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3/21/2006                                                                                       View Comments

Evangelical Christian Theology 201

by Valerie T

In light of this week's massacre of apparent children.

Lesson II: Child-ness

A good Evangelical must be able to recognize children on sight. This is because God loves children and every one is precious in his sight. He watches over them and protects them from harm, just like an all-powerful shepherd watching over his lambs. The Bible says so. Although this may not seem obvious in the world around us, when you understand the difference between a child and not-a-child everything becomes clear. You know who to take care of and how to keep from getting distracted by child-like creatures that don't merit your attention. It also becomes obvious who God wants you to vote for - politicians who prioritize children over not-children. After studying the following series of photos, you will be able to differentiate between children and not-children almost as well as God himself — though not quite, because, as the photos illustrate, God is infinitely wise and you are not.

The best way to distinguish children from not-children is to carefully consider their condition. The decision rule is very simple. Because God takes care of children (they have guardian angels, the Good Shepherd carries them when the way gets hard, etc.), any child-like life form that is battered, verminous, or, in particular, dead, is not a child and never was. Another important differentiator is age. During the nine months between fertilization and birth, any stage in the development of a fertilized human egg is a child.*

*Note: Some people argue that since God aborts 60-80% of fertilized eggs, they can't all be children (http://www.reason.com/rb/rb122204.shtml). In this case, refer to the first sentence of this paragraph. "The best way to distinguish children from not-children is to carefully consider their condition." Based on the decision rule, those that God aborts are not-children. We know this because they are dead. The other 20%, however, are children, because they are living. See how simple it is?


Series 1: Child

Children. (Notice - clean, well-fed, probable Christian parentage - all evidence that these child-like creatures are, in fact, children.) They are loved by human parents and God alike. God answers the prayers of little ones like these, even when they pray about puppies and dolls and baseballs and the Academy Awards. Good Evangelicals are similarly attentive and loving. They take care of children, just like God does. A political leader who is doing God's will works to keep these precious lambs from harm and insures that they are healthy, well-fed, and schooled.


Series 2: Not-a-Child



Not-Children. Evidence that these are not-children can be seen in their emaciated state. Their unlikely Christian parentage goes without saying. These not-children do not pray for puppies and dolls, and God does not answer their prayers for food.* Good Evangelicals are free to follow the example of God himself in determining how much attention to pay to not-children like these and how to respond to their pleas. Likewise, an Evangelical in a position of political power may choose to prioritize the concerns of children (above and directly below) over the concerns of not-children (directly above). In fact, he should.

*Actually, most ministers will tell you that he answers all prayers. He says "Yes." "No." or "Maybe ;).When we have adequate missionaries to send to all of Africa, they will undoubtedly explain this to the not-childen and their parents living there, which should offer some comfort."


Series 3: Child



Children. We know these are children because they are not-born.* Also, they are alive, or were when the pictures were taken. This combination is a guarantee of child-ness. A person who authorizes the destruction of a child like one of these is a baby killer with no family values. He or she cannot be a good Christian and is not qualified to hold any public office that might affect the well being of children.

*Note: Once born, some remain children, but most become not-children. These must be re-born to become children again, or, later in life, to become children-of-God.


Series 4: Not-a-Child



Not-Children. Confirmation that these are not-children can be seen in their damaged and dead condition. Two of these may be potential-children (see below), though with low potential. Should they die of their injuries, however, this confirms that they were not-children from the get-go. A person who authorizes killing not-children is not-a-baby killer. He or she can be a good Christian.* He or she can be qualified to hold public office and to act in the name of God.**

*only if holds Evangelical beliefs. Otherwise, may be a moral person but will burn in hell. But not for killing not-children. Only for not holding Evangelical beliefs.
**only if holds Evangelical beliefs. Otherwise, may be a moral person but will burn in hell. But not for killing not-children. Only for not holding Evangelical beliefs.


Series 5: Potential-Child

Potential-Children. Potential-children are hard to identify. They are actually not-children who have some likelihood of becoming children through the efforts of missionaries, Sunday school teachers and ordinary Evangelicals. Some not-children have more potential than others, and this is determined largely by their place and time of birth. How much energy one should invest in potential-children depends on how much potential they have. Factors to consider are: health, religion of origin, and socio-economic status.

A population of not-children who attend Sunday school and live in a good Evangelical community may have high potential. In consequence, their food, health, and education may be of great moral importance to their Evangelical neighbors. Also, not-children born into desperate, poor families and communities may be open to whatever missionaries may offer and may also have high potential. But be careful about how you spend your limited moral energy. Some not-children have almost no potential at all. In such cases, there is little point in feeding, healing or educating them. Such efforts are like seeds sown on rocky ground.

Discerning this, good Evangelicals often devote their time and money to other priorities. Even conspicuous consumption can be one of these priorities, as pleasing to God as the odor of burnt offering. Why? It may help to attract not-children and ex-not-children (see below) to the faith, thus increasing their potential.

It is crucial to remember that potential-children should never, never be given priority over children (first and third rows above).


Series 6: Ex-Child, Ex-not-a-Child
(High Potential Variety)



Ex-children and Ex-not-children. At some point in development, children and not-children hit "the age of accountability." They abruptly become children- of-God and evildoers, respectively. Although the external differences may appear minimal, the effect is profound, in particular for the evildoer. This is because not-children have eternal, individually conscious souls. When they die they all go to be with Jesus where they live happily ever after - even the cancerous, maimed, starving ones who had absolutely no potential here on earth and consequently merited little attention from Good Christians. But as soon as a not-a-child turns into an evildoer, death has another outcome - eternal torture - something rather like the not-childhoods of some not-children, only even worse and way longer. Fortunately, evildoers can become children-of-God by praying a specific prayer of belief in the redemptive power of perfect-human sacrifice (see Lesson III: When murder is moral - Killing children, not-children, and ex-children in the name of God).

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is the sickest post I have seen in all my time here. It is the vile, sick, and completely ignorant. There is no way that this should have even been considered for posting. True, you have the freedom to post this, but with that freedom comes decency and responsibility. This is done in poor taste and complete obsurdity. Webmaster, you have done us all a great disservice, and the author is simply asinine.

Mary said...

I didn't see it as sick and vile, I saw it as "food for thought".

Stormwarden said...

I see it more as a remarkable exercise in sarcasm. Its use serves to reveal a level of hypocracy within organized religion that stops caring about the child once it is born.

Anonymous said...

>>Anonymous wrote:

This is the sickest post I have seen in all my time here. It is the vile, sick, and completely ignorant. There is no way that this should have even been considered for posting. True, you have the freedom to post this, but with that freedom comes decency and responsibility. This is done in poor taste and complete obsurdity. Webmaster, you have done us all a great disservice, and the author is simply asinine.<<
________________________________

Hiyas,

It hits the head on the nail! The TRUTH hurts I guess.

Your atitude is what is vile, sick, & and completely ignorant!

Go suck an Ostara Egg.

Cheers,
Fanboy

Shannon said...

What’s really disgusting?

(2005) There are somewhere around 500,000 children in foster care (USA) at the cost of 10 billions dollars.

http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/
factsheets/foster.cfm


1999, there were 130,000 children in foster available for adoption only 47,000 were successfully placed. (USA)

www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/
310809_caring_for_children_2.pdf


There are 80,000 cases of reported child sexual abuse in the United States each year. That’s 219 cases, everyday, 365 days a year.

(Don’t remember where I found this).


Globally, the age of child prostitutes is dropping, in part due to the misconception that young children will not carry or transmit HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

A broader study of child prostitutes in South Asia found that the majority of the sexual exploitation victims were between 12 and 15 years of age, although some were much younger.

High prices paid for girls’ virginity – across the region and particularly in the GMS – are drawing more and more children into trafficking situations. The sale of a girl who is a virgin into prostitution can brings an enormous sum of money to poor families in the GMS countries, ranging from US$ 100 to US$ 150. This amount can be even higher if the girl is considered very attractive. Once a girl has lost her virginity, her earning power decreases.

ilo.org/public/english/region/.../
paper/background/trafficking.pdf


Here is a book on the history of infanticide: Hardness of Heart/Hardness of Life.


This is the best…

On the market since March 1998, it's one of the most commercially successful drugs ever launched, with millions of prescriptions filled at a cost of more than $ 1 billion during the first year alone. It even has the blessing of the Vatican, on the ground that it can strengthen families.

http://www.yourhealthconnection.com
/topic/viagra

Yaoi Huntress Earth said...

I see a lot of sad truth to this one.

Matthew said...

The only sick thing about this article is that it's too true.

Fwee said...

Anonymous must be a Genuine True Christian.

You can always tell a Genuine True Christian from normal people by their adverse reaction to truth.

rising_L said...

If only they made a television program about this subject and brought it to the masses! It would at least open peoples eyes, and I'll be the first to admit that I never REALLY thought about this subject.

In saying that this should be on television, I'm guessing the first anon poster would also be the first to try and ban the program?!?

Anonymous said...

this blogger uses nothing to back this up.... a complete random idealologoy which cannot be trusted.

Dano said...

What's so hard to understand about the fact that the bible says that God loves little children, and the suffering, starving, children all over this planet are testament to the fact that this particular doctrine is a lie?

We see these children as suffering, and dying. God just sees them as an integral part of his great recycling plan for life here on earth. Some of the children that he plants in the wombs of human females, he decides to nurture and some, he plows under. It's just a coincidence that the ones that he decides to nurture are the same ones who have parents who have a history of successfully growing food and acquiring wealth.
Dan (Rationalist)

Amethyst said...

Seems obvious to me it was posted because he wanted to get the word out that there are people who do believe in that crap.

It is sad that many people believe it is okay to abuse children and to neglect them because they don't meet their standards.

There are few crimes worse than child abuse, IMHO. I wish we lived in a world where it was non-existant, but unfortunately, that'll probably never happen unless we take a serious look at the matter and talk about it.

Sweeping a problem under the rug just because it isn't pretty to look at will never solve it. Raising awareness is the key.

Interested Atheist said...

Hello there, anonymous. This isn't Pastor David, is it?

J. C. Samuelson said...

If this is a serious essay, I'd like to see the source the author uses. Even though I disagree with the Christian faith in several areas, most of the faithful I've come across in my life have been otherwise reasonable, caring people whose opposition to abortion stems not only from their faith, but heartfelt sympathy for children in general.

It appears the author is misrepresenting the evangelical position in order to make it appear more unreasonable than it is. If so, this is simply a straw man argument that doesn't really help any discussion of the relevant issue (i.e., abortion).

So, again I would ask, what are her sources?

.:webmaster:. said...

I may be misreading the article, but I don't think the author is centering on abortion. What I think this is about is the double-standards in Evangelical Christianity thinking regarding their supposedly almighty, all-loving, all-powerful god and his indescribable love for all the little children of the world -- a love that flows until these children grow up, or unless they are born into the wrong religion, or if they live in the wrong place, etc.

The article is heavy on the sarcasm, and a bit caustic, but I think the point is well made.

Since religion is primarily emotional, with very little thinking involved, the occasional strong article has its place. By shaking the emotions, it tends to eventually make people think. But, that's just my opinion. I know others disagree.

J. C. Samuelson said...

True, the article isn't centered on abortion. I kind of zeroed in on that aspect based on the link early in the article to reason.com.

Anonymous said...

This post is sick. There is no need for it. If someone wants to talk about this take Shannon's example. Her post is much more convincing than that posted by Valarie. "The truth hurts" is just as asinine as the post. This place could be a pretty good site if it werent for the arrogance that is evidenced. Because of that, this site is just a place where people can rant and get their proverbial "Amens" so they can feel better about themselves and get their egos strocked. This site sucks. There is no encouragement for anything here.

.:webmaster:. said...

Thanks for the strocking.

boomSLANG said...

"This place could be a pretty good site if it weren't for the arrogance that is evidenced."


125 BILLION gallaxies---and according to a legendary book, it ALL centers around a speck of a planet called "Earth" and it's inhabitants..."Humankind". And if that's not absurd enough?... it ALL centers around ONLY those humans who inhabit the "West".

And you want to talk about "arrogant"? Please, there is NO concept or philosophy so arrogant. Scram.

Anonymous said...

I beleive that it is in poor taste to use the pictures of mutilated children to prove a point through sarcasm. These were real people, and this post erodes the dignity of human life. While the author was able to profit from their pictures in proving his/her point that the christian god doesn't exist, the true gravity of the matter is that their deaths are testament to the fact that we don't care-- we live in comfort and spend our days debating the finer points of theology while thousands starve weekly. These images should not be exploited to prove the non-existance of god, but to remind us that we have a resposibility to the suffering.

Jim Lee said...

Christianity own dark past was a slaughter house. In utter confusion usually in conflict with other religions and secularism, they slaughtered them all, good and supposed bad alike, under the pretext that their supposed God "knows his own."
All religions and faith movements are a bloody curse upon mankind and need to be abolished.

.:webmaster:. said...

Mr. Anonymous,

You seem to be pretty animate on this. Since you believe you have the higher moral ground, I wonder why you choose to hide behind "anonymous."

Not that you have to use your real name, but if you use something a little more unique than "anonymous" perhaps some intelligent conversation could ensue, instead of just an emotional, angry game of pin-pong.

Have a nice day.

.:webmaster:. said...

Make that a ping...

boomSLANG said...

"These images should not be exploited to prove the non-existance of god, but to remind us that we have a resposibility to the suffering."


Right, and it seems to me that first in line of *taking* that responsibility would be to NOT waste precious time engaging in primitive rituals---rituals that *put* all the responsibilty in the hands of a non-existant deity....especially one who, in concept, clearly discriminates.

God 'less.

Gomorralizer said...

"I believe that it is in poor taste to use the pictures of mutilated children to prove a point through sarcasm."

Hi-- sorry for the 'anonymous' posting. I'd be happy to engage in discussion so I just signed up for a user name. The post quoted above was my first quote, the other anonymous quotes earlier were NOT from me - i couldn't figure out how to post under a proper user name without creating a blog (and I still don't know). Just so people know where I'm coming from, I am not a christian.

I posted a similar message explaining this a few minutes ago but i don't think it posted, so if it appears later, and this is redundant, I apologize again.

xrayman said...

The reason I have been hanging around this site is to totally rid myself of all belief in religion. As brutal as those photos were, they just put another staw in the camel's back of religion. If there were a loving God, how could this happen?

.:webmaster:. said...

"i couldn't figure out how to post under a proper user name without creating a blog (and I still don't know)."

Just click the "other" button.

mattfulfs2 said...

xrayman I feel sorry that you are questioning your faith. This does not pertain to the topic or the post but I don't care. I pray for xrayman where ever he/she is and that he/she finds her way again. Amen

boomSLANG said...

I feel sorry that Mattfulfs2 never got the courage to question his "faith", and subsequently, is still stuck in the X-ian "anti-thought" mind cult. I pray that he can peel his lips off Jesus' non-existant ass long enough to think for himself one day. Amen.

Anonymous said...

A CHILD OF GOD, DESTINED STRAIGHT FOR HEAVEN IS:

People born into the christian religion.
People that go to church for every service.
Wears pretty clothes and make-up to church.
Tithes on a regular basis.
Prays to God regularly.
Is baptized.
Think they have a personal relationship with a God.
Tells everyone how much they love the Lord and Jesus.
Makes sure that everyone in public sees them praying.
Tells everyone that their beliefs and church, are the only true belief.
They are the (REAL) Christians.
Brags on how their preacher is truly a man of God.
Always has plenty of food and a fancy house to live in.
Cannot be convinced by common sense and any amount reasoning, that their religion and preacher, is a total fraud.
Never lie, cheat, steal, embezzele, or commit adultry.
Are not perfect, just saved.
Condemns and casts judgement on everyone, that do not believe and live, as they do.
Carries a Bible around for everyone to see.
Has religious stickers on their car.
Can take up serpents and drink any poison, and no harm will come to them.
Will do greater things than Jesus did.
Comes on this website and pretends that they are praying for us poor sinners.
Republicans.



A NON-CHILD OF GOD, DESTINED STRAIGHT FOR HELL IS:

Poor People.
Deaf and blind people.
Sick people.
Starving people.
Anyone who does not believe in fairytales and myths.
Atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, Pagans, Wiccans, etc.
People that do not go to church.
People that do not tithe.
People that do not pray.
People that do not claim to be a christian.
Non-baptized people.
Non-religious people.
People that have left religion.
People that post regularly on this website.
People with some intelligence.
People that do not fear imaginary beings.
Animals, birds, insects, worms, fish, etc, yet Noah saved them all.
Democrats.

Nice equal oportuinity god we have here, eh? Ben (Rationalist)

Truth0r said...

LOL, Boomslang. I see you already posted for me. :) I'm agnostic and will continue to search for the truth until I die.

Webmaster, you crack me up. I'm glad you are able to find time to still post on so many of these articles. This is an important website for our society to talk about difference of opinion and hopefully come to a greater understanding of the world we live in.

As we all know, Christians as well as any other religion generally try to win "the lost" for many different reasons.

Here are some:

1.) The Bible mandates it.
2.) They want to feel they're a good follower of the faith.
3.) Having others follow your advice can make that person feel better about themselves. (insecurity)
4.) They genuinely feel they've found THE TRUTH and want to help others even if their point of view requires faith and is unproveable.
5.) Find fault in others, which can be as simple as one who is questioning their beliefs - heaven forbid! (this is a healthy act - prevents permanent brainwashing) Often this makes them feel superior to those outside of "the body."

We all, including the arrogant, sometimes do things out of insecurity. If we can get rid of insecurity and realize we're all just human and make mistakes from time to time, then I think greater love, acceptance, and understanding would come.

Luckily, it only took me one article of debating on this site to figure out I needed to stop preaching to people. I've always hated sales pitches and can easily see through them. It's so freeing to have enough inner confidence in oneself that you don't need people to accept your advice so you feel better about yourself. I don't have to have an opinion on everything now and try to rarely share it unless asked.

I'll always stand up for truth though. As humans we have certain rights that should never be taken away. Freedom of speech being one of them. Of all places, some laws here in the U.S. worry me a bit about the future.

Side note - as a race, I really wish we could get rid of all violence. It's so simple and yet so difficult...frustrating to no end.

xrayman said...

Matfuls2 I never had any faith in the first place. Just a very tiny belief in a God which wasn't the Bible God. For you to pray for me is wasting your energy.

Valerie T said...

The article wasn't meant to center on either the abortion issue or the existence of a benign interventionist God although it does call into question both. It was born of aching and outrage at the kinds of pain that are perpetuated in the world by Evangelical priorities.

Research in psychology shows that when people think the world is fair they are less motivated to make it so. When they can blithely trust that God cares for little children, they have less need to do so themselves. When they can be distracted onto issues like protecting fertilized eggs, they don't have to weigh the moral implications of budget and war. In all of these cases, the suffering of victims gets diminished.

It isn't my intent to trivialize the pain of the children in the pictures. Quite the opposite. What I want is to bring some value to their suffering — which should scream in the heart of anyone who sees the pictures. I think, in part, that we are willing to tolerate or even cause such awfulness because we don't have to look at it.

I know that the article is over-the-top. But so is the reality. And sometimes I just lose it.

xrayman said...

The following is something I coppied and pasted from the forums.
I think it says it all. I give full credit to someone who goes by Talph.


"I've had an epiphany of sorts. It dawned on me that God does not allow suffering in the world. God does not allow children to die. God does not allow evil into the world or any bad thing to happen. Case closed.

Why? An imaginary being is not capable of doing or allowing anything.

It is people who allow suffering. It is people who allow children to die. It is people who allow evil into the world."

Taph

Bentley said...

You're exactly right! It's People that allow all evil to happen in this world.

But we would much rather blame an imaginary being, instead of looking at ourselves for what we are.

Gomorralizer said...

"Research in psychology shows that when people think the world is fair they are less motivated to make it so. When they can blithely trust that God cares for little children, they have less need to do so themselves."

I like your follow-up valerie-- and i agree that christianity is a nice set of rose colored glasses-- except that they trade real anxieties about the world for make-believe anxieties about hell.

It is ironic, though that it's so hard to find a third-world charitable organization that isn't christian. Too bad they tend to buy converts with food.

Before we knew much about charities, my wife and i began sponsoring children through world vision, which unfortunately is a x-ian organisation, and we know now that those child sponsorship programs are just marketing schemes. Years ago they were well rated, and kept their religious agenda to a minimum. In recent years, though, they seem to be putting a real boost on the religious angle, and it's very frustrating to see our money be used to support it. We don't want to withdraw our support, though, because we hate to cut those kids loose, but in the future we'll be looking for another charity-- can anyone suggest a good, reputable, secular charity-- where donations are put to good use (not to buying range rovers for employess to drive around in). I found out recently that the CEO of world vision gets 366,000 USD /year.

Valerie said...

I used to support a kid through World Vision, too. But it really is enticement to Evangelicalism. If you think about Evangelical theology, it sort of has to be. They really truly believe (without ever running the numbers) that those kids are otherwise doomed to hell.

There are actually some great, effective international charities out there. PATH (Program for Appropriate Technologies in Health www.path.org) does great work on maternal and child health in developing countries. For example, they side-step the issue of family size and teach women "birth spacing" based on the fact that babies are healthier when they are farther apart. But if you teach women to "space" their children, you are giving them control over their fertility and tuning them in to child development, and they have fewer kids. Oxfam does great work on food relief and on the "teach a man to fish" part, too. CARE is the only secular place I know of that does the adopt-a-child thing, and I don't know what their finances are like. The Hiefer Project lets you buy a cow, goat or chicken for a poor family - providing a source of food or income.

Some of my favorite programs, though, are micro-credit agencies that provide tiny loans to -mostly women- to start small businesses. (Normally credit isn't available to poor people except at loan-shark rates. ) The first was the Grameen Bank in Pakistan, and the model has been replicated by a number of NGOs, both American and not. ProMujer (www.promujer.org) is once such group that seems well run. The loan can buy a sewing machine, a flock of chickens, an oven, a cell phone (which other villagers uses on a pay-per-call basis). The loan recipients come together in small support groups in which they learn business & savings skills. Interestingly, they have a very high rate of paying back their loans. The reason most of the loans are focused on women is that a higher percentage of the returns go back into the family that way.

boomSLANG said...

"But we would much rather blame an imaginary being, instead of looking at oursleves for what we are."

But that's just it---the one's who believe in such an imaginary being, DON'T hold said being accountable for the adversity in this world.....rather, they essentially "condone" it by adhering to the notion that it's all part of their "God's plan", or worse yet, that it's God's side-kick "Satan" who's responsible. But of course, they never stop to think why Mr. Omnipotent allows Satan to exist in the first place....which any thinking person can plainly see, if Satan didn't exist, there would be zero need for God. Wherever there's circular reasoning, there's a loophole.

It's really baffling that people in this day and age believe in such crap.....oh, wait a minute!...I know!...it's because they get to "live forever" in exchange for their blind "faith" LMAO!....::eye roll::...

snookums said...

Well.....I think the article the woman wrote and illustrated contained a lot of truth.....and I guess for some people that is unpalitable and its easier to take higher moral ground and dismiss it without further thought...........going on from that small offshoot - I'm an Australian and lately I'm noticing that the culture does make a difference even though we (US & AUST) are very similar, I express myself differently. I think my australianess allows me to be more direct and less guarded .............I dunna know? The US seems very censored lately from the 'realities' of life...including what WAR really looks like. I'm all for the idea of pictures exposing the truth or the reality of injustice and inequality.

I very much like the concept, the author Valerie used. The notion of NON Human is very useful in discussing all manner of sociological themes. ie.......in the Australian history of building a nation...the pioneers declared the country of australia as being 'terra nullius" basically meaning 'empty'....not inhabited and therefore is more than OK to claim it as British territory etc etc......The point is that the classification of NON human was given to the aboriginals (blacks) who had lived on the land for thousands and thousands of years....its ok they didn't count.

The other example of that is from the old U.S of A....when the 'forefather's'....wrote that 'all men are equal'...when they wrote that, they didn't mean it the same way we do........they also used it in the same way as the Australian pioneers did some 200 odd years ago....that the native people/blacks were classified as NON human and therefore didn't exist or count in society.

and we still do it or allow our political representatives to get away with doing it....

Anyway....back to Valerie's article.....I think the idea that some children are invisible to the evangelicals and some children are 'acceptable' is valid and reflects my own thoughts and idea's on how a lot ofchristians tend to view the world. We have often discussed this online, how christianity makes people into children/babies..not strong enough to cope with the harsh realities of the world....I think those 'harsh realities' are added to when people don't see how it really is for other's....the blood, damage and pain. That is the equaliser...we as humans all feel those things and get hurt the same way.

Her final point about death..well isn't this all about how it ends. Christian have a warped sense of the 'reality' of death...its ok cos you go to heaven bullcrap but some go to hell and some to heaven.

Mate...if that isn't a final insult to human dignity and equality I don't know what is. Oh yes I do....Charity! Why in the hell do people believe that CHARITY works.....the middleclasses who can afford to give a little something each week to the stupid chruch that sends out its missionaries to sell fookin' bibles...............has that worked to solve anything in the last...err..200 odd years NO! I believe 'charity' itself adds to the problem of inequalities globally. People have a right to proper and equal status gained through deep changes in foreign policy not as 'charity cases'.

The bigger picture is that western countries like the US & Aust benefit and exploit countries that have 'value' to us and ignore countries that are experiencing war or injustices if they don't have any intrinsic value especially as a new market place for western type goods or cheap labour.

I like the pictorial essay!..its easy to read and hits you straight away. Made me think about it again.

snookums said...

to add a shorter and more poignant comment I leave this quote from an annonymous source....

"When the existence of God is accepted, “prior to any rational consideration of the status of evil in the world,” then the traditional problem of evil “…reduces to a noncrucial perplexity of minor importance.”’

Valerie said...

"a noncrucial perplexity of minor importance"

LOL. That is so how my brother and sister experience it. It was my killer flaw that I could never see it that way - I could never get past the idea that the existence of those tortured kids was not only wrong, but almost unbearably so.

I have had a gorgeous life in recent years. But I never can forget that there is pain all around me. I live in Rivendell, which co-exists with unspeakable horrors.

I don't like experiencing other people's pain, but isn't the alternative be worse?

For heaven to coexist with hell implies that empathy is absent in heaven. Heaven is a lovely bejewelled party, with half the human race undergoing torture outside the gate,and the perfect joy of the revellers is unmarred by this noncrucial perplexity. How better could one describe an eternal gathering of psychopaths. To me it sounds rather like--hell.

Russ said...

Because they are so heartwrenching, the pictures have the desired effect of arousing sympathy and outrage. Note that this is precisely what is avoided by the corporate American media when they conspicuously avoid showing injured servicemen and otherwise sterilize the coverage of the Iraq occupation.

The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide between 25000 and 50000 children die each day from direct effect of poverty. Four million people die a year from malaria alone. Here, in the US, we are immune to it all. We concern ourselves with important stuff like keeping gay people from making legal commitments of love to each other, and supporting the slaughter of innocent Iraqi people so President Bush's defense contractor and oil company buddies can fleece the US Treasury.

Today, being an American citizen is itself almost an act of hypocrisy. The Christian whacks backing this regime don't care about the children in those photos, their objective is political control of the military and treasury of the US, since with those they can begin to control the world.

Russ said...

Because they are so heartwrenching, the pictures have the desired effect of arousing sympathy and outrage. Note that this is precisely what is avoided by the corporate American media when they conspicuously avoid showing injured servicemen and otherwise sterilize the coverage of the Iraq occupation.

The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide between 25000 and 50000 children die each day from direct effect of poverty. Four million people die a year from malaria alone. Here, in the US, we are immune to it all. We concern ourselve with important stuff like keeping gay people from making legal commitments of love to each other, and supporting the slaughter of innocent Iraqi people so President Bush's defense contractor and oil company buddies can fleece the US Treasury.

Today, being an American citizen is itself almost an act of hypocrisy. The Christian whacks backing this regime don't care about the children in those photos, their objective is political control of the military and treasury of the US, since with those they can begin to control the world.

steve said...

Valerie T:

Awesome, sadly.

I read your followup comments and responses to others. You sound like a remarkable person. Thanks for your contribution to this forum, which I follow regularly.

Steve

Rixley said...

"The world population is the total number of humans alive on the planet Earth at a given time. According to estimates published by the United States Census Bureau[1], the Earth's population hit 6.5 billion on Saturday February 25, 2006."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population

50,000 children die, but the population of the planet continues to climb, hmmmmm, deep thoughts. Perhaps, we should focus on how many more people are being born, than how many people are dying, and perhaps, give a nice round figure to determine what the true balance should be on planet earth. Life in the united states, is based on how well versed a person is in the system they live within, and the connections they have for key positions in that system.

Regarding sterilization of pictures in the media, and the military, when was the last time someone saw a body ripped in half from a car accident being splayed on the front page of a major media outlet? Gee, wonder why those pics are displayed, must be some undercover operation to repress the populations knowledge of daily traffic accidents.

Regarding politics, please, indulge me on which president is beyond reproach in regard to trying to milk the system for their benefit or their personal ideaology. Clinton a few years ago, was snatching nick-naks and furniture from the oval office on the way out the door, give me a break.

Making a political argument, in isolation as if there is some anomaly is occurring doesn't show a "true" historical picture, albeit, I am sure it helps with venting in current affairs. Personally, standing back and looking at the historical perspective, shows many political leaders in it for the money, some political leaders, i.e., congressman, etc., can do a few terms and "retire", on the taxpayer dime, what kind of bilking the gov't and taxpayer isn't being leveraged by political leaders of all suits.

Sure, I suppose there could be a few politicians who are in it for the right reasons, but, the system doesn't allow them the opportunity to grow enough to make a difference. Politics is power, and power is control, and control is money, its not that deep, but at the root of it all, is "politics", and the citizens who place people in those positions.

Ben said...

All excellant comments!

The USA has spent over 400 billion on the Iraq war, 2/3rds. on accomodations and ammo, 1/3 on the conflict itself.

How much did we spend on Afghanistan? How about the first Gulf War, Desert Storm? Grenada Conflict? How many Americans and Allied service men have died in the last 20 years, for our storm trooping presidents?

What have we accomplished?

No mention of helping little children anywhere. Ah to hell with them, it's better that we fight with guns and bombs than help our fellow man in need.

America built on Godly principles, where ever we go, we spread God's Holy Love.

God Bless George Bush, God's Holy Warrior! Yes indeed!

America backed by God! God wants us to envade other countries and display our Holy Might, with a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other, God will bless us wherever we may go.

Please, I'm being totally sarcastic as I possibly can...

NoNameYet said...

Ben,

Just out of curiosity, do you consider the president who sent troops into Mogadishu and Bosnia (who he said would be “home before Xmas”) to be a “storm trooping president”?

I only ask because I love this site (as an atheist) but often find myself on the other side of the political fence as most here. Your answer could help define my own philosophy.

As for the article, I didn’t approve of it at first reading but came to mostly agree with the webmaster’s that it defines x-tians views on those worthy of care and those who don’t.

Anonymous said...

I consider all presidents to be stormtroopers, I do not think any president in the last 50 years to have the interest of the American people. Mogadishu? Where the hell is that? lol, Ben

J. C. Samuelson said...

My initial reaction to this post was limited in scope, and I was skeptical of whether or not Christians necessarily view children in the way the author presented based on my experiences with people of faith (myself included, when I was a Christian). However, upon reflection I feel the need to revise this idea somewhat. This is a work in progress and I may not express everything I'm thinking at this point and is very generalized, so please take this with a grain of salt.

The view of others as either persons or non-persons (or potential persons) isn't necessarily restricted to people of faith. From ancient times children were seen as either an asset or a detriment, based on their health, sex, and their general potential. Sons were often viewed by patriarchical societies as future kings or heads of households, and daughters were often viewed as goods to be traded in exchange for treaties or an increase to the household coffers. In some societies, people were (and still are, in some places) viewed as valuable only if they were productive and could contribute something to society as a whole.

It's an ugly truth, but people use people. This seems to be the case regardless of the faith of the people involved. Of course, it could be argued that those of the secular persuasion are somehow more "human" in their worldview. However, I think there are a number of significant examples from history that could be used to illustrate that secularists use people as often as religionists.

In essence, it appears that societies that share a worldview tend to perceive those outside this culturally accepted norm as somehow defective or misguided, needing the helping hand of those in the mainstream of that worldview to get back on track and fully realize their potential. In this sense, the view of others as non-persons is more of a cultural or societal characteristic, rather than a purely religious one.

Snookums seems to have illustrated this nicely.

Enough on that for now...

Rixley touched on something there that none of us really feels comfortable with - population control. It is an abhorrent concept, but it would be interesting to see what kind of solutions we can, as a people, develop to address overpopulation should it ever become a reality. Hopefully, this will turn out to be a cyclical thing and we won't ever have to come up with "corrective" measures ourselves.

On this topic, I remember reading once that all wars in history have begun due to "population pressure." I don't remember what book it was, and I don't remember the context, but it would be interesting to find out if this is true. If so, then we may be headed for the mother of all wars!

With regard to the behavior of American Presidents and politicians past and present, this is more of an American cultural development than the result of any one political party or even one President. Bush is merely the most recent to promulgate the idea of American preeminence in the world, and arguably the most ardent promoter so far of American militarism.

There's a very good book called "The New American Militarism" by Andrew Bacevich that documents the rise of militarism in the U.S. since Woodrow Wilson. Bacevich is a conservative, but writes from a decidedly centrist point of view. It's very well-written, organized, and researched, and I couldn't identify a political agenda (if he has one). This is a rarity in books addressing current events these days. There are a number of factors involved, and I don't want to side-track this discussion any more than I have by introducing them. Long story short nearly every President, many politicians, uncounted soldiers, and even the American people have contributed to this trend.

Well, I have to run off and be a good employee now (break is over). Good discussion!

Tim Simmons said...

Excellent post. Americans are extremely sheltered from the goings on in the rest of the world. Since the war in Iraq began, over 2000 men have been killed and of those, how many of them have been photographed in their dead state of being and shown in the states?

None.


There are those who think and understand and then there are those who think they think and understand and then.... those who just don't think.


Sarcasm, irony, contrast, etc. are great ways to drive home a point and when a post offends a Christian, you know you've done your job!


Tim

Psalms 34:8 said...

There is pain in the world, but Christians are not blind to it... we do not shut out those who in pain, we know and see the pain. Jesus didn't shut out those in pain either. I lived with people just like those photos for 15 years in Africa, and they are God's children.

.:webmaster:. said...

I happen to know that the military members over there are forbidden from photographing any of the horror.

Of course some do anyway — I've got some of those pictures.

If a military member dares to make any of those images public, they risk court martial.

So much for freedom of speech and open truth.

Rixley said...

Military members sign an oath of enlistment, that binds them to federal laws, of which, they are prohibited from aiding and abetting the enemy, as they protect the U.S. against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Pictures, presented on the international scene present a clear and present danger, to service members as it support the morale of the enemy. Its at least, U.S., law, that supports the value of life and freedom, in that order, as, one can not use their freedom(s), to include the freedom of speech to endanger the life of others.

Media outlets are in business, because they have the ability to influence the market, pictures, are part of that influence, and many terrorist organizations are nothing less, than businesses.

The U.S. is pretty liberal regarding what information can be released by the media, i.e., the number of U.S. casualties, the pictures of the dead before they were killed, books written by POWs, etc., etc.

The gain, by using dead body pictures, has to outweigh the danger the pictures being displayed present. What is the aggregate "gain", for using dead body pictures, as opposed to pictures of dead service members while they were alive. Perhaps, I am not seeing the picture clearly enough.

As a side-note; a U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant, in Okinawa, is serving three and a half years, in prison/Marine Corps brig, for cheating on an academic test. Military members, fall under both federal law, and civilian law, and there is no double jeapordy protection. A military member can be tried twice for the same crime. Hence, I agree with the WM, that military members are held to extremely strict standards, and typically, many enter the service before finding out the true broad nature of the restrictions.

The truth, is only known, by those currently serving and in the environment. Unfortunately, everyone else gets what the media presents, according to restrictions, and their marketing tactics of the information.

Shannon said...

Images/video of military personnel are considered documentation or records and are subject to organized handling, suspense’s, and life cycle management equal to any other written records the military generates.

Dano said...

Psalms 34:8 wrote:
"There is pain in the world, but Christians are not blind to it. We do not shut out those who are in pain, we know and see the pain. Jesus didn't shut out those in pain either. I lived with people just like those photos for 15 years in Africa, and they are God's children."

Psalms 34:8
I feel no animosity for you at all. In fact in a weird sort of way I respect your capacity for empathy, but I would like for you to answer this question. In the face of all of the pain and suffering in the world, and especially of the children, and other innocent creatures, how can you believe there is an intelligent, omniscient, omnipotent, being up there in the sky that cares about such things?

Is it that, those of us who have come to the conclusion that the bible doesn't make any sense, and was born of simplistic bronze age intelligence, are the only ones who can see that "God is out to lunch"?... Or do you have some special wisdom that we don't possess?
Dan (Rationalist)

.:webmaster:. said...

I agree almost entirely with Rixley's comments. However, I was surprised to learn the narrow restrictions presently placed upon images captured in the warzone.

I watched plenty of television as a kid during Vietnam and I, along with the rest of the American public, received quite an education in what was going on over there. The images being broadcast from that war were profoundly graphic. I remember seeing American caskets, wounded Americans, and of course wounded, burning, and dead Vietnamese.

Now, I won't debate whether any of that was a good idea or not — some reporting WAS over the top and unbalanced. But, that's the news as long as it's reported by people.

I guess my concern is that the showing of all kinds of images was liberally done during Vietnam and it seems that the practice has been abandoned now. It seems to be nearly illegal. It makes me wonder if our freedoms are being eroded, that's all.

Is there anything to be militarily gained when horrible pictures hit the airwaves? Probably not. But just like the pictures in this article, it certainly engenders discussion. I think the free exchange of information is perhaps the greatest gift any of us can be given, even if the information isn't always pretty. I'd hate to see that lost for political reasons, even if I agree with the politics.

Rixley said...

Wholly agree, Vietnam was a special time, in history, where Johnson wanted U.S. citizens to support the war effort. At the time, dead bodies, whether dramatized or not were thought to invoke outrage and support for the troops, but, we all know how that ended up.

Entire military strategy plans were rewritten after that little escapade. Johnson, wanted to persuade Vietnam to democratize by using escalation operations, where the U.S. would hit, pull-out, politically debate, and re-engage if Vietnamese politicians didn't agree to the demands of the U.S. Hence, U.S. military struck targets, and before the diplomacy was complete, Vietnam had rebuilt its armament with supplies provided by communist block countries.

Escalation procedures still exist today, but commanders in the combat zone, typically with the decision support of the joint forces commander, make strikes to keep the enemy off balance and unable to respond. The president, does nothing but make clear, a set of objectives which are vetted through the joint chiefs of staff. Hence, why the combatant commanders are currently making decisions in combat, and are being held accountable for their actions, ala, Iraq prison pictures of inhumane treatment, etc.

Leaflets are dropped on the enemy, or in large masses of people, where influence operations are being conducted. The U.S. well knows the power of influence, whether it be the american public, or the enemy in a war zone.

Not wanting to get into detail, but lately it appears that the Gulf of Tonkin was a ruse to drum up support for the Vietnam war, at least that is what the NSA historian Robert Hanyok wrote, along with a few McNamara statements to support the historical records of the NSA. And, yes, many military operations, are legally required to tag and bag media for historical archive purposes, in the military much of its done by combat camera/audio visual troops.

Influence operations happen all around us, every day, its part of our culture, via business marketing techniques, advertising, and even military operations.

Its interesting to note, that presidents really can't make decisions without proper intelligence, and from many sources, to prevent agenda bias, hence the stove piping of intelligence information. If the information is centralized, a few people can control information resources, which totally place their influence directly on the top executives in U.S. gov't.

Other international political leaders, have seemed to learn the same, i.e., Doveryai, no proveryai, etc. translated from Russian, meaning, "trust but verify". Nuclear inspections occur between Russia and the U.S., we send our teams to Russia, and they in-turn send their teams to the U.S. to verify what they are being told by their intelligence agencies.

Do influence operations taint the international communities' and U.S. citizens' ability to properly discuss information presented to them, sure. However, many times the discussions are hypothetical reasoning, unless there is a component for validation of information presented many times.

American citizens sit right along-side many other countries, when influence operations take place, as we are provided the exact same information that the enemy is supposed to receive, in an effort to show public validation for the information, and thus, sell it as truth to the enemy. Does that boil some peoples' blood, that U.S. citizens are being given a skewed picture, and used as part of an action plan to manipulate the enemy, sure, I suppose there are some that are slightly bent on being used.

However, under the guise of being presented with information, and speaking to the information, as freedom of speech, I don't see any problem with the notion.

Some would want to skewer me for saying that I agree with some stove-piping of information, as that has been sold as the problem that has caused so much rife with political decision makers. I don't necessarily trust, one consolidated agency to paint the one picture, that a political leader uses to make global decisions, the trust factor goes from a checks and balance among many agencies, down to just "one" key directorate leader. At that point, it seems the power of global affairs, becomes held by the few and with little to no "verify" component.

I agree with freedom of speech in the most traditional way. However, during times of war, or international crisis, it would appear, that the masses are part of the influenced and strung along with the enemy. The enemy as well, uses the same tupe of influence operations, its noted that the first key targets in Iraq when the U.S. entered into combat, was the headquarters of the Iraqi regime, and communications resources, i.e., telephone, video, satellite, etc.

Do the freedoms of the U.S. citizens get impaired when being attacked by a foreign enemy, sure. Some would say, that citizens are probably getting it from both ends, one from the decided enemy by the majority, and then from their own gov't who is attempting to oust the enemy many times by placing stress on its citizens, i.e., gas prices increase to garner money, media is leaked to create a desired effect, etc.

Personally, I think this discussion without the pictures, has shown the intelligent capability of people to come together to make civil discussion over pictures. We could draw cartoons, and I wouldn't personally be offended, as I typically would want to delve into the meaning of the cartoons.

Discussion for me, goes to the mind of the person who "took" the picture, what they were experiencing, and what they want to convey with the pictures they took. We "each" take pictures, to influence our own lives, and we each "know" why we take those pictures. However, those who don't know our mind, have to hypothesize why we would take such pictures.

Our lives are influenced, by nature and physics, and then, by organic life, from the smallest microbe to the life that can create abstract models of nature and physics.

I have issues with influence as being a good thing and a bad thing, pictures are just a side topic for me. The only protection from being swayed from someones' influence operations, is to require evidence for verification purposes. Alas, it would appear that there are entire organizations/religions that plant the seed to not require such verification in order to find "truth", and thus, there are masses of people who are ready to accept information as "truth", without evidence.

Its been said before, but presidents hold religious titles, because its politically savvy. They appeal to the groups who believe that truth can be garnered via hypothetical reasonsing without evidence. Hence, these groups are easily influenced, as being blindly led supports and reinforces the truth of their own ideology.

What is not seen many times, is that those who initially support leaders without requiring verification, are whimsical and easily influenced to the other end of the spectrum by others without evidence. So, this large bubble of people in a distribution, can be influenced one way or the other. It comes down to who has the control over the masses, and what information is presented for discussion.

I would suggest that the Internet has been an instrument of enlightenment, but one has to realize that as many sites that pop up that pose rational and sound thoughts, there are just as many which are presented to continue to create chaos, and thus provide further need for a religion/organization to give answers, without evidence.

I'd go as far as to say, that it is beneficial for political and economic reasons to keep the masses ignorant, and easily influenced. Of course, the collatoral damage, is found in the lives and relationships of many people. Hopefully, in time, many people finally realize that survival in some peaceful manner, and without the frenzied jerking around of a persons' mental state, requires some validity in their life.

Those who hold an ideology that equates all hypotheticals to "truth", are prone to lead lives in chaos with continous dynamic changes, albeit humans tend to be adaptable. These people are the targets during election years.

The counter for the liberal ideology, is the conservative ideology, which is more fundamentalist. Fundamentalist ideology counters whimsical jerking around, unfortunately, a person loses the flexibility to experience life because they have accepted total isolation from many experiences as having some positive value, i.e., marrying the person they bond with, regardless of gender, etc.

Well, in the end, I still believe we have freedoms in our society, that allow us to find "truth", or not. Some start with the evidence they have based on experience, and then, there are others who don't place their experience above an ideology they have been taught.

Shannon, has a great point, much of the media cataloged by the military, becomes federal property, and in many cases, federal property is not subject to the inspection of the public, especially if it is classified. And, the classification authority seems to link death pics as somehow not productive to the military cause. I would be surprised, if many parents get the whole story of their childs' death, if they were engaged in some classified operation, and, most all operations are classified.

It does appear, that the gov't in many aspects, can control the flow of information for its purposes, i.e., the Patiot Act II, etc.

.:webmaster:. said...

"I'd go as far as to say, that it is beneficial for political and economic reasons to keep the masses ignorant, and easily influenced."

Call me an anarchist if you like, but how's that quote go? The one about choosing death rather than a life without liberty?

To me, and I don't pretend to be as conversant in this topic as you might be, but...when people are sent to fight and die in political wars, wars with mistaken, misrepresented, or at least doubtful support from the people, in a country supposedly run for and by the people, to me, it is frighteningly reminiscent of another era and ism, specifically, Imperialistic-era England.

Hello! We have no king here! We have no dictator!

Whether their decisions are the most educated or not, the people must be allowed to voice their opinions and make as informed as possible decisions -- again, government for and BY the people.

If our government is afraid of a few snapshots of real things happening to real people in real time...is a government that is afraid of what the people might think...is a government that believes the people are too stupid to make the right decisions...is a government making decisions it knows the people will probably not agree with...then it's become a government ruled by politicians with agendas vastly at odds with what the people want.

Now, from that you might think I'm a liberal. Actually I lean toward Conservative, but I commit to none. Oh, and I did serve 20 years in the military in a PR capacity. I understand how it all works. However, when people are dying I think that the "we must control the flow of information for the greater good of our great cause ... yada, yada," is way over used. In fact, it's abused.

So, do I think we should immediately pull out of all our various foreign involvements, even the present so called war? Not necessarily. But if our government is afraid of the people, fearful that they are too ignorant to make a the "right" decision, then educating the populace is the right answer, not keeping them selectively ignorant.

But that's just my opinion, and this is getting a bit off topic, so I'll leave off here.

Peace.

Rixley said...

Good points WM. Thanks for your service and protection you provided.

"I'd go as far as to say, that it is beneficial for political and economic reasons to keep the masses ignorant, and easily influenced."

The quote, was to show, that politicans and businessmen benefit from ignorance, and when they can't, they benefit by influencing the environment to their agenda. I personally, don't support ignorance operations, actually I detest those who manipulate people in any form. However, we are all under some form of influence, as we are part of the environment. Some just need to be more aware of the influence being imposed on them, or pictures and other information can be easily used to manipulate them.

I am more the pessimist when it comes to the screening of legitimate media for public release. A picture can be used to say a million words, I suppose it depends on how one wants to see the pic.

Cameron Diaz a short while back, sued a magazine for posting a topless pic without her consent. As an informed american, I really wanted to see the pic, but, it would have been an infringement of her civil liberties. The Patriot Act II, is also the gov'ts desire to remove civil liberties, in many ways, I don't necessarily support that bill either in its entirety, although I believe that it would definitely enlighten many gov't employees of the behaviors of the american and international community.

Politically speaking, I am socially a liberal, however, I do tend to lean towards conservative views regarding economic and legal justice. Alas, there are gaping holes in the structure of legal and economic policy both domestically and in international policy though. Hence, I don't really have much faith in voting for the candidates that have come up during the years of my life.

A candidate who is socially liberal, isn't going to have the power to change legal or economic structures in a four year term. It almost makes me wonder why I even vote. Perhaps, just to keep a balance, to prevent any one party from wigging out and creating a theocracy or on the other extreme, a totally socialistic state.

Regarding the topic of this thread, pictures of public scenes, with people in them, are part of public purview. I suppose in a private war, that means pics are private property. I have been told more than once, military service members are nothing short of gov't assets, and labelled Government Issue (G.I.). In many ways, a person gives up much of their life, to include civil liberties; there is little that isn't controlled, to include; who, when, where, why, and how a military member is to have sexual relations.

Military members are paid for being married, and receive housing rate pay, much greater than non-married people. Yes, there are some serious issues that need some serious mending. However, that as you say, is not of this thread. I will just say, that I agree with you, in regard to maximizing visibility of the actions taken by politicians, but with the care required to protect the lives of those still in harms way.

http://icasualties.org/oif/

Sometimes, numbers are enough to tell the story. Again, thanks for placing your life on the line, to keep the freedom we now share.

Peace.

mattfulfs2 said...

For all those that think that I am crazy for believing what I do and Why I do it. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44 NIV, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." Romans 12:14 NIV. Lord I continue to pray for the lost people who are here at this site and other sites like this, please help them to find their way. In your name I ask Amen.

.:webmaster:. said...

Keep praying Mutts. It'll keep you from seriously affecting us and will have absolutely no impact on anything else.

Oh, and an abracadabra back at 'cha.

Dave8 said...

Romans 14:23 - "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

Well, you're either a fundie or a damned christian. Seems as though the bible made sure the more liberal christians will make the hell tour along with everyone else.

So, Mutts, I suppose that makes you a believer in the most fundamentalist way, to include believing the bible is the inerrant word of a god.

Zephaniah 3:8 - "Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy."

Matt, let us know when your god jealous arrives to torch innocent animals, and all of humanity. You god is jealous, angry, and just waiting for the day, to unleash his hatred on humanity, great god you have there, studly.

Dano said...

mattfulfs2 wrote:
"For all those that think that I am crazy for believing what I do and Why I do it. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44 NIV, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." Romans 12:14 NIV. Lord I continue to pray for the lost people who are here at this site and other sites like this, please help them to find their way. In your name I ask Amen."
posted: 3/26/2006 12:10 AM EST  

mattfulfs2, IF you go over to one of the several thousand Christian websites, you will feel neither persecuted, nor that people think you are crazy, and if you post with your real name when you pray "online" Jesus and all of your friends and acquaintances will know who you are and you will get the recognition you so desperately seek for giving your mind over to the cult.

How does that bible verse go? "When you pray, go online and pray anonymously for those who make a public display of praying already have their reward"

mattfulfs2, There are so many people who come to this site, and for some strange reason think they are being unique by telling us that they are "A true Christian", and start telling us that we are persecuting them, but by quoting a few select verses from the Bible, assure us that they will stay strong in the lord, and will pray for us, that they start to look like they were stamped out by a cookie cutter.

mattfulfs2, You don't threaten anyone here. Most of the regular posters here see you as a caricature, a cliche of what they might have been if they hadn't grown up and quit believing in imaginary things.
Dan (Rationalist)

mattfulfs2 said...

I do not do this for recognition or bragging rights. I do it to try to help people to find The Way, The Truth ,and The Light. What is the point of trying to spread the word of god to those that already believe. And on a sidepoint for all those who think that I and other Christians look down upon you, Although some do, we don't or shouldn't at least Because we all fall short in the eyes of the lord no matter what label we have, wether it be Atheist or Christian. And sin isn't ranked from bad to really bad all sin is equal.

Shannon said...

Muttfulfs2

Even though he made you in his image and even though he loves you, no matter how faithful you are or how tight the walk, you walk for your god; you fall short in his eyes. Even though you love him, the love you have for your god-even though it’s everything you have to give-falls short. And your god wants you to know you fall short.

That’s soooo beautiful. So, does all this carry up to heaven or does it become physical and you’ll actually have to kiss the ass of your god?

Bring Chapstick because if your love isn’t good enough then your pucker probably isn’t either.

Your god damned humans in the same moment when he 'created' us with the ability to defy him.

He demands an all-consuming love from humans, which is never good enough.

He commands absolute worship, is jealous yet is powerless to prevent certain humans from going to hell.


Quite simply, your god sucks and you’re quite welcomed to him.

Psalms 34:8 said...

Dano said...
I feel no animosity for you at all. In fact in a weird sort of way I respect your capacity for empathy, but I would like for you to answer this question. In the face of all of the pain and suffering in the world, and especially of the children, and other innocent creatures, how can you believe there is an intelligent, omniscient, omnipotent, being up there in the sky that cares about such things?

Is it that, those of us who have come to the conclusion that the bible doesn't make any sense, and was born of simplistic bronze age intelligence, are the only ones who can see that "God is out to lunch"?... Or do you have some special wisdom that we don't possess?
Dan (Rationalist)

No, I do not have any special revelation. I just don’t put myself in the judgment seat of God. Pain and justic are two of the hardest problem to take to a loving and just God. But I have chosen to believe that God is there and cares, than choose to believe that no one is there and no one cares. The result in my life is hope thus I can minister to people in pain. Without the hope of God there is no point! We are just a drop in the bucket and nothing will make a difference in the world. I have chosen to believe that there is a God, and that he loves and cares for me and those around me. Because of that belief it gives reason and hope in what I do. There is significance in helping those around me… there is hope for the life to come.
I can’t prove there is a God to you… if you can’t just look out your window and see that there must be a God then I can’t prove it to you. I have chosen God, which gives me hope to be able to minister and help those in pain around me.

.:webmaster:. said...

"I have chosen to believe..."

Thank you for your honesty. That is perhaps the truest answer a Christian can give for why he or she believes.

Blow Job 38:9 said...

For it profit a man nothing,that he should delight himself with God.

God is not willing that anyone should perish, but all do.

Lucy Fur said...

mattfulfs2: "What is the point of trying to spread the word of god to those that already believe."

What is the point of trying to spread a venereal disease, to those who already have the disease.

What is the gain, one receives in spreading the disease to those not infected, grander reward in heaven? Are there frequent flyer miles available, in this salvation package?

Dano said...

Psalms 34:8 wrote:
"I can’t prove there is a God to you… if you can’t just look out your window and see that there must be a God then I can’t prove it to you. I have chosen God, which gives me hope to be able to minister and help those in pain around me"

Dan, to Psalms 34:8:
You have chosen God, and your God doesn't know there are people suffering, or it knows, and refuses to do anything about it. Your God is either impotent or immoral!

If I had the power to stop all of the suffering in the world, I would, but most of the time I just feel lucky to be able to get through the day.

I have faith in a creator also, but will be the first to admit that I don't understand much of why it created this world and the universe the way it did. I just have to assume that it knows what it is doing, and I will continue to live each day as well as I know how.

The one thing I do know how to do is recognize mythology and mystical beliefs and not clutter up the computer between my ears with junk. That said, I don't consider myself any wiser than you. The ONLY major difference between us is: I adhere to one fewer organized religion than you. I believe that Me and you and "Mother Theresa," and every other creature that ever lived will end up in the same place after we die. No one has ever come back to tell us what that is, yet!

Thank "Creator" that our forefathers fought and died to secure for us a more or less secular country, and no one will kill us because of our religious beliefs, like they do in some Islamic countries that are still living in their own "Dark ages"
Dan (Homo Sapiens Rationalist)

Arimanius_7 said...

It's been brought up: 'If God is so good, why does He allow suffering?'

What would the world be like if it was perfect? It would be a place of automata, everything, including ourselves, would all be the same. If you think about it - seriously, think about it - nothing would really have any value, would it? Be it person, object, idea, theory, emotion, it'd no better than the next, because there isn't a lower standard than perfect to compare it to.

Point is, because God is Love, and values the essence of love, he gave us the ability to show it instead of not allowing us to become the antithesis. Thus, when we don't show love, the death and poverty of human beings is on the other side of the equals sign.

It isn't that God doesn't see it or he likes it, it is the result of (like, what was also brought up, but in a different sense) human nature.

AKA: Free Will.

mattfulfs2 said...

To further my point on spreading my point before. I do not try to bring people to God because I will stack up more points. I do it because I am a servant of God just as Jesus Christ was. To the comment after this; If a person is not perfect then how can he/she do perfect deeds, It is impossible there for we trust in Christ to lead us Who as I said DIED for us.

Dave8 said...

Arimanius_7: "What would the world be like if it was perfect? It would be a place of automata, everything, including ourselves, would all be the same. If you think about it - seriously, think about it - nothing would really have any value, would it?"

Well, there goes the need for a perfect heaven, or god.

Arimanius_7: "Be it person, object, idea, theory, emotion, it'd no better than the next, because there isn't a lower standard than perfect to compare it to."

But, there is also no perfect to compare to, thus, there is no lower or upper limit for standards, therefore, everything becomes subjective to the person, in a relativistic state.

Arimanius_7: "It isn't that God doesn't see it or he likes it, it is the result of (like, what was also brought up, but in a different sense) human nature."

So, human nature is subjective by nature, therefore, god must have created the subjective. However, by doing so, your god has placed humanity in a perpetual environment to never know, "totally" objective truth in a perfect sense, either by reading the bible, praying, or listening to clergy, as all of those were influenced by non-perfect people in a subjective manner.

Arimanius_7: "AKA: Free Will."

Free will, based on human nature, was received by pushing subjectivism into this reality, therefore, your god, has placed a curse on humanity, because there is no "standard" objective truth to strive towards. Everyone, is either a recipient of "free will", and perceiving reality subjectively, or they're not, its one or the other, and either way, theological discourse can not support the claims without contradicting itself.

Dave8 said...

mattfulfs2: "If a person is not perfect then how can he/she do perfect deeds, It is impossible there for we trust in Christ to lead us Who as I said DIED for us."

How does a christ "lead", people who can only perceive this reality in a subjective manner. A christ's leadership, will be seen subjectively different by every person. Even our trust is subjectively based on how we perceive our environment.

For instance, you state Christ died for you, however, you have no evidence, only words in a book, and you read that book in a subjective manner to derive meaning. However, the meaning you derive, is solely based on the level of knowledge you have to assign to those words. Your level of knowledge, is possibly far different than many other christians, and thus, the words in the bible have entirely different meanings and contexts. Your life experiences, etc., also intervene to make the meaning of symbolic language understandable, and your life, is different than every other persons' life on this planet.

Shannon said...

Arimanius_7

Suffering is an unavoidable part of life (birth, death, the end). Suffering, of course, is unpleasant. We can do what we can to lessen it and do our best not to create more of it. Maybe someday, together, we can find a way to eradicate most of the unnecessary suffering.

But when you wrap it up, part and parcel, of a loving god’s way, when you make it a godly virtue, only then does suffering truly become heinous and unpalatable. If a god existed, he could stop suffering. A LOVING god would stop suffering.

THINK about it. If YOU had the power to stop suffering what would YOU do? Would you sit on your godly ass, shrug your godly shoulders, and say: “Gosh, I’d like to help but my hands are tied. Free will, don’t ya know, but then I like real sufferers. I suppose its weakness. Have you met my son?”

You need to hold your god to a higher standard.

mattfulfs2 said...

We screwed this up when we sinned in the first place we probably shouldn't have been given a second chance but we were. I thank god for all he has given me and done for me, my life could be much worse off than it is. I pray for those on this site are non believers, and rejoice for all those that come here and are Christian. We are not of this earth.

Dave8 said...

Mattfulfs2: "We screwed this up when we sinned in the first place we probably shouldn't have been given a second chance but we were."

Me thinks you have missed a few bible studies. "We" didn't sin in the first place, we were born as sin into this world, because of Adam and Eve's sin, or that is how the story goes. You didn't have to screw anything up, you were damned to hell, before you were born because someone ate an apple in a garden. Therefore, you spend the rest of your life, praying for the forgiveness of sins that were never yours to begin with.

The damned at birth, requires you to make a choice between hell and Jesus' salvation. If you choose Jesus as your salvation, you typically accept the bible, as its the basic christian doctrine. You suggest we were given a second chance, I disagree. You are born damned, that isn't a second chance, you are born lost. Your only hope is to beg for forgiveness, of a sin, committed by some guy who lived thousands of years ago.

If you suggest Jesus, died on a cross to give everyone a second chance, then, what about the billions of people who have died, without Jesus' salvation because they didn't have access to the bible.

Again, you learned of your god, from a secondary source, not god himself, and thereofre, what you suggest as a second chance, is totally nothing but opinion from a subjective view. I mean, totally subjective, because there is nothing of evidence to support the claim. In theory, we are all damned at birth, and praying to a dead gods' son doesn't do anything for us, perhaps, god is pissed off that humanity killed off his son who was supposed to bring the perfect word to humanity. At least that would make some logical sense, but no, we are saved, for killing gods' son.

Anonymous said...

M - My question to each of you, since you are bold to discredit Christianity is - "What exactly are You doing to provide comfort to these dying children, or as you say not-children?". When you see a hungry, poor child - do you give? Let me think now - Is a 45 year old hungry man, or woman a not-child also? I mean, after all there had to be a Mother out there somewhere that had them, and even if Mom is dead, they are still Mom's child. So, exactly "What" are you doing about this? I say this - if you, any of you stand by and do nothing, then you are as guilty as those you accuse. True Love is, to lay your life down for one another. Are you willing to do that?

Psalms 34:8 said...

Dan wrote:
You have chosen God, and your God doesn't know there are people suffering, or it knows, and refuses to do anything about it. Your God is either impotent or immoral!

If I had the power to stop all of the suffering in the world, I would, but most of the time I just feel lucky to be able to get through the day.

I have faith in a creator also, but will be the first to admit that I don't understand much of why it created this world and the universe the way it did. I just have to assume that it knows what it is doing, and I will continue to live each day as well as I know how.

The one thing I do know how to do is recognize mythology and mystical beliefs and not clutter up the computer between my ears with junk. That said, I don't consider myself any wiser than you. The ONLY major difference between us is: I adhere to one fewer organized religion than you. I believe that Me and you and "Mother Theresa," and every other creature that ever lived will end up in the same place after we die. No one has ever come back to tell us what that is, yet!

Thank "Creator" that our forefathers fought and died to secure for us a more or less secular country, and no one will kill us because of our religious beliefs, like they do in some Islamic countries that are still living in their own "Dark ages"
Dan (Homo Sapiens Rationalist)


Psalms 34: 8, to Dan:
As I said before, I do not judge God. Matthew 10:28-31 says “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” When I see the pain and destruction in the world I remember these verses. If God knows when a sparrow falls, He knows and sees the pain in this world. Why doesn’t he do anything about it? I have asked him this question… and I don’t have an answer. I have learned to not judge God. God is love and shows mercy to us sinners who do not deserve it, but he is also just. When I question God’s love, I remember what Christ did on the cross.
Jesus Christ many times told his disciples to expect to be persecuted, and they were. But their response was similar to Job’s response in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” My salvation, hope, and faith do not rest on me have a “good” life, but on what Jesus did on the Cross. I am called to be in the world and this world is not a happy place. All I can do is keep my hope in Christ… I can do nothing else.

Ó Seasnáin said...

This is simply ridiculous. It seems to me that "Ex-Christian" support means slander toward Christians. I am a Christian, and I have worked with victims of sexual and physical abuse for years. I have also worked with children who have not been abused. Are you seriously trying to assume that I see them differently? Who do you think you are? You have created a disgusting view of children, and YOU HAVE differentiated them based on abuse!? And you want to paint this as some sort of "Christian mentality"? This site should be ashamed for posting this, and the author should apologize to the world for this slander. Exercise your freedoms in an intelligent way.

I am not a person with a martyr-mindset; however, I must say that this article strengthens the argument that atheists simply attack Christian beliefs and call it their religion.

Dano said...

Psalms 34:8 wrote:

Psalms 34: 8, to Dan:
"As I said before, I do not judge God. Matthew 10:28-31 says “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” When I see the pain and destruction in the world I remember these verses. If God knows when a sparrow falls, He knows and sees the pain in this world. Why doesn't he do anything about it? I have asked him this question… and I don’t have an answer. I have learned to not judge God. God is love and shows mercy to us sinners who do not deserve it, but he is also just. When I question God’s love, I remember what Christ did on the cross.
Jesus Christ many times told his disciples to expect to be persecuted, and they were. But their response was similar to Job’s response in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” My salvation, hope, and faith do not rest on me have a “good” life, but on what Jesus did on the Cross. I am called to be in the world and this world is not a happy place. All I can do is keep my hope in Christ… I can do nothing else"

Dan answers:
The problems with quoting bible verses to prove your point is it is "Circular reasoning," as everybody knows.

We should be afraid of people who can kill the body, because whatever force that created us put fear of death as the #1 instinct, and no one knows what a soul is, much less if we have one.

Sparrows fall to the ground everyday by the millions, along with billions of living things that die form disease, mayhem, or assembly line slaughter by man for food. What ever created the system of life and death recycling probably does know about it, but the problem here is when you say "God" you really are not saying anything other than "Creator of every thing," and no one can define that.

The "hairs on our heads may be numbered," but so what? They still fall out, people do have some success with hair re-growth, and transplants. This phrase along with most of the lofty Bible Speak," may sound good at first glance, but with close examination it turns into rubbish, and means little or nothing.

Of course "God" hasn't answered your questions. It has never spoken directly to anyone, or manifested itself in any way other than in the evidence of the real world, and what is wrong with a God who is supposedly omniscient, and omnipotent, and sees all of the suffering in the world, but refuses to do anything about it?

When I look around this world I see all too many instances of where the "creator" is not showing love, mercy, or justice, for "His Children," in fact I see just the opposite. Millions of people are starving, and suffering from every kind of disease, deformity, and injustice imaginable!

Christ didn't do anything on the cross but die. This story is a primitive blood sacrifice story, taken directly from the many pagan religions that preceded Christianity. REALLY NOW! Why would a creator that created an infinite number of universes, and set into motion everything, need a blood sacrifice? Can't you see that sacrificing any of this creators creations or saying "Here God, I have killed this for you," would be an insult to it.

What is wrong with trying to be happy in this life? That is the problem with Christianity and all religions that offer life in an imaginary place as a substitute for being happy here on earth in this life. THEY ARE DEATH CULTS!

It is possible, when you strive to be happy with whatever talents you were born with, to have considerable success. In the end it is much more satisfying than going through life with your head in the clouds, repeating over and over what some hick preacher says, or what you read in a book full of mystical crap that was pieced together 17 hundred years ago, in an effort to unite and control the masses for the Roman Empire.

Dan (Who thinks that the Bible should be collecting dust, rather than enslaving peoples minds)

Carolyn said...

I stumbled on this site by accident and I am deeply saddened by what I read here. Why are you atheist so angry and vindictive against something of which you have no knowledge or understanding ? You lie, I presume, out of ignorance, because you simply don't know the truth. But why do you feel a need to attack Christians and Christianity? I am a Christian and I certainly have no need to attack you. I don't believe in God because the Bible says He exist; I believe in God because I have experienced His power in my changed life, and witnessed His power in many, many other people's changed lives. You may deny that God is, but God loves you just as much as He loves me.
You show pictures of what you call children and non-children. Shame on you for calling these precious children non-children simply because they are suffering. YOU are the one who has designated them non-children, something a Christian would never do. Are you truly so ignorant of reality, that you think there is really a difference in Chriatians and non-Christians when it comes to poverty and suffering? Apparently you are unaware that the very pictures you showed could be of the millions of Christians in southern Sudan, who are starving and homeless because they have been slaughtered and driven from their homes by the militant Muslims in northern Sudan. And maybe you are unaware that the only help they have received - food, water, clothing, shelter is from Christian organizations! Where are the atheist organizations, or are there any atheist humanitarian relief organizations? I've never heard of any.
Some of your photos of non-children appeared to be victims of violence - in particular war. It is tragic, but the innocent always suffer in war. And war stems from a lot of different reasons, but one characteristic is always present - HATE. The hating of another person, race, society, nationality, or religion simply because they are different from you, and therefore, in your eyes, lesser than you - because you don't know or understand them is responsible for the greatest part of the suffering in the world today - that and greed.
And this suffering affects Christians and non-Christians - and even atheist alike. Your entire essay on what YOU have labeled children and non-children (apparently in the eyes of Christians) is a rediculous myth based on ignorance, arrogance and hate. If you really want a site where people can seriously discuss real issues, the first rule should be that one tell the truth based on knowledge and research, and not just blow smoke. It just waste space and the readers time.
Have a nice day.
Christian

Astreja said...

Carolyn, I am not an atheist. I have, however, no love for Christianity. In addition to the atrocities perpetrated by Christian invaders who forced my ancestors to convert to a foreign religion, my daughter and the memory of my grandfather have both been insulted by believers. I myself was harassed and virtually stalked by a born-again.

Damn right I'm angry. I make no apologies for wanting Christianity reduced to a mere footnote in world history.

I doubt very much that you did any serious looking for non-religious charities, because a quick Google search reveals that they do exist. It isn't for me to declare whether or not you actually *wanted* to find them, but personally I rather doubt it.

And I'm not at all surprised by your comment "Why are you atheist so angry and vindictive against something of which you have no knowledge or understanding ? You lie, I presume, out of ignorance, because you simply don't know the truth." We get a lot of that crap around here.

"I am a Christian and I certainly have no need to attack you."

Yet, you did attack us. You called us liars. You owe us an apology.

And I recommend that you take your sarcasm meter into the shop for calibration. For all your ranting, I see no evidence of you actually comprehending the point the article was trying to make -- Namely, that the evangelical crowd is very, very selective as to who and what they support.

Only a brave few go after the hard issues and put serious thought and effort into figuring out how to make the world a better place. (I do admire the actions such people, by the way, regardless of what beliefs they espouse.)

However, it seems to me that the vast majority just pays lip service to social causes; sheds a few tears at a particularly horrendous news item; and expects someone else to do the heavy lifting.

eel_shepherd said...

Carolyn wrote:
"...I don't believe in God because the Bible says He exist; I believe in God because I have experienced His power in my changed life,..."

Some examples?

Not much of a statement without them.

MaryJane said...

Somehow I previously missed this article. It is one of the deepest and most thought provoking articles I have read in a long time. Talk about the heart of the matter. Not that it is not deeply disturbing. But don't we need to be disturbed out of our complacency, sometimes? I always appreciate the right to editorialize and comment on this site.

Anonymous said...

OK FIRST OF ALL U ARE SO WRONG FOR WRITING SOMETHING THAT IS SO UN TRUE THATS ALL I HAVE TO SAY TO YOU

boomSLANG said...

Cap-lock challenged guest(likely Christian) yelled!...OK FIRST OF ALL U ARE SO WRONG FOR WRITING SOMETHING THAT IS SO UN TRUE THATS ALL I HAVE TO SAY TO YOU

Well, since you didn't specify to whom you are addressing, or what they're "SO WRONG" about, you've essentially said nothing at all.

HAVE A NICE DAY.

the_screaming.fish said...

A CHILD OF GOD, DESTINED STRAIGHT FOR HEAVEN IS:

People born into the christian religion. - I was born into a nonchristian family
People that go to church for every service. - I don't
Wears pretty clothes and make-up to church. - jeans and T-shirt
Tithes on a regular basis. - not
Prays to God regularly. - yes
Is baptized. - yes
Think they have a personal relationship with a God. - yes
Tells everyone how much they love the Lord and Jesus. - not everyone
Makes sure that everyone in public sees them praying. - not
Tells everyone that their beliefs and church, are the only true belief. - I state my beliefs as beliefs and not facts
They are the (REAL) Christians. - not
Brags on how their preacher is truly a man of God. - not
Always has plenty of food and a fancy house to live in. - run-down apartment, empty fridge
Cannot be convinced by common sense and any amount reasoning, that their religion and preacher, is a total fraud. - i listen and think about ideas presented to me
Never lie, cheat, steal, embezzele, or commit adultry. - i do that stuff
Are not perfect, just saved.
Condemns and casts judgement on everyone, that do not believe and live, as they do. - i don't judge, but i do share my OPINION
Carries a Bible around for everyone to see. - not
Has religious stickers on their car. - okay, one
Can take up serpents and drink any poison, and no harm will come to them. - LOL
Will do greater things than Jesus did. - you never know
Comes on this website and pretends that they are praying for us poor sinners. - i don't pretend
Republicans. - NDP (canada)

I do not consider myself a "christian" but i do believe that God exists. I also question why he would let there be so many suffering, starving, homeless, abused, and unloved children all over.

the_screaming.fish said...

i forgot to say that i was addind to the survey like post from some anonymous dude way up the page.

Anonymous said...

" Without the hope of God there is no point! We are just a drop in the bucket and nothing will make a difference in the world. "

This is exactly what x-ians cant grasp. There is no point to human existance & that is the beauty of this randomly wonderful life. The human time on earth is a nano second on the watch of the universe. When this earth is done with us, its gonna just shake us off like a bunch of fleas.

Mark

Dave8 said...

Great post Valerie, definitely forces us to think of how an evangelical must attempt to rationalize the tragedies of humanity, no matter the age and circumstance, within their traditional and doctrinal framework.