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From HorsesAss: A commentator accuses me of believing that “my team/tribe” (Jews) have a “self-satisfied conceit that (the Jewish) team/tribe is somehow qualitatively better, somehow more pure and admiration-worthy.”

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Over at HorsesAss, I go by the name “SeattleJew,”  I Often Criticize Liberals for Blaming Christian Bigotry on All Religions and Especially on The Jews

Liberal Scientist, self described as  the “Most vile leftist on this blog!” posted a thoughtful response to my comments on that blog.

Later he got upset, claiming that I was unfair to his opinions especially because my header (slightly revised from the original) unfairly made him seem to be critical of Jews.  The text below is as posted as directly as possible other than for my comments in green.  Judge for your self. 

 “Liberal Scientist” spews:

 

Liberal Scientist, self described as  the “Most vile leftist on this blog!” spews:

I’m going to jump into the fray here…perhaps ill-advisedly.

I find SJ’s protestation of the singular evil of Christianity to be tiresome and trite.  Perhaps it’s personal on my part – though I’ve given up religion, perhaps I can’t fully disavow the Catholicism with which I was raised.  I think it’s bigger than that, though.

His recurrent demands that Christianity be held as the ne plus ultra of institutionalized evil is just another iteration of the racism or bigotry of which he so ostentatiously accuses deathfrogg.

SJ: Just to be clear, my comments have never placed Christianity as the ” ne plus ultra of institutionalized evil.”  What I have done is said that militant atheists demonize ALL religions because of the faults of Christianity and, to some extent, Islam.  The effect is to argue that since ALL religions are evil,  Christianity must be excused.

The evils of the last 2 thousand years for which SJ would have us believe are the particular consequence of Christianity are part and parcel of the imperialist/conquest/colonial mentality that developed in, and spread out from, Europe.  His thesis that Christianity is the continuation of the Roman Empire has merit, I think, but is too simple – elements of Rome continue through the entire sociopolitical structure there, and certainly undergird in part the offensive posture that those societies assumed.  I’m not absolving Christianity – the state religion was an essential piece of the control of the citizens at home as well as the subjugated in the colonies abroad – I’m just placing it in a larger context, as an essential facet of a larger imperial enterprise, and as such was complicit in a couple of millenia full of atrocities.

SJ: I think you make my point. I would, however go further than just blaming Rome.  The conflation of the church and state under Rome, BEFORE Constantine, was pretty harmless.  The Romans never tried to wipe out other religions.   However, once the Roman model had been ut in place, it was taken up by others  …. from Umar (the Caliph who led Islam to dominate the once Roman world) to Luther,   Hitler, Mao and Stalin also insisted on a mandatory state religion.

I find SJ’s protestations that no other religion – especially his – has this kind of blood on its hands, to ring hollow.  Not because Christianity doesn’t have blood on its hands – it’s soaking in it – but rather our perspective is one in which we sit in the midst of that Imperial/European/Roman/Christian culture, emerging diversity notwithstanding.  SJ preemptively dismisses the treatment of neighboring tribes in his Bible by his Jews, but I think that is germane, just as the horrid treatment of the Palestinians by the modern State of Israel is germane.

SJ:  err ahhh .. aren’t you being more than bit anti-Semitic here?  Whatever you think about the problmes faced by Israelis and Palestinians, blaming any of it on the Jewish religion is bizarre.  Israel is no more and no less than an ethnic state … sort of a very small version of Japan, Korea or France.  While it si true that the Muslims, esp Hamas, insist that anyone living in their territory convert or be subjected to the status of dhimmi, there is nto now and never has been such an idea in Israel or any previous Jewish state.  

What I’m getting at – Christianity has been both a power center itself , and a tool of individuals and families and tribes who’ve held power.  It has been used to coerce and subjugate.  While one can find a message of love and peace in its documents and traditions, it has tended to be a very effective political tool, a ruthless and violent one at that.  Its success at this make it the target that SJ is taking aim at.  The point I’m making with both Biblical behavior of aggressive Jewish states, and the apartheid regime of the present State of Israel, is that Jews and Judaism are not fundamentally different from Christians and Christianity – or any other state religion – it’s just that it hasn’t been as successful or wide-spread at this role as Christianity – it can be used for just as evil a purpose, however.

SJ: You seem to be making my point.  One correction, Judaism is NOT the state religion of Israel.   In fact the majority of Jews, esp. in Israel, are not “Jewish” in terms of beleifs at all.  In Israel there are several recognized religions and all have equal rights over things like marriage, etc. This practice, BTW, ois also true oin England, Germany, France and even China.

As for Christian love, I have written extensively on not just that but on the awesome Christian values of charity and the role Christianity played in the enlightenment.  That is why,in the posts you responded to, I talk about MLK, Mimionides, and Ghandhi in one breath.  I even see a large part of my own beliefs as being Christian in origin.

I think the loud and recurrent condemnations of Christianity that SJ indulges in would bear a great deal more weight and intellectual persuasiveness if they weren’t accompanied by the self-satisfied conceit that his team/tribe is somehow qualitatively better, somehow more pure and admiration-worthy.

SJ:  If this is NOIT antisemitism, what is it?   So Jews have a “ self-satisfied conceit that his team/tribe is somehow qualitatively better, somehow more pure and admiration-worthy.” 

One only has to look at the contemporary State of Israel to see that anyone, Jew included, is capable of evil, and perhaps more to the point, state-sponsored evil.  That state has achieved military hegemony over its region, and it has achieved sociopolitical hegemony, in the form of an apartheid regime, over the Palestinian people.  The racial hatred directed at them – or look at Max Blumenthal’s reporting on anti-African racism in Israel – is a defining feature of the central government, an organizing principle, a political cudgel.  It’s hate-filled and racist and evil.

SJ: OK, I get it.  You hate Israel.  Somehow its being Jewish makes it worse than NYU (also “Jewish’?)  a University that uses slave labor to build a campus in Dhubai?  How about China where being Jewish is still illegal?  Or Saudi Arabia which is BY LAW Judenrein?  

As for the issues of racism, I am tempted to quote Shakespeare about pounds of flesh.  Jews bloeed just ike everyone else and the criticism of Jewish racism, among our other faults, is rife.  How this relates to your attack on me … well??? 

Moreover, the oft-used term “Jewish Democracy” is an oxymoron.  It’s a democracy or it’s not.  How about a “White Democracy” or an “Evangelical Democracy” or a “Male Democracy” – you put that qualifier out in front, and you’ve lost your democracy.  You want a “Jewish” state – or any other racial/cultural/religious designation?  Fine, but then call it what it is – a theocracy or an autocracy or a private club – but it ceases being a democracy when one group can exclude another from the franchise, from full citizenship, from human rights.

SJ: More blatant anti-Semitism  Is South Korea a “Korean Democracy?”   Is Turkey a “Turkish Democracy?”  How about France, Sweden, Brazil, or Indonesia?  How is ti different if the Jewish People have a state than any other people?  Wasn’t this exactly the reason for Zionism?  Or do nyou think Jews lived oh so well in Russia?

BTW: to follow YOUR logic, I understand you oppose a Tibetan State or self rule by American Indian tribes?   

I agree with other posters here in that religion is a singularly caustic feature of human society.  We haven’t figured it out – how to satisfy a search for something bigger, a set of moral rules to live by – that doesn’t become hijacked by power-seekers and manipulators.  How do we have tribes with distinctive and wonderful idiosyncrasies without descending into race-hate, or tribe-hate?  How do we celebrate our diversity without it becoming the childish “we’re better than you” that is the genesis for so much cruelty and evil?

SJ: How Christian of you!  Tell me any other religion (other than Islam) that ahs practiced forced conversion or destroyed other peoples based on religion?  

I throw up a little every time I read SJ write, “How very Christian of you” – it’s a puerile, self-satisfied, un-self-aware epithet – one that makes my point for me.


0 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Roger Rabbit #
    1

    Oh boy! A catfight between liberals! What, liberals fight among themselves, you didn’t know? You thought only Republicans do that? Ahem, liberals are human, too. Except when we’re rabbits or other species.

  2. Mario Negri #
    2

    Schwartz is a liberal? You mean the guy who thinks gay marriage is wrong and single payer is not possible?

    Gimme a brake bunny.



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