligarchy that renames institutions and pretends that it eradicated something it took control of.

            “I think it’s been well-established that the former is superior to the latter in compatibility with human liberty–but capitalism is not God-given.”

            Capitalism is just trade with currency. Your problem is with human behavior. And I’m guessing you don’t understand the complexities of what makes society work, and what makes some members fail. In the end all you can say is that capitalism isn’t perfect and I’ll remind you that humanity isn’t perfect. There’s no reason at all to think that socialism will make society any better, and there’s plenty of evidence to show that it will always make things worse. It just seems like a good idea, just like it seemed like a good idea to Eve for her to bite the apple.

            “Its superiority to Marxism as a functioning system does not exempt it from correction, nor necessarily preclude government intervention.”

            I have never argued against law and order. You don’t need socialism for law and order.

            “Is noting, and attempting to correct, the moral flaws of our own system, then, necessarily Marxist or atheistic?”

            No, not at all. But the theories that people often employee are. And Marxism is always atheistic. It doesn’t mean that people who are infected by these flawed ideas become atheistic themselves. but if you don’t understand the fundamentals of theories you promote, then you might appreciate warning to do so.

            You don’t need to understand how to design and build a car in order to drive it. But if you want to actively participate in redesigning that car, you need to understand a lot more than just what you don’t like about it.

          • WW4

            “You have certain ideas about capitalism that are flawed. Socialism can’t actually replace capitalism.”

            Not saying it should.

            “I have never argued against law and order.”

            But here is the rub, no? Government is required for law and order. But if government were only to be reactive to criminality, it wouldn’t be very effective in protecting its citizens. Whether we are talking about the myriad nakedly cruel, unjust and predatory situations of the late 1800s, or what we’re used to now, where at least the occasional Enron goes to jail, laws need to be made, and government needs to be there to enforce.

            But when the enforcers are sent or bought by the people they are supposed to be watching? That effects my liberty.

            A very general example for message board purposes: both regulations and labor unions are generally onerous after they’ve accomplished their purpose. But it’d be the rare conservative who didn’t admit the necessity for them at their outset.

            You say “Socialism inverts the burden of proof making the citizen prove he needs liberty,” and you make a fair point–but capitalism does the same. People didn’t start labor unions to be lazy nuisances; they started them because they were essentially slaves in all but name. There were no real choices–no liberty–for such people. Regulations are a broad topic that should be looked at case by case, yes, but it is generally agreed that, say, dumping poison into a lake or river is something we want to nip in the bud before it happens, rather than simply hope to prosecute the poisoner after the fact.

            I think you can see in my posts a respect for or acknowledgement of conservative philosophy. To my liberal friends, I always say conservatives have two great points. One: the bigger government gets, the more incentives and opportunities for corruption exist. Two, we can’t afford the government we already have. Indeed, too many today blindly look at government as a magician or panacea without following the consequences of what they might advocate. But likewise, too many look upon capitalism as sacrosanct, when at best we might say it mimics the natural order. But we value law and order, civilization and culture, and don’t want to live “in nature”–not really. Liberty is sacrosanct. Capitalism is the imperfect petri dish for liberty–one that must be constantly guarded against infection. Who does that, and how, is what we argue about.

  • OfficialPro

    Well, when Global Warming melts the polar ice caps, the Mountains of Ararat may yet show the remains.

    Every culture in existence has the story of a massive flood. The Indians of Canada, which live halfway across the world from the M.E., that live in mountainous regions each think that a particular mountain in their territory is their “ararat”.

    • EarlyBird

      That’s true about the flood story being ubiquitous. I wonder how remnants of the Ark would last, though, unless the wood became fossilized. I also vaguely remember seeing something on t.v, but it could have been a UFO type thing, of “proof” of the Ark on Ararat.

      • OfficialPro

        THe Mountains of Ararat are all covered in snow. It’d not necessarily *have* to be fossilized. Just frozen for millenia.

  • PeterGuenther

    Spencer is not only a Faux News pundit and right-wing nut job, he is an outright liar (by omission). See http://www.loonwatch.com/tag/robert-spencer/ for a critique of this article.

    • The End of Islam

      A critique with no credibility. Loonwatch is an Islamist deflection for useful Western tools like you.

      • PeterGuenther

        lol Speaking of tools – mirror

        I’m an atheist and don’t really care that much about what Spencer or Aslan believe. Spencer by all accounts is a dangerous religious and right-wing extremist. (I don’t hang with white supremacists and Neo-Nazis…) that’s not to say I’m not concerned about extremist Muslims as well. Both arel dangerous polemicists who believe god is on their side.

        • The End of Islam

          “Spencer by all accounts is a dangerous religious and right-wing extremist.”

          But Aslan is your reasonable friend. At least my agenda is clear from my handle.

          • PeterGuenther

            As far as I can discern, Aslan is pretty much middle of the road.

        • The End of Islam

          If I looked in the mirror and heard this: “Spencer by all accounts is a dangerous religious and right-wing extremist,” I would think I was a tool, yes. Aslan is your reasonable friend, but you claim not to ‘hang’ with supremacists? A true tool.

          • PeterGuenther

            In my world all extremists are dangerous. In your world anyone who is not an extremist is a tool. My “agenda” is to throw water on the flames not fan them.

          • The End of Islam

            In your world, you mention only one ‘extremist’ by name. I think you are less biased than you suggest.

  • Vee Arf

    Um, using the Bible works, but so does examining historical documents. I think Aslan is doing what all historians do: analyzing old texts to make an argument. The critics of his book seem to always, and only, cite the Bible, while Aslan is consulting the Roman’s histories to make his argument. I might agree that his book should not be taken as fact (and he is not the first historian to present his book in that fashion, by the way) but it cannot be so easily dismissed as dishonest because the Gospels say otherwise. Analyze his sources and your rebuttal will gain credibility.

    As to the degrees in question, his thesis advisor cleared up the sociology/history question. Aslan’s degree required extensive historical study, thus his claim to be a scholar of religious history holds some water. Not that this matters, as you rightly point out the academic credentials are not enough, but still… you brought it up.

  • James Snapp, Jr.

    I’m coming to this a bit late; nevertheless: I’ve prepared a short book responding to some of the claims about Jesus and the Gospels that Dr. Aslan made in his book. Its title is “Jesus: Zealous Savior of the World,” and it is available at Amazon as a Kindle e-book for 99 cents.