pageok
pageok
pageok
Ann Coulter, Christian Chauvinist:

Ann Coulter is taking a lot of flack for saying that Jews should convert to Christianity, and that they need to do so to be "perfected." Some, including the talk show host who was interviewing her, suggest that her comments were anti-Semitic. I don't think so, they reflected chauvinism about Christianity, not hostility to Jews. I'm sure Coulter would say that Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and everybody else should also become Christians. It was the interviewer who, when Coulter suggested she'd like all Americans to be Christians, specifically asked about Jews.

In any event, my understanding is that the official position of the Catholic Church until Vatican II was that to be "saved" Jews needed to convert to Christianity, and that this remains the official position of some, but not all, Protestant denominations. As a Jew, this doesn't bother me in the least, so long as my non-Christian status doesn't lead to discrimination, but is merely a matter of theological dispute. If Christianity is a proselytizing religion that believes that all people should become Christians because that's what God wants, and that Jews are not exempted from that general principle, why should I care? Christians don't have to think my religious tradition is valid, just so long as they don't make me wear a yellow star or ban me from owning land (common medieval restrictions on Jews resulting from religious discrimination).

I called this post "Ann Coulter, Christian Chauvinist," but really any proselytizing religion is chauvinist, otherwise the religion wouldn't bother seeking converts. Americans who are in the public eye, as Coulter is, have learned that it's polite not to declare the superiority of one's religion, and the inferiority of one's neighobrs', publicly, which is a good policy for amicable interfaith relations. But Coulter is nothing if not blunt and impolite, so I see no reason to expect her to suddenly become Miss Manners when it comes to religion.

And, in case you're curious, Judaism traditionally holds that non-Jews need only obey the Seven Law of Noah to have a place in the World to Come (heaven). Some people who aren't very familiar with the Jewish tradition completely misinterpret the "Chosen People" concept to mean that only Jews find favor with God, providing fodder for anti-Semitism. Given the traditional Christian view that only believing Christians find favor with God, this misunderstanding is understandable, though unjustified. I explain the concept here, and conclude: "So, as far as I can tell, being the 'chosen' simply means that Jews are in a particular contractual relationship with God that our ancestors made, one that is not always to our advantage, and that is without prejudice to the status of Gentiles before God."

UPDATE: BTW, isn't Ann more of an "eye for an eye" than a "turn the other cheek" kind of gal?

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Atheism and Proselytization:
  2. Ann Coulter, Christian Chauvinist:
Guest101:
As an atheist, I much prefer religious Jews to religious Christians; Judaism being a non-proselytizing religion, even the most orthodox Jew doesn't give a damn whether I convert to Judaism or not. This is greatly preferable to being reminded ad nauseam how I need Jesus to save my soul.
10.11.2007 11:49pm
tcg:

As an atheist, I much prefer religious Jews to religious Christians; Judaism being a non-proselytizing religion, even the most orthodox Jew doesn't give a damn whether I convert to Judaism or not. This is greatly preferable to being reminded ad nauseam how I need Jesus to save my soul.


Funny enough, as a Christian, I much prefer religious Jews to religious athiests. Judaism being a non-proselytizing religion, even the most orthodox Jew doesn't give a damn whether I convert to Judaism or not. This is greatly preferable to being reminded ad nauseum how annoying my faith is and how radical members of my faith are just as dangerous as radical members of other faiths.

I'm just sayin'... :P .... :D
10.11.2007 11:57pm
RL:
Noah seems to be a bit more easy going than Moses. No sorcerers . . . No castration . . . No eating animals while they are still alive . . . I'm liking my odds in the next life.
10.11.2007 11:57pm
one of many (mail):
I'm the opposite way myself as an agnostic (hard for the past few years but have been a soft agnostic). If someone isconvinced they found the way to whatever ( e.g.The World To Come) then it seems rather selfish to not want to let others know of it. The Seventh Day Advetntists are really to be commended on this, they know only a limited number of people are going to make it and still they try to bring heaven to more people despite the fact that simple math shows that about 90% of the Seventh Day Adventists aren't going to heaven, that takes a lot compassion. Mind you, I find the act of prostelyzation annoying, but the concept I find admirable.

Of course this only applies to those belief systems which require specifics for attainment of whatever, but in examining religion you have to take articles of faith as if they were true and compare actions against them.
10.12.2007 12:05am
Hoosier:
Professor B. -- A very level-headed post, and I thank you for it. OF COURSE devout Christians believe that their faith possesses and teaches a truth that all other religions lack. And this truth--Jesus's death and Resurrection for the forgiveness of human sin--is considered by Christians to be the most important event in human history; no small thing. So belief does imply that other faiths have it wrong.

But then Muslims think that Christians are missing the central event of human history as well. Like you, I don't care what nasty things SOME Muslims think will happen to me after I die. I DO object to any attempts at getting me there ahead of time.
10.12.2007 12:05am
SP:
Obviously, the solution is forcibly convince Coulter that her view is wrong.
10.12.2007 12:17am
Hoosier:
SP--I volunteer for that mission, sarge.
10.12.2007 12:19am
sashal (mail):
Ann Coulter thinks of herself as a Christian - that's odd.
10.12.2007 12:34am
Anonymouseducator (mail) (www):
one of many - I have often thought the same thing, although I frame it slightly differently: If you believe that if I continue to act as I do, I will burn eternally, I find it very difficult to fault you for trying to warn me. Still annoying though.
10.12.2007 12:39am
sashal (mail):
Professor Bernstein, you don't have to wear the yellow star. You just have to OBEY:

COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean --

COULTER: We have the fast-track program.

DEUTSCH: Why don't I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can't believe that.

COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.

DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, "Let's wipe Israel" --

COULTER: I don't know if you've been paying attention.

DEUTSCH: "Let's wipe Israel off the earth." I mean, what, no Jews?

COULTER: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

I remember, my parents told me the stories, when Germans attacked Russia many Jews did not want to evacuate.-
"The Germans are so cultured , so European, they will not cause us any harm."
And many stayed...

So it is really sad when you are trying to find any reasonable explanation to the piece of garbage called A.Coulter.
10.12.2007 12:53am
Randy R. (mail):
If converting to Christianity means that I'm in the same club as Ann Coulter, then I'm running as fast as I can in the other direction.
10.12.2007 12:55am
Billy B:
It always fascinates me how belief in Hell seems inconsistent with the way Christians act in their daily life. What does it mean to go to Hell? It means burning alive and being subjected to the most horrible torture imaginable -- presumably far beyond what even the Nazis did to their victims -- for all of eternity. If someone believes that this is the fate of non-Christians, shouldn't you spend every moment doing whatever is possible to convert people away from that fate? More importantly, how can Christians who believe in Hell be worked up over waterboarding or other "abuses" for actual terrorists when decent people will suffer a fate that is infinitely worst and that lasts for eternity merely for the sin of not being a believer?
10.12.2007 12:55am
Calvin TerBeek (mail):
Nice post, esp re: the point about what Jews believe it takes for Gentiles to have a place in heaven. I didn't know that.

That said, I think it will be great day when Ann Coulter's "ideas" are ignored (as they should be) rather than taken seriously. I fail to see how she is any different than Michael Moore or Al Franken. The only people who like these types are sychophantic dogmatics.
10.12.2007 12:56am
Jerry F:
Guest 101, one of the basic, fundamental commandments for Orthodox Jews that even gentiles must follow (along with abstaining from things like murder and homosexuality) is that you believe in God. Christians qualify*, atheists don't.

*For some Orthodox Jews, I believe that Christians are deemed not to believe in God because of their belief in the Trinity, but I do not think that this is a majority position among Orthodox Jews.
10.12.2007 12:59am
U-M 3L:
Coulter should know that speaking about Jews as a class is forbidden in this country. Any comment, however innocuous, is invariably met with charges of anti-Semitism.

One would think that because most conservatives now support preventing the annihilation of Jews, the anti-Semitism card would be work like the race card, where one group can discuss because it cares. But, alas, it seems that liberals get to play all the "protected class cards."
10.12.2007 12:59am
Voorhies (mail):
How can intelligent people take that baloney serious.
10.12.2007 12:59am
Rich B. (mail):

In any event, my understanding is that the official position of the Catholic Church until Vatican II was that to be "saved" Jews needed to convert to Christianity, and that this remains the official position of some, but not all, Protestant denominations.


The official position after Vatican II is to say nice, but vacuous, things about Jews, but not change their position.

Catholics still believe that you can't go to heaven without excepting Jesus. Jews don't except Jesus. You can complete your own syllogism.
10.12.2007 1:03am
Jerry F:
Calvin, I agree that Ann Coulter is pretty much as bad as Michael Moore and Al Franken when it comes to her rhetoric systematically demonizing her political opponents, but the difference is that she at least usually (though not always) gets her *facts* rights in her works. Moore and Franken make up facts that are demonstrably false all the time.

You also seem to assume that Ann Coulter is taken as seriously by the right as her counterparts are taken on the left. Don't forget that even the National Review (solidly conservative publication) fired Coulter, when Maureen Dowd still has her NYT column (I don't mean by that that Coulter is as bad as Dowd, but you get my point).
10.12.2007 1:04am
Kazinski:
tcg:
As a died in the wool atheist it does annoy me when I meet atheists that are obsessed with religion and are constantly harping about it. If there is no such thing as religion why is it they focus such huge amounts of time and energy arguing against it and pointing out the foiables of Christians like Ted Haggard, and Jimmy Swaggart, and Pat Robertson etc.? I spend as much time worrying about evangelists as a do about Kevin and Brittany and the kids. It seems to me the reason why is that they see it as an lifestyle, with its own set of expected behaviors; they are as dependent on its ritual condemnations of religion (especially Christianity) as devout Catholics are dependent on communion and confession. This doesn't apply to all atheists of course, or even most, but it is a distinct subtype.

Unlike OneofMany and AnonyEd I find Christian prothelyzing annoying too, except for Moonies, they always used hot girls to try to convert me, although I never got any.
10.12.2007 1:05am
Dave N (mail):
I am no fan of Ann Coulter, nor for that matter am I a fundamentalist Christian, but I do have an explanation for the long excerpt that Sashal posted.

Many Christians believe that redemption, for them, came through the crucifiction and resurrection of Jesus Christ--who died for their collective sins.

These Christians will tell you that Jews, being people of the Old Testament, also have a path through salvation--specifically through the strict adherence to the law given by God to Moses.

When you understand that viewpoint, Ann Coulter's quoted comments have context.
10.12.2007 1:12am
johnny chimpo (mail):
Am I correct in thinking that the seven laws of Noah came from the Talmud and not the Torah? Obviously, I'm not very familiar with the Talmud, so how does it rank as far as authority goes in the Judaism?

I'm just curious as I have not really heard of it before.
Thanks.
10.12.2007 1:15am
Malvolio:
It does annoy me when I meet atheists that are obsessed with religion and are constantly harping about it.
I understand (in the abstract) fundamentalist Christians. They think they are not only right, but will be rewarded for being right loudly. Plus, they think they are saving you from Hell. Ditto mutis mutandis for fundamentalists.

But what is the sense of a fundamentalist atheist -- and they certainly exist. Do they think they will go to Nonexistent Heaven if they try to save their neighbors from Nonexistent Hell?

A friend of mine told me she was in an atheist club. I asked her if she was in a no-such-thing-as-unicorns club too.
10.12.2007 1:20am
Libertarian1 (mail):
I think there has been far too much theory here. Let's get down to reality and really important information. Early this week Page 6 had a stop-the-press paragraph saying that Ann Coulter was observed locking lips with her new companion at the formal dinner of the opening of the NY Film Festival. He was named and he is a prominant liberal Jewish politician. (sometimes crucial facts such as this one slip my mind, I think his name was Stein). She is obviously try to get him perfected.
10.12.2007 1:39am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
1. Those Laws of Noah seem mighty strict for us lawyers. Don't suppose we could get a waiver of a few? I mean the ban on idolatry and on eating animals alive we could live with, but how about occasional lapses on the other five?

2. I think the Roman Catholic view was more complex ... and a little more humorous. Pre-Vatican II, the doctrine had been (a) salvation could only be achieved through the Catholic (not christian in general church) which was then modified to (b) we said "thru," not "by belonging to," so that any decent person can obtain salvation "thru" that church, whether or not he realizes or intends it.
Yes, this is a system that has room for distinguishing precedent on a meaningless basis to avoid overruling it and admitting that it was wrong...
That had come about thru a number of "how many angels can dance" exercises raising questions such as (1) Joseph, the father of Jesus, could not have been a catholic nor a christian. Nor could John the Baptist have been ... so neither received salvation? How about, oh, Moses and Abraham and others? Good enough to be prophets, but not good enough for heaven? (Met for a time by suggesting they got into Limbo, sort of a second-rate heaven, but by what standard do Joseph and Moses wind up in economy class eternity while a mass murderer who repents gets first class, by the accident of when he was born?) What about some fellow who never even met a catholic/christian? Is it his fault? What about one who met such, but their arguments for conversion were inept -- is it his fault that they couldn't make their case, and that he in good faith kept with what he believed to be the truth? How about, oh, Gandhi? Now there was a reprobate and pagan...
10.12.2007 1:46am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
With regard Coulter, Franken, etc., remember -- they make their living off their writings. Controversy sells. Ergo, they will say anything controversial. It may not be ego, or opinion seriously held, it's all a matter of earning a living. For all we know, Coulter is an atheist, and Franken a conservative, who have just learned some of the lingo so as not to seem out of place when speaking.

Many years ago, someone I knew in NRA was informed by a very good source that Carl Rowan, the columnist, was actually quite pro-gun and had little quarrel with NRA. My friend asked -- then why does he damn NRA and the gun movement in his columns? The answer was he writes for a living, has to sell his work to his customers, who aren't newspaper readers but newspaper editors, and the editors will pay good money to blast you. So that's what he does. We may have the same process here. If Coulter or Franken appeared to be logical, considerate of other views, dispassionate ... they'd quickly be looking for other work.
10.12.2007 1:52am
Henry679 (mail):
Coulter is what she is. Millennialist evangelical Christians (which probably don't include Coulter--she seems sui generis, despite her invocation of Falwell) are what they are (which is, not to put too fine a point on it, nuts who expect the world to end in their lifetime, with them neatly escaping death themselves). Fine. What amazes me are the conservative (can I say "neo-con"?) Jews who try to make common cause with these maniacs. It is truly a tactic born of desperation, I guess. Why else would a Jew align himself with folks who expect you to either (a) become a Christian or (b) be slaughtered, pretty frigging soon? Empowering these crazies seems like boarding a train to destinations unknown. I'd have thought Jews would have had enough of that.
10.12.2007 1:53am
Roger Schlafly (www):
The transcript says:
DEUTSCH: You said — your exact words were, "Jews need to be perfected." Those are the words out of your mouth.
He then accused her of hateful anti-semiticism. But nowhere in the transcript does Coulter say that Jews need to be perfected. In response to a question, she did say that it would be better if Jews became Christians. She is entitled to her opinion. If he didn't want her opinion, then he should not have asked the question. Deutsch owes her an apology.
10.12.2007 1:57am
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):
Henry,
Cute rhetoric but do "these crazies" advocate genocide of the Jews? Or do they turn out to be pretty stand up allies for the state founded so that never happened again?
10.12.2007 1:59am
one of many (mail):
Catholics still believe that you can't go to heaven without [ac]cepting Jesus. Jews don't [ac]cept Jesus. You can complete your own syllogism.


Not entirely true as phrased. Individual Catholics have a variety of beliefs on the issue. The issue has been one bothering Catholic Theologians for as long as there have been Catholic Theologians. The current teaching of the Church is that acceptance of Christ is essential for salvation, however from a strictly theological point of view all that is necessary for salvation is the intervention of Christ. There are various Christian denominations which require the acceptance of Christ for salvation but Catholocism (?sp) is not one of them. This is not imply that at some time in the future the Church will not discover that acceptance of Christ is necessary for salvation, but at this point in time the official position of the Church is that only the intervention of Christ is necessary for salvation.

2 millenia of bickering, politicking, disputing, assimilation, splitting, secting, reformation, reoorganization, reconciliation, revelation and much more have made it so that one should specify when talking about Catholic "beliefs" if one is refering to apocryphalia, bull, creed, catechism, cannon, doctrine, dogma, deliberation, encyclical, gosphel, habit, guidance, infallable truth, judgement, katechesis, law, magisterium, notice, opinion, pact, quam, reflection, statement, teaching, unum sanctum, verity, wisdom or something else - in terms of Catholocism "belief" is a word not very specific. It always kinda irritates me when people confuse doctrine with dogma or cannon with catechism, Catholics being among the worst offenders. Millenia of subtle distinctions and flavors of belief, yet people equate the magisterium with infallable truth, reducing all the hard work for untold numbers of theologians to nothing.
10.12.2007 2:01am
sashal (mail):
R.Schlafly,do you think it would be OK for a Muslim to state that Muslims are just perfected Christians and that all Christians should convert to Islam.
10.12.2007 2:02am
Guest101:

A friend of mine told me she was in an atheist club. I asked her if she was in a no-such-thing-as-unicorns club too.

I think Dawkins was a lot better back when he wrote about science rather than this anti-God rant he's been on lately, but his response to arguments like this is nevertheless pretty good: If stamp collectors ruled the world and routinely vilified non-stamp collectors as amoral hedonists, then we'd probably see things like non-stamp collector clubs, too. The fact is inescapable that theism is a power social and political force and those of us who feel that it's all a load of BS are not irrational in expressing that view on occasion. Kazinski's point about atheists "pointing out the foiables [sic] of Christians like Ted Haggard, and Jimmy Swaggart, and Pat Robertson etc." answers itself: these are all individuals who have affected American culture and politics, for the worse, from the atheistic perspective.

Having said all that, I don't belong to any atheist clubs. But that's mostly a matter of laziness on my part.
10.12.2007 2:06am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Sashal, Muslims commonly say much worse things than that about Christians and Jews.
10.12.2007 2:16am
Gary Imhoff (mail) (www):
This is the reason that people do not speak about religion or politics in polite society. Ann Coulter is simply saying what those who really believe in the tenets of Christianity think: that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, and that the only way to be saved and have eternal life is to believe that. If Deutsch, her interviewer, were honest, he would have said what Jews really believe: that Jesus was a false Messiah, not the Son of God, and that Christianity is built on a great lie. Neither statement is something that polite people say in public in mixed company.

We avoid the subject, and we all hope that in America Muslims will also soon learn not to insist publicly that their religion is the one true religion. Most atheists and agnostics, Hitchens and Dawkins excepted, already participate in the general polite avoidance by not acknowledging too loudly that Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, et al., are all primitive superstitions, and all their believers deluded.

Coulter's mistake is not that she believes that her religion is the true one, but that she openly admits that she believes it, and she doesn't dilute that belief by proclaiming the multicultural shibboleth, the falsehood that smooths affable conversations: "But all religions are the same, aren't they?"
10.12.2007 2:21am
Bunnicula (mail):
But nowhere in the transcript does Coulter say that Jews need to be perfected.

So "we [meaning Christians] just want Jews to be perfected" is really that much better? The problem is "perfected"--what does that word mean in this sentence?
10.12.2007 2:22am
JB:
There's an easy theological weaseling way to get around the "What about Joseph/John the Baptist/Abraham?" problem.

You get into heaven by following the best religion of the time. If you lived before Jesus came, you get into heaven if you followed the Mosaic Law well. Before Moses, if you followed Abraham or whoever. Each prophet was like a constitutional amendment, moving the goalposts but not retroactively.

I'm surprised more religions don't allege this. Just say "(S)he was a good person who did not live to hear My message, and therefore is not bound by it. You, who have heard it, are."
10.12.2007 2:24am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
.Schlafly,do you think it would be OK for a Muslim to state that Muslims are just perfected Christians and that all Christians should convert to Islam.

I think that's a fair statement of moderate Islam, which seems Islam as a return of original Christianity and Judaism to their proper course, with perhaps some improvements. Sans, in the moderate version, any suggestion that one ought to kill any who do not agree. The historian Spengler draws some interesting parallels between Islam, Augustine, and Calvin.
10.12.2007 2:30am
Kazinski:
Yeah Guest101,
When I look out at American culture, I see a lot of Haggard's, Swaggart's and Robertson's influence. In movies, TV, people magazine, all over the place. They may have influenced you, but they are nothing to me. They only have any sway over those who want to be swayed.

Then again, I'm not offended by the devout, I don't get it, but I'm not offended. I don't have a secret worry that they really will get in to heaven and I'll be left out. But obviously some atheists do.
10.12.2007 2:31am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
You get into heaven by following the best religion of the time. If you lived before Jesus came, you get into heaven if you followed the Mosaic Law well. Before Moses, if you followed Abraham or whoever. Each prophet was like a constitutional amendment, moving the goalposts but not retroactively.

Ah, but what of the worship of Ba'al? And how does that resolve the question of whether that notorious pagan Gandhi met the just deserts of his choice, or somehow sneaked into heaven on his own virtues?

(Rapidly computing just how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. And preparing an argument as to whether God could commit suicide. If so, he is not really immoral, and if not, he is not really omnipotent. I think the one disadvantage of atheism is that a person never gets into this manner of issue. Of course its one advantage may be the same. Graciously spare us, oh, Odin!)
10.12.2007 2:37am
Kazinski:
By the way, I'm not sure that Ann Coulter would feel the same way about converting atheists as she feels about converting Jews, she probably doesn't feel that atheists are worth saving.

Nevertheless, I consider Ann Coulter to extremly sexy. Smart, witty, good looking (if a little angular), a commited deadead, and I hear she has even has had some economic success. If I thought she could overlook the fact I'm an atheist, I'd try to throw myself at her feet before her security detail hauled me off and disposed of me.
10.12.2007 2:44am
Henry679 (mail):
"Henry,
Cute rhetoric but do "these crazies" advocate genocide of the Jews? Or do they turn out to be pretty stand up allies for the state founded so that never happened again?"

Well, they come from a tradition that slaughtered Jews for centuries. They expect the Jews to be slaughtered again, for their benefit. Where they will be in say 25 or 30 years, when their Jesus still hasn't shown up on their relatively clear timetable (supposedly within the lifetime of the generation that founded Israel), that is an open question. I am glad you think they will remain "benign". Of course before the Iranian revolution Islam had been considered relatively benign for at least a couple of centuries--an exotic belief system from far away lands that stirred no fear in the West. Funny how these things change, huh?

All in all, empowering highly delusional religious fanatics is not a good idea.
10.12.2007 2:49am
John Kindley (mail) (www):
Let me put in a plug here for my own decidedly non-chauvinistic Christian denomination, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and for my new blog, leftlibertarianquaker.blogspot.com, where you'll find a lot of information about Quakerism (not to mention Georgism).
10.12.2007 2:50am
Henry679 (mail):
Do even the militant atheists ever crack on the Quakers? It would seen akin to stomping a puppy.
10.12.2007 2:55am
TruePath (mail) (www):
Kazinski said:


As a died in the wool atheist it does annoy me when I meet atheists that are obsessed with religion and are constantly harping about it. If there is no such thing as religion why is it they focus such huge amounts of time and energy arguing against it and pointing out the foiables of Christians like Ted Haggard, and Jimmy Swaggart, and Pat Robertson etc.? I spend as much time worrying about evangelists as a do about Kevin and Brittany and the kids. It seems to me the reason why is that they see it as an lifestyle, with its own set of expected behaviors; they are as dependent on its ritual condemnations of religion (especially Christianity) as devout Catholics are dependent on communion and confession. This doesn't apply to all atheists of course, or even most, but it is a distinct subtype.



The problem is that religious beliefs or atheist beliefs aren't a lifestyle. They are claims about what is TRUE. Yes, if all or even most religious people viewed their religion as a bunch of meaningless (or only endowed with the meaning they give them) rituals like some cultural jews I know then your point would be valid and religious choice would be much like taste in food. However, religious statements are claims about what the facts are and beliefs about what these facts are have real effects on the ground.

I mean do you feel the same way about people who think the earth is flat? Or people who promote belief in UFOs, telepathy, homeopathy or any other unscientific belief. Hell what about beliefs about politics or law? So long as you generally accept that one can reasonably care (or be appalled) at other sorts of false beliefs what makes false beliefs about religion different?

Now of course most atheists (including myself) aren't motivated by some great humanitarian motive when we make arguments against religion or denounce it. We have the same motivations that people do when they make most political, economic or scientific points. That is one wants to convince others that your beliefs are correct and make them see why their claims are invalid. In other words the motivations of atheists in arguing against religion are essentially the same as your motive in posting this comment. You had an opinion, believed it was true and desired to express it and make your point clear.

Frankly I am baffled at how people who would give no thought to spending 20 minutes arguing with a friend who claimed that Marylin Monroe was still alive in Kentucky assume that the only motivation for atheists must be their own sort of religious faith. There seems to be some fallacy here that to be a good atheist is to be a being of pure rationality without desires or concerns. Whether or not you enjoy arguing about religion has no relevance to the strength of your underlying argument or to why you accept it's conclusions and certainly doesn't show it is only your own sort of religion.
10.12.2007 2:57am
Grover Gardner (mail):
I watched the video clip. Multi-racial couples in New York have a chip on their shoulder? The Republican Convention was made up entirely of Christians?

Why would anyone defend thoughtless, stupid remarks like that?
10.12.2007 2:58am
Grover Gardner (mail):
She can't even get a Seinfeld episode straight.
10.12.2007 3:05am
Henry679 (mail):
"Why would anyone defend thoughtless, stupid remarks like that?"

The perceived necessities of ideology are remarkable, aren't they?
10.12.2007 3:05am
TruePath (mail) (www):
As an aside I'm actually quite bothered by the fact that the clear implications of religious belief are not discussed in polite society. I mean isn't what's so wrong with being PC is that it makes it unacceptable to point out the unpleasant consequences of certain ideas (like affirmative action).

Look if you really believe in your religion shouldn't you publicly embrace all of it's consequences. After all if in god's infinite wisdom non-belief really should be punished with worse chances in the afterlife how can you possibly justify not telling people this because it is impolite. How can it be that mere politeness is more important than saving people's immortal souls.

Sure some religious liberals try and say it doesn't matter which religion you believe but this is in direct conflict with the central tenants of most major faiths, i.e., that god went to get trouble to make sure people knew the religious truth. Moreover, if god doesn't really care what religion you have wouldn't he have not bothered with revelation at all?

I'm an atheist but I'd much rather have honest religious people who are willing to swallow the full consequences of their religious than this weird bastard where people claim to have religious beliefs but only because they never face the full implications of these beliefs.
10.12.2007 3:06am
one of many (mail):
Ah, but what of the worship of Ba'al? And how does that resolve the question of whether that notorious pagan Gandhi met the just deserts of his choice, or somehow sneaked into heaven on his own virtues?


Ba'al worshipers have pretty much been out pretty much since the begining, the Phonecians and the Isrealites having had a few problems a couple 3-4 milenia ago. Actually there is dispute about whether or not adherence to Abrahamic or Mosaic law is reguired, however those who sucessfully followed A&M Law in the appropriate times are accorded entry. Again while the intervention of Christ is necessary for salvation it has not been conclusively determined what criteria Christ uses to decide who He will intervene for, although those who follow the Catholic Church pretty much has VIP guarentees.

As for the other questions: as many angels as God wants can dance on the head of a pin (pre-quantum), however only one angel can occuppy a single point of existance at a single time so now that the universe has been discovered to possibly be quantum it may in fact be limited to the number of points of existance which fit on the head of a pin - how small is a point of existance?; eternal not imortal is more percisely what you want to use and the answer is yes God can commit suicide, but all of existance would end with him since God's being eternal means He coexists with all of existance; in a related vein, no, God could not create an existance in which he does not exist, which would seem to mean He is not of unlimited power, He only has power over the limited domain of everything. Any other questions which were answered long ago that you need the answers to?
10.12.2007 3:10am
Kazinski:
But Henry,
Don't overlook the fact that it was us atheists that slaughtered far more people in the 20th century than any other "religion". Stalin, Mao, and almost too small potatos to mention Pol Pot were all committed atheists. Then you look at some of the other big massacres, Hitler and his minions could hardly be called Christians, sure they hated Jews but it wasn't from a Christian theological standpoint it was more from a pagan/nationalistic superstitious view. And the Turks and Armenians, Hutu and Tutsi, Darfur, I just can't see anything major in the recent past that you could pin on crusading Christians.

Not to excuse Christians, they had their moments, but throughout history, Mongols, Romans, Vikings, Crusaders/Inquisitioners, have all had a taste for going a little overboard. Even the Jews if you go far enough back had a taste for a little genocide.

It is just human nature. Unless of course you're a Quaker, like Nixon.
10.12.2007 3:11am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Coulter should not be taken seriously. To promote her book sales and speaking fees she must continuously escalate her rhetoric. We can thank the MSM for her and her ilk. If their coverage and commentary were more balanced, I don’t think Coulter would exist. However I disagree with DB: Coulter’s remarks were anti-Semitic. If someone regards Jews as something that needs to be “perfected,” and her ideal American has no Jews, how can you not call that anti-Semitic?
10.12.2007 3:13am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Not that I have deep theological conversations, but the Jews I know don't talk much about the afterlife. They'll say things like, people's immortality is in the memory of those who knew him, and they'll name their kids after their dead relatives to perpetuate their memory.

So, what do Jews believe happens to them after they die?

Also, I preferred the pre-Vatican church which held that Protestants were heretics who were going to burn in hell for all eternity. I remember being told not to go to the YMCA lest I be swayed from the one true faith. Jews did not show up on my radar; I didn't meet any till I went to college.
10.12.2007 3:16am
Tony Tutins (mail):
If someone regards Jews as something that needs to be “perfected,” and her ideal American has no Jews, how can you not call that anti-Semitic?
I'd put it this way: in Coulter's dream country, you'd still be Jews ... for Jesus!
10.12.2007 3:19am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Ann Coulter is taking a lot of flack for saying that Jews should convert to Christianity..."

No, Professor Bernstein, what she's getting flack for is saying, in so many words, that America would be a better place if they did.
10.12.2007 3:38am
Francis (mail):
Kazinski: correlation != causation. You've got a long way to go to establish that the alleged atheism of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot is any more related to the slaughters they caused than the fact each of them were male.
10.12.2007 4:39am
K Parker (mail):
sashal,

Heck yeah, I'm perfectly OK with a Muslim stating that I should convert to Islam, just as long as he doesn't want to slit my throat if I don't, nor spend his time trying to bring about a legal regimen under which I'd be a second-class.
10.12.2007 5:08am
Gaius Marius:
Francis, Madame Mao was a female and the atheism of Mr. Stalin, Mr. Mao, and Mr. Pol Pot is not alleged but a fact.
10.12.2007 6:11am
Hoosier:
"And how does that resolve the question of whether that notorious pagan Gandhi met the just deserts of his choice, or somehow sneaked into heaven on his own virtues?"

What's to debate? Gandhi is in Hell. With Saddam. And John John Kennedy.

Don't you watch South Park?
10.12.2007 6:42am
Nikolay (mail):
Well, if this is what Christianity is, does this not mean that any honorable man should join the war on Christmas? I mean, if the real meaning of the words "merry Christmas" is "you're going to burn in Hell", is it not somewhat creepy to be forced to hear those words?
10.12.2007 7:00am
Roger Schlafly (www):
But nowhere in the transcript does Coulter say that Jews need to be perfected.

So "we [meaning Christians] just want Jews to be perfected" is really that much better?
Yes, it is better because it quotes Coulter accurately, and it does not suggest imposing beliefs on Jews.

Donny Deutsch baited Coulter into saying that Christianity is an improvement on Judaism. Of course, nearly all Christians believe that, and Coulter said the obvious. Then Deutsch misquoted her, and accused her of hateful anti-semiticism. He was essentially saying that anyone who believes in the New Testament is a hateful anti-semite. Deutsch is a lying anti-Christian bigot.
10.12.2007 7:40am
Swede:
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, does pot luck like the Lutherans.

Jews have got a longer tradition, Catholics have got fancier churches, Muslims have that...thing they have going for them.

But none of you will pass into the Kingdom Of Heavan (tm) until you BOW BEFORE YOUR LUTHERAN POT LUCK MASTERS!!!

MWUAAHAAAHAAAHAAAHAA...*cough cough*..excuse me..WAAHAAAHAAAHAAA!!!!!!
10.12.2007 8:06am
Swede:
And yes, I know heaven is spelled with the extra "e".

We just talk funny.
10.12.2007 8:12am
Jim Killion (mail):
Asking a Jew to subscribe to the teachings of a Jewish Rabbi, Jesus, is anti-Semitic? As did all Rabbi's of the 1st century, everything he taught was his interpretation of Torah.
10.12.2007 8:24am
reasonsformoving:
Professor: On a serious note, according to various sources, including Wikipedia: "In Judaism, adultery was forbidden in the seventh commandment of the Ten Commandments, but this did not apply to a married man having relations with an unmarried woman."

What's your take on this?
10.12.2007 9:16am
jack23psm (mail):
Coulter talked about being perfected as if it was something that Christians have already attained, and Jews should want to attain, in this life. But the NT clearly says that none of us are perfect in this life. Perfection comes with the transformation that occurs after the second coming of Christ and the resurrection.

Jesus was a Jew, addressed as "Rabbi" in the Gospels. His apostles were Jews. As recorded in the NT, all of his followers during his ministry, with the exception of a few Gentiles, were Jews. Christianity was a form of Judaism, as much as Pharisaisim, Sadduceeism, or Essenism were. The Gospels record Jesus as saying that he was sent to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel". In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul, a Pharasaic Jew, said that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (=Gentile)", and "There is no difference between Jew and Greek" for those who believe. (And, yes, the NT does say that one has to believe that Jesus is the Messiah to be saved.) But there is nothing in the NT suggesting that Christianity was anything other than a form of Judaism.

Coulter misstated what the NT says, but taken in its proper NT context, her remark wasn't anti-semitic, since the perfecting applies to both Christians and Jews.

In light of what the NT actually teaches, the fact that many Christians and Christian denominations, throught history, have practiced anti-semitism is undeniable, indefensible, and shameful. But the perversion of a religion shouldn't be equated with the religion itself, as taught in its sacred texts.
10.12.2007 9:19am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Interesting that Christianity is condemned for its villains, with extras like Hitler thrown in.
But Islam. Nothing bad about Islam. Just a few nutcases.
10.12.2007 9:43am
Brad Ford (mail):

All Religious people must believe thier religion is superior. Otherwise, one would expect them to covernt to another "superior" religion.
10.12.2007 9:54am
TruePath (mail) (www):
jack23psm:

I think normal rules of conversational charity mean we shouldn't interpret her as saying that they would then be totally perfect in the religious sense. Rather what she was saying is that it would be better and used the word perfected to make it clear that she didn't believe that jews were bad now, just that they could be even better.
10.12.2007 10:12am
Jweaver (mail) (www):
Ann Coulter is simply being smeared. She is a believer in her theology. Nothing she said is wrong for her religion and those that cannot stand to here her will use any utterance as an excuse to dump on her. Sorry, but as a Jew I think my faith is the true faith and she thinks hers is. We will find out later who is correct. That said, the left is trying mighty hard to label her to cover up for their own feelings on this subject. Be honest, who hates jews more in this country right now, the left or the right?
10.12.2007 10:22am
Happyshooter:
Coulter gave a statement of her faith. I can see why those of other faiths don't like it, because it isn't their faith. Too bad. They can state their faith as well, if they like.

If those that don't like it want to start the criticism wars, then let's get the game started.

+1 on the Lutheran pot luck comment above.
10.12.2007 10:27am
Ubu Walker (mail):
Not only were Ann Coulter's comments chauvinistic, there were inherently anti-semetic and demeaning. Arguing that Jews are somehow imperfect, and less than human, is the first step towards demonization and dehumanization, which is the first of many steps to commit violence against the Jewish People. You should be ashamed, Prof. Volokh, for your less than spectacular denouncement of Ms. Coulter's anti-semetic statements and ignorance of history.
10.12.2007 10:28am
Guest101:

I'm an atheist but I'd much rather have honest religious people who are willing to swallow the full consequences of their religious than this weird bastard where people claim to have religious beliefs but only because they never face the full implications of these beliefs.

I agree. In a weird way I have more respect for the fundamentalists who take the Bible seriously, and literally, with all of the unpleasant parts included, than the liberal believers and theologians who say it's all about love and happiness and the details don't really matter, and gloss over the bits about smashing babies' heads.
10.12.2007 10:34am
Happyshooter:
Not only were Ann Coulter's comments chauvinistic, there were inherently anti-semetic and demeaning. Arguing that Jews are somehow imperfect, and less than human, is the first step towards demonization and dehumanization, which is the first of many steps to commit violence against the Jewish People. You should be ashamed, Prof. Volokh, for your less than spectacular denouncement of Ms. Coulter's anti-semetic statements and ignorance of history.

So you want to ban her faith because it is hate faith?

Let's start that game now. I can think of a whole bunch of faiths I want banned right off the bat, yours is number one on the list (whatever it is, just ban it).

Then I will get them all, because they are all different than my faith and therefore hateful.

In the end that will leave my faith as not only the true faith, but the only lawful one.

Do you like the result?
10.12.2007 10:37am
Happyshooter:
Is this a real group or just a Washington press front for someone?

Today, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) called on mainstream media outlets to stop inviting Ann Coulter as a guest commentator/pundit and strongly condemned recent comments that Jews should be “perfected” by accepting the New Testament and that America would be better off if Judaism were “thrown away” and all Americans were Christian.

“While Ann Coulter has freedom of speech, news outlets should exercise their freedom to use better judgment,” said NJDC Executive Director Ira N. Forman. “Just as media outlets don’t invite those who believe that Martians walk the earth to frequently comment on science stories, it’s time they stop inviting Ann Coulter to comment on politics.”
10.12.2007 10:49am
Marklar (mail):
I think its truly revealing that with all the things that Coulter has said about Muslims to deafening and revealing silence, the only condemnation she can muster from here and the rest of the "conservative" blogosphere is with a comparitively innocuous comment about a more favored religous group.
10.12.2007 10:53am
AK (mail):
What does it mean to go to Hell? It means burning alive and being subjected to the most horrible torture imaginable -- presumably far beyond what even the Nazis did to their victims -- for all of eternity.

Dante's Inferno is great literature, but there's little theological support for the perception of Hell as an ironic torture chamber. The Catechism does mention fire, but "the chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs."

More importantly, how can Christians who believe in Hell be worked up over waterboarding or other "abuses" for actual terrorists when decent people will suffer a fate that is infinitely worst and that lasts for eternity merely for the sin of not being a believer?

Because torture "is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity," and thus is evil.

Catholics still believe that you can't go to heaven without excepting Jesus. Jews don't except Jesus. You can complete your own syllogism.

Precise language is important here. The "accepting Jesus [as your personal Lord &Savior]" thing is of recent vintage, and isn't Catholic. What the Church actually teaches is that all salvation is through Jesus and His Church. The Church does not pretend to know, however, how big "the Church" is, or who is in Heaven, Hell, or elsewhere. Ultimately, God is going to save whom he wants to save, and the Church leaves open the possibility of salvation for all sinners, whether Catholics, non-Catholics, non-Christians, or irreligious.

It's funny: this is a legal weblog, and whenever there's a discussion of the law, commenters quote and link to statutes and case law. But when religion comes up, we're happy to throw out stuff we think we remember from Sunday school and whatever nuggets of information we've casually accumulated throughout our lives, regardless of whether there's any factual basis for it.

The best reading on the Church's teaching on the salvation of non-Catholics is Dominus Iesus. You'll want to scroll down pretty far to THE CHURCH AND THE OTHER RELIGIONS IN RELATION TO SALVATION. It's not that long. Here's the important part:
For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”


As for the salvation of the Jews, all of that applies. But Judiasm is special in that Christ did not come "to destroy the [Mosaic] law, but to fulfill it." One of the reasons that God sent Jesus was that it was (and is) possible to live in accordance with the Mosaic law and yet have no real personal relationship with God. And really, that's what religion is supposed to be about: man's commmunion with the Divine. By sending Jesus, God was saying "all these rituals are fine, and abstaining from these foods is good, but you're not getting close to me. The best way to get close to Me is to have a relationship with my Son." And that's what the Catholic sacraments are all about: having a relationship with Jesus.

The Cliffs Notes version: Judiasm is good, Christianity is better. Jews and everyone else increase their chance of salvation by following Jesus, but they might get saved anyway.
10.12.2007 10:55am
AK (mail):
Arguing that Jews are somehow imperfect, and less than human, is the first step towards demonization and dehumanization, which is the first of many steps to commit violence against the Jewish People.

Completely true, so it's a good thing that Coulter didn't say anything like that. She said the Jewish faith is imperfect, which no Christian can dispute. From a Christian perspective, a perfect faith would recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Judiasm doesn't.

You have to have a pretty huge chip on your shoulder to get from that to "Jews are less than human."
10.12.2007 11:01am
Eli Rabett (www):
A bit late, but Carl Rowan certainly had guns, and he took off after a trespasser one night. Googlable
10.12.2007 11:02am
Jam:
I am a Christian.

Using the term "perfected" is not one that I am familiar with. Usually we, at least in the circles I run in, we sometimes refer to Jews who accept Jesus as Messiah as completed (Messianic Jews).

This is not a put down in terms of superior/inferior race or anything like that.

We mean that the Prophets and the Law came through the Hebrews, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). As the prophets foretold and looked forward to the day that God's promised Messiah would come, the redemtion, the hope of those living under the law and the circumcision. When Messiah, Jesus, came and fullfilled what was foretold, now, we look back at that fullfillment and live under the law of the circumcision of the heart, where the law is written in our hearts. This is what is meant by completed.

Now we look forward to the day when the descendant of the House of David, who was before David, will sit in the throne of David and bless ALL nations and shalom will reign forever. Amen.
10.12.2007 11:03am
samuil (mail):
Donald Sensing (a conservative blogger, and a former military official who is also a clergyman) has following comments :


Ann Coulter is probably the most religiously uninformed public figure I have ever heard of. I do not consider myself a "perfected Jew" as a Christian (I'm not a perfected anything), nor can I help but gagging at the idea Ann expressed (see transcript) that Christianity is the "Federal Express" way to heaven compared to Judaism. Before Ann or any other Christian starts talking about "perfecting Jews," they need to pay attention to perfecting Christians, for which there is very long way to go

http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/009810.php
10.12.2007 11:04am
anduril (mail):
David, a perfectly lucid post. I also want to commend "one of many" for a lucid explanation of a less than lucid topic: what the Catholic faith actually officially teaches.

One of my favorite authors, the French philosopher Etienne Gilson, once stated (in a totally intra Catholic controversy) that true charity is to make the truth known. Obviously the goal of making truth known is to have truth accepted--which is to say, the "making known" is done for the sake of the hearer, not for the sake of the speaker. That principle imposes certain obligations on the speaker.
10.12.2007 11:07am
Jam:

R.Schlafly,do you think it would be OK for a Muslim to state that Muslims are just perfected Christians and that all Christians should convert to Islam.


Muslims, or anyone else for that matter, can say whatever they want. And they already say that. They are wrong, though. Islam claims to revere Jesus but denies Jesus' claims to diety and Jesus' death and resurrection.
10.12.2007 11:08am
AK (mail):
But none of you will pass into the Kingdom Of Heavan (tm) until you BOW BEFORE YOUR LUTHERAN POT LUCK MASTERS!!!

Lutheran food is okay. It gets the job done by filling you up, but it's bland and devoid of presentation. The German parts are sometimes okay, but the Scandanavian parts are awful (Lutefisk, anyone?). Lutheran food needs to be perfected.

Perfected food can be found in those countries with Catholic majorities: France, Italy, Latin America, Poland, etc. You can generally judge the awfulness of a nation's cuisine by whether it embraced Protestantism: Scotland, England, Scandanavia. Ireland is the exception - the food sucks there, and they're Catholic as the day is long.
10.12.2007 11:12am
samuil (mail):
Here is the comment from the Red State :

With all the phony kerfuffle over the phony Limbaugh comments last week, here comes Ann Coulter with guns-a-blazing — basically sounding the al-Qaida line against infidels...only this time about Jews and Christianity.

I'm sure a lot of you are fans of her. But she basically needs to shut up and go away forever. There is simply no way to look at her comments and come away thinking that she's:

A) Entirely joking
B) Rational
C) A good spokesman for conservatism or Christianity

I've thought this about her for years. And the more outrageous she's gotten, the more I've just shook my head in disbelief that so many conservatives still defend her or otherwise admire her.

She's said that we should ponder murdering Supreme Court justices...wished that the 9/11 attackers had targeted the New York Times building rather than the WTC...and various other just dazzlingly odious things. Yes, I realize that usually she's just trying to be irreverent and perversely humorous.

But there's just nothing funny about these things. There's nothing funny about a "we must convert you" mentality about religion in an age where we're fighting people to the death who take that very outlook extremely seriously. There's nothing funny about poisoning high officials' desserts for political gain.

Every Republican candidate for office needs to denounce her, and right quick, and never have the slightest bit to do with her again. She's gone too far — and it's not the first time.
10.12.2007 11:15am
Jam:
AK: Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. There is no salvation outside of Christ.

Membership in the visible church is no gurantee of membership in the universal, invisble, Church.

In the OT there were plenty of Jews and, yet, Elijah almost despaired until God Himself reassured Elijah that there were a faithfull remnant that would not bow to Baal.

In the NT there are examples and warnings about those who would come out of us but were not of us.

Of course, I am a former Roman Catholic and disagree with you of several fronts.
10.12.2007 11:17am
AK (mail):
Did Sensing really say that? Wow, he's way off:

Ann Coulter is probably the most religiously uninformed public figure I have ever heard of.

Hitchens? Andrew Sullivan? Dawkins?

I do not consider myself a "perfected Jew" as a Christian (I'm not a perfected anything)

Neither do I. I think my faith is more perfect than it would be if I was Jewish, though.

nor can I help but gagging at the idea Ann expressed (see transcript) that Christianity is the "Federal Express" way to heaven compared to Judaism.

A crude analogy perhaps, but not gag-worthy. I would say that your probability of salvation goes up if you convert to Christianity from Judiasm, but I won't hazard a guess as to how much.

Before Ann or any other Christian starts talking about "perfecting Jews," they need to pay attention to perfecting Christians, for which there is very long way to go.

You keep using that word, "perfecting." I don't think it means what you think it means.

"Perfecting" doesn't mean that Christians are free from sin. It does mean that our faith is superior, which, quelle suprise, we actually believe. I suspect that Sensing does actually believe that his faith is superior to Judiasm , but he considers himself too polite to say so. Fine. Just as long as he's not embracing the heresy of Indifference.
10.12.2007 11:21am
Dave N (mail):
AK,

Great series of posts--as to your last one, blame Irish cuisine on the fact that the British occupied Ireland for so long.
10.12.2007 11:25am
Jam:
I do not like Ms. Coulter much. Does she claim to be Christian?

samuil: I do not consider myself a perfeced anything but to be a Christian one must understand the OT: the cultures, the histories. It is written by Jews and to properly understand the OT one must "become" a Jew. The difference between a Jew and a Christian is who we say Jesus is: just a rabbi or the Word made flesh?
10.12.2007 11:26am
AK (mail):
Of course, I am a former Roman Catholic and disagree with you of several fronts.

"Jam," please feel free to disagree with my religion all you want. I'm just relaying what the Catholic Church teaches.

Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. There is no salvation outside of Christ.

I agree that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone. That doesn't tell us what we need to do to be saved. There's no doubt that Jesus is going to do the actual saving, but we don't know how he intends to do that. He could give us faith at the end of our lives and let us all into Heaven.

God is omnipotent. He can do whatever he wants. Jesus could elect to save people whether they believe in his Resurrection or not. I believe that in some cases he does. Regardless of what Jesus does, however, salvation still comes through him.
10.12.2007 11:31am
JosephSlater (mail):
Good for Red State. They did leave out her "Invade their countries and convert them to Christianity" line; her basically calling John Edwards a "faggot" and lots of other gems that should have put her beyond the pale long ago.

Also, kudos to the poster above who pointed out that Coulter's point as that America would be a better place if Jews converted to Christianity -- not merely that she personally preferred her theology to Jewish theology.

The question isn't whether Coulter is really a crypto-fascist(and I rarely if ever use that term to describe modern Americans, but it fits with her) or whether she's just playing one for the carny marks on the loony far-right. The problem is that the supposedly "liberal" mainstream media takes her seriously as a commentator/pundit.
10.12.2007 11:37am
JosephSlater (mail):
"point was that," not "point as that."
10.12.2007 11:38am
AF:
I buy Bernstein's distinction between theological views that conflict with Judaism on one hand, and anti-Semitism on the other. I think the same distinction can be made for Islam. And a similar distinction can be made between anti-Semitism and political views that lead one to oppose Israel's policies or yes, even its right to exist.
10.12.2007 11:50am
Richard A. (mail):
"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the same sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."
- H.L. Mencken
10.12.2007 11:54am
jack23psm (mail):
TruePath: I won't debate what Coulter meant because it isn't clear from her statement. She might have been engaging in conversational charity, though as previous posters have mentioned, that's not her style. She's usually blunt and direct and seems to be so here, though more civil than usual.

Perfection in Christian doctrine is strictly a spiritual state, brought about by God's grace through a spiritual transformation, only in the afterlife, for all those who believe. It is unattainable in, and has nothing to do with this life. If this wasn't the perfection she was talking about, I can't imagine in what way she thinks Jews would be better if they became Christians since we pretty much share the same moral and ethical standards. In what way would the acceptance of Jesus as the Messaiah make Jews "better" in any way other than a spiritual/religious sense?
10.12.2007 11:55am
Adeez (mail):
Saying "Jesus is the son of God," reflects the collective complete misunderstanding of biblical metaphor. It implies the Santa Claus theory of God, a "man" who bears a "son," Santa Claus junior. It's cute, but a far cry from what the bible actually referred to. The Holy Trinity is just another way of referencing conscious, subconcious, and superconcious.

But I gotta give a shout-out to those who seriously compare Mann Coulter with Al Franken. It made for a great Friday morning laugh.
10.12.2007 12:01pm
Drake (mail) (www):
"the chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs."

Umm...
Hell is a “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50), “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48);
the sinner “will be tormented with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 14:10)
“[T]he smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night” (Revelation 14:11);
“This is the second death, the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14);
“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15)
So Christians (and those with a like, two-track eschatology) are committed to two joint propositions: (1) God consigns those who lack the appropriate belief(s) to an eternal stay in a very gruesome hell; and (2) in doing so, God is good.

The latter isn't a concomitant that Christians are simply forced to accept in light of their faith. Rather, it's an independent, positive, and rather odious, moral judgment about the kind of being they take God to be.

"Chauvinism" (construed as a reflective preference for one's own values) need not entail a character flaw. But Christian chauvinism does.
10.12.2007 12:08pm
AK (mail):
I've made it clear that I don't think Ann Coulter said anything offensive, surprising, or even theologically problematic. She said what all religions say: "We're more right than you." Yet even when Coulter hasn't said anything offensive, she always manages to bring out a motley crew of detractors. Let's see who belongs to the merry band of Coulter-critics this time:

The left: Always anti-Coulter. No suprises here.

Conservatives who think she gives conservatives a bad name: Apparently this includes Donald Sensing and whoever that guy is from RedState. I've often said that "if Ann Coulter didn't exist, conservatives who want to get invited to liberal cocktail parties would have to invent her." Coulter-bashing is a great way to ingratiate yourself to the left as "reasonable." For these folks, Coulter isn't worth defending because even if she's right this time, she's eventually going to say something genuinely offensive, so why not get ahead of the curve and start criticizing Coulter before it was cool?

Irreligious conservatives/non-liberals: Coulter professed something about her faith, which gives atheists/agnostics an opportunity to criticize her for believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The ADL Wing of the Professional Racial Grievance Industry: Say anything less than completely laudatory about Judiasm and Abe Foxman more or less accuses you of firing up the ovens at Auschwitz.

The Overcompensators: The most amorphous group, overlapping with several of the others, but also including politically conservative Christians. Stricken with guilt over centuries of Christian (and non-Christian) anti-Semitism and western indifference to (and cooperation with) the Holocaust, these folks defend Judiasm reflexively, regardless of whether it's actually been slighted, and condemn anyone who says that Judiasm isn't as good as Christianity. Their hearts are in the right place. They understand that Jews have plenty of reasons to be suspicious of suddenly-friendly Christians who just recently stopped persecuting them. They don't want Jews to think of them as the next in a long line of Christians who persecuted them. They carefully avoid anything that could be viewed as critical of Judiasm, including saying that Christianity is superior and attempting to convert Jews to Christianity.

Strange bedfellows, indeed. Am I missing anyone?
10.12.2007 12:08pm
DCraig:
It was my understanding that the Protestant religion I grew up taught that salvation was available through accepting Jesus christ as the savior and that it was important to spread the word that this salvation is available.

This is a marked difference from believeing "that all people should become Christians because that's what God wants."

sort of like you can lead a horse to water, but can't make it drink. It's the whole free will thing.
10.12.2007 12:08pm
David M (mail) (www):
Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/12/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
10.12.2007 12:15pm
Jam:

I agree that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone. That doesn't tell us what we need to do to be saved. There's no doubt that Jesus is going to do the actual saving, but we don't know how he intends to do that. He could give us faith at the end of our lives and let us all into Heaven.


God is the one who sees the heart of men and knows who really is saved but ... goodness gracious, man, what is the New testament if not the revelation on how to be saved?

Go to http://www.biblegateway.com aznd do some keywordsearches and read passages in context.

Here is a very small sample.

John 3
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.[g]

John 8
23But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be,[a] you will indeed die in your sins."

John 10
31Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"
33"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."


1 John 5
11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
10.12.2007 12:22pm
MDJD2B (mail):

Am I correct in thinking that the seven laws of Noah came from the Talmud and not the Torah?


Yes.
10.12.2007 12:24pm
MDJD2B (mail):

So, what do Jews believe happens to them after they die?


T Tutins: The more traditional they are, the more likely they are to believe that there is an imortal, sentient soul that survives to an afterlife. There is little speculation about the nature of an afterlife because (1) there is no scriptural basis for such speculation, and (2) God is not supposed to be obeyed because the believing Jew has an ulterior motive of saving his soul.

Less traditional Jews tend to deny the existence of an afterlife, and others are agnostic about this point. It is not a major concern of Jews. I have never, for example, heard a sermon on the subject at a religious service.
10.12.2007 12:29pm
Jam:

The Holy Trinity is just another way of referencing conscious, subconcious, and superconcious.


This is another way of restating the heresy of modalism and not at all what the NT states.

Drake: Metaphors. Fires, worms, books in the spiritual realm? Maybe it is depicting the awfullness of being eternally separated from having a relationship with God. But if you die not wanting anything to do with God, God will honor your choice in the eternal. Those things were, at the time, the best and readily available every day, commonly known, things used to illustratrate a spiritual reality.
10.12.2007 12:30pm
MDJD2B (mail):
"In Judaism, adultery was forbidden in the seventh commandment of the Ten Commandments, but this did not apply to a married man having relations with an unmarried woman."

The traditional teaching is that adultery means sexual intercourse between any man and a married woman not his wife. No, this isn't very egalitarian. But that is not to say that sex outside marriage is OK, like a married man with an unmarried woman. It is a lesser offense than adultery in traditional views.
10.12.2007 12:32pm
MDJD2B (mail):

All Religious people must believe thier religion is superior. Otherwise, one would expect them to covernt to another "superior" religion.


No-- this doesn't follow. Only those religions which hold that religion is strictly a matter between an individual and God hav ethis view. Judaism (and, as I understand it) Hinduism, among others, do not see it this way.

Think of humanity as a chorus. Altos are supposed to sing the alto part, and sopranos the soprano part. So it is with religion. In this view, God wants me to serve Him in one way, and wants you to serve Him in another way.
10.12.2007 12:36pm
Elliot123 (mail):
The interesting thing about Coulter's comments on conversion is that they reflect the beliefs and attitudes of millions of Christians, their churches, doctrine, and leadership. Coulter does us a great service in stating these beliefs in simple words.

We hear much about toleration and diversity, but don't like to actually hear what we are supposed to tolerate. This is what religious freedom means. Coulter just says these things in venues which normally shy away from the details. The same things are said in churches all over the country every Sunday. Are educated people really surprised at these beliefs? Why?
10.12.2007 12:38pm
scattergood:
Triumphalist religions will always include the theological tidbit of 'we are better and more complete' than the previous religion. Christianity stands on Judiasm while Islam stands on Judaism AND Christianity at the same time.

Christianity derives its religious legitimacy from Judiaism. From the Christian perspective: Jesus was Jewish, he fulfills the requirements of the Messiah from the Tanakh (Jewish Bible), and for the first few decades all Christians had to convert to Judaism in order to be Christian. This little practice ended in a spat between Paul's version of Christianity and James' version of Christianity.

Same goes for Islam, they believe that all the previous Prophets were valid (Moses, Abraham, Jesus, etc.) but that the followers of these Prophets (Jews and Christians) corrupted the message and went off the path. So, Mohammed had to come along with the newest, bestests, and final revelation for everybody.

Thus, it seems immaterial that Ann Coulter said what she said. Christianity and Islam BOTH basically believe this. What is important is what Christians and Muslims DO with this belief. Restrictive lending and land owning laws, yellow stars, forced conversion, expulions, genocide are horrible and terrible expressions of the doctrine of 'perfection'. However, in 'Christian' lands things like that are looked upon with a evil eye. In 'Muslim' lands, things like that are not looked upon quite so badly.

I'd much rather focus on the nations and culture that are actually telling the world that they 'we are Jews 3.0 and Christians 2.0 and BOTH of you have got to upgrade, or we are going to make life so tough for you that it would be better that you do' than on focus on the folks who are saying 'hey, we are Jews 2.0 and it would be better if everybody got around to upgrading'
10.12.2007 12:40pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Thank you, JosephSlater. For a moment there I thought I was losing my mind.
10.12.2007 12:43pm
AK (mail):
Drake:

Apparently you did not follow the link that I took great care to provide. I even said that "the Catechism does mention fire." The Catechism quotes some of the same scriptural passages that you do, but the Catholic Church teaches that the chief punishment of Hell is "eternal separation from God." Beyond that, the Church won't hazard a guess as to what the torments of Hell are like. "Fire" might very well be a metaphor. If you want to develop your own interpretation of scripture I can't stop you, but I can tell you that your interpretation is not what the Catholic Church teaches.

(1) God consigns those who lack the appropriate belief(s) to an eternal stay in a very gruesome hell

Again, if that's your private interpretation of God's judgment, I can't stop you, but it's not the Catholic position. Here's what the Catechism has to say:

"God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end."

Going to Hell isn't the consequence of having or not having certain beliefs. It's about (1) persisting in mortal sin, (2) until the end.

Let's take the last part first. No one knows what "until the end" means. The natural assumption is to think that it means "death," but that assumption is an artifact of popular culture. There's no reason to reject the possibility that upon our deaths, God gives us a final choice to repent our sins or go to Hell. To understand why this is a very real possibility, you have to understand what makes a mortal sin. I'm going to run the explanation together a bit for clarity:
For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."
"Grave matter" isn't relevant to our conversation, so let's skip it.
Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.
The bottom line is that we really have no way of knowing what is a mortal sin. Oh, we can know what "evil" is, because there are some things that are objectively evil, regardless of whether the agent who brings them about sinned by doing so. But it's really not within our power to know if we truly knowingly and deliberately committed an evil act. I just don't know if those addicited to alcohol are responsible for their violence, or those addicted to drugs are responsible for their thefts, or those addicted to sex are responsible for their sexual immorality. I don't know if those with strong same-sex attraction are really freely consenting to immoral sexual acts. So I cannot judge what is and is not a mortal sin. To be on the safe side, we had best assume that all evil acts we commit are mortal sins. But it's far from clear that we always can know that.

Now, to get to my point (finally): living in the world challenges our faith tremendously. Science challenges our faith. The existence of evil challenges our faith. Sadness, loss, and disappointment challenge our faith. Even the most pious among us will freely admit that they have had a crisis of faith from time to time. Mother Theresa's Dark Night of the Soul (recently written about in Time, complete with embarrassingly ignorant quotes from Christopher Hitchens) is a prime example. During those periods of lack of faith, it's easy to fall into sin.

Faith is a daunting task, but God is merciful. That's why I think it's reasonable to think that upon our deaths God may say "faith was hard throughout your life, but now you can see what is True. Are you ready to confess your sins and receive forgiveness?" At that point, everyone but those who truly hate God, and who want to persist in hating Him even in light of the fact that He exists, can go to Hell. The rest of us are off to Purgatory for a bit. I'm very comfortable with an empty Hell. That doesn't mean that I'm right, nor does it mean that I should assume that I'm right and not avoid sin now. But I really think - and the Catholic Church teaches - that Hell is the consequence of willful disobedience of God, not of not believing the right things.
10.12.2007 12:44pm
scattergood:



Am I correct in thinking that the seven laws of Noah came from the Talmud and not the Torah?



No. They all came from the Tanakh.

The first six commandments were given to Adam. These commandments were repeated, and a 7th commandment was added, when G-d made the Covenant of the Rainbow with Noah. Hence these became known as the Seven Noahide Commandments.

http://www.noahide.org/article.asp?Level=395&Parent=90
10.12.2007 12:44pm
Swede:
"Lutheran food is okay. It gets the job done by filling you up, but it's bland and devoid of presentation. The German parts are sometimes okay, but the Scandanavian parts are awful (Lutefisk, anyone?). Lutheran food needs to be perfected."

For crying out loud, we gave the world fruit suspended in jello. IN JELLO!!

What kind of madman are you?
10.12.2007 12:49pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Am I missing anyone?"

You left out those who are just plain appalled that anyone would defend, let alone revel in, her hateful, bigoted nonsense.
10.12.2007 12:52pm
AK (mail):
Jam:

I'm not going to get into a debate with you over what is necessary for salvation and what is sufficient for salvation. I'm just trying to communicate what the Catholic Church teaches, which is that God, in His mercy, can save even those who lack faith in Him. Whether He does or not is not for me to know. I don't claim to know who has been saved (other than the Saints). Irrespective of who God gives his Grace to, the Grace comes through Jesus.
10.12.2007 12:58pm
JosephSlater (mail):
You left out those who are just plain appalled that anyone would defend, let alone revel in, her hateful, bigoted nonsense.

Exactly.

And sorry, Grover, for not giving you specific credit for pointing out the "America would be a better place if. . . " aspect to her comment.

Still, I'm willing to admit this isn't the worst thing she's ever said. But that's just because she's set such an absurdly high bar for hateful, innaccurate, nonsense that it's hard for her to keep getting over it. But intelligent folks should get over her.
10.12.2007 1:04pm
Francis (mail):
AK: I appreciate your brief disquisition on Catholic theology. It's good to have a refresher course on a regular basis on why I'm an atheist.
10.12.2007 1:09pm
Brad Ford (mail):
MDJD2B (mail): "Only those religions which hold that religion is strictly a matter between an individual and God hav ethis view. Judaism (and, as I understand it) Hinduism, among others, do not see it this way."

I respectfully disagree. If someone is a Jew or a Hindu and comes to believe Christianity, Islam, or another religion is superior to his own religion, he/she will convert to the "superior" religion absent some other factor. (see below)

By choosing to stay with their current religion, people are making a value judgment: my religion is superior to all others.


NOTE: I have made a few key assumptions.
1. The person is free to convert. In many Islamic nations, conversion from Islam to Christianity brings a death sentence.
2. The "other" religion will accept converts. Obviously, one cannot convert to a religion that will not accept you.
10.12.2007 1:20pm
Stuart M. (mail):

Am I correct in thinking that the seven laws of Noah came from the Talmud and not the Torah?

Yes.

Sort of. The Torah doesn't have an arranged list of items, but it does recite god's conversation with Noah after the disembarkation from the big boat, and the seven laws are compiled out of that conversation. The compilation is in the Talmud.
10.12.2007 1:29pm
phoward777:
"...For crying out loud, we gave the world fruit suspended in jello. IN JELLO!!

I'm Mormon and I thought we invented/perfected that. I bet you don't have carrot shavings in your jello though. Top that!
10.12.2007 1:40pm
Golem:
The Seven Laws of Noah as written in Genesis 3 through 9 are generally viewed as categories, rather than specific commandments.

Babylonian Talmud Tractate Ḥulin 90a derives thirty Noahide commandments, subdivisions of the Seven Laws. However, 90b states that only three are routinely observed:

1. No homosexual marriage
2. No selling of human flesh in the marketplace
3. Respect for the Law
10.12.2007 1:51pm
AK (mail):
For crying out loud, we gave the world fruit suspended in jello. IN JELLO!!

I thought that was the Mormons.

You left out those who are just plain appalled that anyone would defend, let alone revel in, her hateful, bigoted nonsense.

Those people were in, but not by name. You can find them in any of the categories, depending on the other characteristics they display. They only way you think she's bigoted for announcing that her religion is superior to others is if you belong to one of the other categories. A quick thought experiement: if she was talking about any religion other than Judiasm, would she be "bigoted"?

I appreciate your brief disquisition on Catholic theology. It's good to have a refresher course on a regular basis on why I'm an atheist.

I find this fascinating. There are plenty of reasons to be an athiest...

Well, only two, really: (1) Bad stuff happens, and (2) The universe works fine without using God to explain phenomena. All atheist arguments are forms of these two. This is not to say that either argument is insufficient reason to be an atheist, it's just that a lot of time can be saved by saying "Atheist Argument #1" or "Atheist Argument #2" rather than typing it all out.

Anyway, I find two things odd about what you said:

First, my opinion of God's plan for rewarding elements of His creation presupposes God's existance. I could be completely wrong about God's plan for humanity - He might not have one at all! - but that would not be an argument against the existance of a creator god. I would just be grossly misunderstanding that god.

Second, I've probably given the most laid-back interpretations of the Christian doctrine of salvation imaginable. I'm not saying you're going to Hell because you're an atheist. I'm saying that you very well might get a pass on all your sins because the accidental qualities of your life prevented you from knowingly and willfully disobeying God. It's hard for me to see how that would confirm for you that all religion is bunk. Oh well. I think you're probably going to be saved anyway. We'll see.
10.12.2007 1:54pm
abb3w:
sashal: R.Schlafly,do you think it would be OK for a Muslim to state that Muslims are just perfected Christians and that all Christians should convert to Islam.

They do; or, more exactly, they hold that Christians are merely corrupted Moslems according to the true and perfect Qur'an. To wit, 5th sura, 14th verse: And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant, but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of, therefore We excited among them enmity and hatred to the day of resurrection; and Allah will inform them of what they did.

I strongly recommend all intelligent Americans read the Qur'an. I do not agree with it, but some of our enemies do; and it is advantageous to be able to understand the working of an enemy's mind.
10.12.2007 2:14pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
jack23psm:

Conversational charity is the practice of the listener interpreting the speaker to mean the most plausible/reasonable thing in cases of vaugness.

When someone says, "I'm going to put my money in the bank," it is usually appropriate to interpret them as placing it in a financial institution not on the edge of a river.
10.12.2007 2:18pm
MDJD2B (mail):
I respectfully disagree. If someone is a Jew or a Hindu and comes to believe Christianity, Islam, or another religion is superior to his own religion, he/she will convert to the "superior" religion absent some other factor.

Whether someone chooses to adopt a new faith is a different question than whether it is the belief of a faith that other people outh to join it. It is a different question than whether a faith holds that it is preferable that people join it.

Judaism accepts converts. Some people adopt Judaism because they like what it has to offer, whether it be the theology, the practice, the gestalt, or the spouse. Judaism accepts them. But Jewish belief holds that Jews, by virtue of being born as Jews, are obligated to the rules of Judaism (Jews would not say "Jewish faith;" this is a Christian concept. Jews believe that there is a covenant between God and Jews as a whole, and with each Jew.) On the other hand, nobody who is not born Jewish loses anything by not being Jewish. They are what they are.


By choosing to stay with their current religion, people are making a value judgment: my religion is superior to all others.


Again-- I disagree. No more than my wearing a size 44 suit suggests that I believe that everyone should wear this size. And no more than a woman's taking oral contraceptives to avoid pregnancy suggests that a man who wants not to have children should take oral contraceptives rather than use condoms. If I am good at math I go to MIT, but if my talent is in music I go to Julliard. There is no issue of superiority in any of these choices, and there is no reason why a religious person need impose such a lexical structure on religios belief.

Outside of Christianity and Islam religious people tend not to see their religion as universal. They tend to see it more as a way for people-- or defined groups of people-- to align themselves with God's purpose for them. If God is transcendant, then understanding Him is beyond the power of humans, anyway. So there is no logical reason to stratify The religious practices that are good for you may not be right for me. That is not to say that there are no rules at all. Rather, it is to say that God achieves his purpose in different ways through or with different people.
10.12.2007 2:18pm
john (mail):
In some respects, isn't a defining characteristic of each major religion that such religion is the one true path? Otherwise, why would it be necessary to believe in that religion's tenets? There have been some attempts to engage in interfaith discussion (and ecumenism among Christian religions), but there is bound to be some tension.

In Christian religions, this principle is expressed succinctly in Jesus's statement, in John 14:6, that "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
10.12.2007 2:34pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Coulter has already publicly said harsher things about Moslems (forcible conversion). Unless there is some good reason to believe her opinion about Hindus, Buddists, Wiccans, etc. would not at least call for as much as she has said about Jews, calling her statements anti-Jewish is a misnomer. It's anti everything-but-Christian. [Christianist, Christian bigot, and Christian chauvinist are more sensible terms.] One might as well call a prominent atheist anti-Semitic for saying that the world would be a better place if Jews and everyone else became atheist.

Nick
10.12.2007 2:45pm
AK (mail):
Coulter has already publicly said harsher things about Moslems (forcible conversion).

Forcible conversion? Really? When?

I always find it fascinating that there's so much objection to Coulter's three part plan:
(1) Invade countries that attacked us on 9/11
(2) Kill leaders of countries that attacked us on 9/11
(3) Convert residents of those countries to Christianity.

#1 &#2 are official U.S. government policy, supported even by much of the left - the part of the left that tells us that the war in Iraq is diverting resources from Afghanistan.

#3 is what every Christian is charged with: spreading the Gospel. There's no use of force or coersion implied.
10.12.2007 2:55pm
NickM (mail) (www):
AK - I think you're being overly generous to Coulter by suggesting that she was merely implying that individuals should evangelize the Middle East. In the context of immediately following #1 and #2 about what the U.S. should do, it seems like some official action is called for.

Nick
10.12.2007 3:07pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I bet you don't have carrot shavings in your jello though. Top that!"

A friend of mine used to refer to this colorful concoction as "clown barf." No offense intended--it is tasty.
10.12.2007 3:13pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
That's okay, Joseph. It was just a relief to catch a glimpse of you through the crowd, as it were.
10.12.2007 3:15pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Poor Anne--all fur coat and no knickers, as a popular British comic used to say.
10.12.2007 3:16pm
Guest101:

Second, I've probably given the most laid-back interpretations of the Christian doctrine of salvation imaginable. I'm not saying you're going to Hell because you're an atheist. I'm saying that you very well might get a pass on all your sins because the accidental qualities of your life prevented you from knowingly and willfully disobeying God. It's hard for me to see how that would confirm for you that all religion is bunk.

AK,

Atheists aren't atheists because we're concerned about the status of our immortal souls; we're atheists because we find the doctrines of theism to be transparent nonsense. The details of Catholic doctrine that you've helpfully and knowledgably articulated in this thread only reinforce that perception.
10.12.2007 4:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I've read a couple of Coulter's books and some of her columns.
Her schtick is factfactfactfactzinger, repeat and repeat until you tense up at the appropriate moments when the tempo says zinger coming up.
Some of her facts are disputable, others are right on.
The zingers are funny, sometimes right on, sometimes not.
She referred to Bush in the Balkans where, charmed by his reception, he made the entire country US citizens. Then he took it back on finding out none of them were felons and they were all willing to assimilate. That's a zinger and it refers to the WTF the rest of us are thinking when contemplating Bush's immigration situation and the way it's worked out locally (sanctuary cities, felons let out to murder, rape and generally do the jobs Americans won't)
Clearly, it's over the top and wouldn't be allowed into a textbook. Maybe not, anyway. But it's an expression of anger and confusion.
Not meant to be taken as a fact.
The idea that she considers her religion to be superior to others is....normal for any person who takes their faith seriously. Big deal. Only thing is, you're not supposed to say so in public, but Coulter specializes in saying just those things. Possibly impolite when talking to an individual, not a big deal when talking to a zillion people who think the same way about whatever their religion is.

It is a relief to beat up on Coulter for her statements. Takes the mind off the guys who are really trying to kill us.
10.12.2007 5:03pm
ejo:
that's true-you will find less nuance in denunciations of her statements than you will with the posters quibbling about how mean it is to refer to mass murdering psychopaths as "islamofascists".
10.12.2007 5:19pm
Jam:
Nohadic Covenant:

I do not know about the "seven laws" but in Gen. 9 some of the commands/laws are the same as in Gen. 1.

Gen 9:1-3 is a summary.
Gen 9:4-10 are the laws.4
Gen 9:11-17 is the benefit/blessing and the seal

1) Prohibition against eating the fruit from the tree of of the knwledge of good and evil is moot.

2) The "death penalty" is hinted in Gen. 4 but it is explicitly dtated in Gen. 9.

3) The rainbow is the prennial seal of the covenant.
10.12.2007 5:33pm
Drake (mail) (www):
AK, it is strange that you would lament (counterfactually, as it happens) that I didn't visit your link. The whole point of the biblical passages I cited was to cast doubt on the Catholic gloss you propounded.

"Mentioning" fire in connection with Hell rather attenuates the vividness of the Biblical language, don't you think?

And if "fire" is a metaphor for mere "separation from God," then anything is a metaphor for anything.
10.12.2007 5:37pm
Joe Doakes (mail):
The host asked Ann what her perfect world would look like then, when she told him, insulted her faith. Nobody's talking about that. Why give him a pass on his own religious bigotry?

Deutsche make a point of repeating that he couldn't believe Ann meant what she said because she's an educated woman. The clear implication is that only an ignorant people could be a committed Christian who honestly believes the world would be a better place if everybody converted to her faith. Has he never met a Jesuit? Never heard of missionaries? Why does he think Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons go door-to-door, for the fresh air and exercise?

The guy's a religious bigot and should be called on it.
.
10.12.2007 5:46pm
Toby:
Sashal

R.Schlafly,do you think it would be OK for a Muslim to state that Muslims are just perfected Christians and that all Christians should convert to Islam.

It would be just fine. It would not be fine for that Muslim to blow me up because I haven't converted, or to make me pay higher taaxes because I haven't converted, or to riot and pillage because I disagree with him, or to right into law that I must follow all the strictures as if I have converted.

But for him to make a normative statement in line with his beliefs is his right and proably his duty.
10.12.2007 6:01pm
David Drake:
Reasonsformoving--

I'll buy that definition of adultery.

Jack23psm--second that. I thought that her statement of "perfection" was strange. I am more in agreement with her statement that Christianity is a quicker and easier way to Salvation than is Judaism.

I read the transcript and don't believe the comments are anti-Semitic at all. Wanting people to believe in what you view as the truth--indeed, in the case of Christianity (or to be fair, Islam) what you believe to be the most important truth that there is--is not anti-anything. It is simply an expression of concern for them.

I admit that, as a practising Roman Catholic, I feel uncomfortable when people "witness" to me. So I know how Jews, atheists, etc., feel when that happens to them. But the proselytizers believe they are doing me the greatest service that they could. Even if I do quickly say "No thank you, I'm Catholic. But God bless you."
10.12.2007 6:09pm
Public_Defender (mail):
The general rule is really pretty simple: You can practice your faith and tell others about it, just don't be a jerk.

But Bernstein is wrong when he says that Coulter's comments "reflected chauvinism about Christianity. . . ." Does anyone believe that even Coulter believes what Coulter is saying? She's trying to shock to sell books. I don't believe she gives a whit about promoting Christianity.
10.12.2007 6:22pm
David Drake:
AK--

Good series of comments.

Lots of willful misunderstanding by some prosletyzing (sp?) atheists on this thread and every thread that mentions religion.
10.12.2007 6:38pm
whit:
"Do even the militant atheists ever crack on the Quakers? It would seen akin to stomping a puppy."

i went to a quaker prep school. quakers are good people, but (imo) deluded, since they think pacifism WORKS. sure, it works with people with a conscience (see Gandhi vs. the british empire) not so much with vicious thugs (hitler, pol pot, stalin, al qaeda, etc.).

but one thing is clear. any sports team called the "quakers" does fail to instill fear into their opponents.

it's even worse than being from Pleasantown or something. honestly. being on a football team called the "quakers".
10.12.2007 6:49pm
whit:
"The host asked Ann what her perfect world would look like then, when she told him, insulted her faith. Nobody's talking about that. Why give him a pass on his own religious bigotry? "

not to mention that among many atheists (and agnostics) and liberals and such who worship the song Imagine by john lennon. the sentiment that if the world world were free from religion, the world would be a much better place - no war, etc. are clearly deluded. but an atheist wishfully wishing there were no "religion" is just as "anti-semitc" as coulter wishing the world were christians only.

frankly, if the world were all one religion, religion would lose part of its 'charm' since being in a club isn't as kewl when EVERYBODY is in that club. (see: groucho marx). clubs are cool because some are in, and some are out. and note that i include atheists in the definition of "religion" and "club" (specifically "hard atheists").

south park, as usual, has done the perfect skewering of both dawkins, and religious atheists (the former in the evolution teacher episode, and the latter in the two part cartman in the future episodes).

if recent history (20th century mostly) is any indication, all the societies i can think of that had (officially) "no religion too" (to quote john lennon) turned out to be neither peaceful, violence free, just, happy, or any of the things one would look for in a modern utopia.
10.12.2007 6:57pm
Golem:
Jam, Good Evening!

Pursuant to your question of 4:33 P.M., the references follow:

Gen 3:1 Blasphemy
Gen 3:5 Idol Worship
Gen 3:6 Theft
Gen 4:8 Murder
Gen 6:1-4 Sexual Offenses
Gen 6:5-7 Court System
Gen 9:3-4 Flesh of Live Animals
10.12.2007 7:13pm
MDJD2B (mail):

In some respects, isn't a defining characteristic of each major religion that such religion is the one true path? Otherwise, why would it be necessary to believe in that religion's tenets?


John,

No! See my comment just above yours.
10.12.2007 7:15pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Does anyone believe that even Coulter believes what Coulter is saying?"

Millions believe what she says about converting others. I suspect there is a reluctance to really face that fact.
10.12.2007 7:53pm
Jam:
thanks Golem.

I have read the passages. Interesting take.
10.12.2007 8:44pm
Guest101:
whit,

I certainly appreciate your concession that religious belief is just as arbitrary as belonging to one social club vs. another. I would point out, though, that Lennon's song never suggests that the absence of religion would bear a casual relationship toward achieving the other aspects of utopia (absence of war, violence, hatred, etc.)-- it would just be one more part of the picture after perfection is achieved.
10.12.2007 8:46pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
“Has he never met a Jesuit? Never heard of missionaries? Why does he think Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons go door-to-door, for the fresh air and exercise?”

I don’t know if he’s a religious bigot or not, but one’s thing is for sure: he doesn’t know how to do an interview. He interviewed Bill Gates and really didn’t know what ask. One question was: “what in your wallet?” Perhaps he had a senior moment and thought he was in a credit card commercial. The only things missing were: “what’s on your Ipod” and “what kind of a tree would you like to be?”
10.12.2007 9:34pm
jack23psm (mail):
"jack23psm:

...what she was saying is that it would be better and used the word perfected to make it clear that she didn't believe that jews were bad now, just that they could be even better."

"Conversational charity is the practice of the listener interpreting the speaker to mean the most plausible/reasonable thing in cases of vaugness.

When someone says, "I'm going to put my money in the bank," it is usually appropriate to interpret them as placing it in a financial institution not on the edge of a river."


TruePath: Again, in what way would converting to Christianity make Jews "perfected" or "even better" other than in a spiritual/religious sense? I can't think of one, but I'm certainly open to other possibilities if you'd like to offer any.
10.12.2007 9:48pm
Hoosier:
RE: Catholics and Hell: A rather succinct summary from John Paul the Great (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, 1994):

"The words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew’s Gospel he speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Matt. 25:46). [But] who will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement in this regard."

The Church, put simply, teaches that: (A) some people will be condemned to Hell; and (B) we cannot know who these people will be. It works the other way as well: We know that God wills the salvation of all, but we can't be sure who will attain salvation. (And for my separated brethren who think that this teaching is contrary to what Scripture has to say about grace, some passages: Rom. 11:22; Heb. 10:26–29, 2 Pet. 2:20–21. )

As for the fire/no fire debate, Catholics are generally comfortable with the understanding that these descriptions may well be metaphorical, and not literal. As Andrew Greeley put it: "The Catholic imagination is 'analogical' and the Protestant imagination is 'dialectical.'" While the Catholic Church teaches that Hell is very real, the place with lakes of fire and demons with pitchforks is an "image" of Hell. Not a description. One could also conjure up the image of, say, Anne Coulter eternally interviewed by Larry King on the question of Joe McCarthy's heroism. It achieves the same end: Bringing to mind the suffering of one who separates himself from God. Or watches 'Hanity and Colmes.'

As for the quotes from Revelation, one has to understand how the Church interprets that book. This could take us way off track. Sot in a very few words, Revelation is accepted by the Church as part of a broader tradition of apocalyptic literature; in this case directed at the Roman Empire as a result of its persecution of the early Church. Which is a major difference between me and my Evangelical friends, who believe that Revelation is a description of what will happen in the Endtimes.
10.12.2007 10:34pm
Hoosier:
"in what way would converting to Christianity make Jews "perfected" or "even better" other than in a spiritual/religious sense?"

They'd probably improve at basketball.
10.12.2007 10:35pm
AK (mail):
Drake, not David Drake:

The "fire" issue, whether it's real fire, or just fire with the same essence and not the same properties as fire as we know it, or sometihing else entirely? Depends on whether you ask an Augustinian or a Thomist. Start where you should, with the Summa, and good luck.

AK, it is strange that you would lament (counterfactually, as it happens) that I didn't visit your link. The whole point of the biblical passages I cited was to cast doubt on the Catholic gloss you propounded.

"Catholic gloss" betrays a sola scriptura understanding that Scripture existed, and years later the Church came along and conjured up an interpretation that happens to be inferior to yours. That's not really the way the Catholic Church works.
10.12.2007 10:57pm
jack23psm (mail):
"They'd probably improve at basketball."

Only from a Hoosier! ROTFL

Or watches 'Hanity and Colmes.'

Yes, that is true suffering.

The Church, put simply, teaches that: (A) some people will be condemned to Hell; and (B) we cannot know who these people will be. It works the other way as well: We know that God wills the salvation of all, but we can't be sure who will attain salvation.

As one of the separated brethren, that's my understanding, too.
10.12.2007 11:18pm
PodMonkey:
To the detriment of the thread, I don’t think Bunnicula’s question regarding the meaning of “perfected” has been sufficiently answered. Throughout the New Testament, the word is used in a variety of contexts: behavioral flawlessness - Jesus instructing the rich young ruler that if he wants “to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give to the poor…” (Matt 19:21) or “Not that I have… already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me“ (Philippians 3:12); wholeness/completeness – Paul appealing that “there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor 1:10); archetype – “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” Matt 5:48; or blamelessness/holiness - “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Col 1:28). I think these common definitions are undoubtedly the likely sources of the perceived offense. And none of them apply to Coulter’s usage.

At least one additional biblical context exists. This definition is similar to the “perfecting” of a security interest in property or a business interest, like at a Register of Deeds or Secretary of State. Paul explains in the book of Hebrews [oddly enough] how obedience to the law has made no one perfect. He addresses the insecurities of those who have acknowledged their sinfulness, and may despair of their inability to reach God’s standard of behavior. Paul rejects the notion that any obedience can restore sinful man’s right relationship with God. Man is simply incapable of fully paying for breaches of the law. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” (10:1) In other words, Paul states that Jewish practices are not what justifies man, making them securely righteous in God’s eyes. [Many evangelicals contend that “Christian” practices (or “works”) also cannot justify.] Later, in Galatians, Paul says that law was given to Moses to “lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” (3:24-25) The actual act of “sealing” our eternal place with God was accomplished by the substitutionary death of an unblemished “Lamb of God,” Jesus, who, “by one sacrifice has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (10:14) This is what Coulter is ineptly referring to in sashal’s citation near the top of the thread. She is talking about obedience to God, not men, and the perfection mentioned elsewhere refers to our secured interest in eternal life with God - brought about by Jesus’ obedient death on the cross (not by our emulating Jesus’ “perfect” sinlessness).
10.13.2007 12:14am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Is it necessarily chauvinistic to say that Ideology A is better than Ideology B? If so under only specific conditions, then what are those conditions?
10.13.2007 12:30am
Fred (mail):
Jews view Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. as flawed religions

Muslims view Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. as flawed religions

Christians regard Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. as flawed religions while regarding Judaism as an incomplete religion

Buddhists and Hindus... they get a bit more complicated but I'm sure they regard the other religions of the world as not quite right either.

Why this is something that is verbotten to say in public is understandable. What's not so understandable is the shrieking howls of outrage whenever it is said. Ok it's not something that normally is said out loud but it's not the end of the world to say it and it's actually rather refreshing to hear once in a while...
10.13.2007 1:34am
Drake (mail) (www):
"That's not really the way the Catholic Church works."

It's no rejoinder to critics of the Church's interpretation that those critics fail to play by the Church's rules.

Anyway, this whole line is losing sight of furnace for the flame. The Bible describes hell as a place of fiery torment. The Summa says it's only a metaphor for something equally terrible, viz., the separation from God. Well, whatever. Let's just set that issue and look at the equally fatal defect in the argument that remains. The interpretation is typically forwarded by apologists as a way to answer the charge that consigning souls to infinite pain for finite sins would be unjust (as in: "Hell isn't really a pit of fire; it's just a metaphor for separation from God"). But putting forward the metaphor in this way as mitigation itself contravenes the success of the metaphor: Consigning souls to burn forever is either the moral equivalent to consigning them to eternal separation or it isn't; but if it isn't, the metaphor fails.
10.13.2007 3:18pm
jdh (mail) (www):
blame Irish cuisine on the fact that the British occupied Ireland for so long.

I disagree. Northern climates have bad food: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Canada, etc. Spices don't grow up there, and vegetables and fruits are limited.
10.13.2007 4:19pm
Jam:
Amen PodMonkey.

Hoosier:

We can only judge the externals and only God can see the heart of men. We may deceived but God will not be deceived. So I agree with you but ... when someone starts from the point of rejection of Jesus Christ's diety and substitutionary death on the cross that person, according to Scripture, is already condemned.

I am closer to the Roman Catholic view of Revelation than to my Evangelical "side."
10.13.2007 6:04pm
Jam:
Metaphors. Is not language really all metaphors? Just because we call a tree "tree" it does not make it a tree. The sound in the English language that the word "tree" makes is used to represent the object. So when talking about "things" in the spiritual realm to beings in a physical realm, by necessity, a lot of metaphors are required.
10.13.2007 6:16pm
nichevo (mail):
Let me just say this about that...

Coulter is free to say what she likes, the host is free to gag on it and oppose. I might not have used his words but sentiments along the lines of "What color is the sky in your world, lady?" might have escaped me. If her excuse is breezy imprecision, Deutsch's rebuttal can hardly be considered more offensive.

Basically I would say that Ann Coulter should look to what I believe is a Christian doctrine (or perhaps it was a pagan - Herodotus perhaps): not to speak lightly of serious things.

If you are trying to convey information to someone who does not already know and share your views, explaining Christian doctrines of salvation in terms of "Federal Express" conveys zero information. That is to say, what the hell does she mean? The Rapture? You mean there aren't 144,000 Jesus-acceptors already in line ahead of me? Huh?

That is her true offense: breeziness at the expense of clarity, which is I think fatal in an ideologue. Whatever her education and experience may be grounded in, I cannot see that she shows it to be theology; if her goal is to bear witness or to proselytize, I score this one a swing and a miss.

Basically, if my route to the World to Come is via the US Mail, to use her analogy, I feel that history is on my side. Basically, as a Christian friend at college once explained it to me, Juaism was too hard core for most people to live up to or even to attempt to live up to, so the Lord said (in effect), Can't handle living up to My standards? Well, try Plan B, just admit that I am who I am (through the proxy of My son), and you're in. Widens the pool a bit.

Frankly, almost as offensive as the Islamic notion of Heaven as a whorehouse (an obvious corollary of the shahid 70-virgin doctrine) is the notion that you can be some sort of monster all your life, repent on your deathbed, and get whisked straight up to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Lord.

Jews don't focus on the afterlife as much because we believe it is better to concentrate one's efforts on making the World Right Here a better place. You can be a virtuous pagan or a rotten Christian.

As for Coulter on "converting their people to Christianity," I do think we have context to consider. I think her goal here is to reduce beheadings, bombings, etc., which are not part of modern Christian doctrine. If you asked her, I suppose she would concede that their conversion to Judaism or Buddhism would also be a relative improvement.
10.14.2007 12:56am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
BTW, isn't Ann more of an "eye for an eye" than a "turn the other cheek" kind of gal?
Recall that the "turn the other cheek" maxim applies to (relatively modest) attacks against one's own person. Coulter is famous for satirizing all sorts of stuff she finds wrong with the world, and fisking is not unbiblical.

As for attacks against herself...recall also that the opposite for turning the other cheek is seeking personal revenge. In political debate, a not-turning-the-cheek response is one that says "look what they did to me." That is not one of Coulter's vices; her reaction is "look what they're doing to the debate." The top Google search result for "coulter responds" provides an example. (Heh, Hannity calmer than Coulter - it's a sign of the Apocalypse.) Actually, Coulter gets some perverse pleasure out of a lot of that criticism - that's a separate vice.

About the question I asked earlier...I disagree with the chauvinism claim on this basis: chauvinism embraces class superiority; Christianity and many other proselytizing faiths instead promote ideological superiority.

Chauvinism preaches the inherent value of a class. Men are worth more than women. Whites are worth more than blacks. Poor people are (in moral terms, not finaicial) worth more than the rich.

Some religions might be that way, but Christianity is not. It professes to have the superior blueprint for reconciling with God, just as capitalism claims to have the superior blueprint for distributing resources. But Christianity does not say that believers are more valuable than nonbelivers, any more than capitalism makes such claims regarding economic classes.
10.14.2007 2:47am
Lewis Field (mail):
I don't even understand why Ann Coulter's religious views should warrant interest by those who hold differing positions (ie, non believers or practitioners of some other faith). I am a Christian, agree with her in that salvation is a singular, narrow path through Jesus and his Word. Whether others agree with me or not is irrelevant, and they most likely disagree with me on all things besides. So who cares? Let God win those whom He will, and why should Ann Coulter be the least distracted by non believers? Is she a “chauvinist” because she answers a query about her faith? I suspect that she doesn’t lose sleep over the criticism by those who hate all she (I and others like her) stand for. Sally forth, Madame Christian Warrior! Show the steel of your words and the unbending Goodness and Grace of Christ’s message. Give no quarter to the dying world.
10.14.2007 3:15am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Come to think of it, for the Christianity/capitalism comparison to work my concluding statement should have been "any more than capitalism makes such claims regarding non-capitalists." (Subconsciously I was thinking about the prejudices that accuse capitalism of not caring about workers and the poor - but that's a separate issue that has no bearing here.) The free-market argument is not "we're better people than the socialists, fascists and monopolists" but "we have a more efficient and more just means of goods distribution than those folks." Non-classist religions operate in that attitude.
10.14.2007 7:17am
Hoosier:
Jam:

"Metaphors. Is not language really all metaphors? Just because we call a tree "tree" it does not make it a tree. The sound in the English language that the word "tree" makes is used to represent the object. So when talking about "things" in the spiritual realm to beings in a physical realm, by necessity, a lot of metaphors are required."

Yep. And that takes us to Occam and Nominalism. And even though he was right, this is also where the world starts to become uninhabitable for people who want to use reason, but also want life to have a meaning. Everything starts going to Hell by 1400, at the latest.

Sort of like 'Name of the Rose,' only without the cool puzzles.
10.14.2007 1:05pm
nichevo (mail):

Lewis Field (mail):
I don't even understand why Ann Coulter's religious views should warrant interest by those who hold differing positions (ie, non believers or practitioners of some other faith).


By that theory, Mr. Field, why does she share them? Are you saying she is a bore? While I have certain objections to her manner, to her choice of words, I thought that she was 'doing her job' in terms of witnessing or professing. ISTM she was precisely trying to get dissentient people to take an interest in her religious beliefs.

Should we take it that you are of a non-proselytizing denomination of Christianity? Which? That of course is just fine by me - give me that good old time religion - but I had thought it a Christian religious duty to proselytize. Did the host wrongly drag it out of her? Or is she merely supposed to be allowed to speak without reply?
10.14.2007 1:54pm
EDS:
I think Christians need to work on perfecting themselves first before they start worrying about perfecting others. Christians never seem to understand why Jews get so upset when they hear Ann Coulter’s comments or see Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ celebrated. No matter what an individual Jew may believe or not believe about Jesus and his teachings, there is one thing that almost all Jews are in agreement. To Jews, Jesus is far from the prince of peace. For 2000 years, Christians in the name of Jesus have thrown out the Ten Commandments when dealing with Jews. An early Christian Church leader by the name of Chrysostom denounced Jews as 'most miserable of all men' -- 'lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits' -- 'inveterate murderer, destroyers, men possessed by the devil' -- 'debauchery and drunkenness have given them the manners of the pig and the lusty goat' -- 'pests of the universe' -- 'they have surpassed the ferocity of wild beasts, for they murder their offspring.' It did not take long for words like this to incite Christians to torment and kill their Jewish neighbors. Historians report that the First Crusade led to the death of one quarter to one third of the Jewish population of Germany before the Crusaders ever placed one boot on the soil of the Holy Land. Tens of Thousands of Jews were killed because Christian leaders blamed Jews for poisoning the wells and starting the Black Plague. Jews soon learned to greatly fear the production of a local passion play. Nothing incited rape, looting and mass murder better then the call for revenge on the Jews for killing their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The death count is believed to be in the Thousands for some towns and villages and over a Hundred Thousand in certain regions of Europe. The same year Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Christian rulers came up with a solution to the Jewish Problem. Their solution was for the Jews to convert to Christianity or be expelled from their kingdoms. The Spanish Inquisition used torture and murder to make sure the Jews who remained were sincere in their desire to worship Jesus. While almost every country in Western Europe made it illegal to be Jewish, those Jews who fled with only the clothes on their backs eventually found homes in Eastern Europe. These “unperfected” Jews did not find the peace and quiet they desired more than anything else. The Final solution to the Jewish problem, that lead to many indiscrimate killings and eventually led to the mass murder of Six Million Jews, was first proposed not by Hitler but by another famous German. Martin Luther in his treatise titled The Jews and Their Lies wrote that it “not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire... Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it...” When Christians talk about a perfect world where everyone in it professes a belief in the divinity of Jesus, the first thing that Jews always wonder about is how far will Christians be willing to go this time to make their dreams come to fruition Many Jews believe that constant vigilance is the only thing preventing the horrors of the past from happening today. Even in a “Christian Nation” dedicated to religious freedom such as the United States of America...
10.14.2007 6:58pm
Jam:
Wow. Where even to begin? EDS, in the New Testament you will find not a whiff or a hint, nothing, that justifies or teaches forced conversions. You will find plenty of encouragement to be steadfast in the faith, no matter what.

In the Old Testament you will find that the Jews were given explicit instructions, through the prophets, on what to do to take possession of Canaan. Those commands are bound in history and time. But the Law of Moses under which the Jews, as evidenced by their circumcision, are supposed to live under is very rigid and proscribes up to death for many transgressions.

Under the Law of Christ we are to die, if need be, to spread the Gospel. Under the Law of Moses death to the Sabbath breakers.

On another historical note: the Jews are not that pure in their history either. Just to mention one item: remember the Jews engaged in the worship of Moloch, by sacrificing children, in direct violation of explicit commandments in the Law of Moses.

And when God Himself ends this era and establishes His kingdom and rules according to the dictates of His own will, who among us will stand against God in that day? Not me! That day will be a glorious day and the perfect world will finally be here. It is not our doing.
10.14.2007 11:31pm
nichevo (mail):
Jam, I don;t think you understand EDS. Jesus may have been a swell fellow and his teachings real good stuff, but look at what evils have been perpetrated in his name.

As for the purity of Jewish history, 1) be so good as to cite chapter and verse when throwing bits of, e.g., Moloch around (it will help to explain to you why you are off track); and 2) when we transgressed, it was the Lord who punished us. We deal with Him. Unless you see pogroms as the modern equivalent of the Babylonian Captivity, we don't need your help getting right with Him.

First cast the beam out of your own eye. Or if you like: Physician, heal thyself. We are the Chosen People and I do not believe we were Chosen to defect from the Covenant entered into with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Note that being Chosen is not a free ride, but oftentimes a burden. Jesus was not the only one with a cross to bear. People have been trying to get us to defect for thousands of years. We're rather proud of sticking to our guns, or should I say our books. Certainly I'm inclined to fight rather than switch, particularly at the behest of ignoramuses whose breezy metaphors treat salvation as package delivery.

When the Lord Himself tells me to worship Jesus, then I'll consider it. Until then I invite you to work on people who REALLY need help. Of course we are safer as we are so very unlikely to chop off your heads for your presumptuousness.

Yes, I definitely think you would find proselytizing Muslims far more interesting. Well, snap to it! After all there are a billion of them and only as many of us as you have managed not to kill off. And, of course, while you may regard your faith as a 2.0 upgrade on ours with new usability features, I'm sure you'll agree that Islam is by comparison a virus. Are Muslims ever going to get to heaven, by your standards? You're wasting time on us - and damning billions to Hell by doing so. How's that going to look on your Permanent Eternal Record Card?
10.15.2007 3:05am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Does EDS stand for Evangelical Derangement Syndrome?

Blaming Jesus for the un-Jesus-like actions of nominal Christians is kinda like blaming Moses for the sins of Ahab, Manasseh, and other wayward Israelite kings.
10.15.2007 8:49am
Jam:
nichevo: I agree with you that the burden of being the "Chose People" is great and, indeed, the Jews have been severly judged by God. So will we. But not all the descendant of Jacob are true Israel, for many, through history, have bowed their knees to foreign gods, literally and figuratively.

On Moloch (or Baal), you can do a keyword search in the Old Testament. You will find references in the Law, the prophets and even in the poetry.

I know missionaries to Muslim countries. I understand, vicariously, fairly well the dangers. When communicating with them, even in these uS, we have to use pseudyms when referring to the countries they are in and the people who convert.

I also know missionaries to Israel, primarly focused on Russian immigrants. There are issues as well being a missionary there but no danger to life. BTW, many, many years ago, through missionaries to Israel, that I learned about the saying: we will start on Saturday and end on Sunday.

As to the so called 2.0 upgrade, the Scriptures (Old Testament) themselves speak of the "rock the builders rejected has become the rock of the corner (cornerstone)" and "a rock of stumbling" placed in Zion. It is not a 2.0 upgrade but simply the continuation of what was foretold by the prophets. And woe to them who reject the Promised One. I reject the "upgrade" term.

When Israel was judged of God and carried into captivity, what should/is the role of us outsiders in helping Israel?
10.15.2007 12:41pm
Jam:

Sort of like 'Name of the Rose,' only without the cool puzzles.


LOL
10.15.2007 12:42pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Coulter is a master at throwing out a few lines and generating all kinds of discussion and disagreement. Let's recognize true talent when we see it.
10.15.2007 4:21pm
jimbino (mail):
I have put Bernstein on notice here more than once that there is no "conversion" involved when a Jew becomes a Christian. It is one of the most natural things in the world: witness the 12 Disciples and St Paul, who did not convert from Judaism when they followed Jesus.

St Paul converted from persecutor to follower on the road to Damascus, but that had nothing to do with Judaism.

Bernstein cannot accept that a person can be a Jew and a Christian at the same time, just as another can be a Gentile and a Christian at the same time. He needs to get with it!
10.15.2007 4:32pm
Hoosier:
ничего--

" After all there are a billion of them and only as many of us as you have managed not to kill off."

Hmm. Sounds like collective guilt to me. I certainly don't recall killing off even one Jew.

But then I can't recall much of my weekends in college, so I suppose you might know something that I don't.
10.15.2007 5:46pm
nichevo (mail):
Hoosier: So you have elected to bore me to death? Cute. Congratulations, it's working.

On the bright side, I guess the crime of deicide is off my own neck, which is lovely. I shall sleep the better for it. I'm sure that was at the root of your very subtle point.

OTOH, it is sophistry to pretend I was accusing you directly or any of you forbears in particular (though almost any European country had their bite at the apple) or even Ann Coulter of doing so, or to elide the fact that Jews have repeatedly been decimated (or worse; again I suppose now we get pedantic over whether I mean precisely a 10% reduction) by majority populations throughout their history.

My point was, if you had missed it, was not so much to guilt or lay blame as to note that Jews are not a very fruitful audience for proselytization.

Why? Because

a) we don't need FedEx, we are content to rely on First Class Mail

and b) there are fewer than twenty million of us left on Earth (thanks to the repeated trimmings, of which you personally are doubtless innocent, that we have taken over millennia), compared to the billions of real heathens whose mail will be getting delivered not slowly but never.

I do understand that we are the low hanging fruit because we are unlikely, as Jam has kindly noted, to kill you for bothering us in this manner. However, I would not expect a true, perfected Christian to take the easy way out.

Those poor Koreans had the right idea - the Taliban are in far greater need of the Word than I am; after all I have most of it on hand in the First Edition.

Plus in the event, they scored martyrs, which is great for you, right? I mean I could only assume, absent thinking the Korean churches are the stupidest or craziest or most naive on earth, that they wanted to get themselves killed. Poor sods. Or try to hand the Taliban a propaganda victory, which seems just too improbable to consider.

So 20 million Jews at the outside, 2 billion pagans. Sounds like you should go out and convert at least a hundred of them before you bother me.
10.16.2007 5:05am
nichevo (mail):
Jam:

nichevo: I agree with you that the burden of being the "Chose People" is great and, indeed, the Jews have been severly judged by God. So will we. But not all the descendant of Jacob are true Israel, for many, through history, have bowed their knees to foreign gods, literally and figuratively.


Is that what Coulter meant by saying Deutsch was not a practicing Jew? I am not sure I get your point here but I don;t think you have to worry. Transgressors as stated are dealt with by higher authority. And "Jew" is not a mantle many people choose to falsely adopt; it hardly pays.


On Moloch (or Baal), you can do a keyword search in the Old Testament. You will find references in the Law, the prophets and even in the poetry.


Yes, I am aware of this party, bu I wondered to which event you wer referring. For instance, if we were discussing the worship of the golden calf, please note that again, those people were taken care of without the kindly intercession of Christians or other Gentiles.


I know missionaries to Muslim countries. I understand, vicariously, fairly well the dangers. When communicating with them, even in these uS, we have to use pseudyms when referring to the countries they are in and the people who convert.


Yes, but you rob banks because that's where the money is! If you drop your wedding ring in the sewer, you don't look for it under the lamppost because the light's better there.


I also know missionaries to Israel, primarly focused on Russian immigrants. There are issues as well being a missionary there but no danger to life. BTW, many, many years ago, through missionaries to Israel, that I learned about the saying: we will start on Saturday and end on Sunday.


As to the so called 2.0 upgrade, the Scriptures (Old Testament) themselves speak of the "rock the builders rejected has become the rock of the corner (cornerstone)" and "a rock of stumbling" placed in Zion. It is not a 2.0 upgrade but simply the continuation of what was foretold by the prophets. And woe to them who reject the Promised One. I reject the "upgrade" term.



You mean there are limits to the power of metaphor? Zounds! But typically an upgrade is adding and refining features and performance. What part of the analogy do you resent? I would reject the Fedex analogy if I could only make heads or tails of it.


When Israel was judged of God and carried into captivity, what should/is the role of us outsiders in helping Israel?



Now you've lost me entirely. The historical precedents that come to mind are not flattering to Gentiles (viz., 1492, 1942). If you had formed some legions in AD 70 and kicked the Romans out of the Holy Land, I'm sure that would have seemed just swell to the myriads that perished. Was that on the table?

Or FDR could have decided (and I do not necessarily blame him for not doing so) to spend war-winning resources on obstructing the activities of the various SS, Einsatzgruppen, Totenkopf, etc., as by bombing the rails used to transport prisoners to the death camps.

Or Vichy France could have been just a little less energetic in collaborating with the Gestapo in such endeavors. That would have been nice, for French policemen not to work quite so hard in packing Jewish children onto the proper trains.

No, really, WTF are you talking about? In general I suppose I would say it is in your best interest to help us because this will result in blessings and benefits, and vice versa; and of course because it is the right thing to do.

If you feel it would be wrong to interfere with His divine vengeance or chastisement, then I suppose you should stay out of it, though no doubt you will not obstruct His will in any case.


...And confused again. Maybe I should shut up and let you clarify what you meant before I try to respond.
10.16.2007 5:24am
Jam:
blockquote>
What part of the analogy do you resent?<


Would you call the Nohadic Covenant v2.0 over the Adamic Covenant? It is all of part of the same program and not "added features" nor bug fixes.


if we were discussing the worship of the golden calf


Nope. The golden calf had nothing to do with Moloch/Baal.


No, really, WTF are you talking about? In general I suppose I would say it is in your best interest to help us because this will result in blessings and benefits, and vice versa; and of course because it is the right thing to do.


To oppose God's judgment on Israel is not "blessing" Israel. This is something that has occupied my thinking in the recent past.

I asked the question for two reasons:
1) I consider today's Israel in apostasy, using the Law of Moses and the prophet Samuel as the benchmark. Israel is a secular State, no king, no sacrifices, etc.
2) I really wanted your perspective on that issue. Maybe I should have asked the question in a different post?


Yes, but you rob banks because that's where the money is! If you drop your wedding ring in the sewer, you don't look for it under the lamppost because the light's better there.


Now my turn. You lost me on this one.
10.16.2007 10:41am