New Orleans: what's religion got to with it?

ATW is the epicentre of its own storm at the moment, around the theological implications of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. Peter, who comments on the blog, alluded to an erudite piece by Scottish born Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, in which he raids the historical reactions to the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, contrasts the non religious outlook of Voltaire and those of John Wesley and other contemporary religious leaders of the time. He sides with the former.

  • Richard Dowling

    When people didn’t really believe in God, they blamed God anyway for these natural disasters. Now they blame George W Bush. God forbid they should ever blame a Democrat, especially a Governor of Louisiana or Mayor of New Orleans. Unnatural, that’s what it is.

  • smcgiff

    ‘We have enough religion to hate each other, but not enough to love each other.’

    Jonathan Swift

  • Keith M

    I notice that by her own admission Governor Blanco decalred a “day of prayer” on Tuesday and only two days later requisitioned the buses in Louisana to help the flood effort. Now that’s what I call skewed thinking!

  • circles

    Well the Lord sendeth and the Lord taketh away (to paraphase) – maybe they were hoping for another dramatic intervention in the affairs of mankind.
    However I didn’t find Governor Blanco’s call unusual at all in light of the states swing to in recent years to fundamental christianity (see the whole ID debate etc.).

  • Jo

    I hope that those visiting ATW will note that much of the debate was associated with critcising the crass and appalling insensitivity of making such “moral” comments at a time when thousands of bodies are unrecovered, many of whom are the weakest of society – the old, the very young and the sick – and the almost total lack of sympathy, love or charitable disposition towards those victims.

    I didnt blog back in 2001 – did “Christian” amateur theologians post in such terms about 9-11?

  • Colm

    Jo

    Felix Quigley has commented there on the crass insensitivity with which we ‘liberals’ responded to the ‘respectable’ views of Mr Glover.

  • John

    I don’t understand this “wrath of God” stuff at all. I mean, Mississippi, parts of Alabama and much of non-New Orelans Louisiana is also devastated. Did they have it coming too?

    As for the Governor, whether she stopped for a prayer or not is immaterial. I’m sure the Governor of Mississippi, whose performance seems to have impressed many, called for prayers too. I’m sure both acted out of a mixture of political expediency and genuine faith. Who cares?

    All that matters to the citizens of each state is how their governor performed. Nobody is judging them on their faith, especially not now.

  • Jo

    John:

    Yes, we are invited to believe, on pain of being branded “unChristian” and “stupid” about our Bible if we dont accept that that apparently all the suffering of babies children the old and the poor could have been due to the activities, real or planned, of the local gay population and their visitors.

    Do you live within several hundred miles of a gay person?

    If so..watch out!

  • Biffo

    Maybe it was Allah?

  • willis

    Since this forum seems full of us damn liberals at the moment there wont be muck response to the question. How many times did Jesus attack gays compared to attacking those who abandon the poor?

  • Jo

    I think you have to go to the Old Testament to find criticism of sodomy. I doubt that Jesus, having had a prostitute as a friend (possibly a disciple?) would have been smashing up the red light district with brimstone, etc.

    The God of the OT was a pretty violent guy, a temperament which suits those who are anti-gay today.

  • smcgiff

    ‘having had a prostitute as a friend (possibly a disciple?)’

    The whole prostitute thing has been pretty much debunked.

    Something Dan Browne picked up on.

  • Young Fogey

    I didnt blog back in 2001 – did “Christian” amateur theologians post in such terms about 9-11?

    Jerry Falwell said 9-11 was because of homosexuals and the American Civil Liberties Union, so he did.

  • David Larmour

    ”The whole prostitute thing has been pretty much debunked.
    Something Dan Browne picked up on.”

    Phew thank goodness for that — we wouldn’t have wanted Jesus hanging around with a sinner — and even worse a female sinner.

  • David Vance

    The God of the Old Testament is the father of Jesus Christ. God is unchanging – something that you appear to wish to revise but the Bible is clear on this central fact. We may change, God never changes.

  • David Vance

    The God of the Old Testament is the father of Jesus Christ. God is unchanging – something that you appear to wish to revise but the Bible is clear on this central fact. We may change, God never changes.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Phew thank goodness for that — we wouldn’t have wanted Jesus hanging around with a sinner — and even worse a female sinner.’

    The very reason she was depicted as a prostitute.

  • Jo

    …women have always been the temptresses, you see. Goes back to Eve.

  • The Beach Tree

    The Christian Right are a funny lot really.

    I never could quite understand how they could be such staunch supporters of the death penalty when they worship a God who was the victim of an unjust death penalty himself!

    How they seem to know every crooked byway of Deuteronomy to justify their righteous anger, and yet forget that Jesus himself refused to go along with the perfectly legal execution of the woman found in sin (“let he without sin…neither do I condemn you”).

    How they rail against whichever other churches don’t fit their checklist, when Jesus himself made it clear that someone who was not an ‘offical’ disciple but was preaching in his name, was not only to be tolerated, but encouraged!

    In fact the only time i remember Jesus really losing the rag was when he caught the religous of his day using places of worship for profit. (*ahem**Pat Robertson**ahem*)

    Christian Right – an oxymoran if ever I heard one.

  • smcgiff

    ‘the Bible is clear on this central fact’

    Glad to know it’s clear on something, David.

  • foreign correspondent

    Nothing funny about the Christian right – they are a downright scarey lot, fired up by their ridiculous belief that they are the unique possessors of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If anyone wants to believe in that book of fairytales aka the Bible, that´s fair enough, but they can´t/shouldn´t be allowed to go round trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of society.
    By the way the Christian right also seem incapable of answering the reasonable question:´Who would Jesus bomb?

  • David Vance

    Foreign Correspondent,

    The inanity of your question precludes any sensible Christian from answering it. Christ doesn’t have to bomb anyone – read your Bible for further instruction.

  • Jo

    ..but there is only Old Testament reference to gays isn’t there, David?

  • David Vance

    Jo,

    That’s right – so long as you don’t read the New Testament.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro


    That’s right – so long as you don’t read the New Testament.”

    And where exactly did Jesus condemn gays David?
    Perhaps it was in the same verse where he comdemned abortion and alcohol?
    Or do Christians just make it up as they go along?

  • Jo

    ..this is where silence descends, lol…

  • 6cprod

    I have been wondering, does the fact that the LA state governor barred the Red Cross from providing water to Superdome and the Convention Center qualify as a religious connection to the current crisis? Or is that just another example of Democratic administrative incompetence?

    Hi Jo,

    it always amazes me how selective people can be when it comes to the Bible. They pick out the bits that give them the warm fuzzies, and reject the things that do not fit in with their twisted philosophies. It says in Timothy that all Scripture is given by inspiration (God-breathed) and is profitable…. It`s not pick n mix, it`s all or nothing.

    Of course the basic question remains, what is truth? The Lord Jesus said in John 14.6, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to the father except by me. For many, that it a pretty arrogant statement to make. It smacks of dogmatism, exclusiveness and narrow-mindedness. But, hey, these are the words of the Lord Jesus, not some fundamentalist, rightwing nutcase.

    If a person doesn’t accept the fact that Jesus is the only way to a meaningful relationship with God, they shouldn’t go quoting (or misquoting) Him to try to back up your pet notions.

    Gerry luvs Castro,

    you might find Romans 1.18-32 interesting reading, especially verses 26 & 27. You will get a real sense of the meaning if you use a modern translation.

  • Jo

    …all or nothing eh, isn’t there something about not eating shellfish?

    Ok, God doesnt change, neither do His laws, God’s law prohibited the consumption of pork, shellfish and other types of animal flesh…but Christians commonly eat such things. Isn’t that breaking Gods law?

    Eating a prawn is as much breaking Gods law as having gay sex? All or nothing.

  • Jo

    …verse 26, which is the only verse in Scripture which refers to lesbian behavior, is often used to round out the beliefs of those who condemn all homosexuality is sin, since all of the other alleged condemnations of homosexuality specifically refer to male-male behavior, linguistically excluding female-female behavior.

    Looking back at early interpreters of this verse, while some have believed that this verse referred to lesbians “exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones” this idea could refer to sex with a barren or pregnant woman, sex with a menstruating woman, pedastery.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´it always amazes me how selective people can be when it comes to the Bible. They pick out the bits that give them the warm fuzzies, and reject the things that do not fit in with their twisted philosophies´

    Congratulations, 6countyProd. That´s a spot on description of the mentality of the Christian fundamentalist Right.

  • Jo

    ..I wasn’t sure, though, that that quuote was directed as the C f R, foreign? 😉

  • Jo

    ..I wasn’t sure, though, that that quote was directed at the C f R, foreign? 😉

  • foreign correspondent

    Really, Jo? 🙂

  • 6cprod

    Wow, Jo, you surprise me. Have you never read the book of Acts? Read Acts 10.

  • The Beach Tree

    6CP

    You might want to read it yourself – last time I checked, Jesus said the rules could NOT be changed.

    18
    For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
    19
    Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  • Jo

    This could go on all day. For the last 20 years I’ve been told when I ask a question: “Go read your Bible.” Thats me told!

    Whats this thing between my ears again?

  • The Beach Tree

    Jo I was pointing out the illogicallity and absurdity of 6CP’s position, not yours.

  • Jo

    Beach:
    I was referring to 6co post, not yours! 😉

  • 6cprod

    Hi Beach Tree, good to hear from you again.

    Now that you and Jo have made up and sorted yourselves out, let’s get down to some serious stuff. You guys really want to get into the minutiae of things, don’t you?

    So, BT, you have just shot yourself in the foot, well, Jo’s foot. She thinks that only the OT refers to homosexuality as a sin, and the NT has nothing much to say about it. But now you are quoting bits of the NT where the Lord Jesus sets the stamp of His endorsement upon the Law of Moses as originally given, as being absolutely inerrant down to its smallest letter or smallest part of a letter. We could call it Inspiration with a Vengeance. Jesus must agree whole-heartedly with those parts that talk about homosexual behaviour being sinful. I’ll have to remember that.

    Now, getting back to your little quote, it took me a while to figure out what you were getting at when you referred to the illogicallity and absurdity of my position. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are talking about the difference between following the law and faith, or believing and doing.

    Anyway, in your post you actually highlighted a clue to the answer to your question, but if you had started at verse 17, you would have got a little more of the context and maybe a clearer understanding of these verses. I’m sure you do not want to read a long sermon on this, but suffice to say, in v17 Jesus says: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. What do you think Jesus meant by that?

    These verses are part of the Sermon on the Mount and verse 17 is one of the most debated verses in Matthew’s gospel. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject, but, for the most part, I like Augustine’s take on it. He outlined different ways in which Jesus fulfilled the law: Jesus personally obeyed the law, He fulfilled the messianic predictions, He empowered his people to obey it, He brought out its true meaning, He explained the true meaning behind the rituals and ceremonies, and He gave additional or clarifying commands that furthered the intentions of the Law.

    Of course, the Apostle Paul talks quite a lot about how Christ fulfilled the law and the results of that fulfilment:

    Romans 3: 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

    Romans 7.4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. …6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

    10.3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

    Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    Galatians 3: 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

    Romans 7.4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. …6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

    10.3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

    Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    Galatians 3: 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

    I believe the Bible clearly teaches that a person can only please God by trusting Christ alone for salvation. Simple as that. A person cannot earn merit by his own actions, God wants to see faith in Christ. I would recommend the Book of Romans for a clear explanation of the gospel of God.

    http://bible.com/bible_read.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_5:17
    http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/faq/oldlaw.html

  • smcgiff

    ‘I believe the Bible clearly teaches that a person can only please God by trusting Christ alone for salvation. Simple as that. A person cannot earn merit by his own actions, God wants to see faith in Christ.’

    Hello 6cprod,

    I take it you mean that one cannot gain salvation without following Christ’ teachings, no matter how ‘good’ a life you have lead. So, even if you followed the 10 commandments by just being a decent bloke etc and never heard of Jesus you’d never attain salvation i.e. Heaven?

    But that pretty much buggers quite a large proportion of mankind that could never have heard of Jesus.

    So, what happens to the indigenous populations, Buddhists etc?

    To my mind this is complete arrogance, that we, the people that could have heard ‘the good news’, are superior.

    If that’s your God, you can keep her.

  • maca

    Thats a good line: “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” I suppose if your hanging from a tree you’re in a bit of a pickle alright!

    Have any of you bible readers read any of the other gospels i.e. those in the “directors cut”, Thomas, Philip, Peter, Mary, James etc

  • smcgiff

    Have any of you bible readers read any of the other gospels i.e. those in the “directors cut”, Thomas, Philip, Peter, Mary, James etc’

    You mean the ones that were suppressed by Rome, and hence affected the faith of ALL Christians that exist today, including the FP’s? 😉

  • maca

    Those’d be the ones!

  • The Beach Tree

    Now which of Peter’s gospels are you talking about 😉

  • The Beach Tree

    Now which of Peter’s gospels are you talking about 😉

  • Jo

    so 6cprod, where exactly is the bit about gays and lesbian love being wrong? you like, like a commandment..thou shalt not…Jesus spoke pretty plainly didnt he, being a man and all..

  • David Vance

    The a la carte Christians and the usual pagans on here have not the remotest clue. Arguing with those who seek to know better than God is also rather pointless. Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Bible, as our many other sins. In this post-Christian age, naturally sins become flags of honour. Fine. To borrow a local phrase, what do you expect from a pig but a grunt.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”you might find Romans 1.18-32 interesting reading, especially verses 26 & 27.”

    well actually no 6CP I wouldn’t find them interesting — I asked you where JESUS condemned homosexuality — not his unofficial leiutenant Paul.

  • 6cprod

    So, tell me, GLC, where does Jesus condemn paedophilia? Oh, He doesn’t specifically condemn that, so, hey, it must be all right.

    What about bestiality? Nope, not a word, so that’s all right too.

    Incest? Yeap, no problem. Wow, this is great. If Jesus doesn’t specifically condemn something, no matter what all the other 62 books of the Bible say, it must be all right.

    Dream on, GLC. But remember, it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgement. You can’t say you weren’t warned. (John 3.16)

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”What about bestiality? Nope, not a word, so that’s all right too. etc.”

    Unlike the examples you mention, adult homosexuality is not an illegal practice in Western society. Christians like yourself would wish to turn back the clock to the good old days when co-habiting couples were stoned, witches burnt and gays thrown in jail or worse. Your excuse is that ‘it is condemned in the bible’.
    Virtually everything from eating pork to working on a Sunday is condemned in the bible, but I bet you do both. It says specifically in Exodus that you ‘must not suffer a witch to live.’ Do you do much witch-hunting 6CP? Cos if you don’t you’re not obeying the word of God. But hey? The bible is just one big pick and mix isn’t it?
    The current bugbears of the Christian right are gays, abortionists and evolutionists with the pushers of alcohol close behind. Jesus (who is after all the central figure in the bible) didn’t condemn any of these things. He did however strongly condemn materialism (see Matthew 19:21-24) but most Christians quietly ignore this one.
    When you sell all your worldly goods and give them to the poor we’ll be getting somewhere.

    ”it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgement. You can’t say you weren’t warned”

    Bad news for you if God is actually a Muslim — or a Hindu — or a Jehovah’s Witness — or indeed a supporter of the ‘correct’ brand of Christianity — virtually all Christian sects claim to have the only true way to salvation — are you sure you’ve chosen the right one?

  • smcgiff

    ‘To borrow a local phrase, what do you expect from a pig but a grunt.’

    I just love it when the pagans and the brainwashed get down and dirty.

    When you think outside the box on religion the brainwashed can only resort to Hyperbole.

  • smcgiff

    I truly don’t know whether to laugh or cry that a religious law made by shit kicking desert tribes some thousands of years ago could possibly have an effect on our lives today.

    Seeing as we’re in a quoting mood. Try the below on for size bible bashers.

    Can any non a la carte Christians here tell us that they follow the below law.

    If not, they are gross Hypocrites.

    If they’ve not knuckle dragged their way back to their caves back at ATW, I’ll be here all day to hear their confessions.

    Lev.15:19-30 “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.”

    Lev.20:18 “And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.”

    Ezek.18:5-6 “But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not … come near to a menstruous woman…..”

  • Jo

    ‘To borrow a local phrase, what do you expect from a pig but a grunt.’

    Ah, nothing like a good, rational argument.

    And that certainly isn’t.

    Would Jesus have said the like of that?

  • Henry94

    Jo

    We’re not even sure if you’d be allowed eat the pig.

  • Jo

    …y’see the likes of the above is believed to be literally true and law, its God’s Word.

    I don’t have a problem with people believing that.

    But is it adhered to? I don’t think so.

    What are the consequences of not adhering to it?

    One presumes, nothing terribly pleasant.

    Is that, somehow, presuming to know better than God?

  • smcgiff

    You know, Jo, it’s right about now in this type of conversation that I start to feel sorry for the likes of David.

    We don’t persecute the children for believing in Santa Clause.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Would Jesus have said the like of that?”

    Not sure Jo — there is a strong argument that Jesus never actually existed.
    Assuming he DID exist, the only detailed record we have of his existence is from the gospels, which may or may not have been written by the people who are credited with authorship.
    Considering that they were apparently written 40+ years after Jesus crucifixion, they are bound to be a bit hazy on detail and indeed the copious contradictions in the four accounts admirably bear this out.
    And as if that isn’t enough, assuming that the gospels have not been doctored, altered or tampered with in any way, they will have inevitably lost something in translation.
    So we really don’t know what Jesus would have said or indeed what he would think about the wholesale slaughter carried out in his name down the centuries or the myriad branches of his faith, most of which claim to have the ‘infallible truth.’

  • Jo

    …fair points guys. In my experience most people I know tend to a Christian-esque view of things in that killing isnt usually seen as a good thing, stealing and lying are immoral etc. So whether or not JC ever was, His influences have a strong influence on behaviour.

    The rules about shellfish, pig flesh et al would cerrtainly have been wise advice in a time and place but the Tescos pork cutlets are not a risk to my physical health providing I dont leave them sitting on the cars rear shelf over a weekend before eating. To literally believe that is is breaking divine law to consume same, or indeed, as above to make certain observations about female menstruation (clearly written by a man), is fine, but what purpose does it serve to believe this to be true yet day and daily break a law you know to be divinely ordained. Itd drive me up the walls quite honestly.

  • smcgiff

    ‘His influences have a strong influence on behaviour.’

    Agreed, and I think there’s strong evidence that Jesus the man existed, but these morals were also developed in Christian deprived (I use the term loosely) regions. Buddhists are a good example.

    So they cant really take sole credit for that either.

  • Jo

    Incidentally my Jewish friends adhere to the shellfish and pork ruling. They live their belief in that law, at any rate. I would have more regard for that than literally believing in a Bible, but breaking its laws every day becuase somehow you believe that whatever you do, you’re “saved” and your opponents, by virtue of opposing your views, are damned and unworthy of debating with.

  • smcgiff

    There was a very interesting programme on RTE lately, titled ‘The Children of Abraham’. It was a BBC production, I think. I find religion a fascinating subject, anyway…

    It’s from Abraham (with Isaac and Ishmael) that the Jewish and Muslim faiths diverge, and with Christ the Jewish and Christian faiths diverge.

    So we’re going to share a lot of the more antiquarian laws.

  • Jo

    ..so what unites us ALL is that we should obey some of the laws outlined above?

  • smcgiff

    I guess what unites us all (nearly all) is a need for religion.

    However, the nuances of differing religions is clearly a dividing force.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”In my experience most people I know tend to a Christian-esque view of things in that killing isnt usually seen as a good thing, stealing and lying are immoral etc.”

    And they would be correct of course, but many Christians appear to assume that non-believers are incapable of introducing or maintaining moral standards, which is of course complete rubbish.
    Most of these so-called Christian standards are adhered to through the threat of punishment & imprisonment rather than some acquired sense of righteousness.
    Successive US governments for instance, break every biblical law on a daily basis, yet it is a hard fact that an espoused atheist running for president wouldn’t get off the starting blocks.

    ”I guess what unites us all (nearly all) is a need for religion.
    However, the nuances of differing religions is clearly a dividing force.”

    Absolutely spot on smcgiff — my thinking exactly.
    You won’t stop (most) people worshipping some sort of deity any more than you can stop them having sex or sneaking a few beers, but it’s when religious zealots try to force their illogical fantasies on the rest of us that it starts to get nasty. Religious proclamations on gay sex or abortion are particularly insidious and justifying such vitriol by quoting from an ancient bunch of dubious manuscripts really should be legislated against.
    One tiny example — a school friend of my 5 year old daughter has Jehovah’s Witness parents — they won’t even allow her to go to kid’s birthday parties because of some twisted scriptual reasoning. I’d describe that as a mild form of child abuse.
    My own opinion is that if religious belief disappeared tomorrow, we’d be squabbling over something else the next day. By all means allow people to believe what they want, but for goodness sake keep their petty predujices to themselves.

  • smcgiff

    ‘My own opinion is that if religious belief disappeared tomorrow, we’d be squabbling over something else the next day.’

    Yip. My thinking as well. It’s not religion’s fault as such, but humanity.

    Now, how’s about that for a generalisation! 😉

  • Jo

    “One tiny example — a school friend of my 5 year old daughter has Jehovah’s Witness parents — they won’t even allow her to go to kid’s birthday parties because of some twisted scriptual reasoning.”

    ..and even more callously, they would allow that same child to die rather than allow a transfusion..or indeed even an appendectomy..?

    Whats the justification…”suffer little children”?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Jo — here’s the ‘justification’:

    Leviticus 17:10:

    ”And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”

    Sometimes you wonder if you’ve been born on the right planet.

  • Jo

    …”eateth blood”???

    This is obviously a branch of homo sapiens sapiens that is destined for extinction.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Apparently the JWs take ‘eateth blood’ to mean blood transfusions. But of course.

    Jo maybe you could set up a section on your blog inviting people to detail their religious beliefs and then we could give awards for the daftest theology.

  • Jo

    Gerry:
    It is clear to me even from the above that religious faith is always fearful of revealing its inherent irrationality and contradictions. To be honest, that shouldnt matter, if you had a truly confident faith. Dismissing those who ask reasonable questions displays that fear.

    All the more incomprehensible when Christians hold up the tenets of other faiths such as Islam to criticise them as barbaric and uncivilised and assert that all Islam has contributed to civilisation is the suicide bomber!

  • 6countyprod

    Some Muslim publications and leaders said that Katrina was Allah’s judgment on American infidels.

    Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment’s research centre, who would probably be rotting in a mass grave with the rest of Kuwaiti’s government officials if the U.S. hadn’t driven Saddam Hussein’s armies out of Kuwait in the first Gulf War in 1991, claimed Katrina was Allah’s doing.

    In an article entitled The Terrorist Katrina Is One of the Soldiers of Allah, Yousef Al-Mlaifi writes, “How sad I am for America. Here it is, poor thing, trying with all its might to lower oil prices [and then along comes] this storm, the fruit of Allah’s planning, so that a barrel of oil will increase further still.” The Kuwaiti closes with a quote from the Koran: “The disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done.”

    I wonder where he lays the blame for the recent earthquake in Muslim countries.

  • smcgiff

    ‘I wonder where he lays the blame for the recent earthquake in Muslim countries.’

    Trying to point score from an Earthquake that’s going to cost many tens of thousands of lives?!?

  • ch in dallas

    “Trying to point score from an Earthquake that’s going to cost many tens of thousands of lives?!?”

    No, 6cp was wondering how this author is going to square in his twisted thinking the destruction of Pakistan during Ramadan with his “Allah destroyed the infidels in New Orleans” BS.

  • Alan McDonald

    CH, old friend.

    As you interpret 6cp, I feel obliged to interpret SMcG.

    In NI terms, 6cp was indulging in Whataboutery by comparing Pakistan to New Orleans. Since everything in NI is a zero-sum game, each move in the game is designed to score points for your side and deny them to your opponent. Throughout the Troubles, most of these “moves” were based on the deaths of one or more participants from one side or the other.

    Nota Bene: Religion has nothing to do with any of this.

  • 6countyprod

    Exactly, CH.

  • ch in dallas

    Thanks Alan &6cp,

  • ch in dallas

    I’m often realizing that I’m using the wrong cultural software to read between the lines. In The US, as Bono pointed out, we look at the big house on the hill and figure out how to buy it, but in Ireland you look at the big house on the hill, and plot to kill that rich sonofabitch!

  • 6countyprod

    Actually, Alan, I was trying to stir a bit of interest in things other than petty NI issues. People around the world are suffering, and most people couldn’t care less, (could care less).

    I must say, your attitude seems a little condescending.

    And, of course, religion had nothing to do with either NO or Pakistan. That was my point.

  • ch in dallas

    6cp, After our talks on the African thread (that was you, wasn’t it?) I know your heart is with the 3rd world. I’m worried about the 2 kids I’ve “adopted” in Guatamala with all the mudslides ect. Hopefully they and their families are OK.

    Oh and Alan’s a nice guy. It’s just that he’s a liberal democrat, and can’t help but sound condescending! 🙂

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Not to make like of this thread, which has meandered off course to its own accordion, but the notion that God smote New Orleans FOR ANY REASON OR REASONS makes as much sense as the glib answer to why trailer parks get so many tornados.

  • 6countyprod

    ‘In The US we look at the big house on the hill and figure out how to buy it, but in Ireland you look at the big house on the hill, and plot to kill that rich sonofabitch!’

    So how does that (bonehead) logic square with the fact that the US forcibly took land which belonged to the Cherokee Nation, and made the Cherokees (the ones they could round up), move along a ‘Trail of Tears’ to another part of the US.

    Oh yeah, that’s right, the US president at the time was an Ulster Scot. Maybe you had better stop electing presidents with Irish blood in them.

  • 6countyprod

    Wow, we have got off track.

    I came across an interesting article today on blame for Katrina. It’s a Heinz 57 varieties.