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January 13, 2015

Comments

Brian, once again you have my fullest appreciation and admiration for walking the talk. I refer, naturally, to your actually reproducing the cartoon here, in full plain view.

Lovely cover page, isn't it? There've been many who, quoting Voltaire (unless of course that wasn't Voltaire), have been saying that they are all for Charlie, that they ARE Charlie, but that the magazine's content sucks. Well, this cover proves them wrong! (At least in this single instance.)


Incidentally, I wonder what exactly is the deal with Muslims not wanting this gentleman's person represented? It's all crazy, of course, but by what logic/theology/whatever do they arrive at that position? I don't think any other religion/faith has that particular hangup, do they? About their God, yes, but not about the "messenger".

I heard a muslim spokeswoman on the BBC news hour yesterday. she said that free speech is fine unless safety is involved. Um.... Isn't threatening safety what extremists are using to eliminate free speech?
Also, I've seen millions of jokes about Jesus. Most of us laugh, even Christians.

I want Muslim leaders to defend these cartoons, without the pious disclaimers.

But why should they defend the cartoons as well condemning murderous acts? You're conflating condemning terrorism with defending free speech. Without that clear distinction, "Je Suis Charlie", becomes a peremptory march to toe the line, a kind of righteous bullying. This is a "strain of and a stain on your faith", so publish it you wimp!

Depictions of Mohammed are offensive to the Muslim faith. Your position is effectively "defending free speech trumps your religious sensitivites. It offends you...so what! Get over it. This is a jihad for what's RIGHT!".

defending free speech trumps your religious sensitivites

Skeptics and atheists have no "religious sensitivities", so for them, free speech trumps religion. Believers, however, want it the other way around because without their faith, the only thing they have to say is that they're free of it.

I wonder what exactly is the deal with Muslims not wanting this gentleman's person represented?

For a Muslim to draw a representation of Mohammed is to commit the mortal sin of idolatry, so it enrages them when infidels draw pictures of Him with impunity.

I ask myself what is the aim of satire? is it to inform or just ridicule.. Perhaps a good one would be to show Moses with his holy clay tablets of law, Jesus dying on the cross, for the sins of fallen man, Mohammed flying up to heaven on his winged horse, and Krisna weaving an intrigate dance between all of them..And then we could have the Buddha smiling detachtly on the side..Perhaps even have a satsangi meditating on the side..Just for good measure have a hippie smoking pot, and then just finish with a guy with a Ak shooting them all.

... Believers want it the other way around because without their faith, the only thing they have to say is that they're free of it.

If I get your point, I believe that's overreach. Muslims understand and support free speech, except for uber fanatical idealogues incapable of nuance.

But you can't expect them to jump on any "Je Suis Charlie" jihad bandwagon just as most Catholics wouldn't don a "Pro Choice" button to show support for a bombed abortion clinic.

Oh yes now we have ridiculed them all...But let us not forget the Wall Street Banker..He is the only one laughing.

[Note from Blogger Brian: I edited your comment to take out the preachy, religious parts, in accord with the new churchless comment policy "experiment" I described recently. 777, just say what you think about something. Don't cite religious dogma. Don't proclaim your allegiance to some faith as support for how you feel about this or that. Just speak from your own heart and mind. Remember: this is a church of the churchless blog, not a church of the churched. Yes, I'm biased against religious fundamentalism. Read the title of this blog.]

Withholding my text on the Gay subject is equal to Bias

Please publish it and let the readers judge, , ,

David Lane might need it for his column to come this week

Cheers

777


Seems the ban on artistic representations of Mohammed are quite a new thing in the grand scheme of things.

Anyone interested heres a link to an islamic image archive
http://zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/islamic_mo_full/

I call 'bullshit!'.

We live in a secular society, under a constitution framed to acknowledge this secularity. As much as we seek to deny community in favor of the corporate person, the individual, or the faith, we are all citizens of a state, an encompassing entity that incorporates society, culture, and community.

We have choices. If we don’t like our community we can move. If you choose to live here, you must accept the framework of that community. You may have whatever values you wish, but you must accept that the secular nature of this state-society-culture-community whether you like it or not. You may seek to change it, but you must change the rules within the playbook that the state provides. Maybe this is a ponderous restating of the Viet Nam era “love it or leave it” meme; so be it.

There is much in Charley Hebdo I find objectionable, and which I would decline to publish. Since the attack, if we are thoughtful, we need to consider whether there are limits to free expression, and if so where those limits are to be drawn.

We prohibit hate speech; in much of Europe it is a violation of the law to question the Holocaust. I see these limits as varieties of libel and slander, both of which carry penalties. When you libel or slander the sheltering community you risk censor, or at least scrutiny.

When secularity is breached, the childhood “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” ceases to be true.

Ronald Dworkin expressed it will in an article in the New York Review of Books:

“"Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended. That is why cartoons and other forms of ridicule have for centuries, even when illegal, been among the most important weapons of both noble and wicked political movements."

...show Moses with his holy clay tablets of law, Jesus dying on the cross, Mohammed flying up to heaven on his winged horse, and Krisna weaving an intricate dance between all of them, the Buddha smiling detachtly on the side..and then finish with a guy with a Ak shooting them all

Good idea for a cartoon, June. The guy doing the shooting would be labeled "atheist".

x or he could be a mad scientist, as I am not a "atheist"

I am not a "atheist"

Right, but the cartoon isn't about you, June, but about what it means to be an atheist. Yes, it's your idea, but it illustrates the atheist position so well, it can only be an atheist that kills all those images of religiosity. Only the atheist is free of all that crap because he/she doesn't believe any of it. Look deeper, June. You might find that you're not as credulous as you believe.

x The point I was trying to make is that each of those systems have merit, they have shaped the society we now have..Each one if followed exclusively will be unbalanced..It is obvious that each one will result in a precise personality type..The only way to somehow comprehend what our world is all about is to give all of them Due Process, then form a conclusion..To go into all of them here is not possible and I am not clever enough to do so..I however have tried to make sense of the meanings and aspirations and I conclude that we are all just frail human beings, desperately trying to survive in a very hostile enviroment and only a mad scientist would be unkind enough to shoot us all.

So Brian, it appears that in entirety your new comment policy means that you'd only publish the comments which mainly supports your opinion on the subject of the post. And any comment which is against your opinion on the subject, still very much belonging to the comment won't get published.

You think it is righteous ?

Well, after all you own this space and so the policy maker.
But this policy, to me, it doesn't look justified for an author who is writing so much in public and has this kind of global following.

~
OI

One Initiated, you've got that wrong. I guess you didn't read the blog post where I talked about this comment experiment.
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2015/01/new-church-of-the-churchless-comment-policy.html

I said:

"From now on, I'd like those commenters to do the reverse: use your personal critical/logical thinking skills to make some cogent observations about the content of the post, with maybe a brief reference to their religious beliefs."

So it's really just the opposite from what you said. I want people to make good arguments for this or that based on their own logic, thinking, experiences, and such.

Nobody except a true believer is interested in commenters spouting religious dogma that has no basis in fact or demonstrable evidence. It's like saying, "Global warming can't be happening because God is in charge of the world and He won't let anything bad happen to it."

That's not an argument. That's dogmatic absurdity.

Brian

YOU ARE SO ANTI FREE WORD and NOT CHARLIE
and like the spanish inquisition
In short

Imaging you had some power
like in Salem village or in RSSB

777


Brian
I sincerely apologize
I saw to late that you anew placed my comment
and I thank you

So after all YOU ARE CHARLY and PRO FIRST AMENDMENT

Here in France withholding text from an 100% public=open journal
or discussion group would be illegal * I do not
know how that is in old USA

Thank you

What I wrote was just simplifying the theory
in one page that even 8 years old can understand
It makes also clear that YOU like GIHF are the Creator of the universes

I PROVED the strict Truth of what I write here scientifically
when I joined your blog and you did as if you hadn't read it

777


For a Muslim to draw a representation of Mohammed is to commit the mortal sin of idolatry, so it enrages them when infidels draw pictures of Him with impunity.

Yes, this the part I was wondering about. I am a bit unclear about this, at three separate levels.

Of course, one way of looking at this would be to simply say that this whole thing is anyways totally crazy. Which of course it is. That it is pointless to try to subject these murderous nutjobs to a detailed psychoanalysis of their faith-psychosis, and far more to the point to simply kill them (or otherwise “neutralize” them). Which too is at least partly valid, especially when viewed from the perspective of those closest to the latest murderous rampage.

Still, if one were to crane one’s neck beyond that particular corner to see what lay beyond, and to get back to what I was saying : and proceeding from your comment about idolatry : there are three things that leave me puzzled about the method in this particular form of madness :

First, idolatry generally applies to the God, the deity. As with Judaism : witness the Biblical template of old man Moses going ballistic, much like these fellows with the guns in France, when he saw the golden calf (and which hoary template still holds, albeit in less absolute—and certainly less murderous—forms to this day within that faith). As also with Christians, but much more toned down and civilized, as far this particular piece of dogma goes. But the point here is, they’re objecting to their Infinite God being reduced to something necessarily infinitely less than He is (per their faith), hence this sense of outrage. Fair enough. (I mean to say, it isn’t “reasonable”, not by a long shot, but I do follow the line of thinking, the method in their madness.)

Now Christians, who do venerate Jesus as someone supernatural and worship-worthy, don’t object to having Jesus represented. They themselves go out of their way to represent him in their very places of worship. While Muslims, on the other hand, go out of their way to emphasize that they DON’T worship Mohammad. They revere him, but they don’t imbue his person with divinity, and they certainly don’t pray to him. Which is why they so vehemently object to being called Mohammedans (as Muslims used to be referred to some decades back), and to also emphasize that their religion, unlike Christianity (which is another word for Jesus-Religion), is NOT “Mohammedanism” but Islam. Mohammad, to Muslims, is no more than a visionary and guide, one amongst many (albeit the last and by far the most important one). Given all this, what is their problem with representing Mohammad? They don’t worship the man, so there’s no question of idolatry per se. So what exactly is the deal there?

Then there’s this : They don’t tire of taking the name of Allah. Which means they’re fine with representing—and therefore, of necessity (given the infinite nature of Allah, per their faith), misrepresenting—Him verbally and in writing, that is, through the medium of words. They’re also fine with taking the name of their Prophet, both in speech and writing. So what is it about visual representation, about just the visual medium, that turns them off so?

And finally : one can understand (not agree with, but understand) their getting mad if their God or their Prophet is ridiculed. One can also understand that they won’t themselves represent their God or Prophet even in neutral (non-ridiculing) terms. But how do they find their way to being outraged when a non-Muslim (who by definition does not revere the Prophet or worship Allah) represents their Prophet visually in a neutral, non-ridiculing fashion?

Sorry, x, another long comment! ;-) But I’d love to have your thoughts (or the thoughts of anyone familiar with how the Muslim mind and/or theology works) on this.

- - - - -

There’s been a veritable deluge of opinion pieces on this whole thing these last few days. Of course this needs to be reported widely, as well as discussed and condemned : but I find myself disgusted with those human leeches who go out of their way to milk this tragedy for all it’s worth to bolster their own readership, without walking the talk. Without, that is, actually “paying the price” of this additional popularity or readership or what-have-you by actually putting up the Mohammad cartoon(s) on their pages and/or wages. Which immediately reduces their pious talk and deep analyses to an opportunistic feeding off of carcasses, much like vultures do. I find it sickening!

I suppose we commenters can be accused of the same thing as we froth at our mouths in righteous anger but take care to remain anonymous. But then we commenters don’t benefit from this exercise either (bar the satisfaction of giving vent, and the entirely intangible benefit of clarifying our thoughts on this), so we can rightfully be accused of both cowardice and of blowing hot air, but not—unlike the writers of opinion pieces who don’t publish the all-important cartoon(s) themselves—scavenging opportunistically off others’ tragedies.

I am very glad (at least, not glad exactly, but very appreciative and admiring) of the fact that Brian himself did not hesitate to walk the talk himself! I would have proposed a rousing Three-Cheers for Brian here, had it not seemed inappropriate given the background and the situation. (Although perhaps the deceased Charlie cartoonists would have reveled in such inappropriateness and irreverence?). I had, on a personal note, asked Brian in an earlier comment to refrain from taking personal risks (for what that was worth, my comment I mean), but I have to say that it would certainly have detracted from the overall integrity of this blog had he taken my advice.

- - - - -

June and x : May I wade into your online conservation to make a comment?

One way to view a piece of art (a novel, a film, a picture, a cartoon, an essay, whatever) is as reflection of life. One way to make this presentation (and therefore one form of art) would be to make this reflection resemble life itself as closely as possible, but without overlaying it with the author’s own ideology. Then, if this art has any merit, it will—just like life itself—admit of many diverse explanations and interpretations. (Think of Tolkien’s works. People see in them all kinds of things : most commonly a parable of WW2 ; also a representation of elements of paganism and Wicca and what-have-you ; and even, bizarrely enough, a representation of elements of Christianity. Tolkien himself steadfastly insisted, in his many published interviews, that he himself set out to write just a story (or series of stories), plain and simple, with no underlying ideological agenda or interpretations, at least at his level.

This cartoon idea of yours is just such, June. x sees it, quite appropriately, as representative of rationality blowing away the fantastic imaginary figures and norms of the past. You've described how you yourself see it, in your comment above. Yet another way of looking at this, from the perspective of a moderate Muslim, might be this : Mohammad himself (and therefore Islam) represents true spiritual realization, one strand of many such strands, and he himself would be quite at home with people like Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Sant Mat Gurus, and the like. The current crop of ignorant and intolerant Muslim fundamentalists, in trying to kill Jesus and Buddha, end up actually killing Mohammad himself, which makes them (the terrorists) the biggest sinners from the “true” perspective of Islam, and their blasphemy far more grievous than that of their victims. (True, this would have to be a VERY moderate Muslim, to think that way : so much so that more orthodox Muslims will see him as an apostate, since the Quran itself dismisses other “strands of realization” as heresy. But there ARE such Muslims, I know them personally, who think that way and yet see themselves fully as Muslims and pray to Allah.)

There could be other interpretations, I’m sure. No wrong or right interpretation, merely diverse ones. Which probably suggests that your cartoon idea, June, is a truly excellent one. If you have any talent for sketching yourself (or know someone who does), it may be good idea to make a real cartoon from this idea, and get it published yourself. Perhaps you could send it to the Charlie people, as a gesture of solidarity and support ; or perhaps send it right here, to Brian’s blog, if he agrees with my assessment of the worth of your idea. It will probably be a very welcome (and very timely) addition to the current public discussion on this topic.

The point I was trying to make is that each of those systems [religions] have merit, they have shaped the society we now have..Each one if followed exclusively will be unbalanced.

This is a strange belief. On the one hand, you agree with atheists that having a religion (following one system exclusively) is a bad thing, but on the other hand, that a society of religious people (of differing religions) is superior to a secular society that tolerates religion. You need to think this through.

Religion is a drug, a process addiction. A mind that is incapable of contemplating its eventual non-existence is effectively religious because it is denying mortality and the ephemeral nature of consciousness. Religiosity is a psychiatric condition, a mental illness. Nothing good comes of it, no matter how you mix it up. This is why the atheist shoots all religions to smithereens with his metaphorical gun in the cartoon you inspired.

“Religion and mental illness are different psychological processes,” said atheist and mental health advocate Miri Mogilevsky

X you are full of pseudo thesis ..you obviously just need a group you can point your annoying energy to..there is no such thing where all group of some people is ill or wrong..that is just your dogmatic narrowness but the scariest thing is that you even cannot see it..and that is not open mindedness'

flee, a big part of being mentally healthy is being in touch with reality as it is, not as how we imagine to be.

So tell me: every religion believes in some sort of supernatural reality. Where is the demonstrable evidence that this reality exists?

You say that skeptics cannot see the truth of religion. Again, what is that truth? And how do you know you can "see" it?

You say that skeptics cannot see the truth of religion. Again, what is that truth? And how do you know you can "see" it? ...

I said none of this where do you pick this up..i am not a believer..

Do you immediately think that I am believer if I say something to you or other as you call skeptic..sorry I call you human..but I think that generalizing of one group is not open mindedness..can you critically judge your own thinking ..when you can than you are in as you say reality as it is..when you cannot is just a pussy power needing someone to criticize. Be a real skeptic and not a defending pussy that is all I can say and I support you in that..but you were mistaken..i am not a believer..peace

Well flee, you claimed that a group of peoole never is all right or all wrong. But if a group of people who believe in a religion are wrong about there being a supernatural reality. then they are all wrong. It isn't dogmatism to point this out. It is being truthful.

,
Anybody here believing in love c,q, Love ?


You might have lost it but was it Real for You, , , ,

or is it Real,

Anybody find something else , specially something "objective" more impressive ?
Please tell me ?

777

But if a group of people who believe in a religion are wrong about there being a supernatural reality. then they are all wrong ..

Why one cannot believe in supernatural if he ir she doesn't hurt anyone else?
And I didn't claim in that context which you are trying to set me up..I don't like generalising like Muslims are bad..christians are bad..believers are bad ir wrong..scientists are bad or wrong...i just listen to both and have not such strong opinion of neither scientists or sceptics as you do and x like guys constantly bombarding one group in this case believers..

there is no such thing where all group of some people is ill or wrong

Perhaps English isn't your first language and that accounts for this curious sentence. What exactly are you saying? I ask, because I think most people would say the Nazis were all "ill or wrong". Likewise, Boko Haram and Isis. In fact, anyone who believes their religion or system of government is Right, is ill or wrong.

I think x you know that I am not stupid to think that nazis are good or this groups you mentioned....i wanted to say that many of my friends are believers and they do not show any psychiatric conditions..and that too often is debate pointed towards them negatively

Why one cannot believe in supernatural if he ir she doesn't hurt anyone else?

It's as natural to believe in the supernatural as it is to take drugs, gamble compulsively, or be a pathological liar. Many people feel compelled to escape from the reality of the human condition and become religious, so no one is saying "one cannot believe in supernatural".

What's being said is that when you believe in the supernatural, you behave in ways that unbelievers have to make allowance for. If your belief is harmless and benign, there's no problem because religious people are tolerated in a secular society when their behavior isn't anti-social, sexist, racist, seditious, or violent. But when they believe their beliefs must become the law, they make themselves intolerable.

Quote x..But when they believe their beliefs must become the law, they make themselves intolerable ..

Totally agree with you but that I think concerns everybody.so this is it x we came together..we cool so we can move further.have a nice time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipu0ifyC-Xc&feature=youtu.be

Hehe, reading the discussion on je suis charlie (which is an incredibly complex subject, but one where I err on the right of complete free speach, even though knowing that even that has serious potential dangers attached to it).

I managed to get about 3 comments down before I choked on the thick clouds of unintentional hypocrisy and irony.

Moderating peoples comments on thread where you're promoting "je suis charlie" because you apparently don't like what they wrote?

Just too funny!

Je suis Charlie!!

Delete away Brian....

manjit, you should get facts straight before you make unwarranted claims. Applies to religious belief, applies to this blog.

Recently I put up a post that said I was tired of people leaving religious "spam" in comments. Think for yourself, I said. Talk in your own words, don't just repeat what a supposedly holy book says.

Nothing has changed with this blog's commenting policies. I'm just getting around to doing what I've always said should be done: try to stick to the subject matter of a post; don't blindly spout religious dogma; think for yourself.

You jumped to conclusions based on insufficient information. This is a good example of how we should be cautious about saying stuff like you did -- "Delete away Brian" -- without having a clue about what you're talking about, but feeling like you do.

I accept what I assume should be your forthcoming apology.

Moderating peoples comments on thread where you're promoting "je suis charlie" because you apparently don't like what they wrote?

It depends on how literally you take the phrase "free speech". If this was my blog, I wouldn't publish the gibberish of 777, but Brian does, so give him some credit. He could publish only those comments that are directly related to the subject and are not too incoherent or rambling, but he publishes most, if not all, of what comes in.

There's no such thing as absolute freedom. It's always relative.

[From Blogger Brian -- this commenter, Manjit, is confused, but he doesn't know that, so I'll enlighten him. I'd already explained the truth to him, but being a true believer, he continued to believe in what he wanted to believe, rather than the truth.

Which is: I didn't delete or ban any comments on this post. I moderate comments just to make sure that they aren't religious or secular "spam" and more or less pertain to the subject of a post. I explained this in a recent post.
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2015/01/new-church-of-the-churchless-comment-policy.html

Someone referred to that post in a comment on this post. It wasn't appropriate here, but I left it because it is a pain to move comments around.

So the rant below is based on a wrong assumption -- that I deleted or edited comments on this post in a hypocritical way that undermines free speech. Manjit must have known this, because I'd already explained this to him. This is a good example of how facts don't mean anything once a true believer has decided what is true. Sad... but true.]

Hi Brian,

Sorry, I’m confused, or you’ve completely misunderstood me. I think I know which is the more likely :)

It’s very simple. Your blog entry was about protecting the right of absolute free speach, regardless of how much people may not like it or get offended by it, even on a most fundamental level such as their religous beliefs (ah, I think that’s the real crux of the matter in light of your dogmatic dislike of anything remotely religous, but sometimes tree loggers cannot see the forest for the trees so ignore that :). Personally, I tend to agree with that, and I was proud at Charlie Hebdo for printing an image of Mohammed on their front page days later – bravo!

But, the level of hypocrisy & irony in you then moderating comments because you are “tired” of them on that very same blog entry speaks volumes about you & your selective rage & indignation – even if you cannot hear it! (as if you being “tired” of certain religous minded comments is any more righteous than religous people being “tired” of the constant harrasment & mockery of their faith)

Perhaps (and this is to x too) I’m not so simple minded that I cannot see the potential benefits or alternative reasoning behind moderating blogs & forums (as I can in seeing the benefits of NOT publishing cartoons of Mohammed just to make a trendy point). But please, don’t mistake yourself as a champion of free speach. You’re a champion of atheism and materialism, with integrity being inconsequential in your pursuit of it. You will notice Radhasoamistudies forum is completely unmoderated, regardless of how much people like or dislike, are tired or not of the various comments.

Regarding my “delete away” comment, it was tongue in cheek. But based on my very real experience of you deleting my perfectly reasonable comments years ago, and indeed an entire thread of comments including your own – when you got absolutely & undeniably hammered and proven wrong. Ah, the ego is a delicate thing.

I won’t ask for or expect an apology from your good self, Sir, I am apparently far more forgiving and understanding of human foibles :)

Take good care of yourself Brian (genuinely), all the best! I won't besmirch your blog with genuinely "churchless" comments (at least for another year or so!), this clearly isn't the place for it! Cheers, Manjit


Manjit --- I can see Brian's point. It is a personal blog with an open invitation to comment within the boundaries he sets.

Radha Soami Studies is a Yahoo Group set up to be a free-for-all, i.e., no moderation. That has some positive aspects. However what I have seen happen over the years is that persistent donkey-type religious personalities can and do commandeer the board as if it were their personal blog. Meanwhile Captain Lane, who launched the ship is frequently no where to be found....and does not seem to care much.

Frankly I prefer Brian's approach. I do not think he is unduly prohibitive, but it is, after all HIS blog.

"I do not think he is unduly prohibitive, but it is, after all HIS blog."

Yes, this is the case and we all do have to abide by the will of the almighty blog master's decisions and guidelines. The unfortunate part is that of course this blog master is not a saint, has an ego, and absolutely loves to have commenters who agree with his magnificent (in his opinion) point of view.

What is unhealthy about this blog now is how people are constantly being chased off by a certain very unpleasant and nasty commenter and this interferes with having a more agreeable and balanced debate where alternative views can be voiced without being constantly verbally attacked by a vicious bulldog. Of course, the blog master would have undoubtedly put a stop to this if the particularly nasty commenter was disagreeing with his lordship, the honourable owner of the blog.

Ah well, such is life...

Appreciative Reader, forgive delay in my response to your comment...I am hesitant to comment as I respect that this blog is Brian territory and he is atheist and I am not, however after much thought I conclude that not to participate in a debate is cowardness, and that Iam not..My "cartoon" I'm afraid would go over and above Charlies head {more like Charlie Chaplin to me} How many of them even know Mohamed ascended to heaven on a horse believed by the faithful, or could comprehend the Krisnas dance or why Buddha smiles..Not many.. I shared that here as I know many here have walked that walk...I like what you say about art, that it must represent real life and you quote Tolkiens Lord of the Rings, but he I'm sorry to say was a "believer" He was a devout catholic all his life..He believed "All was myth, but some myths were true" but he like Rumi, Hafiz, Omar Khyham {Devout Muslims} had transcended their narrow tribal boundaries and had embraced the limitless, so what they reflect is only I'm afraid for the few that choice to look a little deeper {as I know many of us here do} and a lot don't.

I respect that this blog is Brian territory and he is atheist and I am not, however after much thought I conclude that not to participate in a debate is cowardness...

You're afraid of being a coward so you bring your religious nuttiness to the atheists hangout. Maybe, you figure, these godless goofs will tolerate you, the way secular society does with Religion. Fair enough, but you must be bored with your fellow believers if you need to come here to get your kicks.

burp, yeah, this blog sure does have some unreasonable guidelines for commenters (not!).

-- Stick to the subject matter of the post you're commenting on, more or less.

-- Don't spout secular or religious spam. Speak for yourself, in your own words, without trying to dogmatically "sell" people either a product or dogma.

-- Try to avoid personal insults, except in passing. As in, "You're an idiot, because..." A good reason is needed after the "because."

And that's about it. I do moderate comments to assure they are more or less in line with the above.

Those, like you, who want to be able to leave comments filled with whatever you want to say, should imagine yourself joining a conversation in a coffee house.

The group of people at the table are liberals. They like to discuss liberal/progressive politics and other issues. You sit down and start talking about how great right-wing Republicanism is.

The group interrupts, saying "This isn't what we talk about here. Why don't you go join a conservative group?"

"No," you say. "I have a right to tell you how wrong you are about liberalism and being a Democrat. You need to listen to me."

"Actually, we don't," they correctly say.

Likewise, read the title of this blog: Church of the Churchless.

Now, I'm fine with "churched" people taking part in comment discussions here. They just need to understand that preachiness isn't wanted, while intelligent, honest, open sharing of viewpoints is.

Try going to a Harley-Davidson owners online discussion group. Start putting up posts about how crappy Harley's are, and how great Japanese motorcycles are. No matter what the topic is, keep saying that. See what the reaction is.

Maybe then you'll understand why visitors to this Church of the Churchless blog aren't interested in preachy religious dogma being spouted in comments.

Again, think for yourself; talk about the topic of a post; don't insult other people much. This is all I ask of commenters.

I'm fine with "churched" people taking part in comment discussions here. They just need to understand that preachiness isn't wanted, while intelligent, honest, open sharing of viewpoints is.

A viewpoint is what reality looks like from another perspective, whereas religious belief is not observation but wishful thinking, so whatever "sharing" goes on between skeptics and believers is mostly trading insults. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It can be done entertainingly.

What is unhealthy about this blog now is how people are constantly being chased off by a certain very unpleasant and nasty commenter and this interferes with having a more agreeable and balanced debate where alternative views can be voiced without being constantly verbally attacked by a vicious bulldog.

Oh dear, how you exaggerate, burp. I'm not anything like "a vicious bulldog". As for "balanced debate", don't be silly. You can't debate with people who can't prove the existence of what they're debating about.

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