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How blind can you be to not understand that economic hardship and political instability contribute to making a young impressionable person susceptible to extremist ideology? It strikes me as the simplest and most obvious fact about our current situation.
I find his comments clear-eyed and salient. Sometimes I'm just amazed at how folks can become wrapped up in political antagonism to the point that we can't agree on basic first principles. It seems to reasonable to me what he's said. Now the question becomes what to do.
Fake. http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/marcopoloislam.asp
What a shameful episode this is. Blatant disrespect for the sitting president and fawning over a foreign dignitary to pander to the religious right base... It's practically treasonous.
In response to:

Measles, Vaccines and Autism

paranoidmystic Wrote: Feb 10, 2015 8:21 PM
So you've changed your mind regarding climate change?
Oh, that's a good one, Chries! However, I would contend that the kind of pressure I'm talking about isn't present in the Chinese Christian community. I'm talking about living in a state of warfare for a generation or longer, facing starvation on a societal level not just a personal one, and a total breakdown of previously cherished institutions. If you want to start up a martyrdom cult, you need a situation where all the men are killed before they can tell their children not to follow in their footsteps. I do think the Chinese Christian response is an interesting counter-example though. There's a comparative religion paper in there somewhere about how they've managed to avoid radicalization for so long.
America, I have to assume you have decided to live in your own world where words have meanings you assign to them as shared by no one else. Have fun! Here in the outside-land of actual people Christianity and Islam are by definition religions which, along with Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and a few others, make up the major world religions. I think what you really meant to say is that anyone who thinks any religion other than yours is worth paying attention to is worthy of you shaming them with insults. I wonder... what moral instructor would suggest that's the way to engage with those who differ from you?
Chries, we are in agreement - the individual human being has not evolved appreciably over the past 500 years. Therefore we should be in agreement that the immoral decisions of the Christians of the 1500s, using Christianity as their guide, should inform our judgement of the religion of Islam as invoked by present day radical Islamists. The truth is that every religion can and will be warped by the population when it is necessary for that population to begin acting immorally or perish. Given those choices, a human being will not just perish. Instead we will warp our given moral framework in a false attempt to make our immorality permissible. This process fails, of course. But what it does not do is prove one moral framework superior to another. What it shows is that morality will indeed break down given political and economic pressure.
I disagree with your contentions. 1. Not many western Muslims are becoming radicalized. It's a vanishingly small proportion of the population. And those that are have become so by identifying with the situation of those muslims under the boot of extreme political and economic pressure. They do not become radical by reading the Koran. They become radical when bombs fall on families and dictators torture cousins. Then they open the Koran and there they find (just like every other world religion) what they need to carry on. Unfortunately for us, the formula of righteous martyrdom is very appealing to a certain type of young man. 2. I'm not talking about scattered individuals or small communities. In order to produce a legitimate radical ideology you have to apply political and economic pressure on an entire society. I don't think you could provide an example of such a Christian society on earth today. I'd be curious, if you could.
In response to:

Measles, Vaccines and Autism

paranoidmystic Wrote: Feb 10, 2015 7:53 PM
That's not quite true, Werner! But yes, liberals like myself prefer the govt when it comes to matters of of the public good like immunizations. At least the govt is mandated to be transparent and it is ultimately accountable in elections. You can't say the same about a corporation! In the free market, the pursuit of profit is paramount, not the public good. This is why liberals have this urban legend of the poison vaccination. It speaks deeply to our great fear about unfettered capitalism.
In response to:

Measles, Vaccines and Autism

paranoidmystic Wrote: Feb 10, 2015 7:46 PM
The post so nice, he said it thrice ;)
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