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Mark Steyn: O come, all ye faithless
The Spectator (U.K.) ^ | 12/17/05 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 12/15/2005 9:21:38 AM PST by Pokey78

Peter Watson, the author of a new book called Ideas: a History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud, was interviewed by the New York Times the other day, and was asked to name ‘the single worst idea in history’. He replied:

‘Without question, ethical monotheism. The idea of one true god. The idea that our life and ethical conduct on Earth determines how we will go into the next world. This has been responsible for most of the wars and bigotry in history.’

And a Merry Christmas to you, too. For a big-ideas guy, Watson is missing the bigger question: something has to be ‘responsible for most of the wars and bigotry’, and if it wasn’t religion, it would surely be something else. In fact, in the 20th century, it was. Europe’s post-Christian pathogens of communism and Nazism unleashed horrors on a scale inconceivable even to the most ambitious Pope. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot: you’d look in vain for any of them in the pews each Sunday. Marx has a lot more blood on his hands than Christ — other people’s blood, I mean — but the hyper-rationalists are noticeably less keen to stick him with the tab for the party.

So the big thinker would seem to be objectively wrong in what, for a secular rationalist, sounds more like a reflex irrational bigotry all his own. A thinking atheist ought to be able to appreciate the benefits the secular world derives from monotheism — for example, the most glorious achievements in Western art and music. By comparison, militant atheism has given us John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, that paean to nothingness whose lyric — ‘Above us only sky’ — is the official slogan of John Lennon International Airport in Liverpool. Two years ago, in America’s Weekly Standard, Joel Engel pondered that favourite hymn of sentimental secularists, apparently so anodyne and unobjectionable that, in a world twitchy about the insufficient multiculturalism of ‘Jingle Bells’, never mind ‘Away in a Manger’, the holiday concert at my kids’ school nevertheless gaily programmed John Lennon’s fluffy nihilism as an appropriate sentiment for the season:

Imagine there’s no heaven,
It’s easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,

Imagine all the people
Living for today...

‘Okay,’ wrote Engel, ‘let’s imagine that; let’s imagine six billion people who believe that flesh and blood is all there is; that once you shuffle off this mortal coil, poof, you’re history; that Hitler and Mother Teresa, for example, both met the same ultimate fate. Common sense suggests that such a world would produce a lot more Hitlers and a lot fewer Teresas, for the same reason that you get a lot more speeders/murderers/rapists/ embezzlers when you eliminate laws, police and punishment. Sceptics and atheists can say what they like about religion, but it’s hard to deny that the fear of an afterlife where one will be judged has likely kept hundreds of millions from committing acts of aggression, if not outright horror. Nothing clears the conscience quite like a belief in eternal nothingness.’

That sounds right. There’s an important exception, of course: the challenge of Islam is precisely that it’s a religion whose afterlife appears — at least according to many of its more bloodcurdling spokespersons — to reward ‘wars and bigotry’. But the question then is what kind of society is best equipped to defend itself against such a challenge? It’s not just that a radical secularist present-tense society will produce more Hitlers and Stalins — not all of us want to work that hard — but that millions more will lapse into the fey passivity of Lennon’s song.

In the Guardian last week, Polly Toynbee launched a splendid broadside against The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: ‘Here in Narnia,’ she sneered, ‘is the perfect Republican, muscular Christianity for America, that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right.’ The first half of that sentence I don’t particularly disagree with, the second is just plain sad: no one who trades in language for a living should bandy phrases like ‘neo-fascist’ so carelessly. But Miss Toynbee went on to cite a more sober objection to Narnia.

Aslan, she writes, ‘is an emblem for everything an atheist objects to in religion. His divine presence is a way to avoid humans taking responsibility for everything here and now on Earth, where no one is watching, no one is guiding, no one is judging and there is no other place yet to come. Without an Aslan, there is no one here but ourselves to suffer for our sins, no one to redeem us but ourselves: we are obliged to settle our own disputes and do what we can.’

Sounds very nice, doesn’t it? But in practice the lack of belief in divine presence is just as likely to lead to humans avoiding responsibility: if there’s nothing other than the here and now, who needs to settle disputes at all? All you have to do is manage to defer them till after you’re dead — which is pretty much the post-Christian European electorates’ approach to their unaffordable social programmes. I mentioned in the Daily Telegraph a couple of weeks back the amount of mail I get from British readers commenting with gloomy resignation on various remorseless trends in our island story and ending with, ‘Fortunately I won’t live to see it.’ When you think about it, that’s actually the essence of the problem: hyper-rationalist radical secularism reduces the world to one’s own life span. Why try to ‘settle disputes’ when you’ll be long gone? Faith is one of those mystic cords that binds us to our past and commits us to a future.

So I’d say Polly’s got it all wrong. The meek’s chances of inheriting the earth are considerably diminished in a post-Christian society: chances are they’ll just get steamrollered by more motivated types. You don’t have to look far to get the cut of my jib. And you can’t help noticing that since abandoning their faith in the unseen world Europe seems also to have lost faith in the seen one. Consider this poll taken for the first anniversary of 9/11: 61 per cent of Americans said they were optimistic about the future, as opposed to 43 per cent of Canadians, 42 per cent of Britons, 29 per cent of the French, 23 per cent of Russians and 15 per cent of Germans. Three years on, I’ll bet those European numbers have sunk even lower. The Krauts are so slumped in despond that they’re running some Teutonic feelgood marketing campaign in which old people are posed against pastoral vistas, fetching gays mooch around the Holocaust memorial, Katarina Witt stands in front of some photogenic moppets, etc., and they all point their fingers at the camera and shout ‘Du bist Deutschland!’ — ‘You are Germany!’ — which is meant somehow to pep up glum Hun couch potatoes.

It’s hard to persuade an atheist to believe in God. But unless he’s the proverbial ‘militant atheist’ — or, more accurately, fundamentalist atheist — the so-called rationalist ought to be capable of a rational assessment of the comparative strengths and weaknesses of different societies. If he is, he’ll find it hard to conclude other than that the most secular societies have the worst prospects. Rationalism is killing poor childless Europe. But instead of rethinking the irrationalism of rationalism, the rationalists are the ones clinging to blind faith, ever more hysterically. At that ridiculous climate conference in Montreal, Peyton Knight of the National Center for Public Policy Research encountered Richard Ingham, a correspondent for Agence France-Presse: ‘He demanded to know the National Center’s stance on global warming. I began to explain to him that it is our view that mankind is not causing the planet to get appreciably warmer. Before I could delve into any specifics, he cut me off, shouting: “Why? Because it isn’t in the Bible? It isn’t in Genesis?”’

The bit I like isn’t in Genesis, but Psalms: ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him...? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea....’

Let’s suppose that there is no God and that the Psalmist just conjured that up out of thin air. Nevertheless, it accurately conveys the central feature of our world — our dominion over pretty much everything else out there. A couple of months back, I was asked about creationism and ‘intelligent design’. Not my bag, so I kept it short. But I did say that the Psalmist had captured the essence of our reality rather better than your average geneticist. I’d just been told that not only does man share 98.5 per cent of his genetic code with the chimp but he shares 75 per cent of it with the pumpkin. If that’s so, it doesn’t seem a terribly useful scale for measuring the differences in our respective achievements. As I put it, ‘The fact is that this is a planet overwhelmingly dominated and shaped by one species, and our kith and kin — whether gibbons or pumpkins — basically fit in the spaces between.’

This modest thought provoked Paul Z. Myers, professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, into paroxysms of scorn: Steyn, he scoffed, ‘must not possess a gut populated by intestinal bacteria. We are at their mercy; without them, we suffer horribly for a while and die.... He must not have any wooden furniture in his home, or plastic ...made from the carbon left by ancient forests.... It’s a good thing he doesn’t eat, or he’d have to excrete — without any bacteria or fungi or nematodes or flatworms, the shit would just pile up (this would explain his written output, though).’

Oh dear. All I was doing was making a simple point about the scale of man’s domination, and all Professor Myers’s demolition does is confirm it. My intestinal bacteria may indeed be doing a swell job, but living in my gut isn’t exactly a beach house at Malibu. Yes, I’ve got wooden furniture. I live in the Great North Woods and the house and practically everything in it is made from those woods. But I sit on the chair, the chair doesn’t sit on me. And as for my excreta and the hard-working nematode, who gets the better end of that deal?

In a way, Professor Myers is only taking transnationalism to its logical conclusion. After all, if one is obliged to pretend that the Americans, Belgians, Greeks and Canadians are all equal members of a military alliance, it’s not such a stretch to insist that the Americans, the flatworms, the intestinal bacteria and your Welsh dresser are all equal partners in some grand planetary alliance. Nonetheless, if we are virtually the same as a chimp, the 1.5 per cent of difference counts for more than the 98.5 per cent of similarity. The Psalmist seems to find that easier to understand than the biologist does.

In the same way, assume that there was no baby in the manger, no virgin birth, no resurrection. A rationalist ought still to be able to conclude that, as a societal model, Christianity is more rational than Eutopian secularism. If Matthew, Mark, Luke and John cooked the whole racket up, it’s nevertheless a stroke of genius to anchor the whole phony-baloney rigmarole in the birth of a child and his triumph over death. Whether or not there is a hereafter, new life is our triumph over death here on Earth. A religiosity centred on eternal life will by definition be a more efficient organising principle for an enduring society than a secularism focused on the here and now, with ‘no other place yet to come’, as Polly Toynbee puts it. The intestinal bacteria might as well pack up and go home.

What’s so rational about putting yourself out of business? On both sides of the Atlantic, the godly will inherit the Earth: in the United States, blue-state birthrates mean that in 20 years America will look a lot less like John Kerry’s Massachusetts and a lot more like Texas and Utah; Europe will look a lot less like an Amsterdam sex club and a lot more like Clichy-sous-Bois. Post-Christian Europe will also be post-European. If you’re cool with that, fine. If you’re not, you might want to rethink the lazy slurs about America’s ‘neo-fascist’ religiosity. Merry Christmas. Happy Eid.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: marksteyn; steyn; waronchristmas
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1 posted on 12/15/2005 9:21:39 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78

In before the ping


2 posted on 12/15/2005 9:22:41 AM PST by Uncledave
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To: Pokey78

Yes, victory is mine!!!!


3 posted on 12/15/2005 9:23:13 AM PST by Uncledave
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

Steyn ping!


4 posted on 12/15/2005 9:24:20 AM PST by Pokey78 (‘FREE [INSERT YOUR FETID TOTALITARIAN BASKET-CASE HERE]’)
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To: Pokey78

How does he do it?


5 posted on 12/15/2005 9:25:55 AM PST by Kenny Bunkport
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To: Pokey78
A thinking atheist ought to be able to appreciate the benefits the secular world derives from monotheism — for example, the most glorious achievements in Western art and music.

Not to mention the distinctly Judeao-Christian idea that individuals matter as individuals -- which just happens to be the basis for what's now called Western Civilization....

6 posted on 12/15/2005 9:27:51 AM PST by r9etb
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To: Pokey78
May I please be added to your Steyn ping?
7 posted on 12/15/2005 9:28:43 AM PST by saveliberty (Stop the McCainity. Vote Conservative.)
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To: Pokey78

bookmark to read complete article later.

Oh goody! I see he's bashing my least favorite song - "Imagine"


8 posted on 12/15/2005 9:29:41 AM PST by TX Bluebonnet
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To: Pokey78

The single worst idea in human history? I vote...communism.


9 posted on 12/15/2005 9:32:01 AM PST by sima_yi
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To: Pokey78
For a big-ideas guy, Watson is missing the bigger question: something has to be ‘responsible for most of the wars and bigotry’, and if it wasn’t religion, it would surely be something else. In fact, in the 20th century, it was. Europe’s post-Christian pathogens of communism and Nazism unleashed horrors on a scale inconceivable even to the most ambitious Pope.

Gotta love lines like this.
10 posted on 12/15/2005 9:34:10 AM PST by Mr. Blonde (You know, Happy Time Harry, just being around you kinda makes me want to die.)
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To: saveliberty

Sure!


11 posted on 12/15/2005 9:34:25 AM PST by Pokey78 (‘FREE [INSERT YOUR FETID TOTALITARIAN BASKET-CASE HERE]’)
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To: r9etb
the distinctly Judeao-Christian idea that individuals matter as individuals

To clarify while agreeing.

What was unique was the idea that every individual mattered. All other cultures believed that some people mattered and others just didn't. At all.

The Jews and their Christian offshoot invented the idea that every individual is important simply because he/she is a child of God. Probably the most revolutionary idea in history.

12 posted on 12/15/2005 9:35:02 AM PST by Restorer (Islamists want to die. We want to kill them.)
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To: Uncledave

LOL! Well-played.

I love it when the Lefties on some forums I'm on start mindlessly bashing Christians for mass killings/wars. They really don't like it when I rub the numbers in their faces. Atheist Leftists have the leaderboard pretty well covered.

The numbers:
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM


13 posted on 12/15/2005 9:35:22 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: Pokey78

Excellent article. Thanks for the ping!


14 posted on 12/15/2005 9:36:41 AM PST by cgk (I don't see myself as a conservative. I see myself as a religious, right-wing, wacko extremist.)
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To: Pokey78

Since the global warming would not be happening on my [or their] watch, why should they be so exercised about it? I see a gross inconsistency here.


15 posted on 12/15/2005 9:37:13 AM PST by GSlob
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To: Pokey78
Thank you!
16 posted on 12/15/2005 9:37:56 AM PST by saveliberty (Stop the McCainity. Vote Conservative.)
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To: FreedomPoster

That page only gives Mao's China 35,000,000 dead? I think that's a little low-- I've read his 'Great Leap Forward' was closer to 70,000,000 alone...


17 posted on 12/15/2005 9:40:29 AM PST by atomicpossum (Replies should be as pedantic as possible. I love that so much.)
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To: Pokey78
The Krauts are so slumped in despond that they’re running some Teutonic feelgood marketing campaign in which old people are posed against pastoral vistas, fetching gays mooch around the Holocaust memorial, Katarina Witt stands in front of some photogenic moppets, etc., and they all point their fingers at the camera and shout ‘Du bist Deutschland!’ — ‘You are Germany!’ — which is meant somehow to pep up glum Hun couch potatoes.

I am ethnically a Kraut. I have never known very many of my relatives to ever be optimistic about much. Something in the culture I guess. But to show a bunch of but buddies dancing around the Holocaust memorial as an ad campaign? What are they trying to do, increase suicide rates?

18 posted on 12/15/2005 9:40:49 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Pokey78

Ping!


19 posted on 12/15/2005 9:41:34 AM PST by Truth is a Weapon (Truth, it hurts soooo good!)
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To: Pokey78
This modest thought provoked Paul Z. Myers, professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, into paroxysms of scorn ... the s*** would just pile up (this would explain his written output, though).’

Everything I need to know about Paul Z. Myers is summed up in this little quote.

20 posted on 12/15/2005 9:41:35 AM PST by r9etb
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To: Restorer

> The Jews and their Christian offshoot invented the idea that every individual is important simply because he/she is a child of God.

Well, except for them durn Caananites...


21 posted on 12/15/2005 9:42:09 AM PST by orionblamblam (A furore Normannorum libra nos, Domine)
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To: Pokey78
‘the single worst idea in history’
"The idea of one true god. The idea that our life and ethical conduct on Earth determines how we will go into the next world."

I have to say I agree with him.

"Okay,’ wrote Engel, ‘let’s imagine that; let’s imagine six billion people who believe that flesh and blood is all there is; that once you shuffle off this mortal coil, poof, you’re history; that Hitler and Mother Teresa, for example, both met the same ultimate fate. Common sense suggests that such a world would produce a lot more Hitlers and a lot fewer Teresas, for the same reason that you get a lot more speeders/murderers/rapists/ embezzlers when you eliminate laws, police and punishment. Sceptics and atheists can say what they like about religion, but it’s hard to deny that the fear of an afterlife where one will be judged has likely kept hundreds of millions from committing acts of aggression, if not outright horror. Nothing clears the conscience quite like a belief in eternal nothingness.’ "


Wrong. I think he is confusing fear of what will happen with simple compassion for fellow man. I have no fear of what might or might not happen after I am gone, but that does not influence how I act why I am here. General compassion for my fellow man makes you live after death in the legacy you leave behind.
22 posted on 12/15/2005 9:43:38 AM PST by HOTTIEBOY (Long live the Lizard King)
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To: Restorer

An excellent clarification -- you thought it through much more thoroughly than I had. Thanks.


23 posted on 12/15/2005 9:44:20 AM PST by r9etb
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To: sima_yi
"The single worst idea in human history? I vote...communism. "
Communism is not an idea [has never been], but a way of life. Some think that it is instinctive, like, for example, reflexive tendency to cover one's derriere when in trouble [be it Chernobyl, "Kursk" sub, Chinese chemical plant explosion, WJC's "I did not have sex with that woman" or whatever else].
24 posted on 12/15/2005 9:44:56 AM PST by GSlob
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To: TX Bluebonnet

You don't like "Imagine"? You probably won't like my updated, Democrap Underground version, either:



Imagine there's no rethugs,
No Bush to steal and lie,
No Red states between us,
The only goddess Gaia,
Imagine all the DUmmies
visualizing their own reality...

Imagine only leftist countries,
The U.N. tells what to do,
No oil to kill or die for,
No Jesus freaks or Jews,
Imagine all the Bushies
Fried in bacon grease...

Let’s take all their possesions,
Tax them up the can,
There’ll be no more AIDS or hunger,
And man can marry man,
Imagine DUmmies in power
Giving Osama a peace flower...

You--oo may say I’m an appeaser,
and I’m not a very sane one,
I hope some day you'll vote for us,
And the BFEE will be done.


25 posted on 12/15/2005 9:45:48 AM PST by Choose Ye This Day (Win the war. Confirm the judges. Cut the taxes. Control the spending. Secure the border.)
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To: Pokey78
It's like I've always said: let's suppose, for one moment, that I believe in God, but you don't. And 40 years from now, we both drop dead in our tracks simultaneously. If you're right, then I'm nothing more than a bug condo under two yards of dirt. Trouble with that is, you won't be here to rub my nose in it, and I won't be here to admit I was being silly. However, if I'm right and you're wrong, then you got some quick 'splaining to do to someone who's heard it all before.

Now, you really wanna keep walking around and acting like a horse's ass? Be my guest.


26 posted on 12/15/2005 9:47:25 AM PST by Viking2002 (Allah FUBAR!)
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To: Kenny Bunkport
How does he do it?

The man

is

a

genius.

27 posted on 12/15/2005 9:47:36 AM PST by Lurking in Kansas (Nothing witty here… move on.)
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To: Pokey78

He is brilliant with words. I love this column!


28 posted on 12/15/2005 9:47:38 AM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; He is holy. Ps 99:5)
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To: GSlob
Communism is not an idea [has never been], but a way of life.

Actually, you've got that exactly backwards. It is an idea that -- outside of very small groups, anyway -- cannot be translated into a way of life.

29 posted on 12/15/2005 9:47:48 AM PST by r9etb
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To: Choose Ye This Day

LOL. That's only slightly more offensive than the original.


30 posted on 12/15/2005 9:49:05 AM PST by TX Bluebonnet
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To: Pokey78
‘Du bist Deutschland!’ — ‘You are Germany!’ — which is meant somehow to pep up glum Hun couch potatoes.

Maybe that's what got them so depressed in the first place. Someone didn't think that campaign all the way through!

31 posted on 12/15/2005 9:49:14 AM PST by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: Kenny Bunkport
How does he do it?

Talent!

32 posted on 12/15/2005 9:49:16 AM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; He is holy. Ps 99:5)
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To: atomicpossum

If you dig into the details (there a link to an enormous *.gif of a spreadsheet), you'll find he gives a low, best-guess median, and high number for each democide he studied. The high number for China is 102,671,000.

Ah! And even better, I'm glad you brought that to my attention. He should update that table. Here:
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE5.HTM
He has this:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Among all the democide estimates appearing on in this book, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao's famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000. Details here.
http://freedomspeace.blogspot.com/2005/11/reevaluating-chinas-democide-to-be.html


33 posted on 12/15/2005 9:51:19 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: orionblamblam
Well, except for them durn Caananites...

Still children of God. Doesn't mean you can't kill them, of course. :)

Some Canaanites switched sides and were accepted as Jews, even winding up in the ancestry of David and Jesus.

34 posted on 12/15/2005 9:51:45 AM PST by Restorer (Islamists want to die. We want to kill them.)
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To: TX Bluebonnet
Oh goody! I see he's bashing my least favorite song - "Imagine"

I hate that song too.

35 posted on 12/15/2005 9:53:18 AM PST by Logophile
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To: Pokey78

Just Wow. He just keeps getting better and better and better.


36 posted on 12/15/2005 9:53:52 AM PST by MNJohnnie ("My job as the President is to see the world the way it is, not the way we hope it is." -GW Bush)
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To: r9etb

You're welcome.

Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of liberal hatred for Christianity and the West is that they give these institutions no credit at all for the good things that came from them, while denouncing them as evil because bad things were indeed done in their name.


37 posted on 12/15/2005 9:54:20 AM PST by Restorer (Islamists want to die. We want to kill them.)
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To: FreedomPoster

Yeah, that's the fella I'd read a few weeks ago. I thought the numbers were higher...


38 posted on 12/15/2005 9:56:20 AM PST by atomicpossum (Replies should be as pedantic as possible. I love that so much.)
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To: Pokey78

When does this man sleep? Does anyone come close to his output? Franklin? Twain?


39 posted on 12/15/2005 10:00:14 AM PST by RobFromGa (Polls are for people who can't think for themselves.)
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To: Restorer

I agree with what you say but I hope that you don't think that all atheists are liberal and hate Christianity.


40 posted on 12/15/2005 10:01:00 AM PST by HOTTIEBOY (Long live the Lizard King)
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To: Elsie; AndrewC; jennyp; lockeliberty; RadioAstronomer; LiteKeeper; Fester Chugabrew; ...

Ping for comments!


41 posted on 12/15/2005 10:04:26 AM PST by bondserv (God governs our universe and has seen fit to offer us a pardon. †)
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To: Pokey78
Yep. Its the liberals and their secular base that keeps shrinking. No wonder they live in dread of a theocracy. It could turn out to be America's obly salvation in the forthcoming battle with Islam. They should welcome America's being the last redoubt of Judeo-Christian values. If they're missing anything, as Mark Steyn could recapture it in a pithy made to order phrase, the secular Left is pretty much the wave of the past and what you hear are its dying screams. The future belongs to the righteous.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie.Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

42 posted on 12/15/2005 10:05:54 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: MineralMan

ping


43 posted on 12/15/2005 10:07:03 AM PST by HOTTIEBOY (Long live the Lizard King)
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To: Mr. Blonde
The Nineteenth Century could be the Age Of Man because it was assumed that without religion handcuffing people Man would finally achieve true greatness. After the secular horrors of the past century, we know better. Its the Beautiful People that are sadly out of touch with the currents of the day.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie.Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

44 posted on 12/15/2005 10:09:47 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: HOTTIEBOY
Wrong. I think he is confusing fear of what will happen with simple compassion for fellow man. I have no fear of what might or might not happen after I am gone, but that does not influence how I act why I am here. General compassion for my fellow man makes you live after death in the legacy you leave behind.

Few people are motivated out of compassion alone. The belief that our actions are observed and judged by a higher power is a binding force for advanced cultures. That higher power can be the Almighty, or it can be the State, but the vast majority of people instinctively require that their lives be set in context by a higher authority than themselves.

Certainly, some individuals don't require that. You may be one of them. But what works for you will not work for any society if tried on a large scale. Altruistic athiesm is an individual choice, but one that thrives only under the shadow of a moral culture, and in good times.

Fairweather philosophies don't stand the test of time. Say what you will about monotheism, but it creates societies that last. Athiest peoples without an iron fisted state do not remain unassimilated for long.

45 posted on 12/15/2005 10:09:58 AM PST by Steel Wolf (* No sleep till Baghdad! *)
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To: snidely whiplash III

Ping!


46 posted on 12/15/2005 10:10:47 AM PST by fanfan (" The liberal party is not corrupt " Prime Minister Paul Martin)
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To: Alamo-Girl; betty boop; cornelis

Ping


47 posted on 12/15/2005 10:12:25 AM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: Pokey78

Just sent to my favorite Athiest with the title:

Steyn's Christmas Brilliance


48 posted on 12/15/2005 10:12:41 AM PST by Lesforlife ("For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb . . ." Psalm 139:13)
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To: Choose Ye This Day

Nice work. Are you trying to give DFU a run for his money?


49 posted on 12/15/2005 10:12:52 AM PST by rightwingintelligentsia
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To: Pokey78
And as for my excreta and the hard-working nematode, who gets the better end of that deal?.

Only Steyn can pull off something like that line. Hilarious!

50 posted on 12/15/2005 10:13:29 AM PST by XJarhead
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