Religious Bigotry, Like Sin, Is an Equal Opportunity Affliction, or Toward a Better Anti-Catholicism

The American Conservative has an interesting way of evaluating the jihadwatcher-ism amongst us:

But what exactly does this have to do with the threat that al-Qaeda and other Muslim terrorist groups pose to America? For those who suggest that Islam by definition is the breeding ground for contemporary terrorism, the notion that Muslims could become law-abiding American citizens or American patriots is a contradiction in terms. As Reason’s Jesse Walker notes, this fear of Islam echoes the Know-Nothings’ anti-Catholic sentiments and the fear of the Vatican. The main difference between then and now is that the Know-Nothings of the 19th century were not advocating sending American troops to depose the pope and invade Catholic countries to force them to embrace American values…

…But sowing fear of a monolithic Islam serves the interests of our client states, defense contractors, and lobbyists who press for rising defense budgets and further military interventions. This anti-Islam narrative is also promoted by Republican activists and conservative-movement pundits who hope that like the Red Menace of old, the specter of a Green Peril could serve as a unifying force for the political right. But this kind of policy would only end up overextending the military, ballooning deficits, and devastating our economic base. That’s exactly the kind of tea that conservatives and libertarians have sworn not to drink.

One gets the sense that the same Christians who respond viscerally to the idea that devout Muslims make good neighbors instead of terrorists might also be the same ones who describe their Mormon neighbors as cultists. Neither seems very charitable or neighborly. But just as all cultists are false religionists but not all false religionists are cultists, while all jihadists are Muslims not all Muslims are terrorists. And suggesting that Mormons are the same as Jonestownsers might be the kind of Kool-Aid more conservative Calvinists should swear off (with apologies to Walter Martin).

But the point about how today’s jihadwatchery may be animated by the same forces that gave us yesterday’s Know Nothing anti-Catholicism reminds of a past December post entitled “Toward a Better Anti-Catholicism”…

In the December issue of The Outlook, historians D.G. Hart and John Muether continue a series on Roman Catholicism. The third installment, Anti-Catholicism, Good and Bad, has been the most intriguing to me thus far. (Here is the first installment.) 

As the title suggests, the authors are essentially putting forth that there are two kinds of anti-Catholicism. First the bad kind:

So strong was religious warfare that parts of nineteenth-century America resembled Northern Ireland today. A political party was established to oppose Roman Catholics from holding public office. A secret patriotic society, the Order of the Star Spangled Banner, began in 1849, admitting only American-born Protestants without Roman Catholic relatives. Members swore to oppose the election of foreigners or Roman Catholics. Because of their secretiveness and their frequent furtive responses to inquirers with ‘I don’t know,’ they became known as the Know-Nothings.

Add to what can only be tallied up to religious bigotry the irony of Protestants from Josiah Strong to Charles Hodge to Abraham Kuyper who suggest that resident within Calvinism are the seeds to all that westerners hold ideologically dear. Strong’s best-seller, Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (1885) insisted that:

“Wherever Protestantism went civil liberty followed. The two greatest characteristics of Anglo-Saxons were civil liberty and spiritual Christianity.”

Presbyterian New Schooler Albert Barnes, in Presbyterianism: Its Affinities (1863) wrote:

“…all just notions of liberty in modern times [were connected with the fundamental principles taught by Presbyterianism].”

Charles Hodge in an 1855 lecture on the nature of Presbyterianism:

“It is the combination of the principles of liberty and order in the Presbyterian system, the union of the rights of the people with subjection to legitimate authority, that has made it the parent and guardian of civil liberty in every part of the world.”

And, of course, Abraham Kuyper in Lectures on Calvinism (1898):

“The logical development of what was enshrined in the liberty of conscience, as well as liberty itself, first blessed the world from the side of Calvinism.”

Some of the above works had at least a tangential purpose to show how Roman Catholicism, as opposed to Calvinism, was contradictory to good American citizenship. It would seem that true religion is not only useful to show how Roman Catholicism is unpatriotic but, even more interesting, also relevant to the felt needs of statecraft. One wonders just what is the appreciable difference is between the likes of televangelists per Joel Osteen and the writings of Abraham Kuyper. It may be that what scrapes the sensitivities of certain Presbyterians about the former is simply the crass and uncouth application of true religion to the baser felt needs of humanity, while the latter appeals to the felt needs of the merely sophisticated and cultured. What isn’t clear is why one deserves more ire than the other, that is, if Jesus’ kingdom really isn’t of this world.

Even so, the authors go on to suggest “a better anti-Catholicism.” They point out that whatever else Vatican II shows, its dovetailing with a lessened confidence about modern politics on the parts of Protestants has helped to reduce the antagonism between the descendants of Geneva and Rome in the contemporary geo-political landscape. As it concerns the former, in a word, “The older arguments about liberty and tyranny no longer make sense.”

And so after having previously suggested the possibility that, instead of Rome being necessarily opposed to the core values of a liberal democracy, it could be that Roman pontiffs conceived an “organic and ordered society was better for families and churches than the chaotic, individualistic, and rootless one that modern politics encouraged,” Hart and Muether instinctively and wisely advise:

The challenge for Protestants today is to recover older and better arguments against Rome than the ones American Protestants have so often used. A good form of anti-Catholicism exists. It is based on Protestant beliefs about the Bible, sin, salvation, and worship. Those beliefs were essential to the Reformation. But beyond the history, they are crucial to men and women who want to be right with God.

Agreed. After all, if Roman Christians (who invented the spiritual discipline of quiet times) routinely invite Jesus into their heart, want to take back America for Christ, transform the culture and read their bibles privately and pray—all things that have become absolutely central to devout modern Protestantism—then the only thing that explains the Protestant spitting and cursing about a distant cousin marrying a Roman Catholic is the bad kind of anti-Catholicism. But religious bigotry is not befitting those who would that a better Protestantism prevail.

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30 Responses to Religious Bigotry, Like Sin, Is an Equal Opportunity Affliction, or Toward a Better Anti-Catholicism

  1. David Cronkhite says:

    “For those who suggest that Islam by definition is the breeding ground for contemporary terrorism, the notion that Muslims could become law-abiding American citizens or American patriots is a contradiction in terms. As Reason’s Jesse Walker notes, this fear of Islam echoes the Know-Nothings’ anti-Catholic sentiments and the fear of the Vatican. The main difference between then and now is that the Know-Nothings of the 19th century were not advocating sending American troops to depose the pope and invade Catholic countries to force them to embrace American values…”

    Zrim,
    This article rubbed me the wrong way. Do Muslims make good neighbors? It depends. When we see the twin towers destroyed after years of Islamic terrorism, what do we hear from the local Imam and Muslim neighbor? Crickets. Silence. Or whining that they need Sharia instead of western jurisprudence. Is that good neighborliness?

    And while there was sporadic gang warfare between Papists and Protestants in mid-19th century New York, does that really equate with Muslim-style mass-murder of innocent bystanders the world over? Was the Pope personally sending out suicide bombers? And then the local Bishop shrugging about it?

    Well chafed by the article, I read the oxymoronic, “Forcing American values….” diatribe thinking how muddled thinking can be. American values by definition cannot be forced. It is like saying, “They are forcing them to be free.” “They will have life if we have to kill them.” “They were stealing all theft.”

    I know that the Phd’s really believe this stuff. And Harvard nonsense might play in New York, but it won’t play in Peoria and that’s a good thing.

  2. Zrim says:

    David, maybe the key word was the adjective, as in “devout” Muslims. The point is that those who are devout and observant religionists, no matter what the religion, tend to make very good citizens and neighbors. True, jihadists and terrorists and cultists are pretty bad neighbors and citizens. But try this thought experiment: how would you like being conflated with Fred Phelps just because you hold to the immorality of homosexuality? And if you want the local Imam to condemn Islamic terrorism to your satisfaction, what would you say to the pagan who demands your pastor condemn the hatred of Westboro Baptist to his satisfaction before he distinguishes you from homophobic terrorism?

    As to the rest of your comment, I don’t know, David, it sure sounds like you’re saying that some religious warfare and crusading is worse than others and that some religious bigotry can be winked at. I disagree.

  3. David Cronkhite says:

    Zrim,
    Your thought experiment makes sense, all things being equal. Thanks, I hadn’t looked at it that way. But all things aren’t equal, given the geography.

    Here, I believe, is the imbalance: By and large, Americans are ignorant of Islam, do not know any adherents to it, and do not know the intricacies of the different factions in it, while most pagan Americans have had real contact with Christian friends and relatives. Pagans understand that there are many different kinds of christian practice.

    While ignorance is no excuse, our ignorance makes it all the more intelligent and compassionate for the Muslim community to speak up and connect to the larger community. Their lack of clearing the air makes it manifest that the Muslim community might be neither intelligent nor compassionate. However, I do know that many Muslims are brilliant, hard-working people, so I suspect their silence could be due to two other factors:

    1) they have in place a mafia-style hierarchy where administration of church discipline involves the question of whether to cut off the hand or cut off the head (what’s not to like?) and

    2) we christians have a rather high tolerance for martydom.

    If, on the other hand, the tables were turned and I lived in a Muslim community in which Christians were committing mass-murder of women and children, I would reassure everyone that 1) Christ is not that way, and 2) I am not that way, particularly because some Muslims do practice Fatwa-motivated honor killings.

    But really, Islam is a lovely faith, and if you publish this widely I might disappear for a while ’til the heat is off. Meanwhile, rest assured that the teenage son next door who doesn’t make eye contact with you, never wears western garb, and has over alot of other depressed looking young men, that he will one day grow out of it,

    or not.

  4. GAS says:

    Zrim,

    The wars in post-reformation Europe really were about liberty v. tyranny. The Protestants won. What happened in the 19th century doesn’t change that.

    Sure, Rome came a long way with VatII but an “organic and ordered society” are mere words that can be pressed into any number of ways. And Hart and Meuthers argument seems a false dichotomy. Why can’t it be both/and?

    And the Osteen/Kuyper comparison was a stretch.

  5. Zrim says:

    David, switch out “Islam” for “Roman Catholic” and “American” with “Protestant,” and it might be that the same point was made by the Know-Nothings to prop up their anti-Catholicism. But I don’t expect Catholics to clear the air about Bloody Mary Tudor before I trust them as my intelligent and compassionate neighbors and magistrates. I’ll condemn the Mass though.

    GAS, as I understand it, Vatican II declares us “separated brethren.” I’m not so sure that’s coming very far. I prefer Trent’s anathemas.

  6. David Cronkhite says:

    OK. I admit it. I’m a bigot. God saves bigots.

  7. sean says:

    speaking of a better anti-catholicism;

    “But beyond the history, they are crucial to men and women who wanna be right with God”

    You know if you threw that assertion out in my PCA presbytery it’s likely you would be shouted down and deemed uncharitable and offensive.

  8. RubeRad says:

    David, maybe the key word was the adjective, as in “devout” Muslims. The point is that those who are devout and observant religionists, no matter what the religion, tend to make very good citizens and neighbors.

    Z, what do you think “devout” means that would not apply to terrorists and jihaddists? Around here we all agree that Biblical Christianity is neither triumphalistic nor bent on world domination, but I think it’s beyond question that Koranic Islam is both. So it’s always seemed to me that Muslims who are good neighbors to infidels, and good citizens in non-sharia societies, are not devout in their adherence to the Koran, but are more akin to western evanjellyfish who prize niceness over orthodoxy. How is that “devout”?

  9. Zrim says:

    Rube, I suppose if you want to make the definition of “devout Muslim” to be how strictly one adheres to the Koran (which I take to then mean how strictly one adheres or is sympathetic to jihad), then I can see how some who depart from such a characteristic lose the title of devout. But my definition of devout is more expansive, as in observant of more than just a strict reading of the particular sacred text. So one can deny jihad and still be a devout Muslim. Kind of like how one can deny a strict reading of the Bible, as in sola fide, and still be a devout Christian.

    And I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say that evangelicals who prize niceness over orthodoxy aren’t devout. One characteristic of evangelicalism is to prize deeds over creeds, so the one who does this is actually being a good evangelical (bad Presbyterian), and also tends to be a very good neighbor as well.

    But aside from some of these precise exercises, the main point is simply to say that I think one benefit of the misguided idea of civil religion is that devout and observant religionists of whatever kind tend to make good neighbors. Once they start picketing funerals, shooting doctors or plotting your death, they tend to lose that title.

  10. GAS says:

    Zrim,

    Actually I was thinking of how they finally affirmed natural rights and religious liberties in the conciliar document, Gaudium et Spes.

    That was 180 degrees from Vatican I.

  11. "Michael Mann" says:

    Visceral prejudice is just a lot easier than principled or kind-hearted living, and it will always be more popular. Now – at least within evangelicalism – visceral acceptance is the smiley face that binds, at least with respect to the RC’s.

    With respect to the older visceral reaction to RC’s and the current reaction to Muslims, I think Sociology 101 provides a helpful analysis: the existence of bad guys enhances the group solidarity of the good guys. Oh yeah, the biblical doctrine of sin is even more “fundamental,” if I may safely use that word in a discussion of prejudice.

    Admittedly it’s tough to treat Muslims as individuals given current events. It’s also tougher to fight terrorism when they are treated as individuals, but that would be a major digression. I think my family doctor is probably a moderate Muslim; she’s not only competent but a sweetheart as well. I have spoken to visitors to Turkey who speak of very hospitable residents there.

    But, Zrim, I don’t know if the major point is escaping me. Is this just about good neighbors vs. bad neighbors, or is there something else you are getting at? (or, for you sticklers, “at which you are getting?”)

  12. RubeRad says:

    But my definition of devout is more expansive

    Fine, but you seem to be trying to (re)define devout so that your nice muslim neighbors are devout, but jihaddists are not devout. I don’t think the word can stretch in that direction.

  13. Zrim says:

    Fine, but you seem to be trying to (re)define devout so that your nice muslim neighbors are devout, but jihaddists are not devout. I don’t think the word can stretch in that direction.

    Actually, Rube, I’m saying that jihadists are indeed devout. But they’re also dangerous in ways my other Muslim neighbors are not. But without stretching the word I have no way of naming my neighborly Muslims as devout, and that just seems like a way of saying they’re not Muslims unless they plot my death, which just seems like saying I’m not a Christian unless I protest gay funerals.

  14. Zrim says:

    Mr. Miami Vice, my doc is a devout Catholic who is competent and cordial, but I don’t hold the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre against him. Give it a few decades, I predict, and holding September 11 against a devout Muslim doc will seem just as silly, so why not save a few years and see it as silly now?

  15. "Michael Mann" says:

    “Give it a few decades, I predict, and holding September 11 against a devout Muslim doc will seem just as silly, so why not save a few years and see it as silly now?”

    Zrim, you can fight this culture war if you wish. I just want to quietly keep my wonderful family doctor who is a Muslim.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    Actually, I am pretty finicky in selecting stuff I hold against people, and am not prone to holding 9/11 against the computer tech guys on the next floor. I don’t think I will take up the pro-bigotry banner on this argument. If you really want me to do that, I could sign on with an alias for my alias – perhaps “Michael Maniac” or something along those lines – just to make it clear that I am arguing just for the sake of argument.

  16. "Michael Mann" says:

    FYI, my first interaction with a Moslem was when we had a teenager from Iran babysit our daughter. She was pleasant, responsible, and all that, and we even had some conversations about Christianity without anyone melting down. At some point there was a light-hearted comment about a possible boyfriend for her. Her reply was that, if she dated that person her brothers would kill him. We thought “ha ha, yeah, protective brothers are all over the world.” She was not smiling or kidding, and made it clear that her brothers would literally kill him.

    Anyway, we had pleasent interaction with Muslim individuals prior to 9-11. Knowing actual human beings helps with this sort of thing.

  17. Zrim says:

    MM, if you’re arguing for the sake of argument instead of a point then that’s actually being more philosophical than confessional. (C’mon, Paul, it’s a joke.)

    I’m just glad she knew the difference between literally killing someone and figuratively killing someone. If I only had a dime every time some dumb American said, “When she said that I literally DIED!” And let’s just get the right pronunciation here: “mooselimbs.”

  18. Bruce Settergren says:

    I guess I was wrong in thinking that in the Muslim playbook plotting the death of non Muslims was a command. And apparently I am likewise wrong in thinking that in the Christian playbook, protesting gay funerals is prohibited.

    As for the word devout, I take it to mean “adhering to the playbook”.

  19. Zrim says:

    Bruce, maybe some Muslims don’t adhere to playbook commands to kill unbelievers the way some Christians don’t adhere to playbook commands to stone adulterers. Is it fair to say that we aren’t devout? So if you, like Rube, are going to make devout depend on strict adherence to playbook commands then maybe this dude is more devout than us?

  20. Paul says:

    It’s hard to see just how “good” Muslim neighbors are given that they are allowed to practice taqiyya and hide their faith or its unsavory implications if they feel there would be a threat in revealing it. Moreover, I have known many Muslims (I worked with two devout Mulsims for about 4 years). They told me that they lie to Westerners and have no problem doing it with a smile on their face, they just can’t lie to a Muslim. Things like this make statistical and anecdotal evidence almost worthless. The empirical facts are: Islam has almost always been a force of peace and good neighboring when they are in the minority. Things change when they are in the majority. Most Islamic scholars note this and point to the interesting change in the Koran and put the Koran into two sections: Medinan and Meccan. In the Meccan section, Muhammad spoke well of his Jewish and Christian neighbors, claiming they served the same God as he did. He said they were to all live in peace together. In the Medinan verses we read passages which say to kill Jews and Christians wherever they are found. Jews and Christians are called heretics, and Christians are said to commit the unforgivable sin of shirk. It is interesting to note that the peacful verses date to when Islam was in the extrmeme minority. Moreover, I did an extensive interview with a Muslim Imam, Dr. Sahdhiki, here in Grand Rapids for a project. He told me that he did not support terrorism, so this guy wasn’t an “extremist.” He said that Muslims were good neighbors and not involved in crime. He said, though, that if they get the majority they will institute Islamic law. I asked him what about Christians in America, could they still practice their faith openly. He said no. I asked what were they to do if they didn’t want to submit to Islam. He was nice. He didn’t say that they would be killed, he said they should just all leave. We’re not getting “two kingdom” gospel here, we’re just getting white guilt type naivety. I have studied Islam to a fair extent, I have engaged Muslims both apologetically and just as fellow workers for years. Those involved in Muslim studies, especialy Christian apologists, know the scary side of Islam—even if they aren’t all terrorists. My Muslim coworkers were not terrorists, but then they found out I became a Christian they wanted to talk with me. When I was an atheist I guess they thought I was cool, I still hadn’t committed shirk. When they asked me if I thought Jesus was God, I said, “Yes.” Both of them spit on me, at work(!), and said “we spit on your Jesus. We spit on your God.” And these were some pretty cool, nice Muslims. I used to talk for them for hours at a time about all manner of stuff. Zrim reminds me of the pre-trib Christian. Only in America could someone come up with pre-trib raputre. Believers in other parts of the world would laught at it.

  21. Zrim says:

    Paul, “white guilt”? Really? Have you missed my suggestion that the civil disobedience of Rosa Parks may not be as esteem-worthy as popularly held?

    But thanks for the input here. So what do we make of Luther when he said he’d prefer to be ruled by a wise Turk over a dumb Christian? Did he not realize that when they rule us they also kill or exile us?

  22. Bruce Settergren says:

    Re Luther: I’d say he was speaking to 2K categories realizing the value of the vocation of statecraft.

    Re the word devout: I never said I was devout. I am certainly not. Although I am pretty sure I can tell you what being devout looks like, according to my interpretation of the playbook.

    Re what a devout Muslim should look like: I was somewhat serious when I said that I might be wrong thinking that what a devout Muslim looks like is a lot of killing stealing and destroying.

  23. "Michael Mann" says:

    Islam is a false religion and the inspiration for much evil. Dostoevsky has some rather memorable depictions of “Turks” throwing a “Christian” baby with a bayonet. Gruesome stuff. But even if 2/3 of Muslims would spit on you, Paul, the other 1/3 might still be good neighbors.

    Bigotry usually has a kernel of truth to it. The problem (or at least one problem) comes when general characteristics are imputed to individuals who do not share those characteristics and they suffer as a result. It’s both a problem of the heart and of logic.

  24. Paul M. says:

    Zrim, I said white guilt *type,* call it “Evangelical guilt” if you’d rather :-)

    Luther also said some choice things of Jews, and wanted to toss James out, claiming it contradicted Paul, so I don’t read Luther with a “thus sayeth” attitude. Maybe he was just wrong, as we often was.

    Then, there’s the question of language. What, exactly, did Luther mean by his terms—sorry if that’s too “robotic” for you. But as it stands, it’s ambiguous, and I’m not going to assent to ambiguous statements. Also, many people in those times were somewhat ignorant of the world. It’s not like they had the Internet, planes, cars, TV, phones, etc.

    Finally, there’s the question of whether Luther actually said that. In his “A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life” (First Things 69, January, 1997, 56-70), Richard John Neuhaus wrote:

    “I’ve been trying to put it to rest for years, but this cat has nine times nine lives. She appears again in another incarnation in an interview that Jeff Greenfield did with Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition. Greenfield asks whether one can derive from Christian faith a set of public policy specifics. Reed: “I guess my argument on that would be what Martin Luther said, which is: I would rather be operated on by a Turkish surgeon than a Christian butcher.” The usual form of it is, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a stupid Christian.” I had used it for years in speeches and writing until I was challenged. My curiosity piqued, I launched an inquiry that ended up involving scholars and librarians both here and in Europe, only to discover that Luther never said it. It fits Luther’s “twofold kingdom” approach to civil governance, and he said much of the same purport, but please take this as yet another effort to put it to rest.”

    Luther did say, however:

    “… it[is] His will that this empire be ruled by the Christian princes of Germany, regardless whether the pope stole it, or got it by robbery, or made it anew. It is all God’s ordering, which came to pass before we knew of it.”

    http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/NEW1luther_b4.htm

    In 1528 Luther wrote “On War Against the Turk”:

    “I say this not because I would teach that worldly rulers ought not be Christians, or that a Christian cannot bear the sword and serve God in temporal government. Would God they were all Christians, or that no one could be a prince unless he were a Christian! Things would be better than they now are and the Turk would not be so powerful. But what I would do is keep the callings and offices distinct and apart, so that everyone can see to what he is called, and fulfill the duties of his office faithfully and with the heart, in the service of God.”

    http://www.lutherdansk.dk/On%20war%20against%20Islamic%20reign%20of%20terror/index.htm

    And,

    “”Moreover, I hear it said that there are those in Germany who desire the coming of the Turk and his government, because they would rather be under the Turk than under the emperor or princes. It would be hard to fight against the Turk with such people. Against them I have no better advice to give than that pastors and preachers be exhorted to be diligent in their preaching and faithful in instructing such people, pointing out to them the danger they are in and the wrong that they are doing, how they are making themselves partakers of great and numberless sins and loading themselves down with them in the sight of God, if they are found in this opinion. For it is misery enough to be compelled to suffer the Turk as overlord and to endure his government; but willingly to put oneself under it, or to desire it, when one need not and is not compelled – the man who does that ought to be shown the sin he is committing and how terribly he is going on.

    (ibid).

    However, I grant that the paraphrase from what Luther did say* expresses his Two Kingdom theology. And I agree with Luther’s general point. That’s one reason why I never used the argument that Romney was a “Mormon” as a reason to not vote for him in Republican primaries. But as I read the 2K literature, I can sign on to the essentials or basics of the two kingdoms without many, most(?), of your idiosyncratic beliefs (like those illustrated here, for example).

    _____________

    * In “An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility” of 1520, Luther wrote:

    “It is said that there is no better temporal rule anywhere than among the Turks, who have neither spiritual nor temporal law, but only their Koran; and we must confess that there is no more shameful rule than among us, with our spiritual and temporal law, so that there is no estate which lives according to the light of nature, still less according to Holy Scripture.”

  25. Zrim says:

    Thanks for more tutorials. I don’t think Luther was inspired either. Do you really think that modern technologies (the Internet, planes, cars, TV, phones) are coterminous with less ignorance?

    However, I grant that the paraphrase from what Luther did say* expresses his Two Kingdom theology. And I agree with Luther’s general point. That’s one reason why I never used the argument that Romney was a “Mormon” as a reason to not vote for him in Republican primaries.

    So how about a Muslim? It seems like your “when they’re in the majority they’re dangerous” argument might lend itself to making sure whatever gives them political ascendency should be opposed. Maybe you’d say that voting one guy into office won’t bring in a dangerous majority, but if I was as sold on the majority=dangerous argument I think I’d be less inclined to vote for a Muslim on just that basis.

  26. Paul M. says:

    Zrim, I gave you my thoughts, do with them what you will.

  27. RubeRad says:

    Can a Muslim give the same speech that JFK did? (And what if you grant for arguments’ sake that true Islamic doctrine allows muslms to lie to infidels?)

  28. Zrim says:

    The “history shows that when a minority they are good but when a majority they are bad” just seems like saying “history shows that blacks are ok individually but when they get together they’re trouble.”

    But I don’t know, when listening to a candidate speak I only really care what his political views are. I’ll leave the speculations on the relationship between religious devotions and political behavior up to minds geared for philosophic speculation.

  29. Paul M. says:

    “The “history shows that when a minority they are good but when a majority they are bad” just seems like saying “history shows that blacks are ok individually but when they get together they’re trouble.”

    It’s close linguistically, but is it close factually? The latter matters but Zrim usually focuses on the former. Zrim, ever the sophist, never the thinker. Also, the claim was never “when they’re in the minority they’re good.” And, if the empirical evidence says so, what do you do? Do you say, like you usually do, “Facts be damned, I have my theory!”

    Also, how’d you like Luther’s statements I quoted? Not very Z2K.

  30. Zrim says:

    Sophistry instead of thought, right, Paul. But this from the guy who claims our theology owes a great debt of gratitude to philosophy. Have you ever noticed how our confessions are footnoted by Scripture and not philosophy? That suggests our theology owes its debt to the Bible, you know, as in sola scriptura, which says:

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

    Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

    St. Paul the Apostle doesn’t sound very Paul the Philosopherish. He doesn’t seem to think the church owes much of a debt to philosophy.

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