Thursday, December 8, 2011

Don't all of the real atheist governments have something to teach us about morality-without-God?

From Reuters:

Humanists, atheists drive for wider global impact
By Robert Evans

GENEVA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - When Switzerland goes to the polls to elect a new parliament later this month, voters in Zurich will for the first time in the country's history have the chance to cast their ballot for a slate of Freethinkers.

"We decided we had to stand up and tell our politicians that it's time they recognised that there are a lot of non-religious people in their electorate," says 42-year-old Andreas Kyriacou, who heads the list.

"We, and probably a lot of Swiss people who have never thought about humanism or atheism, are tired of the influence the churches and religion still exert in this country," he said in an interview with Reuters.

Nearly all organized atheist political activity since 1917 has been to destroy democracy.

But from now on everything's gonna be different.

Kyriacou, a management consultant, was speaking at a "Denkfest", or "Think Festival," that the Swiss Freethinkers Association held in Zurich last month, attracting scientists, philosophers and even comedians from around the world.
Lots of comedians.
The Swiss Freethinkers -- a term that covers atheists, agnostics, secularists, rationalists, sceptics and just plain critics of religion -- argue that the country's political parties and leaders run scared of religious voters.
"Scared of voters" is another name for "democracy".

In atheist governments, voters have traditionally been scared of atheists.
"There is a group for Bible study in our parliament, but no cross-party humanist group, though we know many of the deputies are non-believers," he says. "On right and left, they prefer to keep their heads down."
What could atheists 'study' in a group?  It would all go swimmingly well with Dawkins' God Delusion, but then somebody would foolishly propose reading Gulag Archipelago, and everybody would get testy.

And Kyriacou points to the failure of politicians to take a stand on social issues like assisted suicide and abortion, where the Catholic church in particular has strong views, and on the powerful place of religion in education in parts of the country.
Somebody has to speak up for killing! If not now, when. If not atheists, who?
His stance -- as measured by comments at other conferences around Europe over the summer -- reflects growing determination among humanists and atheists on all five continents to make themselves more visible and their influence felt.
Atheists have been practically invisible in the 20th century.

MOUNTING INTEREST

At the World Humanist Congress in Oslo in August, delegates from India, Uganda, Nigeria, Argentina and Brazil -- all countries where belief in a supreme deity or deities has a strong hold -- reported mounting interest in their philosophy.

Attendees even spilled out of the telephone booth into the street.

Like their counterparts in Europe and North America, they argue that morality is based in human nature and does not need a father-figure god to back it up with punishment in an afterlife, in which they do not believe.

Why didn't they mention their godless counterparts in Central Asia, the Korean peninsula, and Indochina? Don't all of the real atheist governments have something to teach us about morality-without-God, too?

"There are more godless groups in the world than ever before," Sonja Eggerickx, a Belgian schools inspector who is president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, told the Congress.
If you don't count really huge godless groups like Stalin's Supreme Soviet and Mao's Chinese Communist Party and Kim's North Korean secret police.
U.S. delegates, including a serving army major who has just established an organisation for atheists in the military, spoke of a surge of rejection of religion in all its forms among young Americans -- a point some recent opinion surveys back up.

In Manchester in May, British Humanists -- one of the world's oldest groupings -- were told of a sharp rise in humanist birth, marriage and death ceremonies, and strong growth in their association's four-year-old student wing. 

Aren't four-year-old students a little young...

In Ireland, a country where the influence of the Catholic Church was for decades dominant in all areas of life including politics and government decision-making, an optimistic national humanist association met in Carlingford in late August.
Someday the population of "humanists" in the West will reach 5%, or even more! But since they have .003 children each, it will be a brief spike. The only way atheists can keep their numbers growing is to suppress religious expression and indoctrinate religious people's children in schools.

Thank goodness they're not doing that.

With the latest census showing that atheists, agnostics and humanists are the largest group in the country after Catholics,

Ireland is 99.998% Catholic,  0.002% atheist. Atheists are the second-largest group.

One guy in County Cork sometimes believes in god but thinks that he is Richard Dawkins.

association president Brian Whiteside said numbers were growing fast in the wake of the "pedophile priests" scandal.
Every humanist press release has to mention "pedophile priests". It's in their charter. They used to mention "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", but that's been updated.

In Nigeria, where the openly non-religious face Christian preacher-inspired public opprobrium as "immoral reprobates" or "Satanists" and in the Islamic north are treated as apostates, the humanist movement held its Congress in Abuja in September.
Condoms, upside-down pentagram tattoos, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali coffee cups sold like hotcakes.

REASON AND ENLIGHTENMENT

Its founder and chairman Leo Igwe, once a seminarist who set up the group 15 years ago and has helped form groups in Uganda and Malawi , called on delegates to work for "a new age of Reason and Enlightenment" across Africa.
The new age of godless reason and enlightenment worked so well in revolutionary France, in Russia, in China, in Cambodia, in Vietnam, in Cuba, in North Korea...

Why shouldn't Africa get a crack at it...

He has been campaigning hard against the persecution and often killing of so-called "child witches" -- children perceived, often with the encouragement of Christian preachers, to be possessed by the devil.
Atheists don't kill children because they are witches. That would be barbaric.

Atheists kill children because their parents are Xian Reactionaries, or spies conspiring against the godless People's State, or because they stubbornly hold onto their family farms when the godless commissar tells them it belongs to the proletariat, or because they are just generally in the way of the godless remaking of humanity.

You say dead kids.

I say state atheism:

This is a mugshot of one of thousands of prisoners processed at the Khmer Rouge's S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Approximately 14,000 prisoners passed through S-21 between 1975-79. Seven survived. This child was most likely murdered in the killing fields at Choeung Ek. He was probably not old enough to speak, much less have a political ideology, but he was still murdered so the Khmer Rouge could protect their regime.

State atheism in a century has killed orders of magnitude more kids than all religions combined.

...In India, where humanists and rationalists fight the influence of popularly revered "miracle-working" gurus as well as Hindu and Muslim fundamentalism, an Atheist University was founded last month in the south-east city of Vijayawada.
Atheist have an aversion to irrational idol worship.
And in Israel this month, secularists who say they suffer from religious coercion despite a conviction that they represent a majority of the population, won a court ruling that they cannot be forced to list Judaism as their religion.
I guess atheists aren't the chosen, after all.
In Muslim countries where renunciation of belief can be punished by death but always ends in social ostracism and persecution, the existence of an organisation of atheists is almost unthinkable, says Roy Brown of the IHEU.
Muslims are actually pretty easy on atheists, compared with other "apostates", unless the atheists get too lippy about Islamic degeneracy. Muslims understand that they share with atheists a common enemy.  'The enemy of my enemy is my friend, Praise Allah and Darwin.'

But in Europe, an association of ex-Muslims is growing, with national chapters in several countries. Some British Asians who have abandoned the faith were in Oslo, and found themselves arguing with Islamists who came to picket the gathering.

The European Association of Present and Future Muslims is growing even faster.

Back in Zurich two weeks before the elections, Kyriacou says there has been a good response to the campaign he and his youthful colleagues have fought. "It is young people who are mainly interested, and that is good for the future," he adds.
What happens, atheists, when you run out of young people?

"We don't think for a minute we will overcome the party machines. But there is an outside chance, if the mathematics are right, that one of us will get elected. That would be a victory indeed for humanists everywhere." (Reported by Robert Evans)

But will it be a victory for the rest of us?

51 comments:

  1. Michael,

    I'm tired of your hateful comparisons. I am an atheist. Do you know what it means? I JUST DON'T BELIEVE IN GODS. Nothing more. I don't support North Korea, I don't support Stalin, I don't support the Nazis. If you think I do, fuck you.

    You're just a hateful bigot. You need serious help.

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  2. Whatever crimes atheists may have committed, the scale of their misdeeds pales in comparison to the scale of slaughter and destruction caused by the Roman Catholic Church, the most bloody criminal organization the world has ever seen. By being a willing member of the RCC, Egnor is an accomplice to murder, rape and mayhem. The ramblings on this blog remind us daily that he is a sick sociopath.

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  3. Michael,

    To use your so charming terminology, you're talking absolute bullshit, yet again.

    Atheism isn't an ideology. Only people with ideologies, such as communism, national socialism or Christianity, kill people because of ideological reasons. Ideologies often have the delusion of a future utopia, which will benefit millions, if not billions, of people in the future, so if anyone opposes the ideology, then they're evil and deserve to be eliminated.

    The communists came to power in Russia because Christian Germany deliberately facilitated Lenin's transit across Germany and Finland to Saint Petersburg with the intention of deliberately causing revolution to take Russia out of the war. The Khymer Rouge came to power because the Christian conservative American president Richard Nixon unleashed an illegal bombing war against neutral Cambodia in 1968 dropping a tonnage of bombs in excess of that dropped in the entire WWII.

    So Christians should accept responsibility for the deaths in Russia and Cambodia.

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a Christian not an atheist forgery.

    And Christianity isn't doing as well in Ireland as you think. There was a recent YouTube video lamenting the disinterest of young Irish in the catholic church.

    I doubt that the humanist party will do particularly well in Switzerland. Australia has a similar secular political party which I choose not to support preferring to support a major liberal party, albeit one than gives too much support to established religion.

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  4. To all my sputtering atheist commentors, I'll repeat my question:

    "Don't all of the real atheist governments have something to teach us about morality-without-God?"

    Discuss.

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  5. Egnor: "Don't all of the real atheist governments have something to teach us about morality-without-God?"

    Ah, Mike rolls out a no-true-Scotsman argument. I am so impressed! Really, this guy would be a first-rate debater on a middle-school team.

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  6. @oleg:

    Care to answer my question?

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  7. I could, but I anticipate that it will go like this:

    Alice: All Scotsmen enjoy haggis.
    Bob: My uncle is a Scotsman, and he doesn't like haggis!
    Alice: Well, all true Scotsmen like haggis.

    Why even bother?

    ReplyDelete
  8. @oleg:

    Pretty funny. You, I mean. A bunch of atheists are extolling atheist influence in government, and they neglect to mention-- actual atheist governments.

    Oops.

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  9. As you wish, Mike. You mentioned France in this post, so let's take up France.

    In 1905, that country passed a law on the Separation of the Churches and State establishing state secularism. The roots of state secularism in France go back to 1789 of course. The French government of the 20th and 21st centuries is a fine government. It has some quirks, but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it.

    Back to you, Alice.

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  10. I give up. Egnor is hopeless. He’ll never understand.

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  11. @oleg:

    State secularism is not atheism. The U.S. is a secular government, but it is most certainly not atheist. State secularism-- the dissociation of institutional Church from government-- is a Christian idea (Render unto Caesar...) that has arisen only in Christian civilization.

    Atheism does not separate church from state. When it achieves state power, it eliminates the church, and establishes its own totalitarian structure.

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  12. Egnor uses real, brutal, historic examples and you folks come back with redefinitions, word games, and FRANCE? Lame people. Really lame.
    Well, as they would say on the clay courts of the Paris Open: Game, set, and MATCH to Dr Egnor.

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  13. "Atheism does not separate church from state. When it achieves state power, it eliminates the church, and establishes its own totalitarian structure."

    Wrong, but as people have already said, you're hopeless.

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  14. "Whatever crimes atheists may have committed, the scale of their misdeeds pales in comparison to the scale of slaughter and destruction caused by the Roman Catholic Church, the most bloody criminal organization the world has ever seen."

    Actually, the death toll for atheists is higher. (I am not a Roman Catholic, btw.) However, I do not think Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot are representative of all atheists.

    (Oh, and Hitler was neither an atheist nor a Christian.)

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  15. Egnor: "State secularism is not atheism. The U.S. is a secular government, but it is most certainly not atheist. State secularism-- the dissociation of institutional Church from government-- is a Christian idea (Render unto Caesar...) that has arisen only in Christian civilization."

    That's simply preposterous. Christianity began as a movement in opposition to government. That's when the phrase render unto Caesar was coined. It came to power in the Middle Ages and stayed in power awhile. We have seen what sorts of abuses followed. It was not a peaceful time, either. The idea of separation of church and state did not come from church. It came from Enlightenment thinkers and had its first implementation in France, then in the US.

    "Atheism does not separate church from state. When it achieves state power, it eliminates the church, and establishes its own totalitarian structure."

    Then your problem is not with atheist governments but with totalitarian governments. They can be, and have been, religious and atheist. Both kinds suppressed the opposite point of view.

    I, for one, am not advocating an atheist government. I want secular government, with freedom of religion. So you are battling some imaginary opponents here.

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  16. With our permission, Mike... I'd like to ask a question of the posters. If this is too far off topic, feel free to delete - no foul, no hard feelings.

    Here's a funny question asked by young soldier who has just read this post with me. We got to discussing secular states and their lack of objectivity and it lead to this.
    It is directed to the faithful in this thread, but all are welcome to answer.

    "If there was a child who needed a loving home and there was only two choices available which would you choose for him: A loving gay couple who are believers, or a loving Atheist couple who are heterosexual?"

    Cause quite a division here. A schism, if you like :P
    I will hold back my own thoughts. Until I have read them.

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  17. @Oleg,
    Do not attempt to educate us on history or theology. it is NOT (I repeat NOT) your expertise, and it SHOWS.
    Lay off the history, Mr Chekov. (NO H - STAR TREK)
    Stick to calibrating the inertial dampeners.

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  18. crus: "Do not attempt to educate us on history or theology. it is NOT (I repeat NOT) your expertise, and it SHOWS.
    Lay off the history, Mr Chekov. (NO H - STAR TREK)
    Stick to calibrating the inertial dampeners."

    Wow, that's a killer argument, crus! I am so crushed! LOL

    Try an actual argument for once, kid.

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  19. @crusadeREX,

    Don't be an arse. I think Oleg is well informed in general, even though I disagree with him on some important points. Your facile dismissal of him makes you look foolish.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @crusadeREX
    "If there was a child who needed a loving home and there was only two choices available which would you choose for him: A loving gay couple who are believers, or a loving Atheist couple who are heterosexual?"

    Very good question, crusedeREX!

    I would choose the gay couple! A child needs to be nourish body and soul. Nourishment of the soul is more important, for we are intended for eternal life by our all-loving God.

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  21. I thought Christians wanted all gays flogged.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @Oleg,
    On par with yours, actually.
    Almost as much factual content too. Maybe if I spatter in a few dates, names, locations, and treaty names we can call it a draw?
    "Kid".
    THANK you :)
    If only. But, cheers. That goes down a lot nicer than being asked if I am my wife's father.

    @O'Brain,
    You don't have to defend Oleg, he is quite capable of giving and taking these kind of remarks.
    He and I have back-and-forth's frequently.
    Do not misinterpret the occasional acrimonious remark for anything else.
    I would ask the same leeway for him (Oleg), as he is a frequent offender himself.
    Oleg is frequently dismissive of anyone's opinion who he deems is not expert. He has referred to me as dull, Pépé as an idiot, Dr Egnor as 'dishonest' and ill educated.
    He does so frequently, and has done so personally to me. Why? He is passionate on these subjects. So am I.
    I am sure if he is honest with himself, he knows there is some part of him that admires my tenaciousness. That sentiment is also reciprocal. We would not bother with each other, otherwise!
    But my poor comment. Snarky? Sure. I will concede.
    Fairly accurate in its direction, but not my deepest comment.
    Seems a bit crass or foolish to you?
    Oh Well.
    My advice to you is simply to consider the recipient and purpose when reading the message. Each rifle fires it's own calibre. You don't need 84mm to shoot doves.
    BTW it is 'ARSEHOLE', and I am a professional.



    @Pépé
    Have passed on the compliments. Cheers. Thanks for answering!
    Bright young officer cadet, this one. On exchange from the Navy for the next few weeks. Always coming up with this kind of thing.
    ANYWAY :P
    For my own part, I would choose the Gay couple too. Only by a margin. The most important word to me is 'loving'.
    The deciding factor to me is the ideological one, not the lifestyle. Morality, culpability, purpose etc.
    Some of the lads did not see it that way. Some preferred 'normal' atheists to Gay believers. Quite a split, actually.
    Some protested they would be better off at a group home or orphanage than either. The officers are still talking about it :P
    You got the base ABUZZ Dr Egnor!
    But I digress...
    But the real point of him asking the question was, as he put it, to point out there would be NO choice in a secular system. Nor will there only be 2 couples, there will be thousands of varied religions, cultures etc.
    In such a system, ALL options must be accepted and that would be enforced by various equality legislations.
    A slippery slope indeed!
    How could a secular state justify picking one over the other? The same could be said of religious and cultural/racial differences.
    This was the question IN the question, according to our young Tar.
    Anyway...thanks again, Pépé.
    Would love to hear what the rest of you make of it!

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  23. After reading Dr. Egnor post, I went to a French website that deals with Christian Eschatology and the study of the destiny of man.

    Here is an interesting excerp from this site relating to what Dr. Egnor wrote (the English translation is mine, so please excuse any mistake)

    As we enter the twenty-first century, it is easy to discern the next eschatological step, as it exists and thrives after the fall of communism (1989), as fully anti-Christian. This is humanism without God, as was thought in its moderate form at the time of the Enlightenment. This philosophy seems to be gaining ground not only in the West but all around the world, due to the advocacy of governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

    We must not characterize humanism already widespread now as atheism. The militant atheism, whether communist or positivist, does very differently by trying to remove religion from actively proselytizing. It behaves as sectarian and non-tolerant (e.g. Stalin). But the prevailing humanism does not proclaim such. It does not ask whether God exists or not. It prefers to relegate the issue to the private domain, respectful of individual conscience. The result is a practical atheism. Man and society live as if God did not exist. Man is content to calmly maintain the following: assuming God is simply outdated since man is descended from animal life by chance, the evolution of species by the laws of chance is more than a media-theory: it has become the metaphysical founder of society, a new book of Genesis.

    "Since God does not exist, since there is no life after death ..." this is the premise of the project. It is rarely formulated as clearly. Yet it is the foundation of everything. This practical atheism is the absence of God and the experience of every day life in the West. Because tomorrow we die, what can we do to build a least bad possible world? The question is not silly or wrong. On the contrary, it is common sense in a world without hope after death. Saint Paul himself asked this question: "If Christ be not risen, eat and drink for tomorrow we die".


    The most amazing thing is that all this was prophesied a long time ago!

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  24. @IKO,

    "I thought Christians wanted all gays flogged."
    As crazy as it sounds, I know what you mean.
    I had completely suspected my fellow nominal Christians to be more sympathetic to the Atheists, simply due to traditional prejudices against homosexuals. My logic being that most Christians in the parts identify themselves as conservative, and many of them do not see homosexuality as moral.
    I was UTTERLY wrong.
    Out of the few men here, the Christians picked the Gays, the self described Agnostics and two Muslims picked the Atheists. Our only Buddhist is in the Med right now.
    We don't have any atheists here chat with ask presently, so I cannot say where they would stand. I will ask my friends who identify that way when I get a chance.

    The things we do when we have a snow detail :P
    As for the flogging bit, the Gays Canada have several clubs for that kind of thing, and I do not think it is about kind of penance or punishment.

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  25. @Pépé
    Thanks for the translation. Bravo!
    Spot on.

    ReplyDelete
  26. crusader:

    "I was UTTERLY wrong."

    No surprise there.


    "Out of the few men here, the Christians picked the Gays, the self described Agnostics and two Muslims picked the Atheists."

    No surprise there either. With such a small sample, any outcome would be unsurprising. Don't they teach statistics in the army?

    Besides, atheists are the most distrusted people in the US, more than gays. Which makes the outcome of your little poll even more unsurprising.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Troy,
    A) I am not 'Army', I am in Branch Services. That is like military police and intelligence services. I was in Army recon, but we did not do specific statistics courses. I am not a statistician or pollster.
    B) This was not a statistical study, but an open dialogue between colleagues, students, and friends on the military equivalent of a Snow Day turned pre-emptive Christmas party. Hence my slow slide into a vegetative state near this console by a window.
    C)I am not in the USA, nor it's armed forces. I am unaware of who is distrusted in those forces. I would suspect it is probably (and often unfairly) the same as here: Muslims.

    As for your snide comment "No surprise there", you are correct.
    I am in no way amazed by my making an error. Especially on something like this.
    I am frequently mistaken and learn from those mistakes.
    Don't you?

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  28. crus: "I am frequently mistaken and learn from those mistakes."

    I stand in awe of your vast knowledge, crus. LOL

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  29. "A) I am not 'Army', I am in Branch Services. That is like military police and intelligence services. I was in Army recon, but we did not do specific statistics courses. I am not a statistician or pollster."

    You're Jack Reacher, then. I would have thought that intelligence services rely quite heavily on statistical analysis. But then again, those weapons of mass destruction didn't quite materialize, did they.


    "I am frequently mistaken and learn from those mistakes.
    Don't you?
    "

    Yes, I also try to learn from your mistakes.

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  30. "You're Jack Reacher, then."
    Er no. Not that big, not that interesting.

    "I would have thought that intelligence services rely quite heavily on statistical analysis."
    Sure. Sometimes. Usually for training, recruiting, and propaganda purposes. We have civilian analysts and researchers on staff all the time for that type of stuff. We also have 'civilian' intelligence services like your CIA.

    "But then again, those weapons of mass destruction didn't quite materialize, did they."
    Not my services, not my Branch, not my country, and CERTAINLY would not be my justification for invading Iraq.
    That said, I am losing no sleep over the Ba'athists being ousted from Baghdad.

    "Yes, I also try to learn from your mistakes."
    I truly hope you can, but you may want to concentrate on your own, or at least of those people you love and care about.
    I am a bit remote, and often the last to notice my own.

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  31. @Oleg,
    "I stand in awe of your vast knowledge, crus. LOL"

    LOL
    Try not to get burned by the all the light shinning forth. (My friends all wear welding masks when talking to me).

    @O'Brain,
    Where are you to defend ME and call Oleg an Arse? LOLOL

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  32. ...Anyway...
    Thanks for answering Pépé.
    AND thanks for allowing my question, Doctor.
    I should actually try to do some work done about here, as nobody else is and most of the snow is gone...
    Maybe some of you other folks would care to answer my question. You can do so 'out of the box' if you like (Oleg!)
    I'll check up later this aft/evening.

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  33. Crus
    I'd choose the theist-gay couple.

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  34. CrusadeRex,

    Just out of curiosity, what would have been your justification in invading Iraq? Why invade one country with an odious government and not other countries with similar governments?

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  35. Michael, this argument, which you repeat ad nauseum, is based on a false premise.

    North Korea is not a godless government. It is a religious government where the dictator established himself as the deity. Where did he learn the power of religious fanaticism? From Chairman Mao, who built the same religious fervor? Or maybe from watching his Presbyterian parents in church?

    Stalin actively encouraged the belief that he was supernatural, setting himself up as a deity. Also, Stalin regularly referred to god in his private conversations (have you read Churchill?). Finally, the people who followed Stalin and carried out his atrocities are in large part raised Eastern Orthodox. Interesting lessons they learned, no?

    Hitler was, of course, Christian. His troops carried the words "Gott mit uns" on their uniforms. And the people who carried out his atrocities were mostly Christian.

    So... Which of these are not like the other:

    "I speak for God" - Pope
    "I am a God" - Kim Il-sung
    "There is no God" - atheist

    Do you understand the difference?

    Oh, and then of course there is the really big trend: the more secular the world becomes, the more peaceful it becomes. Let's not forget that.

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  36. @Anon (who responded),
    Thanks for your input!
    Do you mind me asking what faith or beliefs you hold? Just so I know from what quarter the answer comes. So far it has only been believers (now including a Sikh)and one agnostic that chose the Gay couple. All the agnostics and now two Atheists chose the 'straight' or 'normal' (their words) couple.
    So, if it is not too personal - would you mind giving me a general idea?
    Cheers!

    @Bach,
    "Just out of curiosity, what would have been your justification in invading Iraq? Why invade one country with an odious government and not other countries with similar governments?"
    That is a fair question.
    First I would say this, it should have been finished in 'The Gulf War'. The prime opportunity and justification to remove the Ba'athists was immediately after the invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi forces were demoralized and badly reduced in capacity. We stopped in our tracks and the world wondered 'why?'. Why indeed.
    Secondly you should note that I am in the service of a nation that decline to participate (1st time in 40 years) in that war on the grounds of efficiency and costs.
    I agreed with that decision.
    Lastly, I would say during the period of invasion a much more desirable target would have been Iran, at least from the perspective of a soldier serving in Afghanistan at then time. The Iranians were supplying arms and ordinance to the enemy from day 1.
    ALL that said, it was a much harder target, and Iraq was still crippled from Gulf I.

    So, now that I have prefaced: How would I justify the invasion of Iraq if I were the NATO generals in that capacity?
    In three ways.
    First I would say we need a central regional HQ for a campaign that could last years. Secondly I would note the proximity to the resources and promise reparations to the participating nations (Free oil, $$$). Thirdly I would say it was a lesson to the tyrants of the Muslim world: You stand up to NATO, you get CRUSHED.
    I might even explain to the more savvy minds that it is case of opportunity.
    WMDs do not enter into it, other than by contingency (invasion plans).
    Every nation in the region has/had WMD capacity - Iraq included. They all have/had explosives, bombs, delivery systems (like jets), missiles, chemical programs, and biological programs.
    This nonsense of redefining that term to mean long range nuclear strike weapons (just for Saddam) is just 'pacifist' rot, not taken as serious analysis by any military minds I mix with.
    I think it was a bad call using that as the public face of the war.
    It was sheer legerdemain on the part of cynical politicians...and the opposition's use of that to discredit the effort by attacking this propaganda trick as the basis for an invasion borders on treason.
    I would MUCH rather be justifying an incursion into southern Iran, or a an occupational HQ in the Sudan (or nearby horn).
    Hope that answers your question, Bach.

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  37. "Michael, this argument, which you repeat ad nauseum..."

    It is ad nauseAm, actually

    "North Korea is not a godless government. It is a religious government where the dictator established himself as the deity."

    Yes, it is godless. You don't get to redefine terms as it suits your claims.

    "Stalin actively encouraged the belief that he was supernatural, setting himself up as a deity."

    He encouraged a personality cult; that's not the same thing.

    "Also, Stalin regularly referred to god in his private conversations (have you read Churchill?)."

    You'll have to be specific. People can refer to God without believing in Him.

    From Robert Service's biography of Stalin:

    Page 13

    "As a revolutionary and militant atheist he disdained to acknowledge the contribution made by the Imperial regime and the Orthodox Church to his personal development."

    Page 237

    "Valedinski was stern: Stalin could take a glass on Saturdays but definitely not on Sundays. Perhaps the doctor forgot that Sundays were not sacred for an atheist."

    Page 365

    "Yet the success was not as large as Stalin had hoped. Among the peasantry in particular there was pervasive dislike of him and many villagers regarded him - a Georgian, an atheist, an internationalist - as the very Antichrist."

    Also:

    "'Communists who hinder the broadest development of
    anti-religious propaganda have no place in the ranks of the
    Party,' said Stalin." (European Jungle, Francis Yeats-Brown)

    "Hitler was, of course, Christian."

    Like hell he was. A Christian would not praise Julian the Apostate, among other things.

    "Oh, and then of course there is the really big trend: the more secular the world becomes, the more peaceful it becomes. Let's not forget that."

    According to whom?

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  38. @RickK
    Your entire post is distortion of the facts.
    Is that intentional, RickK...or is it merely ignorance?
    NK is an Atheist State.
    China is an Atheist State.
    The Soviet Union was an Atheist state. GET it?
    The 'no true Scotsman' argument is not going to make all that go away.
    The Delusions of their leadership have little to do with that.
    As for Hitler being a Christian, that is just as much a lie as calling him an Atheist.
    Hitler gave speeches and wrote articles on the 'weakness' of Christianity and Christians.
    He forced Churches to replace traditional imagery with Swastikas and racial elitism, added TWO commandments to those that were given to Moses.
    The ONLY time Hitler was 'Christian' is when he was speaking to Christians. Just as he was a Dawrinist when addressing his LEGIONS of positivist followers dreaming of a new technical utopia. The NAZI Eugenics program certainly was not Christian, either.
    The NAZIs PUSHED Social Darwinism and Hitler was the head of a PAGAN cult that revered men like Crowley. They spent years and millions on searches for missing links, hidden Himalayan kingdoms, missing magic artefacts, and examples of racial evolution. Does that sound Atheist OR Christian to you?
    The only semi-reliable evidence of Hitler becoming more religious near his end was noted in the bunker. He made a few comments about 'his mistakes' and God 'punishing' the Germans for being weak.A generic God was also mentioned in the CIVIL service he and Eva Braun used to get married.
    Belt buckles, eh? Profound!
    What did those buckles say during WW1?
    There are lots of books on the NAZIs and not all of them written by the modern variant (SP).
    You may want to read one or two before making statements like Hitler was a Christian (or Atheist).
    Hitler was a man who used EVIL to get what he wanted. He did not care how it was dressed up (religion, science, politics). His was the most Faustian pact, and in the end he was collected like a fee.
    Blaming his rise and that of his multitude of followers on any single ideological factor is dubious.
    It was a perfect storm of Evil.
    But you don't believe in Evil, do you RickK?

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  39. Oleg said - “"Hitler was, of course, Christian."


    Then O’Brien answers « 
Like hell he was. A Christian would not praise Julian the Apostate, among other things.


    It’s like Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian Christian terrorist. He writes hundreds of pages quoting the bible, praising God, then tongue in cheek the faithful say,

    ‘No, No, No, a true Christian would never do that.’

    Hitler too, sought and received support from the church, and again the faithful say,

    ‘No, No, No, a true Christian would never do that.’



    Right.

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  40. I don't think I said that, Iko.

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  41. Oops, it wasn’t Oleg who said that, but RickK.

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  42. Hitler was a liar. That's all we really know.
    Why so many contradictory statements and beliefs? Because he was a LIAR.
    His racial, cultural, and scientific plans were all means to an end: POWER.
    Now ask yourself this: Of which group could a person more easily capable of lying about their faith? An Atheist, with no allegiance or fear of retribution. Or rather an ardent 19th century Austrian Christian who fears the fires of hell?
    But to be fair, 'more likely' is not definitive. There are plenty of hypocrites who wear a religious mask.
    So... one cannot say with surety that Hitler was this or that, or neither. he claimed BOTH positions several times.
    All we can say is he was a liar and a hypocrite - no matter his position.
    The only ways in which I see the National Socialists enter this conversation is:
    A)They perverted religious sentiments to spur on anti-Semitism (IE heresy or perversion of faith).
    B) The perversion of scientific minds (with militant positivism) they promoted with practical (economic and legal) and political policy. The ends justified the means, with no moral restraint.
    Hand in glove.
    No one escapes culpability in the Third Reich.
    Hitler's position if taken directly is contradictory. His staff were varied in their beliefs, according to them. So we are left with an enigma in the sense you do NOT have homogeneous ideas in the Nazis, but a confederation of them.
    These attempts to paint Hitler one way or the other are a straw man debate. It redirects. It redirects us from the REAL effects of State Atheism, and it redirects us from the horrific REALITY that was the NAZI rise. It was not a magic man with hypnotic powers and his army of zombies - It was MILLIONS of willing people, of all walks of life.
    It also hides the shame of capitulation and surrender for many nations of people. Personally, I think that unhealthy. Such shame should be confronted. Covering a wound like this is not enough to treat it, and forgetting the reality that was, is simply to invite a return to it.

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  43. "Hitler too, sought and received support from the church, ..."
    Canterbury supported Hitler? Wow! I did not know that. The Eastern Church? Chaldeans? The Methodists? Even the Presbyterian?
    Oh! You mean the Vatican that was literally SURROUNDED by the Nazis and Fascists?
    The same Vatican that organized the smuggling and hiding of thousands Jews and other 'sub humans' from the Nazis? If they supported Hitler, why pray tell, where the Bishops and Priests of the allied nations not excommunicated?
    You may as well say Hitler sought support from the citizens of Paris, Amsterdam or Warsaw in his hunt for Jews, and GOT it. Italy was AXIS occupied territory.

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  44. CrusadeRex,

    No, your answer didn't answer my question, which wasn't a trick one anyhow. It was known at the time that Iraq didn't have WMDs, and the evidence was considerably 'sexed' up.

    I think the invasion could have been justified on the basis that Saddam Hussein was a nasty character, had a proven record of liking WMDs and had a lot of oil to finance rebuilding them.

    His aims were under control due to sanctions, but these were causing enormous suffering to the Iraqi people, so the options were remove Saddam, maintain sanctions or remove sanctions and hope that Saddam doesn't attempt to regain WMDs. Of the 3 options, the first is marginally the best.

    Unfortunately, the planning was abysmal. I doubt anyone would disagree.

    You've forgotten your history. Wanting to take on Iran immediately after Afghanistan wasn't justified. Iran wasn't supplying the enemy in Afghanistan. They were an ally of the Northern Alliance. Unless you've misexpressed yourself, and mean that Iran was supplying Iraq. You aren't particularly clear.

    Again the question remains; how do we decide which odious government gets removed and which not? America taking on Iraq didn't accomplish its aims. Any country with ambitions of obtaining WMDs won't be discouraged.

    Of odious countries in the region, Saudi Arabia would be close to the top. Why not invade Saudi Arabia? Is it because they're an ally and willing to sell their oil the determining factor?

    I've had a brief look at your other comments. Golly, you manage to say little, much of it wrong, in a lot of words.

    You don't know your history, although you claim to be a keen history reader. Italy was an Axis power till 1943 when it surrendered to the allies and Germany treated the areas it occupied and controlled harshly.

    The churches did give support to the Nazis, Protestant and Catholic. And some of the population in Paris, Warsaw and Amsterdam did aid in the Nazis' hunt for Jews. How do you think Ann Frank and her family were discovered?

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  45. @Bach,
    "No, your answer didn't answer my question, which wasn't a trick one anyhow. "
    Yes I did. I played your armchair general game. I told you, off hand, my thoughts on an alliance operation I was NOT involved in.
    Nor did not accuse you of trickery.
    What the hell are you on about?

    "It was known at the time that Iraq didn't have WMDs, and the evidence was considerably 'sexed' up."
    So you agree the controversy was generated in the halls of politics, by way of a lame excuse for a very expensive war. So????

    "I think the invasion could have been justified ...."
    Sure, it worked. The invasion was a success. Easy to see that, even for a civilian.

    "...on the basis that Saddam Hussein was a nasty character, had a proven record of liking WMDs and had a lot of oil to finance rebuilding them."
    At least that would have been better than pretending the mere possession of such materiel was cause for invasion. Such a lame pretence is not worthy of the modern alliance or it's various Armed forces. It is a joke anyone bought it in the first place.
    Still, I think my justifications are much more pragmatic and, in the end, more reliable.
    You do not comment on them at all, and I listed them for you.
    Why is that, Bach? Do you not see them?
    Maybe it would pain you too much to agree with me.

    "Unfortunately, the planning was abysmal. I doubt anyone would disagree."
    If by planning, you mean the political noise, sanctions, and sabre rattling: I agree entirely. Very shoddy.
    If you mean the invasion itself I disagree. It was extremely well executed. That was the impression I got at the time, and that is the impression I get from some respected friends and colleagues of mine who are veterans of that conflict and were there on the ground during those early days.
    Big job, and done well.

    " Wanting to take on Iran immediately after Afghanistan wasn't justified."
    Action against or incursions into Iran is not necessarily 'taking' it, or all of it. I would not risk so many of MY countrymen to free another man's home. I am not Persian.
    My plan would aim to cripple and divert infrastructure. Also to bolster insurgency and aid rebel or separatist forces. Undermine the regime ACTIVELY.
    Not to conquer or control entire cities.
    I think that may have helped isolate elements in both Afghanistan and pressure Iraq.
    Besides, you asked for my inclinations and how I would justify attacking Iraq IF it had been my war - not a bloody white paper on an Iranian contingency LOL.


    "Iran wasn't supplying the enemy in Afghanistan."
    Which 'enemy' do you mean?
    You mean Al Qaeda? The Taliban? The Haqqani? The various 'free' / mercenary tribes? The southern tribes?
    Most of the Iranian backing was AGAINST the Southern Tribes, but that was by no means a strict rule. I personally saw plenty of Farsi and Urdu on captured equipment and related documents in the SOUTH WEST.

    "They were an ally of the Northern Alliance."
    Were? The Iranians play all the sides in that conflict, as do the Pakistanis.

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  46. CTND

    "Unless you've misexpressed yourself, and mean that Iran was supplying Iraq. You aren't particularly clear."
    Iran was NOT supplying Iraq. Iran IS supplying separatist rebels with all sorts of materiel, training, documents etc. They have been active in this for decades.
    These 'insurgents', as they have become tagged by the media, attack Iraqi forces and government buildings frequently. They regularly kill Christian Iraqis too.

    "Again the question remains; how do we decide which odious government gets removed and which not? "
    THIS is the question you think I missed?
    Okay.
    I thought it was rhetorical.
    I shall be endeavour to be expecting the blunt from now on.
    My answer follows.
    We decide which odious government gets removed by judging which campaign will be the most beneficial in terms of several key factors including: Strategic opportunity (will we win?), level of resistance, ability to retreat, cost in terms of losses of forces (ours), civilian losses, expense in terms of equipment and arms, expense of transportation and leases of bases, bribes, etc, and other such factors.
    We must also take into account the situation 'at home'. These are just some of the textbook considerations for a commander to consider before he commits his men to action.
    Iraq was/must have been ripe for the picking.

    "Of odious countries in the region, Saudi Arabia would be close to the top. Why not invade Saudi Arabia?"
    Many reasons, I suppose. Although I think it would be a very nasty fight compared to Iraq, I MUST admit those orders would make me grin.

    "Is it because they're an ally and willing to sell their oil the determining factor?"
    NO! It is their cuddly personalities, rich tradition of tolerance, and their wonderful record on women's issues.
    $$$$$

    ReplyDelete
  47. CNTD
    "The churches did give support to the Nazis, Protestant and Catholic."
    Churches WHERE, Bach? Where do we find these churches? In what lands?
    And while we're on it: How about the Schools, Universities, The very Academe itself in those same lands.
    Did 'Science' support the Nazis too?
    Some scientists did, and many more HAD TO.

    "And some of the population in Paris, Warsaw and Amsterdam did aid in the Nazis' hunt for Jews. How do you think Ann Frank and her family were discovered?"
    Yes, of course. Why on Earth do you think I drew the comparison?
    The Church, Academe, and every day civilians either supported the Nazis and Fascists or faced their cruel wrath.
    The only other choice was to work 'underground'. The various Churches were RIFE with such efforts and there is no small number of martyrs that were caught at it.

    It seems the purpose of your ENTIRE post was to attack my credibility and personal intelligence veiled as a question. You attempt to do so by calling into question my use of the word 'occupied' and by educating me on what I have seen with my own eyes while at war. You further go on to question my personal interests and honesty.
    I hope it made you feel better, because it achieved NOTHING else. My points still stand, despite your blatant attempt at obfuscation.
    Consider: I have no stock in your opinion of me whatsoever.
    Next time, try attacking the points, rather than the commenter.

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  48. @Bach,
    "I've had a brief look at your other comments."
    Why, thank you! Autographs will available in the lobby.

    "Golly, you manage to say little, much of it wrong, in a lot of words."
    Gee-whiz, what mean thing to write! Funny thing is: That sentence describes ITSELF. You could have just called me a jerk for being right. That would have been more concise and brave.

    "You don't know your history, although you claim to be a keen history reader."
    So I am a cretin or a liar...or both?
    Or maybe I am correct, and that upsets you to the point you make stupid insulting comments like that rather than concede or (GOD FORBID!!) agree?

    It seems the purpose of your ENTIRE post was to attack my credibility and personal intelligence veiled as a question. You attempt to do so by calling into question my use of the word 'occupied' and by educating me on what I have seen with my own eyes while at war. You further go on to question my personal interests and honesty.
    I hope it made you feel better, because it achieved NOTHING else. My points still stand, despite your blatant attempt at obfuscation.
    Consider: I have no stock in your opinion of me whatsoever.
    Next time, try attacking the points, rather than the commenter.

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  49. CrusadeRex,

    No, whew, but you don't believe in being succinct.

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  50. The word is reductionism, and NO I don't.

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  51. CrusadeRex,

    Nope. Being succinct isn't the same as reductionism.

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