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Author Topic: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.  (Read 25395 times)

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Offline freethinker

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Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« on: March 28, 2010, 09:14:32 AM »

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For the world to tackle truly important problems, people have to stop looking to religion to guide their moral compasses, the philosopher Sam Harris told CNN.

"We should be talking about real problems, like nuclear proliferation and genocide and poverty and the crisis in education," Harris said in a recent interview at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. TED is a nonprofit group dedicated to "ideas worth spreading."

"These are issues which tremendous swings in human well-being depend on. And it's not at the center of our moral concern."

Religion causes people to fixate on issues of less moral importance, said Harris, a well-known secularist, philosopher and neuroscientist who is the author of the books "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation."

"Religion has convinced us that there's something else entirely other than concerns about suffering. There's concerns about what God wants, there's concerns about what's going to happen in the afterlife," he said.

"And, therefore, we talk about things like gay marriage as if it's the greatest problem of the 21st century. We even have a liberal president who ostensibly is against gay marriage because his faith tells him it's an abomination.

"It's completely insane."

Harris also said people should not be afraid to declare that certain acts are right and others are wrong. A person who would spill battery acid on a girl for trying to learn to read, for instance, he said, is objectively wrong by scientific standards.

"It's not our job to not judge it and say, 'Well, to each his own. Everyone has to work out their own strategy for human fulfillment.' That's just not true," he said.

"There's people who are wrong about human fulfillment."

Harris placed no faith in the idea that Muslims and Christians will be able to put their differences aside and cooperate on global issues.

"There's no way to reconcile Islam with Christianity," he said. "This difference of opinion admits of compromise as much as a coin toss does."

http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/03/25/ted.sam.harris/index.html

Offline darrellmaurina

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 03:52:13 PM »
The only good thing about this post is that even an atheist who opposes religion can see that there's no point in putting faith in the idea that Muslims and Christians will be able to put their differences aside and cooperate on global issues. "There's no way to reconcile Islam with Christianity," he said. "This difference of opinion admits of compromise as much as a coin toss does."

If you're an atheist, be glad you're an infidel in America where all Christians will do is try to preach to you, rather than an infidel in some Islamic state where having battery acid poured on your face (his own example) is one of the less serious things that could happen to you.
Darrell Todd Maurina
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Offline freethinker

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 04:31:43 PM »
The only good thing about this post is that even an atheist who opposes religion can see that there's no point in putting faith in the idea that Muslims and Christians will be able to put their differences aside and cooperate on global issues. "There's no way to reconcile Islam with Christianity," he said. "This difference of opinion admits of compromise as much as a coin toss does."

If you're an atheist, be glad you're an infidel in America where all Christians will do is try to preach to you, rather than an infidel in some Islamic state where having battery acid poured on your face (his own example) is one of the less serious things that could happen to you.

So...  you're saying that fighting gay marriage IS more important than focusing our attention on issues like poverty and the education crisis?


Christians in this country do a hell of a lot more then just "try to preach to you".

Besides, your comment could just as easily apply to christians:  Be glad you are a christian in America, where all the non-believers will try to do to you is let them be themselves, rather than an infidel in some Islamic state where.....   you see where I'm going with this....





Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 05:23:34 PM »
Christian militia accused of plotting to kill cops, March 29, 2010

Christians do more than just preach, here in America.
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Offline BigRedHouse

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 05:42:54 PM »
the comments above, and the many I am sure will follow are the reason we cant "ditch" it.....what else would start all of the thought povoking threads on here....

Offline Chas

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 05:44:49 PM »
If youíre going to be an atheist the U.S. is good place to be one.  You can be a good atheist in China but then you have all the problems of living in China.  Atheists in a Muslim country have much worse.  The media does religion in general a great dishonor by using the term Christian militia even if that is what those dumb bastards call themselves.  I am not big on religion so I donít care what faith you may or may not be.  I have had people come up to me and want to  preach the word and give me reading material sometimes I talk to them and sometimes I donít, depends on my mood. That is worse thing a Christian has done to me. I do wish all religions would state out of politics. Maybe that is the worst thing any religion has done to all of us. Of course I have problems with atheists too. 

Offline freethinker

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2010, 07:46:20 PM »
pffft...   sure.. i don't have to be a closeted atheist in the U.S., but that doesn't make it a "good" place to be one.. i may not have to worry about being crucified or publicly flogged, but by deciding not to hide the fact that I'm an atheist has repurcussions in both my personal and professional life...

do a quick search on google for the number of openly homosexual politicians..

and now do another search for the number of openly atheist politicians...

Chas, you got one thing right..  religion and public policy shouldn't mix, and that is one of the worst things religion has done to all of us.

Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2010, 07:56:20 PM »
I do wish all religions would state out of politics. Maybe that is the worst thing any religion has done to all of us.
***(**& ***(**& I know you meant "stay" instead of state....
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Offline Chas

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 08:05:30 PM »
I did, thanks for the catch

Offline Coyote

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 08:16:56 PM »
I'm pretty sure that most professional organizations tell their employees in no uncertain terms to keep their religious beliefs and non-beliefs out of the office.  I once worked in a State office where the boss actually wrote memos to two women letting them know that if this type of talk/behaviour persisted, they would be let go.  One was a self-proclaimed, born again wacko and the other was agnostic.  Their conversations often led to arguments, threats, crying, etc. and this was not appropriate in the workplace.  So I don't see where your religion can negatively affect your career unless you cause it by your own words and actions.
....and that night as the moon crossed the mountain, one more Coyote was heard...

Offline darrellmaurina

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2010, 09:51:57 PM »
Christian militia accused of plotting to kill cops, March 29, 2010 Christians do more than just preach, here in America.

Kari, you've legitimately caught me on being imprecise and I should have been more careful with my wording. Having said that, you know I can cite a few far-right extremists within Judaism (the JDL, etc.) that don't represent the overwhelming majority of Jewish people in America, Israel or anywhere else.

I stand by my point, that if I were not a Christian I'd much rather live in America than most other places in the world where not being an adherent of the dominant religion (or anti-religion, in the case of China and the former Soviet Union) can result in severe penalties, both officially from the government and informally from individuals, that are much worse than having to tell someone, "I'm not interested in you preaching at me."

We don't yet know much about this "Christian militia" but from what I've heard so far, not only were their anti-government actions traitorous and murderous, but their religious beliefs were seriously out of order. The first that I heard about this "Christian militia" was when a seminary professor at one of the better-known Calvinist seminaries in the United States put a post on his blog entitled "Dispensationalism can get you arrested." His blog rapidly lit up with people who were (correctly) pointing out that these guys seem to have severely aberrant theology and are not a good representative of dispensationalism, plus if initial reports prove correct, they're supporting or at least tolerating sexual relations outside of marriage and all kinds of other practices that are not at all in accord with basic Christian teachings.
 
I am not a dispensationalist, but I think that seminary professor (who I happen to know and like, BTW) was out of line in blaming dispensationalism for this "Christian militia" and its teachings. We'll learn more soon, I'm sure.
 
I'm guessing that these guys represent dispensationalism about as well as the Branch Davidians represented the Seventh Day Adventists -- i.e., so far removed from standard doctrine of the faith they claim to espouse that they're more of a cult than a church.
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Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2010, 02:43:27 AM »
DTM, you can not compare the JDL's activities to that of the fanatic Christian groups, no comparison.  Yes, the JDL is an extremist group, but how many times have you heard of the JDL in the news in the past years, compared to fanatic Christian groups? 

My family and I have been through a lot more than "Christians just preaching" to us, so I speak from experience.  Do I hold all Christians to blame for the Christian idiots we've encountered, no.  As a matter of fact, I mentioned long ago, I have Christians in my extended family.  You were the one that posted, "If you're an atheist, be glad you're an infidel in America where all Christians will do is try to preach to you"...  so what you are saying is, Christians will only try and preach to Atheists, but those of other religious beliefs are fair game for other actions. 

I know many Christians that are tired of being "preached to", by Christians of other denominations.  Religion is a personal thing, and should be kept that way.  Unfortunately, there are numerous Christian sects that believe otherwise, and will impose on others, in any manner they can.

The majority of Christians that I've been friends with, have not tried to force their beliefs on me or my family.... the sad thing is, I can not say that all of the Christians that I've been friends with have not tried to force their beliefs.  Another sad thing is how many will "make friends" with non-Christians, just to try and convert them.

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Offline darrellmaurina

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2010, 03:50:05 AM »
Kari, we've discussed previously some of the things you suffered in the past from true bigots, and that you saw done to others by Klansmen and other crazies. Your frustration is understandable, and I'm sure you understand that I consider that conduct to be reprehensible in the extreme.

But having said that, I trust you will agree that in America, people have the free speech right to say pretty much whatever they want, and you have the right to turn off the TV, put down the book, walk away from the person talking, or even to order them off your property.

People in America most emphatically do **NOT** have the right to do to you some of the things that have been done in the past to both practicing and nonpracting Jewish people.

But having said that, even with some occasional crazies who do crazy things, would you not agree that things are a lot better in America than they would be for you in the former Soviet Union, or in much of pre-WW2 Europe with the major exceptions of the Netherlands and Italy, or than they would be for you today in most Arab countries?

There are reasons, and very good reasons, why America was a land of refuge for large numbers of Jewish people.

DTM, you can not compare the JDL's activities to that of the fanatic Christian groups, no comparison.  Yes, the JDL is an extremist group, but how many times have you heard of the JDL in the news in the past years, compared to fanatic Christian groups? 

My family and I have been through a lot more than "Christians just preaching" to us, so I speak from experience.  Do I hold all Christians to blame for the Christian idiots we've encountered, no.  As a matter of fact, I mentioned long ago, I have Christians in my extended family.  You were the one that posted, "If you're an atheist, be glad you're an infidel in America where all Christians will do is try to preach to you"...  so what you are saying is, Christians will only try and preach to Atheists, but those of other religious beliefs are fair game for other actions. 

I know many Christians that are tired of being "preached to", by Christians of other denominations.  Religion is a personal thing, and should be kept that way.  Unfortunately, there are numerous Christian sects that believe otherwise, and will impose on others, in any manner they can.

The majority of Christians that I've been friends with, have not tried to force their beliefs on me or my family.... the sad thing is, I can not say that all of the Christians that I've been friends with have not tried to force their beliefs.  Another sad thing is how many will "make friends" with non-Christians, just to try and convert them.


Darrell Todd Maurina
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Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2010, 04:26:47 AM »
Kari, we've discussed previously some of the things you suffered in the past from true bigots, and that you saw done to others by Klansmen and other crazies. Your frustration is understandable, and I'm sure you understand that I consider that conduct to be reprehensible in the extreme.

But having said that, I trust you will agree that in America, people have the free speech right to say pretty much whatever they want, and you have the right to turn off the TV, put down the book, walk away from the person talking, or even to order them off your property.

People in America most emphatically do **NOT** have the right to do to you some of the things that have been done in the past to both practicing and nonpracting Jewish people.

But having said that, even with some occasional crazies who do crazy things, would you not agree that things are a lot better in America than they would be for you in the former Soviet Union, or in much of pre-WW2 Europe with the major exceptions of the Netherlands and Italy, or than they would be for you today in most Arab countries?

There are reasons, and very good reasons, why America was a land of refuge for large numbers of Jewish people.

There is no doubt in my mind, in my heart, that America IS the greatest Country in the world.  Yes, we do have free speech, and I will defend that right, even for those that I have a great distaste for, BUT that freedom does NOT include harassment!

One set of my Great-Grandparents escaped (on oxcart) from the Czar, in Russia, so I'm sure you can imagine my thoughts there.
Proud to have served, US Army, WAC

Offline fish

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2010, 12:49:46 PM »
no excuse if they are guilty. but are the terrorists called muslim terrorists everytime a bomb goes off? the media hates christians, can't say christian enough when some do stupid things.

Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2010, 03:55:22 PM »
the media hates christians, can't say christian enough when some do stupid things.
Fish, that has to be one of the most off the wall statements you've made.  The majority of those in the media are Christians!  Are you trying to say they are self-hating Christians?  Sure doesn't seem like it when issues such as "Christmas", displays of the 10 Commandments, etc. comes up. 

Did you ever stop to think that they say so much about the Christian nut jobs, because they find them to be an embarrassment, and that it IS news when they kill someone, bomb a building, make threats, etc.?
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Offline darrellmaurina

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2010, 08:01:20 PM »
Kari, a caution here. I think you and Fish may miscommunicating to each other.

Being Jewish is a matter of ethnic descent, though a person may convert into Judaism. Christianity isn't that way; it is first and foremost a matter of personal faith, and practices follow from that profession of personal faith. It's a common Christian phrase that "God has no grandchildren," which means that just because someone is born into a Christian home doesn't mean they are in any sense of the word true Christians.
 
Because of that, it is quite common for Christians to deny that some people who claim to be Christians are in fact Christians. (And I'm not talking about fine points of doctrine here, I'm talking basic root beliefs and practices -- a Jewish person may not go to synagogue and may not practice his religion, but that's doesn't make them non-Jewish. That is not the case with Christianity, which is a matter of personal faith.)

As you know, an Orthodox Jewish person doesn't generally deny that a Reform Jew or Reconstructionist Jew or nonpracticing secularist of Jewish descent is a Jew; rather, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi would say that the person who isn't as strict as himself is being less observant or non-observant. In other words, the question raised about someone whose practices or beliefs in dispute isn't "is he Jewish or not," but rather, "is he a properly practicing Jewish person."

Perhaps this difference in the basis of "who is a Jew" and "who is a Christian" is the point of disagreement here.

Fish, that has to be one of the most off the wall statements you've made.  The majority of those in the media are Christians!  Are you trying to say they are self-hating Christians?  Sure doesn't seem like it when issues such as "Christmas", displays of the 10 Commandments, etc. comes up. 

Did you ever stop to think that they say so much about the Christian nut jobs, because they find them to be an embarrassment, and that it IS news when they kill someone, bomb a building, make threats, etc.?
Darrell Todd Maurina
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Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2010, 03:51:29 AM »
DTM, Fish made a statement that the media hates Christians.  Since the majority of those in the media are Christians, he has to be saying they are self-hating Christians, since the "media hates Christians"!  I can see it no other way.
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Offline fish

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2010, 12:40:46 PM »
which people in the media are christians kari? I said the media,that is an entity. just like the media is liberal. but how many people in the media are?

Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2010, 02:33:13 PM »
which people in the media are christians kari? I said the media,that is an entity. just like the media is liberal. but how many people in the media are?
Are you trying to say that the majority of the people in media are not Christians?  If not, then what is the religion of the majority of the people in media?
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Offline darrellmaurina

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2010, 12:09:43 AM »
Are you trying to say that the majority of the people in media are not Christians?  If not, then what is the religion of the majority of the people in media?

Kari, I think most if not all conservative Christians on this board, regardless of denomination, will agree with me when I say that many conservative Christians believe that most if not all of the news media is not just passively anti-Christian but actively and aggressively biased against Christianity. Even if it is not actually true, that is a very common perception.

To be clear, the allegations aren't just abstract beliefs that the news media is biased against Christians. I have personally put up with all kinds of totally unfounded attacks and allegations that I am a liberal reporter who hates the church. Anybody who knows me knows that is not true, but at most newspapers where I have worked, I had to avoid any discussion of anything related to religious belief and therefore I had no way to defend myself against totally false and unfounded allegations, even when they were badly damaging my effectiveness in my work.

I continue to believe that Fish and you are operating with different understandings of what it means to be a Christian -- in other words, I think there's a misunderstanding going on caused by different definitions of what it means to adhere to a religion.

Given enough time, I believe I could dig out surveys indicating that rates of church attendance and agreement with basic Christian beliefs (even things like the existence of miracles such as the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ) are substantially lower in the news media than in the general population. I've read such surveys in the past but I am very hesitant to start citing data from memory, and it will help no one if I start saying things that I can't back up with hard facts.

That's not the same as saying that the majority of people in the news media claim to be something other than Christians, which is (I think) the way that you are reading Fish's statement.

When I say that "not all who profess Christ possess Christ" most evangelical Christians and conservative Roman Catholics understand what I mean -- just because people call themselves Christians doesn't mean they are Christians.

However, I am very much aware that this is a different concept than what an Orthodox Jewish person (or for that matter, a practicing Muslim) means by saying that someone is Christian, Jewish, or Muslim.
Darrell Todd Maurina
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Offline shadylane

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2010, 12:48:19 AM »
"I have personally put up with all kinds of totally unfounded attacks and allegations that I am a liberal reporter who hates the church"

So I must assume a reporter that isn't a church hating liberal is safe from attacks? Therefor his/her job would be safe.
"The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"

Offline fish

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2010, 02:27:18 AM »
take a poll kari. better yet read the articles and see for yourself.

Offline darrellmaurina

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2010, 02:40:28 AM »
"I have personally put up with all kinds of totally unfounded attacks and allegations that I am a liberal reporter who hates the church"
So I must assume a reporter that isn't a church hating liberal is safe from attacks? Therefor his/her job would be safe.

Nobody's job is safe in the current news media environment where even Gannett, the largest and financially least unstable of the major newspaper companies, is giving employees mandatory one-week unpaid vacations to cut costs.

But I think your real question is probably whether being a liberal makes your job safer in the news media. Like most things, whether people's jobs are safe depends primarily on their immediate supervisor. If your boss likes you, you're less likely to get in trouble, and there's a major difference between the newsroom culture that exists in rural Missouri and the newsroom culture that exists in a major urban area.

Of course, that's true about a lot of other things, too. There are reasons why people choose to live in southern rural areas and there are reasons why people choose to live in major urban areas. Personal beliefs and how people want to live their lives are often major parts of those reasons.
Darrell Todd Maurina
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Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2010, 02:41:23 AM »
take a poll kari. better yet read the articles and see for yourself.
Nothing to take a poll about Fish....

Now, kindly answer the questions, instead of trying to blow smoke..
Are you trying to say that the majority of the people in media are not Christians?  If not, then what is the religion of the majority of the people in media?
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Offline fish

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2010, 02:46:08 AM »
I said the media, I didn't name individuals. read the posts slowly again. the media is not known for positive stances on religion, at least christians.

Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2010, 03:32:54 AM »
I said the media, I didn't name individuals. read the posts slowly again. the media is not known for positive stances on religion, at least christians.
The media is made up of people.  Without the reporters, and all those behind the scenes, there is no media.  It is not an entity of it's own.  It has no emotions, it does not breathe, it is not alive.  The majority of those that make up the media ARE Christians.  To say that the media hates Christians, is calling them self-hating Christians.  I do not have to read the posts again, slow or fast.  Your words: "the media hates christians, can't say christian enough when some do stupid things." 

Two simple questions....."If the media hates Christians", as you wrote.........
Are you trying to say that the majority of the people in media are not Christians?  If not, then what is the religion of the majority of the people in media?
 
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Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2010, 03:56:17 AM »
DTM, no matter how you call it..... a Christian who hates Christians is a self-hating Christian.  A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus was the Messiah.  How the different Christian sects view one another is not the point.  Fish made a statement, should be man enough to either stand by his statement and answer my questions, or retract what he wrote.
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Offline darrellmaurina

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2010, 04:31:46 AM »
Kari, I continue to believe that you and Fish are talking past each other... I think Fish's point is that there are serious biases against Christianity in the news media. Correct me if I'm wrong, Kari, but I think you're trying to say that can't be true because most people in the media are Christians.

Regardless of whether Fish's claim about media bias is true or false, you've been around conservative Christians in the Bible Belt long enough to know that is a common perception among conservative Christians.

I believe the underlying reason Fish and you are disagreeing on this issue is that Fish believes that just because somebody calls themselves a Christian doesn't mean they are a Christian -- in other words, that you and Fish are working from different understandings of what it means to be a Christian.

DTM, no matter how you call it..... a Christian who hates Christians is a self-hating Christian.  A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus was the Messiah.  How the different Christian sects view one another is not the point.  Fish made a statement, should be man enough to either stand by his statement and answer my questions, or retract what he wrote.
Darrell Todd Maurina
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Offline kari

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Re: Philosopher: Why we should ditch religion.
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2010, 05:11:12 AM »
Kari, I continue to believe that you and Fish are talking past each other... I think Fish's point is that there are serious biases against Christianity in the news media. Correct me if I'm wrong, Kari, but I think you're trying to say that can't be true because most people in the media are Christians.

Regardless of whether Fish's claim about media bias is true or false, you've been around conservative Christians in the Bible Belt long enough to know that is a common perception among conservative Christians.

I believe the underlying reason Fish and you are disagreeing on this issue is that Fish believes that just because somebody calls themselves a Christian doesn't mean they are a Christian -- in other words, that you and Fish are working from different understandings of what it means to be a Christian.

DTM, you keep answering for Fish.  Apparently you seem to think Fish is incapable of answering for himself?  For a Christian to hate Christians, means they are self-hating.  It has nothing to do with being a "conservative" Christian or not.  Maybe I'm wrong, but don't most Christians believe they are suppose to love their neighbor as themselves?  If Fish believes the media hates Christians, and the majority of the media people are Christians, then they HAVE to be self-hating Christians.  There is no other way around it. 

"Fish believes that just because somebody calls themselves a Christian doesn't mean they are a Christian", so you are saying that Fish judges who is and isn't a Christian?  Anyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah IS A CHRISTIAN, plain and simple.  So now it's a matter of one Christian judging another Christian as to "how Christian" they are?  Hmmmm, what ever happened to that saying...... let me see...... Judge not lest ye be judged.

Definition of Christian: follower of Jesus Christ, adherent of Christianity..... so now does one have to question if Fish is a Christian, because according to you, he is judging another Christian's adherence to Christianity?  Fish is Christian, the majority of media people are Christian...... Fish wrote, "the media hates Christians", which makes those Christians self-hating Christians!  The way I see it, it appears to me that he feels you are a self-hating Christian, because you are part of the media and he stated the media hates Christians.
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