School Firewalls And Their Blocks On 'Gay/Lesbian Issues'

from the open-discussion dept

While I don't disagree that they have their place, the practical application of internet content filtering software and hardware seems to suck when it's applied large-scale. There are several reasons for this. The general category blocking that's done when settings are low flat out doesn't work. Some inappropriate content will be blocked while some won't be, with the same holding true for appropriate content. Yay. And, gosh, wouldn't you know it, but kids are generally really good about getting around the filters we adults put in place. And even when government groups that should know better have the best of intentions, they often end up blocking sites that shouldn't be blocked out of a misplaced sense of prudishness. That's how you end up getting WiFi on the Maryland Amtrak, but don't you go reading about gay topics (non-pornographic) because that's just icky icky.

It gets more interesting in schools, because everyone's sensitivity jumps up a notch when children are involved and because there's entirely too much sensitivity from different groups of parents who instill different values, religious traditions, and morals in their kids. I get that. If you're a strict Christian, you may teach your children the strict dogma about homosexuality. That's absolutely your right. That isn't the argument. Like, at all. But here's the fun question: exactly how verboten is the topic of gay marriage or homosexuality going to be in our schools now that the topic is regularly discussed on the news and amongst our lawmakers? And how is that question going to butt up against the way webfilters work, are programmed, and utilized by schools?

Here's one example of how this is done wrong. Full disclosure: Paul France is both a teacher here in Illinois and a very close friend of mine, but what happened when he wanted to look into teaching tools to discuss the recent marriage equality law passed in our state provides a partial look into why webfilters need to make some changes.

As a teacher of young children, and in light of Illinois’ recent ruling on gay marriage, I decided that I wanted to find out if there were any resources or news articles that would be relatable to and appropriate for children.
Now, while I can appreciate that not everyone will agree, I would hope that many/most will think that discussing current events and a major law being passed in our state would be a good topic of discussion amongst school children. After all, they live under this law. More importantly, as France notes later in his post, this was to be an open discussion with no push on telling kids they should "agree" with the law. It was purely a teaching moment. Unfortunately, in his search for appropriate resources, he came across a webfilter message that said sites were blocked as a "forbidden category: gay and lesbian issues."
Er, what? Here is part of what he sent to the manufacturer of the webfilter:
Same-sex relationships are not inappropriate for children; the physical and explicit nature of sex is, and an article related to same-sex marriage does not always mean there will be sexually explicit content. Having said this, the website that I visited did, in fact, end up having some content that would be inappropriate for children. However, this content should have been more correctly coded as Forbidden Category: Sexual Content.

In my mind, it would be like filtering an article with explicit photos on slave mistreatment in the 1800s as “African American Issues.” Of course, we would not want children to see disturbing photos depicting violence; however, we would code them as Forbidden Category: Violence.
If you happen to view homosexuality as a negative, which is again your right, you might find this to be nit-picky...until you read that second paragraph. Because he's exactly right; gay and lesbian issues are no more a legitimate target for a block than African American issues. Sexual content should of course be blocked on school networks (assuming it isn't gobbling up sex-ed class material as well), but that's not what we're talking about. In what world is blocking "Gay and Lesbian Issues" appropriate? That's sending all the wrong messages about how children in schools (and the rest of us too, by the way) are supposed to be engaging in an educational dialectic. Banning the topic gets nobody anywhere. This isn't about pushing anything, it's about having a discussion in a secular public school system.
Let’s try something new. Let’s open up our minds, accept that there are many diverse viewpoints, and come to terms that we don’t all agree. Let’s have a discussion, encourage debate, and promote divergent thinking. I think we’ll all be better off for it in the long run.
I'll add to that a couple of things. Parents, give yourselves credit for your parenting. Mere discussion isn't going to change the values you've taught your children. And let's also give our kids some credit. I think they can take on more serious topics than we imagine, no matter which side of this or any other argument you might be on.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Duane Abrames, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Does he shoot the messenger too?

    As a network engineer who installs SonicWall devices in many settings, I can tell you that the *Manufacturer* simply tries to put the sites into categories. It's the installer (hopefully with input from the customer) who chooses which categories are "Forbidden." As far as I know, there is no real reason that particular category should be blocked, but I know two of our Christian school clients block it, along with most of the categories which are remotely controversial. In other settings, such as corporate offices, we tend to be asked to block social media, video sites like YouTube, Porn (of course), etc.

    Bottom line is, rather than taking a dramatic stand on the public stage, this teacher could probably have gotten an exception to the rule for his login or his machine by simply calling his IT department.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:14am

    Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    You make a really good point, although I'll nitpick this bit at the end:

    "this teacher could probably have gotten an exception to the rule for his login or his machine by simply calling his IT department."

    That's doesn't address his point at all, which is not about his particular ability to access the sites, but about the students. He's complaining about miscategorization, and he's right (a page with sexually explicit content should be categorized as such).

    His proper course of action, though, should be more in line with what you suggest: working with his school to have the access restrictions removed for that category for everybody.

    In the meantime, he should do what most people who are stymied by these filters do -- bypass them.

     

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  3.  
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    DannyB (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    rather than taking a dramatic stand on the public stage, this teacher could probably have gotten an exception to the rule for his login or his machine by simply calling his IT department.

    I like this thinking. Why don't we just institute national internet filters . . . um, . . . to protect the children. Yeah, that's it! Think of the Children!

    We can turn the entire internet into a children's reading room.

    Anyone who doesn't like that something like breast cancer, testicular cancer, or police brutality is blocked does not need to rant on the public stage. They can just get an exception from their friendly government censor -- who is probably already looking over their shoulder and monitoring everything already -- for your convenience and safety.

     

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  4.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    " Christian school clients block it"

    Aww, how cute of them, to try and block it, to try and pretend that something that goes against their religion doesn't exist.
    Whereas I've never heard of a case of an atheist group of any kind block access to religious content (more often than not, we're more educated in religion than most so-called practitioners.)

     

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  5.  
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    DannyB (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    The reason for this filtering policy and category

    It's not so much to protect the children from inappropriate content. It's to protect them from open academic discussion and discourse that might occur if these sites were not censored.

    Only the non-mechanized worker units are complaining. None of the mechanized ones are. So this should tell you something about who the whiners and trouble makers are.

     

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  6.  
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    Erbo, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Re: The reason for this filtering policy and category

    Um, no.

    The purpose of these filters is not to protect children from either "inappropriate content" or "open academic discussion and discourse." It's to protect the school from being sued down to their skivvies by parents who are outraged that little Johnny read something on Teh Interwebz at school that they don't like, and to protect school officials from losing their jobs because angry parents are showing up with torches and pitchforks because their precious snowflakes can read things on Teh Interwebz at school that they don't like.

    At least half of all policies at government institutions can be summarized as "In case of trouble, cover your ass."

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:46am

    Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    Just use Lynx as the browser instead?

    Btw. if you want any meaningful protection against whatever you are blocking, use whitelists instead of filters. It makes the protection infinitely more effective even though it may make internet almost pointless for searching.

    In any case, it is silly to pretend such extensive filtering is going to do more good than harm for pupils. If I hit a wall too high to climb, I start to dig. The sooner the puppies hit the wall, the sooner they have a workaround.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 11:14am

    I love lesbians I've been one since puberty and yeah I'm a dude.

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    .

    "Now, while I can appreciate that not everyone will agree, I would hope that many/most will think that discussing current events and a major law being passed in our state would be a good topic of discussion amongst school children. After all, they live under this law. More importantly, as France notes later in his post, this was to be an open discussion with no push on telling kids they should "agree" with the law. It was purely a teaching moment."


    Outside of a Secondary level (pre-adult) "Social Studies" class, this subject matter is simply not appropriate for school children, especially "young children" (K-9).

    Any attempts to rationalize this as appropriate "rides the line" on attempted premature sexualization of children, an odd and disgusting fascination of the liberal/progressive mindset.

    As for the school's internet filters, the filters should be set up to whitelist less than 50, maybe 100 age appropriate reference material sites that are directly required to support a documented lesson plan.


    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


    .

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: The reason for this filtering policy and category

    Its probably a combination of the two.

    The parents would sue because they don't want their children to have an open discussion or thought about religion, sexuality, racism, etc. The parents of devout Christians would prefer their children lived in the dark and will attack anyone who que1stions that stance.

    Schools should teach every side to the story and let children decide. Fuck the parents, if they don't like it they can choose another school.

     

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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    I can't find anything inappropriate on the website url in the picture.

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    Last I checked, atheist groups don't have much of a reason to block religious content. I mean, what harm can (from an atheist perspective) having access to Christian/Hindu/Jewish/Buddhist/Muslim/Rastafarian texts do? I mean, they're all just imaginary sky-gods and superstitious mythology, just like the Greek/Roman religions of old, are they not?

    But on topic: Considering that those Christian schools block anything you might consider "controversial", it must be one hell of a boring view of the Internet from the school networks. I mean, doesn't the Internet practically run on controversy these days?

     

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  13.  
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    Jotunbane, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    In other words. You're a cunt??

     

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  14.  
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    Another teacher, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    See the thing is, the tech department deflected it on the manufacturer. The teacher didn't jump to any "dramatic" conclusions. You should read his full blog. No one wants to take responsibility, which is quite disappointing, especially when this came up in a school.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    I didn't know there were still Puritans. Do you live in a museum?

     

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  16.  
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    Mr. F., Nov 27th, 2013 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Wrongo, Mr. General Emergency,

    No one is trying to sexualize our children. Society, the shows they watch, and the games they play do that well enough for them. What we are trying to do is encourage acceptance of different types of families.

    Education research shows that children are able to discuss these types of issues, and that it is GOOD for them--to be able to flush out their thoughts and opinions. Specifically, the National Association for the Education of "Young Children" (NAEYC), supports this practice as well, with "young children" being categorized as K-2, not K-9.

    I suggest you start working in a school, or do your research, prior to making generalized statements about what is appropriate for children.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 4:53pm

    How to spot an obvious sign you're stuck in the 20th century school of thought: you're dumb enough to do anything that even remotely looks like it might offend homosexual people.

    You don't fuck with gay people; gay people fuck with you. Everyone knows that by now, yeesh.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    "Sexual content should of course be blocked on school networks...". I don't know about Puritan, but he's pro-censorship. Why does he write for Techdirt again?

     

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  19.  
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    Duane Abrames, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    Well, The Gay & Lesbian issues category is NOT for sexually explicit stuff. It's like PFLAG's website, or other gay lesbian causes and organizations. I don't think it should be blocked at all. My only issue is that the article says he wrote the manufacturer, which seems silly since all they do is categorize the sites (and have a process for reporting miscategorizations). The persons who should have received his ire are the IT guys, the principal, and the school board. One of them has the responsibility to say what is and is not blocked by the filter, based on the categories in the software.

     

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  20.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Wow you can write that sort of dribble and growl all at the same time....

    Awesome... And for your next trick?

    Maybe disappear back to the 18/19th Century where puritans, charismatics and other throwbacks like yourself actually belong.

     

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  21.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:55pm

    Re:

    Whats your beef with happy people?

     

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  22.  
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    Pragmatic, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Why are you so damn keen for the kids to watch porn?

     

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  23.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    Christians understand how important it is to teach youth the difference between right and wrong. It isn't that we pretend evil doesn't exist, it's that we don't want to corrupt people's minds.

     

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  24.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: The reason for this filtering policy and category

    That's a wonderful Marxist attitude. Why should the parents have a say in how their own children are brought up? Let Big Brother State dictate everything. Small wonder that private and home-schooling consistantly blow the public school system out of the water in student performance.

    Remind me again: who's paying the teachers' salaries?

     

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  25.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Because he's a moral relativist?

     

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  26.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    It's precisely this kind of liberal mindset that's responsible for the sexualization of children. No, they shouldn't be taught about sex until moving into adulthood. You're just looking for any and every excuse to corrupt our youth and thus advance the immoral agenda of making them more susceptible to sexual activity and pedophiliacs from a younger age. Children are highly impressionable and most parents would be opposed. Fortunately they're not YOUR property to thrust your perversions upon.

     

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  27.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    I'd say he's right on target. Morals don't suddenly go out of fashion with the passage of time. You want to talk about moving backwards? Your "modern" version of morality is taken straight out of Sodom and Gomorrah. So much for postulating the supposed newness of your line of thinking.

     

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  28.  
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    lfroen (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    >> What we are trying to do is encourage acceptance of different types of families.
    What is this "different types of families" you're talking about? Breaking news - 2 guys (or girls) living together doesn't make a family. No, your liberal/progressive/whatever opinion doesn't count. The core purpose of human family is reproduction.
    Some families have 1 male and several female members, some - other way around. But - from the dawn of time family didn't consist of members of same sex. And homosexuality was very acceptable in ancient Rome/Greece/other places.

    So GeneralEmergency guy is absolutely right - this IS inappropriate subject for young children. Yep, discussion about almost any sexual subject is inappropriate.

    And yes, school firewall should be set to "default deny" and whitelist is supposed to be very short.

     

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  29.  
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    lfroen (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    Actually, the whole idea of "school" exists to "protect the children". But I guess you prefer to cancel mandatory schooling as well, since it hurts someone "freedom".

     

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  30.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    That's your retort? Sodom and Gomorrah? Two cities whose very existence is very greatly in doubt?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodom_and_Gomorrah#Historicity

    *Throws hands up in the air*

     

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  31.  
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    lfroen (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    Moreover, morals doesn't change because of technological progress. What was wrong for childrent doesn't suddently become OK because "it's on internet".

     

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  32.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Does he shoot the messenger too?

    The Gay & Lesbian issues category is NOT for sexually explicit stuff.


    Yes, but in the story, Paul France did mention that one of the sites blocked as being gay & lesbian did, in fact, contain sexually explicit images. That was what I was referring to: that site should have been categorized as both.

    The persons who should have received his ire are the IT guys, the principal, and the school board.


    Well, not the IT guys (they don't get to make those decisions), but yes, I agree 100%.

     

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  33.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    "It's precisely this kind of liberal mindset that's responsible for the sexualization of children. No, they shouldn't be taught about sex until moving into adulthood."

    So you would outlaw sexual education in schools altogether? None in health class, no Robert Crown Center, nothing, until COLLEGE?!??! Despite every last piece of evidence indicating that doing so will lead to a massive INCREASE in teen pregnancy and STDs? Talk about working at cross purposes....

    "You're just looking for any and every excuse to corrupt our youth and thus advance the immoral agenda of making them more susceptible to sexual activity and pedophiliacs from a younger age."

    What the shit ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? We're talking about discussing a law that these children live under. If the law exists, kids should be able to discuss it. You're not really suggesting that we keep our children from talking about our government, are you!?!?

    "Children are highly impressionable and most parents would be opposed."

    Children are highly resilient and thoughtful if you raise them that way. As for most parents being opposed to teaching about the law: citation please. The teachers at this particular school have experienced the exact opposite.

    "Fortunately they're not YOUR property to thrust your perversions upon."

    For someone so worried about pedophiles and perverts, you sure talk about thrusting stuff on children a lot....

     

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  34.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    "So GeneralEmergency guy is absolutely right - this IS inappropriate subject for young children. Yep, discussion about almost any sexual subject is inappropriate."

    Say goodbye to Sex Ed and say hello to teen pregnancy and STDs, because that's all your stupid prudishness is going to get you....

     

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  35.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    I dare you to, if you should ever encounter them, talk to a same sex couple, preferably one who have an adopted child (or one born via surrogate), tell them that. Tell them to their faces that they are not a family. That for some reason, the fact that the parents have the same junk downstairs negates the fact they are raising a child, clothing it, feeding it, teaching it right from wrong: no, in your view, none of that matters. The purpose of family is simply to pump out babies, no mention of rearing them.

    So, how would you define gay/lesbian issues? Do you want to block on the school network any news about Elton John, his partner and their son? Do you block Wikipedia, just in case Little Johnny, in looking up an artist that he likes, sees in the biography that that artist is homosexual?

     

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  36.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Please tell me just why you automatically think that a piece of web content that is about LGBT is automatically pornography?

     

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  37.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Regardless of whether or not you believe they existed, there's no question that homosexuality has existed for thousands of years.

     

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  38.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    I'm against teaching children about sex.

    Naturally teachers are going to defend their actions. What do you expect? You may was well be asking corporations whether or not copyright laws are good.

     

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  39.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    " homosexuality has existed for thousands of years."

    Yes and...? Your point was? I agree, homosexuality has existed for thousands of years.
    It's not a question of whether or not I, (as in me, Rikuo) believe S & G existed. It's a question of whether YOU (Michael) do, since you were the one who brought them up. As for morals "don't go out of fashion with the passage of time"...yes, they do. Thousands of years ago, it was considered moral to own slaves. To sacrifice animals to gods. Now, we longer hold such practices as being moral. That's morals going out of fashion with the passage of time.

     

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  40.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 8:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    "I'm against teaching children about sex."

    Then you're a moron. If you want children to be prepared to be responsible and knowledgeable about the responsibilities and consequences of puberty and sex, you teach them about it. If you want to make sure you have as many STDs and teen pregnancies as possible, you don't teach them about sex and let them learn it on their own, from pornography, from TV, from music, and from when they have cauliflower on their dicks and children in their wombs.

    You, again, are working at cross purposes...

     

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  41.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Like most charismatics they mix up mores and ethics..

    But hey, each to their own.. though there main problem is trying to shove their own mores onto others that are unwilling to accept them. That is where they fail with basic ethics.

    But arguing with people like "The Real Michael" (as opposed to the imaginary one I guess *shrug*)in regards to ideological fanaticism is like masturbating with a cheese grater. An amusing comcept but ultimately fruitless and extremely painful.

     

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  42.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 28th, 2013 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Then I am extremely grateful that I live in a country where sex education for children is not only taught in schools it is LEGALLY MANDATED for EVERY CHILD to attend whether their personal ideology (or their parents) states otherwise or not.

    That sex education includes but is certainly not limited to such things as LGBT sexuality, contraception and how/when to use it, sexual practices, sexually transmitted diseases, historical deviant behaviour and why it changes, anal sex, oral sex, masturbation, etc etc etc etc

    Oh and they get taught ethics as well now.. Scary hey!

     

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  43.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Oh yeah, all those things are just great. So great that now there's a preponderance of teenage moms, STDs, prostitution, orgies, et al. Congrats on cheerleading the moral decay of this country. Thankfully more and more parents are pulling their children from the indoctrin... er, public school system.

     

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  44.  
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    The Real Michael, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    No, morals do not go out of fashion. There's right and there's wrong, period. Funny, the Roman and Greek empires both accepted your "new" version of morality and look where that got them.

    As for the "practice of slavery," if you're referring to Biblical times, aside from when the Jews were in bondage in Egypt, the slavery referred to was more the order of indentured servitude like a live-in servant or butler, typically to pay off a debt. HUGE difference between that and, say, the slavery of blacks in colonial America, ironically a practice taught to early British settlers by the Africans themselves. For all intents and purposes, a massive case of human trafficking. But slavery still exists in the world. In fact it's more than likely that a few of the products you've purchased were made by indentured servants in sweatshops and live-in factories equipped with suicide nets.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Some very common and obvious stupidity.

    All we need is the product to keep us safe from being sued by those few parents who will be up in arms.
    We can rely on/blame the vendor if it doesn't work perfectly.

    The fastest way to get kids interested in a subject is to tell them no they can't see it. Are we so far removed from our own childhoods that we can't remember the thrill when we first saw a Playboy? It was forbidden.

    We expect there to be a magic fix for everything. We say fix this, they do something and we never need to consider it again. If anyone questions anything, we call them out for trying to destroy our safe little bubble.

    We want to keep children safe online.
    We setup a program to do it for us, and rely on a 3rd party to catalog the entire internet for us and file it as we would file it.
    It is far easier than expecting parents to teach their kids how to use the internet, explain that they might see bad things, and try to instill their values on their kids.

    It really is time we stop trying to please everyone with a magic bullet solution that doesn't work.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Hey that';s the USA for you were what I said is the exact opposite of WHERE I LIVE!!! IE: NOT THE USA.. ie: where sex education is legally mandated and teen pregnancies, stds, etc are BELOW the USA!!!

    Nice when you actually read what I wrote instead of assuming everything is about the USA

     

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    The Real Michael, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    "Hey that';s the USA for you were what I said is the exact opposite of WHERE I LIVE!!! IE: NOT THE USA.. ie: where sex education is legally mandated and teen pregnancies, stds, etc are BELOW the USA!!!"

    And where do you live? Statistics differ dependent upon various factors, customs and circumstances. A country with only a fraction of our population will generally have lower statistics.

    It's rather astounding to the degree the Roman Empire parallels the US. Rome was a formerly governed as a republic while beginning to show imperialistic tendencies, annexing various providences around the Mediterranian. There are various factors in its transition to an imperialistic empire, most significantly the progressive transfer of wealth and military power into the hands of a few. As with Rome, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, with increases in living wages and social security disproportinate to cost of living increases.

    Augustus conslidated power unto himself while distancing himself from titles which directly implied that he was a monarch or dictator, intentionally obfuscating any autocratic labeling. To that end, Rome still legislated, debating laws and such, but Augustus had the final say in all matters.

    Again, much as the US government perpetuated the various wars on terror, drugs and so forth in order that there be useful problems to serve as stepping stones for the expansion of its authoritarian role and various methods of implementation in the name of law, order and security, so too did Rome inject strife, conflict and economic depression when in 212 A.D. Caracalla granted universal citizenship to all the people under his jurisdiction. Because of the (intentionally created) ensuing chaos, in 284, Diocletian sought to impose order by pinning the blame on Christianity which he labeled as a threat, thus beginning what came to be known as "The Great Persecution."

    Incidentally, a short while later, the Roman Empire was dissolved, yet Christianity still remains.

    So, yeah, it's fascinating to observe the parallels between the Roman Empire and the current state of the US, how much history is repeating itself.

     

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    The Real Michael, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Totally agree with you. This is an intentional attack on the family via social engineering of our most vulnerable.

    What they're attempting to do is to portray an intrinsic evil as being equal to good, but good and evil are not equal and cannot co-exist without causing harm and chaos. As with the various dictators in genocidal regimes throughout history, the liberals' mission is to perpetuate evil in society in order to morally and spiritually undermine us, enabling humanist moral relativism to gain traction...

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Morals don't suddenly go out of fashion with the passage of time. You want to talk about moving backwards? Your "modern" version of morality is taken straight out of Sodom and Gomorrah.


    Morality as a concept never goes out of fashion. What is and isn't "moral", however, is determined by society and does indeed change over time.

    The interesting thing about the Sodom story is why the city was destroyed. Even though we get the word "sodomy" from the city, the sin that was committed was not a particular sexual act. It was that there were people in the city who wanted to rape the visiting angels and mobbed Lot when he refused to allow that to happen. The interesting thing is that Lot offered his two virgin daughters instead -- something that was apparently a perfectly moral thing to do in the day. So there's one example of morals going out of fashion with time.

    This is one of a handful of curious popular misinterpretations of bible stories in order to push an unrelated sexual morality. Here's another one: the story of Onan, from which we get the word Onanism, and is usually the biblical basis for why masturbation is considered a sin.

    The actual story, though, is not that Onan masturbated. It's that he was force to have sex with his sister-in-law because the morals of the day required that when a husband dies and leaves his wife without child, his brother must step up to father the child in his stead. Look: another example of a moral going out of style with time.

    Onan objected to this. He had sex with his sister-in-law anyway, but pulled out when he came, ensuring that there would be no child. This was his sin, not masturbation: he engaged in an act that was designed specifically as a "fuck you" to his god.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    What about the more modern slavery -- actual, real slavery, that was endorsed by, and considered moral by, most of the Christian world?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    it is sad but interesting

    It is sad but interesting how everyone here says morals can change and ether are no absolute truths yet they foam at the mouth at the mouth at the mention of christianity. Why do you think your morals are any better than that of a Christians if there is no true right our wrong? You claim Christian morals are antiquated yet they have lasted thousands of years. Mybe your morals are just a flash in the pan. Why even worry about morals at all if there is no absolute truth?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Does it matter exactly how harshly the slaves were treated? Either the common meaning of slavery or your indentured servitude meaning, it still means that the person loses their freedom and has to do labour with no compensation. Either way, it is a concept that is no longer practised in the western world, meaning that what was once thought moral is no longer thought moral, thus your statement of morals not going out fashion with the passage of time is simply and quite literally false.
    If you continue to stick with "There's right and there's wrong", as in an absolute right and wrong that never changes (i.e. objective morality), then you have to admit that slavery/indentured servitude is indeed still moral.
    Here, read this link
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_slavery
    Are you going to sell your virgin daughters into sex slavery? What about a male slave of yours, whom you give a wife to? Are you going to let him go free with his family, or you going to keep the wife and kids, and thus force him to say "Yes, I want to stay a slave" (that is how Hebrews at the time found a way to legally keep a fellow Hebrew as a slave for the rest of his life)
    Also, there has never been hard evidence that the biblical tale of the Hebrews being kept in bondage in Egypt was true. Plus, as the link says, manumission only applied to male Hebrews, not foreigners or female Hebrews.

    As for where the Roman and Greek Empires got themselves...are you seriously going to blame that on homosexuality? The Roman Empire collapsed because of the Germanic hordes. The Greek Empire, at its height under Alexander the Great, collapsed, not because Alex had homosexual sex (no-one denies that he was bisexual), but because he stretched himself too thin and too far, and didn't name a successor, thus causing his generals to squabble amongst each other as to who got what.
    Tell me...are you a member of the Westboro Baptist Church? That is seriously what you sound like. Sure, go on, hate homosexuality if you want to, I'm not going to say you can't...but you cannot call yourself a rational, thinking human being if you make the leap to say that homosexuality is the cause for the collapse of nations

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Re: it is sad but interesting

    We, (at least I) don't foam at the mouth when we hear Christianity. I was once Catholic.
    Why do I think my morals are better than theirs? I believe mine are better because I take the time to think and study the world. I don't rely on the whimsical notions of a priesthood cabal who say to me what is moral and what is immoral, when I never hear the voice of their so called god myself.
    The Christians will say that their morals are better because their morals come from God, who being the supreme being obviously knows best.
    Who is ultimately correct? I don't know. Perhaps there is a God (if so, he's chosen perhaps the worst way to spread his teachings and reveal himself, given that a single holy book is so unreliable as evidence).

    Just because something lasts for thousands of years doesn't mean it is obviously correct. Slavery has existed for about all of recorded human history, and yet, if you were to ask any person around you, they would say to you it is wrong and there is no excuse for it.

    What I have a problem with (and I'm pretty sure my view is echoed by other people as well) is when those of a religious persuasion say X, Y and Z are immoral, point at their holy book, then campaign to change laws to make those acts illegal.
    To put things in context, I abhor, as in, absolutely loathe smoking. Yet, I will never seek to make it illegal. I'm even able to look beyond the act (the woman I'm in love with is a smoker). I treasure her and am able to acknowledge that while she does a thing I hate, she is still one of my precious people. However, what do we hear about all the time with fundamentalist religious families if someone comes out as homosexual/bisexual/etc? Usually they're disowned (this was one reason why I was disowned, my mother mistakenly believed I am homosexual). Unlike the religious people, I am able to get my head out of my ass, see that the topic isn't black and white, good or evil, us vs them: I'm able to acknowledge the many shades of grey, acknowledge that people are people and that I shouldn't be judgemental (funny, I thought that was the Christian thing to do: Judge not lest ye be judged). I don't need to point to a Big Sky Daddy to accept those people who are precious to me: those people are able to prove themselves to me that they are worthy of my devotion and there's nothing religious about it. I'm thinking now of three people who I would gladly step in front of a bullet and die for. I wouldn't do it because it's commanded by a religion, or because doing this good deed gets me pass the pearly gates. I would do it simply to help them and because I know my unshakeable trust in them is actually justified: all three have helped immensely over the years, with one of them actually saving my life.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Your response contradicts itself. You admit there is no absolute truth yet feel you morals are better. How can any morals be better if it is up to choices?

    Since slavery has existed for nearly all of time then maybe its ok? How can anyone really say? It can't be wrong because there is no wrong.

    You make derogatory comments about Christians yet i bet most of the works atrocities came art the hands of non religious people. Somehow you ignore those. Of course they can't really be atrocities since there is no right out wrong. Right?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Not being derogatory, but being critical of Christians. There's a huge difference.
    Yes, I believe my morals are better, because I am able to reason them out. I say smoking is immoral simply because there is literally no benefit in it (if there is valid evidence of even one positive gain, please tell me), not because a book written thousands of years ago simply says "Don't do it, it pisses me off".
    We say today that slavery is not OK because we can see the harm it causes. Today we recognise the validity of human rights. Until someone comes up to me with satisfactory evidence of why we should enslave people, then I will continue to believe it is wrong.

    Yes atrocities happen. We are talking about things like genocide, the mass murder of people, are we not? Did I say such things are not wrong, or are not atrocities? Please point to me where I said something like that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    You miss my point. You say that there is no true right and wrong then procede to tell me what is wrong.

    You mention the validity of human life so tell me, what about abortion? Seems many will say the same as you yet have no qualms with abortion.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    After having gone back through what I said...I don't see where I've said there is no true right and wrong.
    I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Instead of just accusing you of attacking a strawman you've built, I'm going to accept that you may have looked at my comments on this page and possibly misunderstood what I've said.
    More than likely, you're taking this "no true right and wrong" from the thread I have with The Real Michael.
    I responded to his claim of "morals don't go out of fashion" by explaining that if I were to accept his statement as true, then obviously, an action once thought moral for thousands of years (slavery) would have to be moral today. I was explaining the idiocy of his statement.

    For me, there are actions that are simply wrong, such as rape. The reason I say they are wrong and immoral, is because there is no positive gain to be had. It is an act of violence done merely to degrade, to harm another person for no other reason than to establish some sort of dominance or to slake sexual lust.
    That's me giving a reason why I view an action of immoral. Whereas, if you were to ask a real Christian why they believe homosexuality/divorce etc to be immoral, they would point at their bible and say something that boils down to "God doesn't like it". That's it. Even rape was permissible in the Old Testament, what with the fact you were allowed own female slaves specifically for the purposes of sexual pleasure.
    Moreover, not even a follower of an Abrahamic religion can claim that they believe in real wrongs, or absolute right and wrong. The god that they worship changes his mind on what he likes, on what he says is moral. That shows that their (the humans) morality is based on nothing more than the whims of a capricious being. Abraham is praised in the OT because he listens to a voice in his head that says "Slit your son's throat". You can dress it up all you want as Abraham being humble and willing to do as God commands: but you still have to acknowledge the fact that your so called just god told a man to take his son out to an altar and murder him, just to prove his devotion. Usually, we would take that to be the sign of a psychopath (both Abraham and God), but for some reason, the Abrahamic god gets a pass.
    I thought that murder was wrong? While according to biblical lore, Abraham lived generations before Moses, who received the Ten Commandments, surely such a thing would still be counted wrong. If you reply with "God is above such laws" then you can't obey any laws such a being decrees, since he does not follow them himself and thus provide an example. It would be somewhat akin to a US president signing an anti-bigamy bill into law, then the very next day he says to an underling to marry two wives.

    As for abortion? I actually did type out a paragraph here about it...but when I was re-reading it, I realised that what I wrote sounded like what fundamentalist religious people do when they hear a friend/family member is homosexual. I'll have to get back to you on that. I'll have to give it a very good think, especially on how to explain it (rather than just pointing at a book, saying "It's wrong, it pisses god off" and calling it a day, which to me is a cop-out. If your morals are that easy to sum up, then you haven't thought about them at all)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Your story of Abraham is way off the mark. First he was asked to sacrifice his son but God had no intention of letting him do it. Second, it was foreshadowing for God allowing his Son to be sacrificed for our sins. So no, God has never changed his kind on what is right and wrong.

    As for things being wrong because they have no value, that is your definition. It has no basis in anything, it is just how you decided to judge right and wrong. Your view of why Christian s think something is wrong is also skewed. If you look objectively you would see sin is self punishing. Take lying, liars are not trusted. Promiscuous people get diseases and HPV which leads to cancer. So it is wrong because God said so but is also wrong because it leads to bad results.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    "So no, God has never changed his kind on what is right and wrong."

    This alone proves you've never read the bible. Just by going Old Testament alone, one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses was "You shall not murder". Yet, before that, God advocated and ordered genocide against whole races and nations (Deuteronomy 3 and Joshua 6 are prime examples). In Judges 21, he orders the murder of all the people of Jabesh-gilead, except for the virgin girls who were taken to be forcibly raped and married.
    So you have two choices now. Either admit that your statement there is wrong...or stick with it, and thus, say, that what God commanded before is still good today (murder and rape).

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 29th, 2013 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Ah, stupid me. I meant to say "Yet, after that", instead of before. The books I mentioned happened after Moses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    It seems you are going by the atheist playbook attacks that there are contradictions in the bible. Since you seem to be willing to read the websites claiming this, why not read websites that give evidence against contradictiins such as this one.

    http://www.gotquestions.org/is-God-evil.html

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2013 @ 7:23pm

    Re: it is sad but interesting

    Everyone you know is gay, you dumb fuck. Straight people have had it too good for too long.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 30th, 2013 @ 1:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Okay, nice link you have there. One thing struck me as I read it: it did not acknowledge or mention the sources I had above (Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges). It did try to rebut the question "Is God Evil?" by explaining that when Israelites were told to occupy land, it was because those already living there were far too wicked.
    Notice what your link says. That everyone in a given nation was judged to be guilty of some crime (human sacrifice etc), (and that right there is a problem: everyone?) and so the order is given that GENOCIDE must be enacted.

    To put things in context in the real world: the German people were not wiped because of what the Nazis did. Yes, everyone knows the Nazi party did incredibly horrible things, but it did not result in the execution of every member of their race which is what your link promotes! Your link says that of the various races that were wiped out in the stories of the bible, they were all justified because they were all deemed evil.
    Well I'm sorry, but you have just gone and done one of the most stupid things you could have done when arguing with an atheist. The atheist in me says "It's immoral to believe in and worship the god of the bible, because he orders the execution of entire races and cultures". And you turn around and retort by saying...such acts of genocide were justified?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    That was Gods judgment on those people. The same judgment we all will face. And no, good is not immoral as you imply, it is we the people that are immoral. I pray you will realize that one day as i don't wish to see anyone go to hell.

     

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    The Real Michael, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    First, homosexuality itself isn't the root cause of the collapse of nations; immorality in general is. Homosexuality is merely a symptom of the latter.

    Second, yes, customs and traditions were different before Christ, but human behavior remains the same as it ever was. You state as if for a fact that slavery has been removed here in the western world. However, it's simply taken on different forms. For one, debt. Millions of Americans owe in back taxes, credit card debt, you name it. Don't pay your income tax and you'll find out real quick just how free you are. Because the government overspends and refuses to balance its budget, they continue to raise the national debt. (Guess how they intend to pay it back when the SHTF.)

    There are people who are so poor, so desperate that they're juggling 3 jobs just to make ends meet and barely at that. For all intents and purposes they're wage slaves -- indentured servants. And then of course there's prostitution, human smuggling and even child sex, right here in the good ol' US of A. Hey, prison is a lucrative business.

    The Westboro Baptist Church? No, sorry, try harder. I'm Catholic.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 30th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    "No, sorry, try harder. I'm Catholic."

    Then, and I never thought I'd actually be able to say this in my lifetime, I wish you'd act more like the Pope....

     

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    The Real Michael, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Why, do you believe falsely that he's not opposed to same-sex marriage? You'd be wrong.

    What good is marriage if it can be redefined arbitrarily to fit with anything? Children, cars, dogs, trees, it doesn't matter. That's the impression I get from your posts. It's Satan's commandment, "Do whatever thou will." Words and institutions lose all meaning and therefore are made to fit with whatever feels good at the moment.

    http://poorrichardsnews.com/post/67096291319/school-cancels-christmas-toy-drive-for-needy-chi ldren

    Note: The Constitution only prohibits government from establishing a state religion. The First Amendment provides freedom ofreligion, not freedom from religion. Of course that didn't stop this group of Humanists from stomping on children's Christmas joy.

    Everyone's created equal, but some are more equal than others...

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 30th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    And what happens if that judgement is flawed? How do you know that the being you worship is actually fully moral?

    Here's a good question. God and Satan. How do you know which is the good one and which is the evil one? What about the possibility of God actually being the evil one and in a nefarious plot, writes (or rewrites) the bible to paint himself in a positive light, and Satan in a negative light?
    Plenty of people in North Korea read works that basically say that Kim Jong-il's family are more or less divine. How do you know that it's not the same situation with you, that you have been duped by a con artist?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 30th, 2013 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    So basically, you're saying you believe in and worship a god who, by virtue of his authority, orders the GENOCIDE of entire races. You acknowledge that that is what your god ordered. You acknowledge that it is immoral for humans to do the same thing but the guy you worship who hands down the rules that you say you must live by, is somehow exempt himself from following them? What about setting an example?

    This is one of the hardest problems that Christians/Jews face when debating with an atheist, and in my experience, it's a dead end that they always run into. They point at the Bible/Torah and say that that's the holy word of their god, the book that contains the teachings they must live by...teachings that include tales of their god ordering his chosen people to casually wipe out entire races. This is why you often hear atheists saying they feel terrified of religious people: these people say they obey the commands of a being who, according to them, ordered genocide and mass rapes, thus leading atheists to the conclusion that these people would do these same things if they hear a voice in their head telling them to do so.
    And that's held as a sign of superior morality? Obeying the words of a bloodthirsty monster?

     

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    Anonymous, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    But if children are taught about sex, those who support government involvement in the bedroom via age-of-consent laws won't have a leg to stand on. And, doggone it, we just can't have that in Amurrica!

     

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    Anonymous, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    What about all the GENOCIDE committed in the name of communism, which is officially atheist?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Ahh, I see. We all must conform to your morals and ideals, and worship your magical man in the sky. How close am I? Good and evil, as you see it, are fictions perpetrated by the worst offenders of mass social engineering of all, the churches. Since I reject your religious leanings, I also reject your moral stance on what is right and wrong. Morality should not be pushed on someone through the fanatical teachings of the self-righteous, but should be carefully considered and determined by the individual.

    All of that being said, sexuality is not a choice, and I refuse to allow the genetic lottery to determine how I treat someone.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    I'm Catholic.

    And I'm not. By what right do you force your moral code on me? How is that not an evil?

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 30th, 2013 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Here's the difference for you:

    Killing 'in the name of communism' had nothing to do with atheism, you'd have just as much luck saying 'they had beards, they killed people, therefor beards are responsible', as the atheism bit was just incidental(the problem communistic leaders have with religion has nothing to do with religious belief or lack of it, and everything to do with religion presenting opposition to the communist's 'ultimate authority').

    Killing in the name of a religion however, as has happened throughout history and continues even today... remove the 'because god/my religion told me to' excuse and suddenly there's no reason at all* behind the killing, which lays the blames for those deaths entirely on the religion.

    Now, this is not to say that the core religion itself is to blame(though the Abrahamic bible certainly has more than enough 'examples' of atrocities committed in the name of it's religion/god), but merely that the reasons and/or excuses for such actions were religious based, and accepted as such.

    Put another way, while it's all too easy to find instance after instance of killings, or even wars 'in the name of (deity/religion of choice)', finding instances of killings or wars 'in the name of atheism' will take you much more effort, and in fact I'm unaware of any such instances offhand(which might be explained by the idea that it's rather hard to motivate someone to do something due to a lack of a belief in something, in this case a deity).

    *Now you might try and rebut this with 'they weren't really killing people for their religion, that's just what those in charge used as an excuse', for which I will note that that very well may be, but it's not why the people actually fighting did what they did, for them the justification was entirely religious based, and they accepted, and fought because of, those religious based reasons.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 1:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Nice try there at deflection. Instead of trying to counter what I wrote above, about the Abrahamic belief in obeying a bloodthirsty monster, you ignore it and attempt to portray communist as doing the same thing.
    Have communist regimes done the same thing? Yes. Are they a topic of discussion here? No. The topic is about followers of an Abrahamic religion and how that religion's holy book has tales of their god ordering genocide. Not the same thing at all when it comes to communism.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    What you leave out there (and what the link itself doesn't say) is that Operation Christmas Child is organised and run by Samaratin's Purse
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan%27s_Purse
    A Christian evangelical group.

    While yes, stopping charity is not a good thing in and of itself, in the US, schools can't be promoting one religion over another. If I had been involved in this charity drive and received this letter, I would have talked with the Humanist Association about reworking the charity drive so that it doesn't promote Christianity. If the school officials didn't think of this, then it shows that they are complicit in promoting religion in their capacity school staff members, which is unconstitutional, and to them it is more important than the actual charity itself.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 4:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Correction - The link you gave actually does mention that the operation is run by Samaritan's Purse.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    As for your "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion", the First Amendment is actually both.
    It guarantees the freedom of US citizens to practice whatever religion they want in their private lives, or not to practice one at all, and says neither state nor federal government can interfere in any way.
    At the same time, when an employee of either state or federal government is acting in their capacity as a representative of that government (in this case, school staff members of a publicly funded school, not a private school) they are not allowed to promote a religion. This basically does boil down to "freedom from religion". If a teacher wants to pray on her own, she is free to do so, BUT she cannot compel her class to do the same. This is meant to prevent those who do not want to practise a religion or a certain religion from being forced to (such as prayers before a school assembly. I went through those myself and I hated it).
    There is nothing stopping those school teachers who were involved with that toy drive from doing so in a private capacity. They just can't do so using public school property, or at the school while acting as school teachers.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 5:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    "which might be explained by the idea that it's rather hard to motivate someone to do something due to a lack of a belief in something, in this case a deity)."

    Exactly. You hear stories all the time of people saying "I'm going to go over there and kill those other people in the name of my god"...but when was the last time you heard someone saying "I don't believe in a god therefore I'm going to go over there and kill those god-believers...in the name of...shoot, what was I doing again?"

    As for communist regimes who did attack religion, that was done because the communist leaders were in a power struggle with religion. Not quite the same thing as a religious member saying it's moral to follow the teachings of a god who according to his holy book ordered genocide and mass rapes.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    If morals are arbitrary then how would a nation agree upon which actions constitute a violation of law? Install a few activist judges to do your bidding and, just like that, the will of the people is superceded by a judicial tyranny.

    Some people are pressured into joining the homosexual lifestyle, hence stories such as the following about the Spitz's family's ordeal. If homosexuality isn't a choice then there wouldn't be homosexuals who go back to hetero and vice versa. Nobody is born gay.

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/education/2013/10/24/massachusetts-mother-pushes-back-against-homosexu al-activism-in-sons-high-school

    Excerpt:

    “They told him he’s really born gay and there’s nothing you can do about it, and your parents are hateful people and religion is hateful,” Camenker recalls. “It made him a very angry kid and very hostile.”

    On the Mass Resistance website, Camenker relates that Splitz testified October 8 before the Joint Education Committee of the Massachusetts legislature. She alleged that the school counselor claimed giving her son a business card of the “Gay Straight Youth Alliance” was not a referral. The Mass. Department of Education ignored her, she also said.

    ...

    Angered by her situation with school officials, Splitz also testified that she attended an education conference in which homosexual activists coached teachers on including the "LGBT agenda" in school curriculum. She told the state legislators:

    Students at the event, age 14 and up, were offered condoms and lubricants used for anal sex and they were given, among other things, instructions on how to threaten schools with lawsuits in order to force them to promote their agenda.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Have you tried quoting some news from a source that ISN'T Christian?
    http://www.onenewsnow.com/general/about
    "Your Latest News from a Christian perspective"

    Given that is on their About page, of course any news they report on would be biased in favour of Christian teachings, mores and morals.
    Also, the quote from the Mass Resistance guy? You might want to look up their activities
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MassResistance#Hate_group_designation

    That made for some fun reading.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    The Constitution wasn't written to grant rights to the people; rather, it was written to prevent government from intruding upon them. Nevertheless, the government has been using various workarounds, typically under the guises of equality and tolerance, in order to bully private business owners into violating their religious beliefs by catering to homosexual couples under threat of litigation, to say nothing of how the HHS mandate is trying to force religious institutions to cover contraception, abortion, etc. If the government can force a private business or religious group to compromise the tenets of their beliefs, the First Amendment is meaningless. Nowhere does it say that you have freedom of religion but only when and where government decides you can.

     

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    Anonymous, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    "Are they a topic of discussion here? No.". Well, I just made 'em one. What does ANY of this have to do with the article above?

     

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    Anonymous, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Yep, because right there in the constitution where it mentions religion, it also mentions schools. What's that? You mean it doesn't? Hmmm, let's see. Reading the first amendment, all I see is a restriction on the powers of congress. No mention of schools.

     

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    Anonymous, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    "By their fruits you shall know them".

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Public schools are an arm of the (state or federal) government, which is what that restriction means. They are funded and controlled by the government, and the government cannot promote a religion.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Question: do you even know what a hate group is? Protesting against homosexuality does not constitute for one. I don't care what the Southern Poverty Law Group nor any other self-titled "civil rights group" says regarding moral issues, only what my Catholic faith teaches me.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Then explain why in some public schools they teach about and promote Kwanza and Hanukkah.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    "The Constitution wasn't written to grant rights to the people; rather, it was written to prevent government from intruding upon them."
    I agree, which is why I said "guarantees the freedom" "government cannot interfere". Nowhere did I say it grants rights.
    Also, why are you now bringing up the private business owners? Are you now retreating from the discussion about a public school operating a religious-affiliated charity drive? The business owner slant is an entirely different discussion and bears little, if any, relevance, to the school discussion.

    "but only when and where government decides you can."
    No. The US government is forbidden from promoting or proselytizing a religion. This includes all US government employees, while they are on the clock, acting as representatives of the US government If IRS office manager Random Jane goes to church on Sunday, that's her business. However, if she decorates the office with religious iconography and starts handing out bibles to employees...that's violating the separation between religion and state.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    If they teach about religion, as a part of a religious studies class, I don't see any problem. The Catholic secondary school (high school to you Yanks) that I went to (run by the Society of Mary) has a religious studies class that taught about Islam and Buddhism, in a factual based way (e.g. Muslims believe in the Five Pillars of Islam, here they are in list form) not just Catholicism alone. It didn't promote one over the other in that class. If US schools have classes like that, I wouldn't have a problem with them.
    As for promoting Kwanza and Hanukkah? Can you give me some links? If these public schools are indeed doing so, then they are violating the separation between church and state. Doesn't matter what the religion is.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    There's protesting...and there's outright lying such as
    MassResistance also asserted that groups such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which support school anti-bullying programs, actually want to "lure children into homosexuality and, very possibly, sadomasochism".

    or
    "MassResistance has also insisted that gays were "trying to get legislation passed to allow sex with animals""

    or

    "MassResistance has made claims that no homosexuals died in the The Holocaust of World War II"

    I'd call that a hate group. Especially when on their site they have this
    "Second graders at the same school were read a book, “King and King”, about two men who have a romance and marry each other, with a picture of them kissing."
    http://www.massresistance.org/docs/marriage/effects_of_ssm.html
    What? Two people kissing is now something that kids should not be forced to witness?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    I prefer this to your quote,
    http://sot.wikia.com/wiki/Wizard%27s_Rules#Wizard.27s_Fifth_Rule
    "Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie."

    Same thing really, but I just prefer the Wizard's Fifth Rule to your quote.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Simple litmus test.

    A) Runs charities, food pantries, homeless shelters, adoption agencies, soup kitches, medical care, et al.

    B) Violates every human right, commits genocide, abortion, euthenasia, torture, et al.

    Can you figure out which is which?

    -The Catholic Church
    -Secular-atheist Communism

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Both groups have done both A and B.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    The Real Michael, I'm stepping out for a bit now, so don't bother refreshing this page for about an hour or two. I won't have any new replies for at least that long.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Funny that you should mention GLSEN. Let's take a good look at some of the literature they're putting in the classroom...

    http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/2009/12/caution-adults-only-government.html

    Seeing as you are in favor of this group's actions, you have no qualms with the contents of the literature they're actively promoting in our public school system.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Ha! That's funny.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    I know I said I was leaving for a while, but I might as well get this out of the way before I go
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_front#International

    Doesn't really matter exactly why they run them, but there have been Communist run charitie or humanitarian aid groups.
    Same with the Catholic Church.

    As for B). both Communist regimes and the Catholic Church have done so. Stalin killed millions of people in his capacity as leader of a Communist government. The Catholic Church had the infamous Inquisition and also famously repressed free speech (they put Galileo under house arrest for positing that not all heavenly bodies orbit the Earth).

    It's not a laughing matter. It's a matter of historical fact.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Ah, but how much of B was done 'In the name of atheism'?

    (Just a head's up, communism is not the same as atheism, no matter how much you imply such. The first is a political doctrine, the second, a lack of belief in a deity, nothing more)

    I guess you didn't read my entire comment, where I said blaming deaths caused by a communist regime, is like blaming the beards of the people in charge, neither have anything to do with the motivations, whereas 'holy' wars and similar religious-caused violence are entirely motivated by religious reasons.

    Also, I'm not sure if you could have picked a worse set of examples for that second group, assuming you were trying to defend the catholic church anyway.

    -Violates every human right: See below
    -Commits genocide: Crusades, countless other 'holy' wars.(And that's just documented 'recent' history, if you take their holy book at it's word countless groups and peoples were slaughtered 'in god's name')
    -Abortion: Tells people in STD heavy areas that it's a sin to use contraceptives, directly leading to preventable deaths, not to mention some significantly worse 'cures' in place of contraceptives.
    -Euthanasia: Crusades(again), witch trials
    -Torture: Inquisition, witch trials, crusades(that one does seem to apply a lot doesn't it?)

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Show me where I forced you to adhere to my morals. Go on, I'll wait.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Uh, yeah, that's an accurate comparison. How many were killed during the Inquisition? About 6,000 people. How many were killed under Communism? About a hundred million.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Let's talk for a moment about The Crusades. Christians were making pilgrimages to Jerusalem but were being attacked by the Mohammedans on a routine basis. In the 11th Century, Hakem, Fatimite Caliph of Egypt, ordered that all Christian establishments in Jerusalem be destroyed, including the Holy Sepulchre. Furthermore, the Seljukian Turks attacked and conquered various territories around the Byzantine Empire (an offshoot of what was formerly the Roman Empire on the eastern bloc of Europe), such as Syria and Asia Minor. It got to the point where Christians were facing persecution practically anywhere they went. Hence Pope Urban II make his move. "On beholding the enormous injury that all, clergy or people, brought upon the Christian Faith . . . at the news that the Rumanian provinces had been taken from the Christians by the Turks, moved with compassion and impelled by the love of God, he crossed the mountains and descended into Gau.l" (Foucher de Chartres, I, in "Histoire des Crois.", III, 321)

    In prototypical atheist fashion, you grasp for the usual talking points ("But... but the Crusades! Christianity is EVIL!"), but fail to mention what really brought the Crusades on, that it was waged in self-defense against the hostile aggression of Islam, the Turks and others who sought to blot out Christianity.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition#Death_tolls

    Death toll for the Spanish Inquisition alone was between 3 and 5,000 people, and that link says that "(For comparative purposes, the number of people executed for "witchcraft" in Europe during about the same time span as the Inquisition is estimated to total 60,000.)"

    Also...are you seriously trying to make the point that the Catholic Church should be excused because they killed "only" 6,000 people? Are you trying to make this some sort of measuring contest, where the party with the greater death toll is demonised, while the other party who just happens to be lower isn't?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Did the Crusaders just beat back the Muslims and act all sweet and nice?
    Have a read of this
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades#First_Crusade_.281095.E2.80.931099.29_and_immediate_after math
    And you will hear of such nice happenings as a massacre against Jews, an attack against Orthodox Christians etc. I remember learning that the Crusaders also conquered Constantinople at one point
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades#Fourth_Crusade_.281202.E2.80.931204.29
    Yeah, the phrase "looting of churches" caught my eye. Looting of churches...by Christians...and you ignore this? Trying to pain the Crusaders as being pious defenders of truth, justice and the American way (/sarcmarc)?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Actually...I do. I've read that link, and what was quoted from the books in question certainly did raise an eyebrow. However...I don't automatically jump to the conclusion "THEY IZ TEACHING PEDOPHILIA!"
    What is the context of the passages and the books? Are these books actively saying "Go out and have as much under-age sex as possible?" From the way the books are described and reviewed (I looked up Queer 13's reviews on Amazon and no-one there actually gave it less than 3 stars or had a problem with the content), they are collections of stories of what kids went through, and I can't see anything wrong with that.
    To put it in context, I remember at around the same age, I was shown a (fictionalised but very realistic) video in class about a typical working-class Irish family produced by the Garda (Ireland's police force). I remember the family had two daughters, with the older one turning to drugs such as heroin. The video did get graphic, showing realistically exactly how the girl took drugs, her measures to get money to fund the habit (theft) and of course, the damage such drugs typically do to your body.
    That video and the books you mention showed similar content: the story of a child who turned to an illegal activity (consumption of illegal drugs, and promiscuous under-age sex), but...as far as I could from the quotes your link above provided, didn't exactly go out of its way to glorify or promote said acts, merely saying "This person did A, here are the results" at its most basic.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Also...I never mentioned I was in favour of GLSEN. Prior to today, I had never heard of that group.

     

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    Anonymous, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Which they shouldn't be. Where in the constitution is the government given control over schools?
    "The government cannot promote a religion". Yet the US government was very instrumental in the formation of the country of Israel. Why was Israel formed?
    And how can members of certain religions be exempt from Obamacare and members of other religions not? Isn't that unconstitutional?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 1st, 2013 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    " Where in the constitution is the government given control over schools?"

    When you have a school and it is funded by the state...then wouldn't that, ya know, make the school a part of the government? It's not a constitutional thing, it's the fact of who controls the money going into the school. The school would have to follow the dictates of the government in order to continue to receive funding.

    As for Israel...I suppose the argument could be made that the separation of church and state in the US constitution applies only to the US, and not any foreign nations. What foreign nations do internally is their own affair, and if they are predominantly (insert religion here) that has no bearing on the US government being forbidden from promoting a religion within its own borders. Other than that, I've got nothing, as I've never really looked into Israel and how it was formed (a quick scan of its Wikipedia article and it's Declaration of Independence page doesn't really mention the US, only the UN)
    As for Obamacare...you're asking the wrong person dude. I'm not a USian. I was born in and live in Ireland, and thus, I'm more or less uninterested in Obamacare, since it has virtually zero impact on me. Topics like US copyright law do interest me, because they do have an impact on me. You might as well be asking me what do I think about the budget for the nation of Venezuela for the coming year - I don't know or care about it.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Apparently I missed when Wikipedia became the ultimate source of truth and historical facts.

    By the time of the Fourth Crusades, Pope Innocent III had urged the crusaders to set out to liberate Palestine but lost control soon thereafter as allies schemed to act unilaterally, such as Thibaud de Champagne, who led the French to attack Egypt. Internal feuds, squirmishes and political disputes disrupted the Crusades throughout the 13th/14th centuries, what with the waning political influence of Western Europe, the war between England and France, the Ottoman Turks' conquest from Asia Minor, etc. With so much conflict, conquest and social unrest, there's no possible way that the Church could've remained in full control of the situation.

    Again, the Crusades were brought about by rampant Christian persecution and various coups around the Mediterranean and of holy lands by hostile forces. Would you have preferred that the Church sat on its hands and watch while being mercilessly annihilated? Did you expect for every strategy to go off without a hitch, every crusader to act without flaw, for the better part of four centuries?

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    No, but then I'm not the one repeatedly drudging up events from the Middle Ages in order to find something to hold against the Church. I mean if you're going that route then communism is fair game.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 1st, 2013 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Ok, now that's rich. So you claim that up until today you've never heard of GLSEN, yet took their word at face value immediately when they went against MassResistance.

    As for the literature, if you honestly believe that such crude, descriptive, profane material is fit for 12-year olds to read then there's something seriously wrong with you. Also, LOL at your vapid description of "This person is A, the results at its most basic." Yeah right. Go read the full excerpt out loud in public and watch what happens. Nothing about it is appropriate.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Correct. I had never heard of GLSEN. I am in favour of pro LGBT groups in theory, but it doesn't then translate to I automatically approve of the activities of every single group that identifies as such.
    Take Samaritan's Purse. I am in favour of charity groups, but it doesn't mean I am automatically in favour of what Samaritan's Purse does (pack christian literature in with the donations).

    As for GLSEN going against MassResistance...from what I read of the links you provided to me, it was MassResistance speaking out against GLSEN. A very distinct difference.

    As for the literature being promoted by GLSEN, did I not say in the opening paragraph up above that it did raise an eyebrow? That I did question it? Without access to the books (and no I'm not going to bother hunting them down) I'm going to withhold full judgement on the matter. Are the excerpts provided by MassResistance explicit? Yes. But without context, I don't know enough to make an informed judgement. I played devil's advocate to try and reason why they would promote such literature. After all, in the example I provided, the Garda were not producing a video promoting the usage of hard drugs - quite the opposite in fact. Are these books trying to do the same - impart a message that says basically "Don't do promiscuous under-age sex, it f*cks you up"?
    I withhold judgement until or unless I read the books in question.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    You can't equate communism to the Catholic Church. Communism is a political ideology. Specific communist parties have in the past done horrible things, and still continue to do so today (the Russian Communist party under Stalin and the Chinese Communist party today), but blame for the actions of specific communist regimes cannot be laid at the feet of communism (the ideology) itself.
    To compare that, the Catholic Church is a body that has existed for about 2,000 years, more or less unbroken and unchanged. It is both group and ideology, hence why it is still valid to hold the Catholic Church up for criticism due to actions in the past. On the contrary, one could argue that since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church of today cannot be equated with the church of the past.

    As an aside, I was amused when I looked up communism on Wikipedia and saw this
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism#Christian_communism

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    From what I read up above, I interpret it as "I (Michael) excuse the actions of the Christian Crusaders (the massacres and attacks against fellow Christians) because they initially set out with pious intentions".

    To put it in a modern context - the US invaded Iraq with the justification and intention of removing weapons of mass destruction from control of a power-hungry dictator. The initial intention may have been all well and good, and indeed the argument can be made that the other side was doing horrible things too...but it doesn't then give blanket permission for the invaders to do whatever the hell they want, especially once its revealed that their stated intention is a lie (where does a massacre against Jews and the conquest of Constantinople protect Christians...oh, of course, they only meant to protect Roman Christianity, Catholicism. Constantinople was Orthodox Christian, and therefore heathens according to the views of the Crusaders).

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    With regard to the plundering and attack on Jews: while Pope Urban II was organizing the Crusades across various nations towards the end of the 11th century, all sorts of rogue, disorganized groups sprang up and began to pillage and plunder. One group, while on its way through Germany, began killing Jews. This group was later slain by the Hungarians.

    As for the Latin crusaders' attempt to beseige Constantinople, that was a unilateral operation. Pope Innocent III was not part of this. Nevertheless, it's true that the invading crusader forces did plunder Constantinople's palaces and churches.

    Not everything that happened was justified, only that the Church was right to act in self-preservation.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 6:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    I'm not debating according to arbitrary rules of your selection.

    As for so-called "Christian communism," that is an oxymoron. You cannot name a single communist state ruled by Christians, because it would be impossible to do without breaking from God's laws. What's next, Jewish Naziism?

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Both MassResistance and GLSEN have gone back and forth; it's anything but one-sided.

    As for the Christian charity group handing out literature, oh no! Stop the presses! They're promoting subversive ideas like charitable giving, forgiveness and (*gasp!*) loving God.

    Are you going to sit there and attempt to rationalize kids reading profane, sexually explicit content involving a kid "getting my co** sucked and ass f***ed" by an adult? Would YOU read this sort of thing to children in a classroom, let alone in the presence of their parents? I'd wager not. That literature is disgusting and has no place in public classrooms.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    That's in your view. As an outsider to the Christian religion, I can see (for the sake of this comment) two groups. One group says they are christians, points to the bible, highlights passages and says that that is their justification for opposing LGBT rights.
    Another group says they are christians, points to the bible, highlights passages and says that that is their justification for promoting communism.
    It's long been held true that as long as you're willing to cherry pick select passages, you can cite the bible as justification for just about anything.
    I can't say one group is correct and not the other when it comes to their justifications: that would be me saying that one passage in the bible is true, but for some reason the other is not. My only option therefore, not being a member of their religion, is to say they are both wrong.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    Okay then, if they have gone back and forth against each other, fine. I'm not going to examine the issue that closely, I'm not that interested to find out who fired the first shot so to speak.
    As for the christian charity group, yes, I oppose the idea of packing in christian literature with donation boxes. At least, if I were in the US and I found out my kid's school was aiding it. Whenever I do charity, I find groups that just give without trying to espouse a religion or ideology of some sort, just give aid to the needy.

    For your last paragraph...did I justify the kids reaching such books? NO! I said that without having read the books in question, I am not going to judge either way. Have you read the books?

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Well let's see here. The Bible makes it clear that homosexual acts are sinful. Christians living under Communism are oppressed, spied on, tortured, forced into slavery and murdered, therefore it's obvious that communism is inherently anti-Christian. There is no confusion with regards to these matters.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrongo, Mr. Geigner...

    No and nor do I need/want to. The excerpts are descriptive enough to know right off the bat that this is unsuitable reading material for children. Heck, if you're an adult who wants to read filth like this, you've got a problem.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    The language you use is a problem. You say "The bible makes it clear" as if it automatically makes it true for everybody, when that is not the case.

    So how do you rectify the problem? You're a guy who points at a bible passage(s), and says "Homosexuality is sinful because of these passages".
    Then you turn around and say communism isn't christian. What about those christians who cite bible passages as supporting communism? How are they wrong? What makes your interpretation and citing correct, and their interpretation and citing incorrect?

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Simple. I follow the teachings and interpretations of the Catholic Church. Otherwise, by leaving scripture open to interpretation, individuals would misinterpret things for personal gain, such as to legitimize evil actions, political movements or undermine the Church's authority. Due to the Protestant Reformation, there are now hundreds of offshoots, each with their own interpretation.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    You're just repeating the problem. Now it's the Catholic Church who as a group are pointing to the bible, highlighting a passage and saying "We're the one true christian church because these passages say so"...versus protestant/orthodox/whatever groups who point to the bible, highlight passages and say that "We believe the Catholic church isn't legitimate because these passages say so".
    As the outsider (the person you are supposed to convert to christianity, since that is a task required by your religion), how am I able to say which group is true/correct? As I said up above, I can't legitimately say that one group's justification and citation is correct, and the other one isn't. The only way I could do that is if one's group citation wasn't actually there! But they are.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    "The Bible makes it clear that homosexual acts are sinful."

    Correct, but it also makes it clear that genocide, if ordered by God, is not only perfectly moral but compulsory for the believer. You cannot, for example, claim to be Catholic AND claim that you would not kill any Amalekite you should meet on the street. God ordered their destruction as a people, so you would have to destroy any Amalekite stragglers should you find them. That is, to those of us that recognize the bible has problems and is not the moral compass it portends, an immoral request.

    So let me ask you, TRM, would you kill an Amalekite if God ordered it? Would you kill in the name of your God if he requested it, as yours has in the past?

    "Christians living under Communism are oppressed, spied on, tortured, forced into slavery and murdered, therefore it's obvious that communism is inherently anti-Christian."

    Well, you're right, but it is more correctly stated that communism is anti-RELIGION, rather than being anti-Christian, and even that is only a half-truth in application. Stalin certainly made use of the Russian church, after all. All that being said, communism /= atheism, so I'm not sure what point you think you're making. You do realize that there are many non-theistic advocates of democracy and republics, right? Such as all those involved in creating our own nation?

     

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    Anonymous, Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Do you know WHY the destruction of the Amalekites was ordered?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Let's assume the Amalekites did exist (outside of the Old Testament, there is little to no evidence they existed).
    So basically, the only historical record we have is the pro-Hebrew religious account (Old Testament/Torah) of the Hebrews being commanded by their deity to exterminate this race. As per human nature, in order to justify this, the victims would have been demonised in some fashion (it's much harder to wipe out a group of people if you're convinced they're peaceful farmers, versus wiping out a group whom you're convinced worship blatantly evil deities, sacrifice babies and practise cannibalism). Take for example the Nazi pogrom against the Jews: the Jews were first declared sub-human and thus their lives unworthy of being protected.

    So long story short: if the Amalekites did exist, and the Hebrews did wipe them out, of course the only historical account, the pro-Hebrew Torah, would have justified such an extermination.

    If documents are found tomorrow and proven to be Amalekite in origin and dated to having been writing at around the time of this war of extermination, they would undoubtedly portray the Hebrews as being a bloodthirsty invading army, hellbent on wiping out anybody who who doesn't worship their god.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 10:08pm

    Oh the irony...

    That argument/statement, 'The excerpts are descriptive enough to know right off the bat that this is unsuitable reading material for children. Heck, if you're an adult who wants to read filth like this, you've got a problem.'... you know what other book that kind of thinking would not be kind to?

    The bible.

    You know, that book filled with murder, incest, rape, genocide, slavery, and countless other not even remotely child-friendly things? And yet if someone brought up those 'excerpts' from the 'holy book' to attack or criticize it, you would be tripping all over yourself defending it, claiming that suddenly context does matter, that you have to consider the rest of the text, and not just take one part of it out of context.

    Simply put, if you're going to claim here that context doesn't matter, that parts of a book are enough to judge all of it by, then you've no right to object when people bring up damning lines/quotes from the book you hold so highly, as you yourself are saying that a book can be judged by a sampling of lines from it, ignoring any context or overall message it may contain.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 2:57am

    I'm not supportive of gay marriage, but setting up a filter like this will only stimulate kids to find ways around it...

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 6:49am

    Re: Oh the irony...

    What is the message in GLSEN's books except to pervert the minds of children with extremely graphic sexual fantasies? Because a guy sitting on a hill overlooking town while he masturbates is meant to instill a valuable moral lesson in a kid, right? Let's ask the parents of children whether they agree with your assessment that the Bible is comporable to profane homosexual literature.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Oh the irony...

    *minor correction* Meant to say, "Let's ask parents whether they agree..." but whatever.

     

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    The Real Michael, Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    Saint Peter was the first leader of Jesus' Church, the first pope. Catholicism's lineage can be traced back directly to Peter over 2,000 years ago. Now then, do you suppose that when Jesus handed Peter The Rock the keys to His kingdom that He did that all for show, that it would take some 1,500 years afterward for the true Christian faith to arrive via the Protestant Reformation? I think not. Therefore, one can easily say that, yes, the Holy Catholic Church is the true faith.

    However, that's definitely not to say that salvation is reserved exclusively for Catholics, nor that members of other Christian offshoots from the Reformation are somehow rejected or bad by default. Although I certainly don't speak for God, I would imagine that people are judged more according to the way they lived their lives, in proportion to how much has been given to them, not merely in terms of material possessions but social stature and personal responsibilities. For that reason, a charitable, loving, good-hearted Protestant who is free of mortal sin would probably find it much easier to get into Heaven than a cold, spiteful, selfish Catholic would. As Pope Francis said, it's certainly possible for atheists to enter into Heaven. Jesus' Mercy is available to all.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Oh the irony...

    How would you know, you've admitted that you haven't actually read the things, and are instead going entirely off of excerpts you've read, assumptions you've made, and again, if excerpts are enough to judge a book, the bible very much does not come out looking good.

    Speaking of 'profane literature'...

    Genesis 19

    19:8
    A father offers his two virgin daughters to an angry mob, tells mob to do with them as they please.

    19:30-38
    Drunk, incestuous rape(twice), involving the two daughters and father from before.

    Numbers 31

    Pretty much that entire passage. You've got the slaughter of an entire people/tribe, mass rape, slavery... not exactly a wholesome example there.

    Deuteronomy 22

    22:13-21
    If a man, after having slept with his wife, doesn't care for her, he can claim that she wasn't a virgin, and if the girl's parents can't produce the bloody sheets from the wedding night to counter the claim, the woman is to be publicly stoned to death(If they can the man suffers the horrible fate of... having to pay a fine).

    22:22-24
    If a man rapes a virgin who is betrothed in a city, and she doesn't make enough noise to be noticed, both of them are to be publicly stoned to death, his for the rape, her for not crying out loud enough.

    22:28-29
    If a man rapes a virgin who isn't betrothed he... has to pay a fine(to the girl's father, not the girl), then marry her(lucky girl huh? /s)

    That's only some of what I found with a simple search, and according to your claim that you can judge an entire book by a few passages, obviously the bible is nothing but sex, killing, rape, and slavery.

    But hey, you say the book(s) you're so against has someone masturbating, and that's way more profane and likely to corrupt children than any of those things, right?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    "As Pope Francis said, it's certainly possible for atheists to enter into Heaven. Jesus' Mercy is available to all."

    Okay, honest question, and I'm not trying to be antagonistic: how can the above statement be made by someone who can then go on and claim to be a Catholic or Christian by any understood definition? Either the way to heaven lies through Christ or it doesn't. If we're going to reduce admittance to heaven of a one true God who had one true son to humanism, then let's just go with humanism and be done with the rest of it....

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    "Do you know WHY the destruction of the Amalekites was ordered?"

    I do actually, but are you suggesting that there is a reason for which genocide would be considered moral?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 3rd, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: it is sad but interesting

    " Although I certainly don't speak for God,"
    That is probably the one absolutely true statement that you have said in this debate.
    (Quick question: Do you want to continue this debate via email or IM or some other method? Having to refresh this one page constantly is a pain. If so, contact me on tom_brown43@aol.com No, that isn't my primary email address, only one out of about twenty, and no, Tom Brown isn't my real name)
    "However, that's definitely not to say that salvation is reserved exclusively for Catholics"
    Hasn't the Catholic Church said since its inception that the way to Christ (and hence, the way to salvation in the next life) is only through them? If now you don't necessarily need to be Catholic, what's the point of me converting (back)?
    " a charitable, loving, good-hearted Protestant who is free of mortal sin" What about original sin? I thought the Catholic Church taught that we are all born into sin from the moment we first draw breath (which also begs the question of what exactly Jesus's death accomplished. If his death was supposed to have defeated sin, then what about all the people who've lived and died after his death? Does sin no longer exist? If you say it still does, then Jesus and his death can only be said to have been completely ineffectual, which would thus mean he is not worthy of worship)

     

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