I hope you will take a few minutes and read something my friend wrote:
I love the fact that, in our day and age---check your watch--if you don't like what someone says or someone writes, all it takes is a simple punch of the remote or a simple turn of the dial or a simple turning of the page to snug back cozily in your echo chamber; however, and however painful it may be, it stands that if someone is to learn anything other than new ways to express the deep-rooted presumptions they already have, it is important for them to sit down and bear the discomfort of hearing an opposing view. After all, the opposition may have a point.
But this is a new day and age---check your watch---and I wish you luck in your cable-news serfdom surfing finding a pointful point among the pointless ad hominems, caricatures, loaded language, non sequiturs, circular logic and ad misericordiams utilized by the self-reverential-and-referential heads on the boob-tube, radio, newspapers, or Capitol Hill today---check your watch.
There was a time, not many days ago, when power of the United States House of Representatives was transferred from Democrats to Republicans. On that day, a reading of the United States Constitution was delayed while a chagrined and overwrought Representative from Illinois voiced his concerns--"chagrin"--over the reading. His basis, I am sure, and surely sure, was the dark cloud hovering over a certain portion known as the 3/5th rule, a portion of the Constitution which grants 60% extant rights to slaves. Of course, this particular portion of the Constitution was amended, and was already put forth as something which wouldn't be read in the House. But that doesn't matter, does it? Was it a ploy, perhaps? Or was the Rep short of gray-matter recollection? Beyond the power of appeal, an open reading of the 3/5th rule would've worked in his favor, if his aim was to bring attention to that "dark cloud." Such a thing would be deemed racist in our current atmosphere...an atmosphere created by many "outed" members of the JournoList group...but I digress. Perhaps, his aim was to point out an ostensible racism within the Constitution itself, so that it's credibility would be tarnished, so that the Congressional sophistry could forge ahead in an un-Constitutional-like manner unhindered by the brazen racism displayed by our framers within the document.
Apparently, the Representative was under the impression that those of a darker persuasion were still working on plantations against their will---check your watch. Should I have been surprised that his name was Jesse Jackson Junior?
Let us distinguish sophistry from smarts!
Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence included a passage condemning slavery, a passage which was scratched at the urging of other statesmen so that the Declaration could be embraced by politicians of the South---many of which were beholden to their constituent slaveholders and slaveholders themselves.
And, as for the 3/5th rule, it was not a condoning of slavery. It was a splitting of the difference. It was a compromise between abolitionist and pro-slavery politicians. Why was there a compromise?
Abolitionists wanted slavery done away with; on the other hand, slave-owners wanted their slaves counted as "property" when it worked in their favor in addition to counting them as "people" when it worked in their favor. The idea was to grant NO voting rights to slaves--because they were property---while granting them PEOPLE rights when it came to the subject of Census, so that slave owners would have a larger and stronger representation in the government.
"Why can't we count our cows as people, then? Since, they too are property?" remarked an abolitionist from the north.
The 3/5th rule, as opposed to an enabler of slavery, was a compromise made in order to ratify the Constitution. Otherwise, there would've been no ratification and no Constitution...at least. not the one we have.
But I digress....
Sophistry from smarts, people!! Distinguish one from the other!!!!
I also recall my one-time respect for Bill Maher; indeed, I was a member of his fandom. Why? Because I was young and stupid and found him to be quite clever. A busy life got in the way, however, as I barely graduated high school and had to find a way to make my way somewhere out of my parent's way. Many years passed, wherewithin I worked hard and discovered that school was not the existential bane I'd previously thought, going to college in my 30's , receiving forty "A"'s and two "B"'s in my quest to be a valedictorian, at Purdue, which worked, whereupon I returned to my trade....but I digress.
And I heard his name again, mentioned somewhere by someone in some capacity. And, I sought him out. And I tuned him in. And while I listened to him wax hostile towards the Christian faith, I couldn't help wondering if he had always been that way, or if he had even bothered to read the Bible on it's terms, as opposed to his terms. Actually, I wondered if he had read it at all.
I've done enough damage in my life to warrant the scorn of many...if not all...so it is not my place to look down on anyone. OJ Simpson sucked as a husband to say the least, but he's the only football player to rush for over 2,000-yards in a 14-game season. Martha Stewart did time for trading on the inside, but is an expert when it comes to craft and decorating ideas. Bill Maher is clever, and he has his own show....but, sometimes, one just can't let ignorance pass one by without at least grabbing it by the arm and saying, "excuse me, you're missing the point."....even if ignorance has a large fan base.
Sophistry from smarts, people!!!!
Mr. Bill, in the show I watched, adjacent to a panel of like-minded hand-wringing irreligious, in front of a capacity-filled echo chamber, made a crack about how hard-pressed he was to appreciate anyone who belonged to the type of religion which professed a Giant came down from the sky, toiled for 6-days to create the world we live in, got pooped, and took a nap on day seven. The audience roared with laughter, and his panel of enablers grinned from ear-to-ear. I, within the cozy confines of my one-bedroom cave, felt a turn in my stomach.
It was a statement deemed so clever by him and everyone else that I thought an orgy was about to break out. The overwhelming conclusion was that he had circumscribed the absurdity of Christians via a beat down of the Creation Account...with irony.
Assertions, assertions, assertions!!! That is all they are: quick and insightless, bellicose blasts meant to shut down a debate. Insightless? Is that a word? No? Consider it a neologism, then---I have tons of them.
Pardon my lack of sophistry, but the Creation Account Mr. Bill saw fit to discredit through a literal/liberal interpretation was never meant to be read that way. The Creation Account is a chiasm---an ancient and nut-shelled Hebraic poem---not a court transcript. And anyone who treats it in the same vein as they would instructions on how to bake a pizza is, dare I say, ignorant in sophistry. Likely, those dullards of the Maher-ilk are equally rooty-poot when it comes to the subsequent chiasms and parables and proverbs and prophecies and philosophies that emblazon the Good Book.
As you sow, so shall you reap has to do with farming, right?
Sophistry from smarts!!!!!
Specious reasoning from truth!!!!!
There comes a time when someone has to shirk the cocksure mindset of a college freshman and show some depth by soaking in the information on the information's terms. Otherwise, that same someone is condemned to spend the rest of his/her life saluting the same banner---a banner which encourages uninformed jests of irony, based on appearances, based on squat. And, for those who find warmth and comfort in the embrace of their respective banner, there is a special place in Dante's Hell/Inferno just for you. Enjoy your contrapasso. No, you won't be needing any wine with that.
And, since I find 3 to be a luckier number than 2, just like Dante and Plato, I will offer one more clue to the hollow-thinking, hippy-dippy turnips who've been resorting to the same ol' same ol' jabs at Christianity via hooks and jabs and uppercuts and right-crosses to the Crusades. Really people? Is that the best you've got? The Crusades? Are you serious?
Why did the Crusades take place? Did Europeans wake up one day and decide to run roughshod over those who didm't believe in the same things? If you ask Bill Maher............or Jeneane Garofalo or Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews or Krugman or Maddow or "whatever"....the answer would be a resounding and resonating "AMEN!"
Followed by an ironic and witless witticism.
If only I was sophistic enough to appreciate their vantage point!
And so it goes between the cocksure freshman and I...The freshman being underlined.............
BUT YOU HAVEN'T RESPONDED TO MY POINT ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN CRUSADES?
Beyond the power of anyone's appeal, in and of themselves, the Crusades are a black mark on Christian history.
YOU SEE? THE POINT IS MADE!
Hardly. YOUR point is made, but to every point there is an equal and opposite point to be made. Understand? You're a Liberal right? Hegel? The Dialectic? Never mind....If you are going to refer to the Crusades as something Christian, then you are as equally as likely to refer to a shrimp as something colossal. Are you a semantic puppet? Because the semantics don't compute. Christ's name was abused, misused, and blasphemed by myriad Crusaders----this is not Vhristian behaviour, is it?
STILL, DIDN'T IT HAPPEN? DIDN'T THESE SO-CALLED CHRISTIANS GO ON A MURDEROUS RAMPAGE?
Yes, they surely did.
AHA, AND SO I'VE MADE MY POINT!
A dull point, at best, actually....it was more of a blunt curve than a point.
SO WHAT IS YOUR POINT?
How would this world be right now if the Crusades by these so-called Christians never took place? Moreover, why did they happen in the first place?
In the early 7th Century, you see, there was a fellow named Mohammed roaming the grounds of Mecca claiming that he, and no one else, was the Divine Prophet of the only God, Allah....
WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE CRUSADES? THERE YOU GO RE-DIRECTING, TRYING TO BLAME THE MUSLIMS!
I'm establishing provenance.
Origin. I'm establishing the origin of the Crusades.
FINE! GIVE IT A SHOT. I CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR THIS!
Mohammed and a throng of his followers were not well received by the Meccans. There was even talk of an assassination plot. So they got out of Dodge---so to speak. Where did they go? In the dark of night, the Lewis-and-Clarked their tokus's on an extensive path which led them to the Jewish city of Medina, where their sick and tired and hungry butts were nursed back to health by local Jews.
Unfortunately, some good deeds don't go unpunished. The kindly acts of the Jews were lost on Mohammed and his followers, particularly in the face of a Meccan falling out. Mohammed was mad! Mohammed had to resort to a channel somewhere! He continued to preach to those who'd listen, and there were plenty who listened, and his message was clear: non-believers were the "worst kind of beasts" and it was a mandate from none other than Allah to kill them where they stood. It was the kind of elocution prone to endear itself to anyone who enjoyed such activities as rape, robbery, arson, and murder, especially if it was sanctioned by the Divine Will of Allah.
The dissenting voices of poets, politicians, patrons, and philosophers were silenced through various means of execution. Even the kindly Jews of Medina were thrown from their houses and subjected to these very same methods of execution. One city after another was pillaged in Mohammed's quest to vanquish pre-Islamic Arabia until he, and approximately 40,000 adherents triumphantly marched into Mecca and seized control.
The Middle East transformed from a civilized world of prosperity to a nightmare of fear, poverty, deprivation, and female abuse. Christianity was essentially wiped from the region and any semblance of religious or expressive freedom was gone. The known world was turned on it's ear, and the New Religious Order continued to spread.
So let me ask you.............
How do you suppose it was for Christians back then? Do you suppose they got tired of being stifled? Of being forced to live under a covenant alien to their own? Do you suppose they didn't want to treat their women like sexual slaves? Do you suppose they didn't want to dress up their daughters in dark clothing and masks? Do you suppose they got tired of the idea that it was okay to cut off a woman's clitoris? Or Stone her to death? Do you suppose they found it difficult to embrace a religion which called for the execution or, more precisely, the decapitation of anyone who broached any subject with an independent voice? Do you suppose that the impoverishment of their families for the sake of enriching barbarians was a difficult pill to swallow? Why would anyone begrudge these so-called Christians an opportunity to fight back?
The Crusades, however un-Christian they were in and of themselves, and however vulnerable they are to contemporary cheap-shot artists, did not manifest out of thin air. They were, in fact, a response by England, France, and Germany against the unfettered violence the so-called Muslims were demonstrating on Christians.
Let's decipher sophistry from smarts, people!!!
Barbaric equivalency notwithstanding, we would be living in a much different world right now had the Christians of 900+ years ago not taken it upon themselves to fight back in an un-Christian-like manner. Now, whether that world would be a utopian dream or a dystopian nightmare is for you to decide. I, for one, am not going to cover my daughter's face with a burqa.
SHHHHHHHHHHHH.....SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH....THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW IS COMING ON. I LOVE HER. SHE'S SO INFORMATIVE, AND SO IRONIC....SHE'S A RHODE'S SCHOLAR, YOU KNOW?
And, I guess it seems that my intention was to rip on the teachings of Mohammed while extolling the virtues of Christianity when, seriously, my purpose was to distinguish smarts from sophistry........to provide something real, as opposed to spun. There is always more to the story, Even though it is clear which side of the fence I fall on, Muslim-bashing shouldn't be equated with establishing provenance, People of both faiths have the ammunition to go back-and-forth ad infinitum. Perhaps, someday, somebody can come to me with ammuntion that isn't 900+ years old, because I live in the here and now....and I do not feel threatened by Christians.
When I read Mohammed's words, I don't see the New Testament style gospel in which love and kindness leap from the page; rather, I see the occassional kind word enveloped by passage after passage of malice; I see a manifesto of domination and intolerance from the Last Prophet.
The individuals who fly planes into buildings and the individuals whose sole purpose in life is to end the lives of others have become the spokespeople of Islam. Are they the fringe? Are they commonplace? Somebody throw me a bone? There are moderate and thoughtful people within the Muslim world....Just tell me, please where the moderation and thoughtfulness come from. Because you are not condemning the fringe loudly enough! Who are you? Where are you?