Friday, October 23, 2009

Global Blasphemy Laws

One of the interesting things about discussions surrounding blasphemy laws (whether by the UN or others)is they cannot be conducted without coming back to the central question: What is Truth?

Seems this was the question in Jesus' day, it's the question which comes us today, and it's a question which cannot be avoided.

... suppose God intended it to be this way?

19 comments:

  1. Skeptimal,
    What is politically correct speech if it is not an assault on the freedom of speech? Pay closer attention.

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  2. "What is politically correct speech if it is not an assault on the freedom of speech? Pay closer attention"

    Believe me, Jazz. I'm paying attention. Any skeptic living through the Rove-Cheney years has a heightened awareness about threats to freedom.

    "Political correctness" is a nebulous term that is hard to pin down, though. No one owns it or controls it, and it has no legal power.

    What I'm wanting to know is what limitations have been placed on your freedoms to practice your religion or to speak whatever truths you think you see. Maybe there really have been some: I don't know, but I haven't seen any.

    Is it that you think you still have your freedoms, but they've been threatened? If so, by whom and how? I know I'm not always the most polite to you, but these are sincere questions.

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  3. Skeptimal,
    Also, when Christians pastors are invited to pray at a public function and are told not to use the name Jesus in their prayer, that is an assault on freedom of religion

    Pay attention....

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  4. "when Christians pastors are invited to pray at a public function and are told not to use the name Jesus in their prayer, that is an assault on freedom of religion"

    I guess that depends on the context and by what you mean by "public function." Are the events you're talking about events where you would feel comfortable with a pagan or a Muslim praying specifically to the goddess or to Allah?

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  5. Skeptimal,
    From google searches, there are many examples of the banning of praying in Jesus name. This is a loss of freedom of religion for Christians.

    When I was in high school we had an invocation before the game along with the Star-spangled Banner, but now they have been banned. Local school districts can no longer decide if they want a prayer before the games.

    This is a public function and obviously a loss of freedom and rights by local school districts is it not?

    Your question about the false god Allah does not pertain to your question in your second comment.

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  6. "Your question about the false god Allah does not pertain to your question in your second comment."

    The fact that you don't consider it relevant is significant. Are you suggesting that school officials should be able to lead students in prayers to Jesus but not to Allah or the goddess? If so, why should Christianity be encouraged in this way by our schools, but not Islam or Wicca?

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  7. "Justifying the loss of liberty in any area does not mean the liberty was not lost! You are now doing this by trying to switch the debate to justifying the loss of religious freedom."

    No, I really wasn't trying to change the subject. I'm still back at understanding what liberty was lost. Am I wrong in understanding you to believe that Christian administrators should have the right to lead children in prayers to Jesus, but that you would not grant that right to Wiccans or Muslims? If so, I assume you have reasoning for that.

    Believe it or not, I'm not trying to argue with you on this particular column. What I *am* trying to do is see if I can develop a means of expressing your point of view in a way that you would agree with.

    Why do I want to do that? Candidly: because I'm trying to lay aside some of the anger I've had about the behavior of right-wing Christians, and one way of doing that is to exercise the humility to be able to speak the conservative Christian case in a respectful way.

    I don't promise never to get sarcastic and combative again, but I'd really like to try this on this particular issue. I'm not looking to adopt a new religion, and I've got enough of a reading list already. What I want to do is be able to express in a respectful way the reasons that conservative Christians believe they are losing freedoms.

    If that's not a conversation you want to have, or if you think I'm playing games with you or being condescending, I will understand, and I will drop the conversation.

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  8. Skeptimal,
    You ask…..
    I'm still back at understanding what liberty was lost.
    1) example: Pastors have been invited to pray at various functions, but asked not to pray in the name of Jesus.
    2) example: The Gideons have been banned from distribuiting free Bibles in schools.
    3) example: Teacher fired for not removing a Bible from her desk.
    4) example: Ten commandments monument banned from being displayed in Ala. Court building. Note: Many government buildings have Bible verses and inscriptions on them.
    5) example: After decades of having a Christian prayer before high school and college football games, they have been banned. Note: The American culture has long had a tradition of prayer to God. This tradition is under assualt!

    There are of course many more examples including the attempt to remove Christ from Christmas and the use of any Christian symbols at Christmas. However, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and that can never be revised to mean something else.

    You may argue that the loss of liberty is proper and the right thing to do, but how can you argue that you have not noticed any loss of liberty? This is nonsense and the restrictions on Christian expression and practice continues in the courts and in the culture. It is an insult for you to suggest it is not happening. It is an absurd argument to suggest that wiccans and muslims should have the right to overturn a couple of hundred years of American culture because they may be offended. I have a news flash for you. There is a lot of things public schools and the government does that offends me greatly, but since they are politically correct they are protected from being banned.

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  9. Skeptimal,
    You said……. Candidly: because I'm trying to lay aside some of the anger I've had about the behavior of right-wing Christians,

    Are you ever upset over the behavior of left-wing secular humanists or left-wing Christians? Let me assure you when I see left-wingers throw pies at conservative speakers or parade around with lewd, anti-American, anti-capitalism, socialistic signs I am beyond disgusted. I am also disgusted with what you call right-wing Christians who have bad behavior.

    For you to call my conservative values and conservative Christian beliefs right-wing is an insult since the term implies an extreme position. The truth is that my conservative values reflect the values of main-stream America a lot more closely than most of the extremists in left-wing enclaves such as university faculties.

    If you want to have the humility to be able to speak the conservative Christian case in a respectful way, then I would suggest that you find a WWII veteran and ask him about God, country, liberty, and service.

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  10. "Are you ever upset over the behavior of left-wing secular humanists or left-wing Christians?"

    Yes, I am, and I can give you examples if I need to. Most recently it was "blasphemy day," in which nontheists were encouraged to blaspheme the various religions of the world.

    Regarding the behavior of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians, you would disagree that I have any reason to be angry, just as I have trouble understanding your anger over (most of) the examples you gave.

    Since you have indicated that you think we *should* allow government-led prayers to Jesus but not the others, can you say why?

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  11. "For you to call my conservative values and conservative Christian beliefs right-wing is an insult since the term implies an extreme position."

    Fair enough. Is "Evangelical" the term you would use? Since Christians do not agree with each other on a number of issues, what words would you use to distinguish yourself from a liberal Christian?


    "If you want to have the humility to be able to speak the conservative Christian case in a respectful way, then I would suggest that you find a WWII veteran and ask him about God, country, liberty, and service."

    I certainly value the humility and sacrifice of the "Greatest Generation." It is my experience, though, that no generation is monolithic in its views. I doubt there is one viewpoint on religion or politics that would speak for all of the WW II veterans. Many of them were liberal.

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  12. Jazz,

    Regarding lost freedoms, I would agree that rights that were afforded exclusively to conservative (?) Christians have been lost. Does that count as a lost liberty? If we gave rights exclusively to one segment of any other demographic but religion, that would be considered unjust.

    You say that locals would choose who prayed in schools. How would that work?

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  13. Skeptimal,
    You said….If we gave rights exclusively to one segment of any other demographic but religion, that would be considered unjust.

    Naturalists are given rights to not only bring their evolution theories into schools, but the right to exclude all other theories. Make no mistake, evolution is a faith-based theory until they can proven how life came from non-life and matter came from non-matter. The charts with monkeys gradually turning into humans are real cute, but a godless evolution must account for the origin of life and more importantly the origin of matter to be considered anything but a faith based theory. Do you have an answer for us? If not, then by your own sense of justice you should be for allowing intelligent design to be taught in schools. Do you?

    Other issues that people hold differing opinions on are also allowed in schools such as homosexual propaganda, political propaganda, animal rights propaganda, environmental propaganda, global warming propaganda, abortion propaganda, etc. Wouldn’t true tolerance for all mean that social and political agendas be banned from schools as well?

    You said…. You say that locals would choose who prayed in schools. How would that work?

    Instead of centralized social engineers with political agendas dictating what local school districts can and can’t do in the arena of religion, local districts that reflect the will of the local people would have the freedom and right to invite local pastors or other people to give a prayer before a given function. If a school district ever became majority muslim, then they could invite a muslim to give a prayer.

    As long as the schools did not force or require any religion on any student they would not be in violation of the constitution.

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  14. "evolution is a faith-based theory until they can proven how life came from non-life and matter came from non-matter"

    Here is why I disagree. If scientists put confidence in evolution, but there was no evidence for it, then I would agree that it was faith based. You may disagree that the evidence is sufficient, but those who have studied evolutionary theory, geology, and paleontology see a LOT of evidence for evolution. Over and over again, evolutionary theory has made accurate predictions about evidence that surfaced later.

    There will always be unanswered questions. One difference between science and faith is how they view those unknowns. Science sees the unknown as a fascinating realm to be explored through theory, testing, and evidence. Faith very often views the unknown as evidence of a higher power. You say that until every question is answered, science should yield to faith, but faith doesn't usually try to answer any of these questions: it just accepts the unknown as part of the divine mystery and is grateful to know the divine person.

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  15. Skeptimal: "...One difference between science and faith is how they view those unknowns. Science sees the unknown as a fascinating realm to be explored through theory, testing, and evidence. Faith very often views the unknown as evidence of a higher power. ... but faith doesn't usually try to answer any of these questions: it just accepts the unknown as part of the divine mystery and is grateful to know the divine person."

    Response: Not the case. In fact, faith's response is that because God has done these things, they merit our study and investigation.

    One could just as easily argue that unbelievers are content to say "a purposeless unknown force has done this" (... except that their opposition to God, their stilted view of man, and their quest for wisdom drives them.)

    Keep in mind there were others who laid out (and even practiced) principles of selection and breeding before Darwin... including Jacob.

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  16. Skeptimal: You may disagree that the evidence is sufficient, but those who have studied evolutionary theory, geology, and paleontology see a LOT of evidence for evolution.

    Response: Natural selection is seen on the level of speciation, yes; but NOT when it comes to transitions among phyla. Organisms change over time, but do not convert to new forms.

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  17. "One could just as easily argue that unbelievers are content to say "a purposeless unknown force has done this""

    I don't think I've heard a non-theist put it quite that way. I see what you're getting at, but there's a difference between accepting that we don't know something yet, and being content to never know.

    I also think you're overlooking that there is no "scientist of the gaps." You won't find a scientist saying that any theory *must* be true unless you disprove it. Christianity, however, says that if there are unanswered questions in evolution, not only is evolution untrue, but the only alternative explanation is a god.
    Irreducible complexity is just such an argument.


    "their (non Christians') opposition to God, their stilted view of man, and their quest for wisdom drives them"

    You've made an interesting combination of accusations here. "Quest for wisdom?" Was that a typo?

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  18. Skeptimal: "...there's a difference between accepting that we don't know something yet, and being content to never know.

    Response: Note that depending on the equivocation noted earlier, many non-theists are the very ones going beyond "accepting that we don't know something yet" when THEY are the ones not only deceiving people and making public their claims that "Evolution is a Fact" but also making claims that the theist who oppose that claim are nothing more than ignorant and to be cast aside as ridiculous.

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  19. I received your deleted comment and it was interesting, but it was not valid and that is probably why you deleted it. The origin of matter must be accounted for and the bottom line is that until atheistic evolutionists prove how matter came from nothing, they must take it on faith that somehow it happened. Therefore, their whole system is based on faith that a universe could have evolved from nothing. The two views are not faith and science, they are faith and faith.

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