Monday, July 09, 2007

Now This Chills Me to the Core...

Victor Davis Hansen

I will not comment much about this article; VDH says it best, agree with him or not. I've posted on this topic previously, and I'm doing it again now. What do we do with this type of evil? What do you do when we see the gross pathologies of Greek mythology played out before us in the twenty-first century?

It's easy to make a moral equivalence to the actions of obscure and weird "Born-againers," but nothing this repulsively evil has any ideological equivalent. Sure, there's Ed Gein, who made lampshades from human skin, or Geoffrey Dahmer who ate human flesh and stored cadavers in his freezer for future meals. But, were these men driven by an ideology as pervasive as Jihadist Islam? Were they using these grotesque means to recruit others to establish a theocracy? Try as you might, you cannot deny that evil is everywhere. The very best of us can look inside and see darkness. But is there any ideology that compares with a darkness on this scale?

I'm writing this because I don't think we in the West realize the extremely unusual thing that is rising from the East. I think people, in seeing such darkness, cannot deal with it without denying their own hedonism. Why else are we so enamored with...Paris Hilton?

The question is: ARE WE IN DENIAL? Let us talk...

10 Comments:

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

Brutal, but actually a pretty common tactic. The Contras in Nicaragua used to force the parents to kill their own kids before they were forced to eat them. This happened in whole villages. The would often round up the parents and make them watch while the school house was burned with their children screaming inside it. It was usually punishment for "letting" the Sandanistas build a school in the village.

 
At 3:05 PM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Okay, there are serious problems with Islamofascism, and there are serious problems with Christfascism. There is, however, a glaring difference. Christian fascists tend to be more of a domestic problem. They mess with the laws and try to convert everyone, but they're not deadly to anyone who disagrees with them (some, but not all).

Just because they weren't using the same means as Islamofascists doesn't mean they weren't equally as wrong. Maybe not as dark, but definitely as wrong.

 
At 5:00 PM, Anonymous ul said...

I heartily agree with you, but I'm not certain about your term Christo-fascism. Undoubtedly, if you mean a type of Calvinism that is hyper-fundamentalistic, I would think they are seriously misguided folk; but hardly on par with Islamo-fascists.

The Calvinism to which you bristle is a major stream of Christianity here in America. In light of history though, Calvinism is a newcomer; it's a form of triumphalism that came to us in the sixteenth century. It has the odd teaching that America is graced by God, and because of our goodness, we are blessed financially. And again, you are right in condemning it.

Fundamentalism is a disordered way of thinking where the fundamentalist doesn't use reason so much as a zealous dependence on text, and whatever tradition that appeals to them. I run into this all the time as a Catholic. These zealots see me as the enemy and try to convert me to their type of textualism, for a lack of better words. I cannot talk to these folks; I am a part of the "Whore of Babyon"...anything I say must be seen as distorted and evil. It's amazing to me that such idiocy exists, but it does.

I was watching a T.V. evangelist and had an immediate negative reaction. Interestingly, I thought of you directly, UWL. His demeanor was irritating, he was making all sorts of claims and demands that, to me as a Catholic, was way out of line. My thought was, "How on earth can people like UWL have ANY positive view of Christianity, when people like this are on the airwaves."

I wish that you could have a wider experience of Christianity other than what you have had, where you could see the good, that to be a Christian does not immediately translate into being a fundamentalist wacko. It really is reasonable and is NOT defined by wackos, but by Christ.

 
At 7:53 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

What I mean is the absolutist attitude within Christianity, such as the one Saur wrote about the other day. The idea tat "you have to believe what I believe or you're going to hell" CAN be incredibly dangerous.

You may not agree with all fo the examples that I would give, but here's one: if ou're going into a country or onto a continent (Africa) to do good works, that's great, but you MUST have respect for the cultural attitudes there. To tell millions of people tha it's a sin to use a condom is esentially handing them a death sentence. People are not going to stop having sex, especially with their spouses. Many women are raped or forced into sex, and to condemn them to getting AIDS and other diseases because it's "wrong" to wear a condom is just cruel.

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

I think you underestimate my experience with Christianity. I have had many good experiences, but I feel that they are, to some extent, false. People should do the right thing because they WANT to do the right thing, not because they're afraid of going to hell or upsetting their god, or because they're trying to please their god or get into heaven.

 
At 8:11 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Would you be interested in writing about a candidate for my new candidate blog. I worte a post about starting one. I'd really like to have it as bipartisan as possible. I guess this means I'm assuming you're voting Republican, but I'd be happy to have you choose any political candidate and write about them.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous ul said...

UWL:

1. Saur's post did as you say comment negatively on what the Pope is teaching from the CDF. However, you're interpreting him rather badly, or you're passing on another's prejudice about this article. It is hardly "You have to believe what I believe or you're going to hell." That doesn't appear in the CDF document. Read the document instead; you'll find he's MUCH more charitable to protestants than what is being reported.

2. Certainly respect for others cultural backgrounds is important, but not if their culture has sin built into it's structure. Yes, using condoms are bad, but condoms are not proven to prevent AIDS. Look at the failure rate of condoms in preventing pregnancies. Do you think that a rubber sheath which cannot stop a sperm, can stop a virus which is a thousand times smaller? This is red herring, though. It's the extra-pre-post-marital sexual intercourse with diseased males and females that causes AIDS. Condom usage only props up this highly sexualized culture. The Africans need to be continent if they're going to save their continent. Regarding your throwing rape into the equation: who is going to enforce rapists to wear condoms? Do they give a damn about their victims? Or, do we have to start encouraging rapists, if they must rape, to use a condom? The rape scenario opens to many problems with your argument. I see the plight that rape victims have here. But your anger at those who condemn condom usage in such scenarios is way beside the point.

3. As to your experience with Christianity, you are right to say that I don't know you're experience with religious people. I am only assuming by the negative things you have said about Christians and what they do. My conclusion is that you rub up against many Calvinist Bible thumpers. I must add, though, that to say that one does good regardless if the deity who requires it is pleased or not is a misunderstanding of faith. If that is the case, UWL, you don't need a god/goddess. Your foundational premise is one can do good without a god available to experience the pleasure of it. Tell me, do you do things to please the ones you love? I'm sure you do; I do. I love pleasing my wife...I love the smile she has when I anticipate doing something that blesses her. It's the same thing for the God we love. Hell is a torment that is taught in Christianity. However, it isn't the only thing. I would agree that if someone is good for the sake of only avoiding hell, is a half-baked cake; they haven't fully converted and are propagating a lop-sided empty faith.

4. As to your wanting my input on a Republican candidate, I wish I was better informed. I don't know who to support yet. Besides, I'm very unhappy with the Republicans. Right now, I think most of them are a bunch of wussies. I could use stronger language, but I don't want to be coarse. I appreciate your gesture, though. That means alot. If I decide later on, and if you're still doing it then, perhaps I'll add someone to the list. Right now, I'm too ignorant to make any sense.

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

UL,
You don't have to support someone, you just have to research and write about them. I think I posted a "quiz link" to see which of the candidates agrees with you most on major issues. Not foolproff, but I found it interesting.

Just because you say it's a sin doesn't mean it is, and if you're going into a country on the pretense of helping the people, then help them in the areas you agree with them on and stay out of the areas you don't. Provide education, but don't demand they learn your religion. Provide health care, but don't demand that they do it your way. Help people because they need helping, not because if you help them you can convert them by force.

You're wrong about condoms, but I'm not going to argue with you about it. This is where the loose relationship with the facts comes in, but for as many links as I can provide with actual facts, you can provide with claimed facts. It's not worth the time or the effort to go back and forth about it.

 
At 3:05 PM, Anonymous ul said...

UWL:

Regarding candidates, I leaned toward Brownback until his flip-flop on immigration. I give it some thought.

You said: (1) Just because you say it's a sin doesn't mean it is, and (2) if you're going into a country on the pretense of helping the people, then help them in the areas you agree with them on and stay out of the areas you don't. Provide education, but don't demand they learn your religion. Provide health care, but (3) don't demand that they do it your way. Help people because they need helping, not because if (4) you help them you can convert them by force.

I'll comment on the areas numbered above:

(1) Regarding sin, I'm not the one who determines what is sin, the Catholic Church does. To what authority do you refer in determining what is and is not sin?

(2) As to your reference to helping those in areas you mentioned without demanding they learn my religion or do things my way, to what are you referring? Some sort of theocratic political manipulation? Who does this anyway?

(3) Whose way do we follow then regarding health care? If people want to engage in unhealthy sexual practices, and yet want to avoid AIDS, your requirement puts "my" health care plan at an impasse with the people. If this concerns condoms, yes, you and I do disagree as to their effectiveness.

(4) What are you referring to regarding forced conversions?

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger United We Lay said...

Hey,
I moved my site to:
http://unitedwelay1.wordpress.com/

 

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