Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On Good Germans

In 1933, the Nazis took control of Germany with only 37% of the vote. Obviously, they were not the majority voice of the Germans. But most of the Germans that didn't vote for Hitler kept their heads down and their mouths shut. Maybe in the privacy of their homes they would disagree with the new image of Nazi Germany, but the majority did not fight agaist the hate mongering.

They didn't fight when the fight would have been easier, in the begining. They didn't fight after Chrystalnacht. They didn't fight when their neighboors were being sent off in cattle carts to concentration camps.

Maybe they disagreed. But they didn't fight. They did not stand up to say "This is not my country, this is not my belief, this is not right!"

So here and now, in the begining of the fundamentalist takeover of our country, it is up to those of you who would be good Germans to stand up and say "This is not my God, this is not my religion, this is not right!"

I come from a family of good, progressive Christians. But because progressive Christians are not muscling their way in to be the voice of opposition to people who claim to share their faith, those good, progressive people who actually follow Christ's teachings will be tarred with the feather of being "Good Germans".

Jovial- I am not the person you need to fight on this. I am not responsible for the fact that the religion you claim has taken a turn for the crazy. I am responsible for calling them on their crazy, but you are picking the wrong fight. I am more than willing to help you fight against them.
But I am not the enemy to your beliefs, I am not the reason that those of us on the side of ration and reason are disgusted by the screaming biggots in priest's robes.

By keeping your head down, or by picking the wrong fight, you do no help to fixing the image of Christians as extremists.

Go fight the actual extremists.


jovial_cynic said...

Define "fight."

I slam right-wing christianity all day long, whether on my blog, or in conversations, or in my own church when the yeast of the pharisees begins give rise to hypocricy. As an elder in my church, I'm a voice of influence, helping to ensure that our priorities focus on the poor, environmental stewardship, and meeting the needs of the members.

I'm teaching proper christianity, and proper church. I'm not sitting around with my head hung while crap goes on around me. And as I know what christianity is and isn't (and clearly, you do as well), the "I hate christians" rhetoric simply adds to the confusion. What you mean is "I hate folks who call themselves Christians, and yet don't live as a Christian should." There's a world of difference.

And incidentally, I don't think that belief is based on choice. And I think that the hateful people you describe do not believe. If they did, they would not behave as such.

The Red Queen said...

I choose to be agnostic.

You may not believe that I made that choice, but I was raised by a woman who is Catholic. If religion is not a choice then I would be Catholic too.

I am agnostic because I know there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of God. Therefore I do the right thing because it is the right thing to do without expectation of a reward in the afterlife. that was very much a conscious decision on my part and not the inability to pick a religion that suits me.

If your own beliefs are not a choice, then there is no such thing as free will.

If there is no such thing as free will, then I could not possibly be having this debate with you. Nor would you be offended by my beliefs- because they would not be my choice but the product of divine provenience.

I choose to take people at their word when they label themselves. Being that I am not a Christian I cannot disallow people from calling themselves Christian despite the appearance that they seem to follow none of Christ's teachings.

They still think they are part of the flock. If they are part of the flock, is it not your job as a fellow Christian to help shepherd them back to reality? How Christian is it to disown people who claim your same religion and stray so far from the path?

I'm not a sheep, I don't wear wool, but I am capable of saying "hey those sheep over there are acting like wolves" when they try to attack me or the things I believe in.

Fight meaning you seem to be mad at me for being mad about the same things you are mad about. The difference is in what each of our responsibilities are in fixing the problem.

jovial_cynic said...

There is no way for me to prove to to you the existence of God. That's fine -- I'm not interested in doing such a thing, and no Christian should be. That's a meaningless conversation, although the intellectual gymnastics that people undergo to try is always amusing.

In any event, your ability to have a choice is based on the options you think you have. But the options that you have are limited by your experiences, so you might not have as much free-will as the next person, or visa-versa. You, having never seen a [insert imaginary creature here], don't really have the option to rationally believe it exists. Me, having seen it, but unable to conjure it to show you, don't really have the option to believe it does not exist, and I can't rationally convince you of it. Our ability to choose, or to believe, is based on our limited experiences. So no -- I think that free-will is a farce.

Vanilla vs. Chocolate, Coke vs. Pepsi -- do you really think people make an educated decision on the matter? Nobody is swayed by external influences? Nobody is led by the particular arrangement of molecules on their tongue, which fires of signals to the brain in a unique order, forcing you to enjoy what you enjoy, and to despise what you despise? And when we change our minds, is there not a catalyst that forces our hand?

And this is just the material world. What about the immaterial? Do we have control over the biologically-driven wave of emotion that washes over us when we "fall in love?"

blah blah blah philosophy 101.

No - it's not my job to shephard people back to reality. It doesn't work that way. I preach the word of God, and either it resonates with individuals or it doesn't. It's not my job to convince them.

The Red Queen said...

Wow- what a limited world you live in.

I like coke because pepsi is too sweet. I like chocolate for it's dark yumminess and vanilla because it warms things up without adding spice.

I think that there are certain biological impulses that attract us to other people, but it is choosing to follow those impulses that leads to love or the lack of it.

See there is a difference between and unexamined and an examined life. Because you choose to remain ignorant of why you make the choices you do does not mean that there is no such thing as free will. It just means you can't be bothered to justify your own choice or do your own thinking.

As for the choice to believe or not- there are people who believe in fairies and magic. Their choice, but they generally can tell me why they believe in it and don't tell me that they have no free will and must believe in fairies because they can't not believe in them.

jovial_cynic said...

Ignorant, eh? Alright. As long as you're putting labels on everything, please go ahead and pull me from the author list. Thanks.

The Red Queen said...

No problem

Wonder said...


I think what jovial is reacting to is being automatically labeled a "good german" simply and ONLY on the basis of identifying as a christian.

I think what he was trying to say was "i AM doing something about this - just not where you happen to see or hear me" I doubt you're going to go visit his church anytime soon, much less drop in on an elders' meeting

he apparently has a position in his congregation where he has some influence (lucky boy) and is trying to guide other christians away from the lock-step marching of the right wing. Which is, it seems to me, a good place to start, and i respect that. It's a whole lot more than i'm doing.

Wonder said...

That being said --

Jovial -- the "girls" analogy was a bad one. If you had used, for example "atheists" or some other group that CHOOSES a BELIEF (or non-belief, as it may be) it would have better conveyed the sense of what you were trying to say.

I'm not going to debate you regarding free will versus predestination in this forum (or probably any) I have my opinion, I admit i don't have the bible verse "addressess" to back that up, but it's based on what I believe about the character of God.

And if your reaction to a little disagreement is to pick up your toys and go home, you really need to grow a thicker skin.

RQ was not "labeling" you ignorant. she said you were being ignorant about something, that really, as a christian you have a responsibility to not be ignorant about.

She DID call you a sexist, which may or may not be true, i don't know because i don't know you, really.

However, the church, even in the more progressive denominations, has a bad habit of raising its boys to think they're the divinely appointed leaders and the girls are at best the second-in-command (yes I know the proof-texts for that line of thinking, I just don't think that was the intended message)

I think it takes, for you guys(meaning males, in this context) a concious, intentional effort to move away from that line of thinking.

DeeK said...

WOW! Next time notify me when I am missing good stuff like this