Now if you don't believe that, then you must be some kind of dummy, not a philosopher like Ed Kent, a guy who actually knows stuff 'cause he read some books and is, like, smart, you know? And even if he writes incoherent assertions as if he has made a pointful statement, we should, like, dig it or something 'cause he, like, knows stuff. Like, WOW. Go for it, Ken.
Killing in the Name of Jesus?
This post was written by Ed Kent on 18 January, 2007 (05:19) | All News
[I had the good fortune to have spent 3 years studying theology between undergraduate and graduate years of training in philosophy. The experience taught me any number of things that most who claim to be religious believers simply do not know:
1) The prophetic tradition of the Hebrew bible again and again warned religious believers (Israel) against using Yahweh as an excuse for doing evil things. Read the prophets for yourself. Few do and most only get an occasional line or so used as the basis of a sermon. The Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) is the focus of attention for Jewish scholars.
2) Jesus of Nazareth was not calling for people to march off to war. That perversion entered into Christianity when it was coopted by Roman values — legalism and war as a means of imperial outreach. See St. Paul and particularly his Letter to the Romans for hate stuff directed against Jews, gays, women and a call for sycophantic obedience to any and all political authorities — no matter how brutal and corrupt.
3) Christianity was the most murderous of the Western religions — always marching off to war against Muslims and other Christians who disagreed with their particular slant, launching yet another pogrom against the Jews culminating in Hitler's Nazi Christian church Holocaust directed against Jews, gays, those with disabilities, et al.
Having really read the texts and followed the history in detail, I took a deep breath, saw that I could not join the cast of preachers claiming divine authority for their expostulations, and got back to philosophy. There I had the benefit of knowing the sources from which some of our unexamined philosophic value systems derived in the long standing theological tradition. Supererogatory acts are not necessarily not duties just because the Christian theologians divided off duties and saintly self-sacrifice. Our right wing Christian evangelicals and comparable sect religions ( e.g. the Mormons) are hung up on this distinction and opposed, therefore, to proper state provisions for the basic human needs — food, affordable education, universal medical care, adequate education for all.
I don't necessarily believe that it is irrational to believe in a benign divinity hiding out beyond the skin and shell of things, but with all the horrors of the world I have serious doubts about the odds of this claim. It would be nice, were it true, but what you see is probably what you've got. Make the best of it while you can! Ed Kent]
****I think Ed Kent is likely a typical educated Western post-modernist liberal. I think Ed Kent's opinion is likely typical of roughly half the population of America today.
I'm no Christian but I do read the Bible on occasion. At this time in my life I should have earned the luxury of time to study Milton. It's not to be. For relief I read Psalms.
2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
46 How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?
48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
1 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
Granted I'm not deeply studied in Christian theology. Still, I feel that I'm cheated when I read commentary from those experts who criticise Christianity as above. I'm willing to say there is no need to study some things, such as the options of the Melians. Sometimes study is a fatal thing. Sometimes study is the only hope of salvation. When Milton quotes Satan in Paradise Lost we can learn from this dubious battle, from such study in revenge.
105: What though the field be lost?
106 All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
107 And study of revenge, immortal hate,
108 And courage never to submit or yield:
109 And what is else not to be overcome?
110 That Glory never shall his wrath or might
111 Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
112 With suppliant knee, and deifie his power,
113 Who from the terrour of this Arm so late
114 Doubted his Empire, that were low indeed,
115 That were an ignominy and shame beneath
116 This downfall; since by Fate the strength of Gods
117 And this Empyreal substance cannot fail,
118 Since through experience of this great event
119 In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc't,
120 We may with more successful hope resolve
121 To wage by force or guile eternal Warr
122 Irreconcileable, to our grand Foe,
123 Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
124 Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav'n.
I don't know obvious things, seemingly, like the problem people have with the Melian Dialogue. I miss the point of Ed Kent's deep study of Christian theology. I miss the sympathy some many have for Milton's Satan. Thucyidides presents lucid studies in politics, and Milton equally lessons in morality. Between the two I draw conclusions: that I'm a fascist.
Too bad for me that I'm not a clever thinker like Ed Kent and the other half of America and the modern Western population. Christians are the most murderous people on Earth in history. Oh well. Since I seem to have some time,
I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.