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View Poll Results: Did Jesus physically ascend to heaven?
Yes he did 20 31.75%
No he didn't, it is a pointless fabrication 21 33.33%
No, it is figurative 22 34.92%
Voters: 63. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-23-2008, 03:04 PM   #61
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I've also talked to a friend at work about the Koran. He talks and acts in a modern way but when he proceeded to tell me in a very calm, and in an as matter of fact way, how we don't need Democracy because Islam is a holistic political and religious system and Sharia law is all we need I couldn't believe what he said. I mean if you don't like Democracy why immigrate to Canada? He's from Pakistan and it technically is supposed to be a democracy so I think he's disgusted with the democratic example he has seen and yearns for an end to it.
And that's the problem. Pakistan really isn't a democracy, as much as it is a corrupt plutocracy dominated by dynastic politics. One gets the sense that Musharraf took over Pakistan for just this reason in 1999, but, regardless of his intentions--good, bad, or otherwise, it is still as much of a dynastic plutocracy as before.

I think the biggest problem is that many people think that, as long as you hold elections, you're a "democracy" and all is well. Bush certainly fueled that notion with Iraq, most recently, which has probably left any number of Iraqis yearning for the "security" of dictatorship again, even though a true democracy would be better. The added problem I think many people have not considered is the fact that we're trying to transplant democracy, as a hallmark institution of Western Civilization, into Islamic Civilization, which has absolutely no tradition in democracy whatsoever and appeals to Platonic, Aristotelian, or Lockean ideals are likely an exercise in futility, at this point. Granted, there is Turkey, which is probably our only example of Western and Islamic Civilizations successfully meeting, but Turkey had made a conscious decision to be "Western" without prodding from the West, so I'm not sure that they count entirely.

Nonetheless, if the goal would be to educate those on the virtues of Western Civilization, I'd argue that we've failed in educating most "natives" of the West, let alone outside civilizations with completely different cultural and historical traditions. Our tendency to "dumb down" discourse to appeal to mass audiences, rather than aiming to educate, has reached a fairly troubling impasse presently.
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:25 PM   #62
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Just a few questions though —�What's a good life? What's the standard? What if a higher power reached out to us and we don't take his hand —�would you really just want him to sort it out in the end?
I think we have a pretty decent guide within us for what a good life is.

I don't think that the answer to that depends on whether you go to Church on Sunday. Frankly the standard set by a lot of Christians is not one I'm interested in anyway.

If there is a God out there, I feel absolutely comfortable with him sorting us all out. I am happy and at peace with how I've lived my life, that is what is important to me in the end. I lived through a lot, I contributed a lot, I saw and did cool things. If it makes you feel better, you can assume that people who have lived good lives have accepted the "hand" in a different way than you have, perhaps subconsciously.

But truly, asking me these questions isn't going to change the way I feel. I think I have lived a better and fairer life since leaving organized religion. I have absolutely no intention of going back, and truly I can tell you, I am missing nothing. I remember seeing an episode of Real Time and some Christian told Bill Maher that they can't NOT preach because it's like seeing a hungry person by the side of the road, wouldn't you feed them? And his response was "why can't you understand that I'm not hungry?" I tried it both ways, and concluded that there is absolutely no extra or better morality derived from religious belief.

Regardless, every once in a while I get the "but don't you want to be saved?" question. I mostly chuckle.
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:32 PM   #63
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I guess it all depends on if there's a God. If there is, it's not far-fetched to believe in miracles, resurrection, virgin birth, etc.
If I could believe in the existence of god, certainly it wouldn't be a stretch to believe the rest of the stuff, and that's where you just have to have faith, which I don't have.

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I agree with actually walking out Jesus' message. I'm trying to do so. It's not easy, but it's been a good path for me to take.
it's a good blueprint for christians and non-christians alike.

where do you stand on old vs. new testament in terms of "did it happen" ?

Red Sea parting, manna from heaven, nebuchadnezzer and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Abraham giving up his son, etc.

Seems on the more contentious issues that it's old testament 'justification' that's used, certainly when I pop on KKLA or Rush Limbaugh to hear 'opposing' viewpoints that helping the poor is last on anyone's agenda.
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:25 PM   #64
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Nonetheless, if the goal would be to educate those on the virtues of Western Civilization, I'd argue that we've failed in educating most "natives" of the West, let alone outside civilizations with completely different cultural and historical traditions. Our tendency to "dumb down" discourse to appeal to mass audiences, rather than aiming to educate, has reached a fairly troubling impasse presently.
Well remember that Bush was trying to compare the U.S. experience with Japan to the one with Iraq. I think he's given up that stance when he got Petraeus in but he still thinks all humans want freedom and wants time to justify him. That's why there is a push to get the handover in Iraq ASAP so they can put more forces into Afghanistan to finish the job. Obama appears intelligent enough to continue the war to finish it off so the reforms aren't all half-baked and a self-fullfilled prophecy is created by leaving too soon.

Certainly tribalism is harder to deal with than Nationalism in regards to change so I do see what you're saying. Having women learn to read and write is a help and it may be messy and awkward for the future of both countries but there is hope that the institutions will be something they want to fight for. A hope not certainty. There once was a time a LONG time ago where some Muslims flirted with science, economics and Greek philosophy but that looks like it needs to be reintroduced again.

I have an Afghani co-worker and he's split between Bush and Ahmadinejad (what a set of opposites). He likes Ahmadinejad more now because of his perceived strength and since he's Islamic he's okay with Iran's idea of democracy which is basically Sharia law and no opposition parties that aren't Muslim. Of course my co-worker doesn't move to Iran, he lives in Canada.

He complained that the U.S. didn't invest enough money in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. Now that there's more money being put in there, schools built, constitution, and aid it will be interesting to see if they just keep complaining no matter what the U.S. does. If at worst Afghanistan and Iraq remove democracy and push for dictatorship you will see the U.S. just dropping bombs from afar or invading countries to remove dictators but jumping ship ASAP to avoid longer commitments. The pro-democracy types in those two countries better start defending their rights because the U.S. will be cynical and not help anymore just like after Somalia and the lack of intervention in Rwanda and Darfur. The U.S. mostly has an isolationist streak and can easily go back to that when disappointed with the rest of the world.

My co-worker also likes The Kite Runner which is more modernistic so I see action not matching words and a self divided between following the "great leader" mentality vs. the hunger for modern freedom. When people get freedom they realize that things aren't handed to them anymore and some people start pining again for a leader to save them. My family originated in South America and we know the eternal cycle of Chavez types that keep making false promises and the cynicism of the people who know that they hate the top dog but when given the chance to join the top dog they can be as corrupt as those they hate.

I just want the Bush experiment to be completed so we can see the results. There has been progress since the surge and I want to see a completion of the mission before I get totally cynical. Not all the insitutions have passed yet into law like private property rights so there is still more the government has to modernize to achieve good results.
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:46 PM   #65
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There once was a time a LONG time ago where some Muslims flirted with science, economics and Greek philosophy but that looks like it needs to be reintroduced again.
And that may be an insurmountable goal. For one, these Muslims, mostly the Mu'tazili, although Averroës was part of the Maliki school (which still exists today), were effectively "Westerners," if we are to categorize by civilization. Nonetheless, the Mu'tazili, who rediscovered ancient Greek philosophy, integrated it with Islam, and transmitted it to Christian Europe through Islamic Spain to St. Thomas Aquinas, are wholly reviled in Islam today, and any attempts to "Westernize" Islam is likely going to evoke comparisons to them. Even Averroës, considered by many to be the founding father of secularism, struggled and lost against Algazel, the Persian Islamic philosopher who is probably the philosophical founding father of the Islamic Civilization and its revulsion against the modern world that we see today.

In other words, even if earlier Muslims were inclined towards those hallmarks of Western Civilization, the fact that they are effectively part of a different civilization than present-day Islamic Civilization makes it much more difficult to affect change. They are basically as much "outsiders" as the rest of us are to them.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:19 PM   #66
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And that may be an insurmountable goal. For one, these Muslims, mostly the Mu'tazili, although Averroës was part of the Maliki school (which still exists today), were effectively "Westerners," if we are to categorize by civilization. Nonetheless, the Mu'tazili, who rediscovered ancient Greek philosophy, integrated it with Islam, and transmitted it to Christian Europe through Islamic Spain to St. Thomas Aquinas, are wholly reviled in Islam today, and any attempts to "Westernize" Islam is likely going to evoke comparisons to them. Even Averroës, considered by many to be the founding father of secularism, struggled and lost against Algazel, the Persian Islamic philosopher who is probably the philosophical founding father of the Islamic Civilization and its revulsion against the modern world that we see today.

In other words, even if earlier Muslims were inclined towards those hallmarks of Western Civilization, the fact that they are effectively part of a different civilization than present-day Islamic Civilization makes it much more difficult to affect change. They are basically as much "outsiders" as the rest of us are to them.
We will have to see as events unfold but you could be right. That will be a sad day when people throw out freedom because I'm sure there are some who are embracing it that will be caught and watch it fall apart with the expected violence that will ensue. That won't be pretty seeing the Taliban rise again or some Shia dominated dictator arise. If dictators would leave us alone and stay in their borders that would be ideal for us but history hasn't shown that to be the case. Dictators love forcing others to their views and threatening the west. There isn't any magic wand to make bullying disappear. Bullying has to be fought.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:20 PM   #67
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And you're totally entitled to your opinion. I'd just urge you to look into the argument of the other side. There's more substance to it than one would think.

Consider the facts that following the death of Christ: his disciples died for their faith and what they experienced, there were radical changes in Jewish social structures that had been in place for centuries (a sharp decline in animal sacrifices, etc.), you have a sudden rise in the celebrations of baptism and Communion (practices that wouldn't entirely make sense without a resurrection, especially Christian baptism), and you have the rapid growth of a faith that eventually overwhelms the Roman empire and continues to flourish today.

Would all this have happened if he simply died?
This doesn't justify any supernatural claims, one might as well establish a Church of Coca Cola on the basis of how rapidly that particular soft drink was able to build an empire and reshape society.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:23 PM   #68
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Of course, those who aren't Godless, but aren't Christian don't really count either in the poll, or the discussion.
An allusion doesn't mean I think people who voted for options 2 - 3 are Godless.

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Old 11-23-2008, 06:12 PM   #69
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A_W appearing humble or genuinely inquisitive towards FYM's unwashed masses is rarer than a snowflake in Death Valley.
quoted for the fucking truth.

i pretty much only come here to read about the economy, but every now and again i go into these kind threads where the left is enlightened and the right is right and it makes me vomit.

i should exercise more restraint, i suppose. i couldn't help but quote this however, as it's quite amusing to see the most pretentious poster on this board be put to task. good times, guys.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:18 PM   #70
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What passes for left wing thought on the forum is sometimes worryingly close to 'ohmigod, Obama rocks, and if you don't agree, you're a beastly right wing c***, and you're probably a closet racist too', what passes for right wing thought seems to be some agenda to bash gays that I'm not interested in, or alternatively Strongbow's rubbishy propaganda.
oh yes.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:34 PM   #71
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quoted for the fucking truth.

i pretty much only come here to read about the economy, but every now and again i go into these kind threads where the left is enlightened and the right is right and it makes me vomit.

i should exercise more restraint, i suppose. i couldn't help but quote this however, as it's quite amusing to see the most pretentious poster on this board be put to task. good times, guys.
Posts like this make it all worthwhile.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:40 PM   #72
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you're preaching to the choir on this. over the years at this board, few have been more immature, irrational, condescending and ill-informed than me.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:43 PM   #73
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Mixed up personal pronouns?
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:53 PM   #74
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no, i was talking about me. i was agreeing that personal attacks often make it more interesting and keep me coming back. you know?
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:13 PM   #75
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Yes he did
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