Join 3,522 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Don't slag my religion and I won't slag yours
April 23, 2006 5:03 AM   Subscribe

I might think your religion is a bunch of crap (in fact, I probably do) but isn't it a touch rude to be saying so in AskMe?
posted by pompomtom to Etiquette/Policy at 5:03 AM (370 comments total)

It is fun though. Like watching a real fight break out over AD&D rules.
posted by srboisvert at 5:18 AM on April 23, 2006


Yes, it's rude. But, since we're here in MeTa, I'll agree with the poster -- Messianic Judaism is total bullshit, it's Christianity pretending to be Judaism, and it's quite a sore point for most Jews.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:19 AM on April 23, 2006


Well, if it was said gently, it could work. Something like, "You should be aware that Messianic Judaism is generally considered by more mainstream sects to not be Judaism at all. You may also wish to explore other options." (and I could be misphrasing this or just outright wrong... it's the tone I'm trying for here, not the actual facts.)

Telling someone that the schism exists wouldn't be any big deal, but I think you're right that those posts were in a very unfriendly tone.

BTW, your 'so' link points to sourwookie's profile, not his post. It's easy to figure out from the thread, though.
posted by Malor at 5:19 AM on April 23, 2006


Astro Zombie: yes, Messianic Judaism's invisible superhero in the sky is all wrong. :)
posted by Malor at 5:21 AM on April 23, 2006


BTW, your 'so' link points to sourwookie's profile

Oops. Yeah, this would be it.
posted by pompomtom at 5:34 AM on April 23, 2006


Having looked at the post closer, I don't think it was inappropriate at all. The poster asked about Judaism, and somebody piped in with an answer that is exactly wrong, because it was about Christianisty. It's as though somebody asked "Tell me a little about Hinduism," and somebody else popped in and said "Well, Jesus was born in Nazareth."

And, Malor, I'm not a practicing Jew, and neither do I believe in God, but it's galling to me to see a religion that spent the better part of two thousand years actively seeking the destruction of Judaism now trying to pass itself off as, in fact, being Judaism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:37 AM on April 23, 2006


it's sunday and i'll like to go out, but the streets are filled with armed jew hunters and i don't want to risk getting hit in the crossfire. so i thought i'd post some mindless drivel to meta instead. so, how's things with you?
posted by andrew cooke at 5:49 AM on April 23, 2006


You know, that comment was less funny on November 9, 1938, or, for that matter, August 17, 1915, or, for that matter, any day in which the streets were actually filled with Jew hunters.

But feel free to continue to be comically dismissive of antisemitism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:54 AM on April 23, 2006


Whoops. November 9.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:55 AM on April 23, 2006


I removed a few of the more derailed comments. The OP has said he is aware of the Messianic Judaism controversy and it looks like the thread is mostly on track.

andrew cooke, please consider posting after you've had some coffee, your nearly daily bitter rants in MetaTalk don't add to the conversation.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:26 AM on April 23, 2006


Well, being galled is fine, and in the context of adding information, it could even be useful in the thread. (ie, she wants to become a Jew; talking about what a Jew _is_ would seem on topic.)

Informing her about the ramifications of her choice... sure. Bashing her for making the 'wrong' choice... not so good.
posted by Malor at 6:31 AM on April 23, 2006


i am a jew by circumcision of the heart.
posted by quonsar at 7:30 AM on April 23, 2006


quonsar, are you aware of the numerous biblical references to "circumcise your heart" or were you just bringing in circumcision to get things going over here?
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:44 AM on April 23, 2006


romans 2:29, among the many.
posted by quonsar at 7:49 AM on April 23, 2006


Never, ever, underestimate the q.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:07 AM on April 23, 2006


I am not a messianic Scientologist.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:26 AM on April 23, 2006


well, or course not. have you ever tried to circumcise a thetan?
posted by quonsar at 8:36 AM on April 23, 2006


Stop it. You're enturbulating me.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:45 AM on April 23, 2006


What makes Messianic Judaism bullshit? The wikipedia article is cracking at the edges.

It sounds like an odd Christianoid belief system, but sincere. Is there some hidden gotcha I don't know about, like it's a Mormonesque proven hoax?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:16 AM on April 23, 2006


Mormonesque proven hoax

You mean like Noah's flood?
posted by Chuckles at 9:22 AM on April 23, 2006


don't fret, hoverboards. it's all bullshit.
posted by dydecker at 9:24 AM on April 23, 2006


hoverboards: the biggest "open secret" about JfJ (the best-known messianic Jewish group) is that they were founded by a Baptist minister hellbent on converting the Jews and are bankrolled by the Southern Baptists (ref1), though the Presbytarians have sought to cut their ties to the organization (ref2, ref3).
posted by aberrant at 9:56 AM on April 23, 2006


don't fret, hoverboards. it's all bullshit.

Yeah, I know, I just want to know if MJ is "made up" by cynical holy men, or if it's a genuine outgrowth of existing theology. Yes, yes, yes, they're all ultimately made up, but for most faiths I don't doubt the sincerity of the leaders.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:59 AM on April 23, 2006


oh, come on jessamyn. surely you're not going to fall for "i don't agree with what you say and i'm jewish so you're clearly a nazi anti-semite"? i thought you were smarter than that.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:05 AM on April 23, 2006


and for az, here's a clue: look out the fucking wndow. it's not the 1940s any more. and people like you are the reason the boot is on the other foot; the reason israel gets way too much american funding, the reason. ah. i give up. you're right. i'm just bitter for no reason.

for fuck's sake.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:07 AM on April 23, 2006


What makes Messianic Judaism bullshit? The wikipedia article is cracking at the edges.

I think some people (not necessarily the ones here) conflate it with the "Jews for Jesus" movement, which it is not (mostly). Jews for Jesus is much more offensive to Judaism (IMO) and exists mostly to convert Jews to, essentially, Christianity. Messianic Judaism has a much longer history, and is more legitimate in terms of being a faith in its own right. As much as these things can be debated anyways.
posted by loquax at 10:09 AM on April 23, 2006


Well, I'm not going to say that Messianic Judaism isn't the One True Religion, but it ain't Judaism. It's Christianity in Jewish drag, designed, as abberant pointed out, to entice Jews into becoming Christian by pretending that both religions are exactly the same thing, when, in fact, Christianity is an apostacy. I don't really care if people are Messianic Jews or not, it just irks me that they then insist that they're Jews. They're not -- the Rabbis (from every branch of Judaism) are quite clear on the subject.

As to it all being bullshit -- well, I've never been a big one for the supernatural elements of Judaism, but there's a strong case to be made that its more than a religion -- it's a unique civilization, and one with a longstanding passion for social justice. And, unlike Christianity, works of good are seen as being intrinsically valuable, not as tickets to heaven, so it is actually possible to be Jewish, belive in Judaisms multiple calls to justice, and at the same time not believe in God -- thus the phenomenon of many of the early zionists being godless socialists.

Bullshit? YMMV. But feel free to be glib and lump Judaism together with every other religion on earth, because they're all nothing more than superstition, and nothing more needs to be said about the subject.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:09 AM on April 23, 2006


Damn, andrew cooke. You sound like a frothing lunatic. I think you make the deliberate mistake of confusing Zionism with Judaism in order to promote your anti-Israel agenda wherever you can.

Hint: this thread isn't about Israel.
posted by aberrant at 10:14 AM on April 23, 2006


And to andrew cooke, the fact that it's not 1940 doesn't mean antisemitism has magically ceased to exist. You do remember Nick Berg, don't you, who was beheaded for being a Jew? You do understand that the much of the Arab world has used Israel as an excuse for iinciting a more generalized antisemitism.

Just because you're ignorant of a subjact and can shaprly dismissive of it doesn't make you right.

Pewople like me. Honestly. Asshole.

And you know something? Bringing Israel into the conversation when it's completely unrelated is antisemitic. Sorry for calling a spade a spade.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:16 AM on April 23, 2006


Apologies for the speelling errors.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:17 AM on April 23, 2006


Now I sound like I'm frothing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:18 AM on April 23, 2006


who you calling spade, hoe?
posted by quonsar at 10:21 AM on April 23, 2006


That's it. You've got one hell of a pimp slap coming.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:22 AM on April 23, 2006


And, unlike Christianity, works of good are seen as being intrinsically valuable, not as tickets to heaven,

So you're an expert on Christian theology too and all its variations? The "tickets to heaven" is probably as insulting to most Ascetical Christians as anything said about Judaism here.
posted by vacapinta at 10:26 AM on April 23, 2006


Israel is completely unrelated to a discussion about what it means to be Jewish?
posted by tkolar at 10:29 AM on April 23, 2006


My apologies. Let me rephrase; Unlike in some branches of Christianity, good deeds are understood as being intrinsically valuable.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:29 AM on April 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Israel is completely unrelated to a discussion about what it means to be Jewish?

To this discussion, yes. It could be broached, but it wasn't except in this manner:

Q: Messianic Christianity?
A: American gives too much money to Israel!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:32 AM on April 23, 2006


"I think some people (not necessarily the ones here) conflate it with the "Jews for Jesus" movement, which it is not (mostly)."

How is it not the same? Two of the three branches of Judaism are messianic; only the Reform movement isn't waiting for the Messiah to show up. For the first time.

"
My apologies. Let me rephrase; Unlike in some branches of Christianity, good deeds are understood as being intrinsically valuable."

I think, more accurately, in Judaism good deeds help you get to a good place in the afterlife, whereas, in Christianity if you do lots of good deeds but don't believe in Christ, you go to hell. In other words, to borrow a term from criminal law, Christianity is a specific intent creed.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:37 AM on April 23, 2006



posted by ParisParamus at 10:37 AM on April 23, 2006


Me, I'm just sick of that flying spaghetti monster shit.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:38 AM on April 23, 2006


Actually Astro Zombie, the exact quote that moved us from discussing Messianic Christianity to the history of the Jewish people was:

"And, Malor, I'm not a practicing Jew, and neither do I believe in God, but it's galling to me to see a religion that spent the better part of two thousand years actively seeking the destruction of Judaism now trying to pass itself off as, in fact, being Judaism."

That quote was put forth by, oh...let's see, you.
posted by tkolar at 10:41 AM on April 23, 2006


jewish people in doing good for the sake of it shockah!
posted by dydecker at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2006


I still don't see Israel popping up in that, or America's policy toward Israel. I have no trouble discussing Israel -- I am not a zionist myself -- but people frequently conflate Judaism with zionism and think the discussion of one gives them carte blanche to spout off their criticisms of the other. It's like if I was discussing lynchings and somebody jumped in to talk about how fucked up Liberia is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:45 AM on April 23, 2006


Lynchings of African-Americans, I should say. Other people have also been lynched.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:46 AM on April 23, 2006


Israel is completely unrelated to a discussion about what it means to be Jewish?

In the context of whether messianic Judaism is a real branch of Judaism, which is the issue at hand in this thread, absolutely. You know, it might even be possible to have a civil discussion about this fairly relevant topic if it weren't for the most vocal anti-Zionists trying to derail every conversation with their "omg the j00z isreal [sic] suxx0rz i'm not a nazi the j00z are!!!11" froth.
posted by aberrant at 10:47 AM on April 23, 2006


one with a longstanding passion for social justice

<flamebait>
Which is why the Jewish people are so focused on helping to stop the genocide in Rwanda, instead of just sitting around trying to come up with ways to work a 60 year old atrocity into every conversation they can.

Yup, real forward progressive types, those Jews.
</flamebait>
posted by tkolar at 10:48 AM on April 23, 2006


hey tkolar, fuck you.
posted by aberrant at 10:51 AM on April 23, 2006


No Homers club?
posted by Chuckles at 10:52 AM on April 23, 2006


tkolar : "Israel is completely unrelated to a discussion about what it means to be Jewish?"

Well, the discussion isn't exactly "what it means to be Jewish", in the general, but "Is a certain group that calls themselves Jewish really Jewish?" And, yes, Israel is completely unrelated to that.
posted by Bugbread at 10:53 AM on April 23, 2006


Which is why the Jewish people are so focused on helping to stop the genocide in Rwanda

Asshole.

I'll let you find your own link for e. A simple Google search should suffice.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2006


well surely if being Jewish is a matter of blood or culture then belief doesn't enter into it. You can have Jewish athiests and socialists and Jewish believers in Christianity and Jewish Muslims too... it's all good, man.
posted by dydecker at 10:57 AM on April 23, 2006


You do understand that there is a difference between not believing in God and believing in another God altogether? There are plenty of Jews who are Buddhists, but, when asked, will say that they are culturally, not religiously, Jewish. They won't try and argue that Buddhism actually is Judaism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:02 AM on April 23, 2006


How is it not the same?

From the perspective of intent, IMO. Specifically the Jews for Jesus folks are worse than other messianic Jews because of what the movement was established to do. They aren't Jewish, in fact their anti-Judaism, and explicitly exist to convert Jews. Most other Messianic Jews, at least, basically practice Judaism with a twist, and don't act to convert as much as the JfJs. Doesn't really matter though.
posted by loquax at 11:03 AM on April 23, 2006


aberrant wrote...
hey tkolar, fuck you.

You know, I actually wasn't aware of that program. What's more, the Jews I usually have this argument with don't know about it either. I'll let them know so they can stop changing the topic every time I bring up Rwanda.

Let's see, what else have I got, other than the "drinking the blood of Christian babies" thing? Oh yeah:

My theory on anti-semitism is that it isn't so much a case of competing cultures as it is a personal thing. While Jewish people as a whole aren't particularly annoying, the Jewish culture has produced some of the most spectacularly personally annoying individuals in the history of the planet. It simply cannot be a coincidence that of the five most most irritating people I've met in my life, all five were first born Jewish males.

I think that's about all I've got.
posted by tkolar at 11:04 AM on April 23, 2006


"Me, I'm just sick of that flying spaghetti monster shit.

Also seen in that Monkeys film strip now on the front page...
posted by ParisParamus at 11:04 AM on April 23, 2006


Dydecker,

I understand what you're saying, and, yes, one can be a "Jews for Jesus" if you consider the "Jew" as the cultural meaning, and the "for Jesus" as the religious meaning. The problem is that the "Jews for Jesus" folks say that the "Jews" is the religion meaning, and the "for Jesus" is also the religious meaning, and you can't be a religious Jew and religious Christian simultaneously.
posted by Bugbread at 11:08 AM on April 23, 2006


tkolar, I tdon't want to dignify your remarks, but there is a grain of truth to what you just wrote. Explanation: basically, its difficult to be annoying or obnoxious if you never say anything and don't act. Jews are raised and educated to do both in phenominally successful fashion. So it makes sense that a large % of those you find annoying would be Jewish. I'm Jewish, and I find the same thing about the Top Five.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:08 AM on April 23, 2006


tkolar : "It simply cannot be a coincidence that of the five most most irritating people I've met in my life, all five were first born Jewish males."

Why can it not be simply coincidental?
posted by Bugbread at 11:09 AM on April 23, 2006


tkolar, that's among the top five most annoying things I've ever heard in my life. Are you, by any chance, Jewish?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:12 AM on April 23, 2006


bugbread, I understand what you are saying, but from the perspective of rationality, one stream of superstitious nonsense merging into another stream of supertitious nonsense does not a contradiction make.
posted by dydecker at 11:19 AM on April 23, 2006


"It simply cannot be a coincidence that of the five most most irritating people I've met in my life, all five were first born Jewish males."

I hate to break it to you, but irritatingness is not an objective measurement intrinsic to the subject like height. Could it be that you don't like Jewish characteristics?
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:19 AM on April 23, 2006


one stream of superstitious nonsense merging into another stream of supertitious nonsense does not a contradiction make.

Sure, it seems that way, but then how do you explain why all those comic book crossovers suck?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:21 AM on April 23, 2006


For context: the [insert culture here] culture has produced some of the most spectacularly personally annoying individuals in the history of the planet.

For context: It simply cannot be a coincidence that of the three most most irritating woman I've met in my life, all five were named Heather.

You're being an ass, tkoler.
posted by cortex at 11:24 AM on April 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


dydecker : "from the perspective of rationality, one stream of superstitious nonsense merging into another stream of supertitious nonsense does not a contradiction make."

Phrased that vaguely, no. However, if you put a little more specificity into it (accepting for the sake of argument that it's superstitious nonsense):

From the perspective of rationality, a stream of superstitious nonsense that says "A" merging into another stream of superstitious nonsense that says "Not A" does, in fact, a contradiction make.

Unless you're of the non-dualistic Buddhist school of thought where "A" and "Not A" can be simultaneously true.
posted by Bugbread at 11:25 AM on April 23, 2006


My...anti-semitism is...a personal thing.

Edited for clarity.
posted by cribcage at 11:25 AM on April 23, 2006


(Yes, that's five Heathers worth of annoyance in just three women. They were rather overwhelming.)
posted by cortex at 11:27 AM on April 23, 2006


as undiplomatic as ParisParamus' comments might have been in that thread, he has many more interesting things to say about Judaism than the Messianic gentleman. and as others have pointed out, Messianic Judaism is a very delicate topic for many Jews (because, like, two thousand years of more or less successful plans for genocide are indeed a little sore spot), so it should be discussed with a modicum of caution by the Goyim and the Messianic Jews alike.

It simply cannot be a coincidence that of the five most most irritating people I've met in my life, all five were first born Jewish males.

Godwinly enough, Goebbels was totally convinced that his high-school girlfriend had dumped him for a Jew
posted by matteo at 11:28 AM on April 23, 2006


It simply cannot be a coincidence....

*laughs*
posted by mediareport at 11:29 AM on April 23, 2006


bugbread, as usual I am unable to actually comprehend the intricacies of which nonsense is correct and true, so I will defer to your judgement.angels, heads of pins, 14th century, etc.
posted by dydecker at 11:35 AM on April 23, 2006


A good summary of the mainstream position on Messianic Judaism from the "Jewish Response to Missionary Groups":

Messianic Judaism is a Christian movement that began in the 1970s combining a mixture of Jewish ritual and Christianity. There are a vast and growing numbers of these groups, and they differ in how much Jewish ritual is mixed with conventional Christian belief. One end of the spectrum is represented by Jews For Jesus, who simply target Jews for conversion to Christianity using imitations of Jewish ritual solely as a ruse for attracting the potential Jewish converts. On the other end are those who don't stress the divinity of Jesus, but present him as the "Messiah." They incorporate distorted Jewish ritual on an ongoing basis.

The movement has received criticism from mainstream Christian leaders, for these groups claim to believe in the New Testament and yet gloss over the distinction between the two communities instituted in that work, and for the deceptive tactics used to gain Jewish converts. They are typically very pro-Israel and include an unusually high number of Jewish symbols -- the Magen David, Torah, talleisim, shofars, yarmulkes, mezzuzahs, Shabbat candles, and use of Hebrew and Yiddish language -- to assure prospective converts that they are not renouncing Judaism by accepting Jesus. According to Jewish law and tradition, such an acceptance is indeed a renunciation of Judaism.

Like the Christian Missionary, one of the major roles of the Messianic Jew is to proselytize others. They prey on such vulnerable individuals as the lonely, the elderly, the poor, the emotionally unstable, the naive, or those who are just untutored in Scripture. These unfortunates are lured into accepting missionary doctrines out of emotional need, not intellectual conviction. For even after a superficial reading of the missionaries' textual "proofs" within context, one sees that their doctrines are founded solely upon misquotations and mistranslations of Hebrew Scripture.

The term "completed Jews" is now used by some Messianic Jews and Missionary Christians to describe Jews who have accepted Jesus as their savior. This is offensive because of the implication that a Jew who has not accepted Jesus is not "complete." This term has also recently popped up in Washington, DC during House subcommittee support of President Bush's proposal to channel government money to religious social service programs. Jewish and civil liberties groups note that this testimony clearly documents the President's initiative will result in government-financed proselytizing.


The last bit is a little worrying, regardless of how you feel about Messianic Judaism.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:37 AM on April 23, 2006


Man, MeTa's all jewed up again.
posted by klangklangston at 11:39 AM on April 23, 2006


What jew lookin' at? Jew all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. Jew know why? Jew don't have the guts to be what jew wanna be. Jew need people like me. Jew need people like me so jew can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy."
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 11:39 AM on April 23, 2006


Don't have time to wade thru all this but in Christianity good deeds have nothing at all to do with your salvation-instead they are simply evidence OF it. Christians and nonChristians alike are capable of doing "good deeds" but as the Bible teaches-in the Old Testament-all our righteousness is as filthy rags.

As to messianic judaism, in my opinion it is pretty much neither fish nor fowl, but it has served a purpose in educating Christians about their Jewish roots-and one needs a proper understanding of such in order to understand the New Testament. (For example, the Passover meal has much symbolic meaning to a Christian.)
posted by konolia at 11:55 AM on April 23, 2006


dydecker : "bugbread, as usual I am unable to actually comprehend the intricacies of which nonsense is correct and true"

I'm unable to as well. All I can determine is which conflict with eachother. Which are correct, or true, if any, is beyond me.
posted by Bugbread at 11:55 AM on April 23, 2006


Me, I'm just sick of that flying spaghetti monster shit.

Apparently, PinkStainlessTail has yet to be touched by The Noodly Appendage.
posted by deborah at 12:12 PM on April 23, 2006


While Jewish people as a whole aren't particularly annoying, the Jewish culture has produced some of the most spectacularly personally annoying individuals in the history of the planet. It simply cannot be a coincidence that of the five most most irritating people I've met in my life, all five were first born Jewish males.

I don't hate Judaism... I hate those fucking Jews.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:48 PM on April 23, 2006


ParisParamus writes...
tkolar, I tdon't want to dignify your remarks, but there is a grain of truth to what you just wrote. Explanation: basically, its difficult to be annoying or obnoxious if you never say anything and don't act. Jews are raised and educated to do both in phenominally successful fashion. So it makes sense that a large % of those you find annoying would be Jewish. I'm Jewish, and I find the same thing about the Top Five.

You're not the only Jewish person to agree with me on this. Two of the irritating men in question are work buddies of mine, and both of them have similar experiences.

AstroZombie wrote...
tkolar, that's among the top five most annoying things I've ever heard in my life. Are you, by any chance, Jewish?

No, but the phenomenon was pointed out to me by a Jewish person about his own life. Does that count?

allen.spaulding wrote...
I hate to break it to you, but irritatingness is not an objective measurement intrinsic to the subject like height. Could it be that you don't like Jewish characteristics?

Well, duh. Actually it's a very small subset of Jewish characteristics that appear to be specific to first born males. Specifically it appears to be a mix of intelligence, stubborness, and a determination to keep arguing until they've been proved right on every last point. These are generally useful traits for our profession (software engineering), but my god can they drag a code review out.

cribcage wrote...
My...anti-semitism is...a personal thing.

Edited for clarity.


Nice try, but this actually is my theory on anti-semitism, and I've spent enough time discussing it with Jews of the Israeli, English, and American persuasions that I believe it has some merit.

On the other hand, in some forums one can post a statement like "Jewish mothers are really into guilt." and be immediately toasted for anti-semitism. Is this one of those? I didn't know.
posted by tkolar at 12:52 PM on April 23, 2006


tkolar : "Specifically it appears to be a mix of intelligence, stubborness, and a determination to keep arguing until they've been proved right on every last point."

Whoa. I'm Jewish?

tkolar : "in some forums one can post a statement like 'Jewish mothers are really into guilt.' and be immediately toasted for anti-semitism. Is this one of those? I didn't know."

It's MeFi. Pretty much anything you say will result in someone getting annoyed. That said, I think there would be a low level of annoyance for a "Jewish mothers are really into guilt" comment, and a higher level of annoyance for ""Which is why the Jewish people are so focused on helping to stop the genocide in Rwanda, instead of just sitting around trying to come up with ways to work a 60 year old atrocity into every conversation they can. Yup, real forward progressive types, those Jews.""

Of course, you knew that, which is why you marked it as flamebait yourself.
posted by Bugbread at 12:58 PM on April 23, 2006


What a jerk.
posted by Mid at 1:08 PM on April 23, 2006


I don't think I know any Jewish people.

I know two black guys though, and they're pretty nice.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:11 PM on April 23, 2006


Rwanda and religion, for those who aren't as blissfully ignorant as tkolar.
posted by aberrant at 1:11 PM on April 23, 2006


Twins, Max.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:16 PM on April 23, 2006


Nice try, but this actually is my theory on anti-semitism, and I've spent enough time discussing it with Jews of the Israeli, English, and American persuasions that I believe it has some merit.

Ah, I guess when Iranians and Saudis call Jews the offspring of pigs and dogs, it's because they all met some really annoying, argumentative Jews. I'm sure that's how the Soviets felt too. Very sound theory.

Don't forget to say: "But I have Jewish friends!" before this thread is closed.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:17 PM on April 23, 2006


Well it's definitely true that I've caused myself trouble by starting with some gratuitous flamebaiting and attempting to switch to a more legitimate topic.

So, to try this from the top, let's start with some facts we can probably all agree on:

1) Judaism as a culture has been around for a very long time.
2) Pretty much from day one, people have been trying to kill people identified as Jews. (Anyone who believes it started with Christianity needs to read the Torah a few more times.)
3) Anti-semitism has continued to exist well into modern times, occasionally flaring up from segregation and loathing into full on genocide.

Question: what causes this phenomenon?
posted by tkolar at 1:22 PM on April 23, 2006


Question: what causes this phenomenon?

Hm, I don't know - maybe assholes like you who insist on perpetuating stereotypes that have little basis in fact?
posted by aberrant at 1:23 PM on April 23, 2006


Don't forget the helpful observation that they produce such excellent doctors, but terrible wines.
posted by horsewithnoname at 1:23 PM on April 23, 2006


No, they're just not selling the good wines to you unless you know to say the secret code phrase at the wine store!
posted by ParisParamus at 1:31 PM on April 23, 2006


Me, I'm just sick of that flying spaghetti monster shit.

That's not shit. It's marinara.
posted by namespan at 1:32 PM on April 23, 2006


aberrant : "Hm, I don't know - maybe assholes like you who insist on perpetuating stereotypes that have little basis in fact?"

Aberrant: then, I guess, the question is what causes that phenomenon?
posted by Bugbread at 1:36 PM on April 23, 2006


Truth be told, Mogen David is good enough for this sheygetz.
posted by horsewithnoname at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2006


Everyone pay attention to the key anti-semetic code phrases:

"Pretty much from day one, people have been trying to kill people identified as Jews."

Translation: I do not necessarily accept mainstream understandings of who is a Jew. I wish to hold open the possibility that the people we are calling "Jews" are not actually the genuine article, but some sort of later-day pretenders.

"Anyone who believes it started with Christianity needs to read the Torah a few more times."

Translation: many different people throughout history have recognized the Jews as a problem/threat. It isn't just me or people of my religion. This goes to show that there is something to all of this, even though we're not allowed to say so in these PC times.

Since when did Mel Gibson join MetaFilter? You're a real jerk, tkolar. Thanks for outing yourself as such.
posted by Mid at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2006


Question: what causes this phenomenon?

Um, Jews ask for it? That is your point, right?

Good lord, tkolar, you're arguing like a ten-year-old. The mere fact that many Jews throughout history have been determined to hold onto their ancestral belief system - complete with physical markers of difference - in new lands is more than enough to explain the history of persecution. There's no need to postulate an inherent disgustingness in some abstract Jewish personality to account for it, and the fact that you've jumped to that explanation is pathetic evidence that you haven't thought much about prejudice. Grow up.
posted by mediareport at 1:42 PM on April 23, 2006


bugbread: unfortunately, THAT appears to be the human nature that wants desperately to make sense out of disparate pieces of information, even in the presence of logically irrefutable evidence against such correlation.

Ironically, it's the same mindset that fosters a belief in religion to begin with.
posted by aberrant at 1:42 PM on April 23, 2006


Some of the sweetest, most adorable people I know are Jews.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:43 PM on April 23, 2006


I know who the Jews are in this thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:50 PM on April 23, 2006


Let's trade. You give me the secret code phrase for the good wines and I'll let you in on the best Chinese restaurants in NYC.
posted by horsewithnoname at 1:53 PM on April 23, 2006


Whoever it was that made a big deal about Judaism being exceptionally as much a culture as a faith needs to learn about the world's other religious faiths, past and present. One example that springs immediately to mind is Confucianism.

There is a lot of ugliness in this thread, from all directions. Whether justified or not, heartfelt or not, Astro Zombie, tkolar, and andrew cooke have all been the prime movers in the escalation.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:57 PM on April 23, 2006


Confucianism isn't a religious faith.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:59 PM on April 23, 2006


I know who the Jews are in this thread.

I think this is ample proof that she's making some sort of sick reverse Schindler's List! I call it: "Jessamyn's Jews to Kill."
posted by Krrrlson at 2:00 PM on April 23, 2006


"Jessamyn's Jews to Kill."

actually, one of them is me, maybe I wasn't clear about that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:01 PM on April 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Confucianism isn't a religious faith."

It's a religion, perhaps not a "faith".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:01 PM on April 23, 2006


Jessamyn, are you not able to close this thread? It's only going to get worse.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:02 PM on April 23, 2006


horsewithnoname: you can't just utter the phrase ("Goyische babies' blood is sweeter than Concord Grape"), you have to do it while sweeping back your hair to show your horns. It's two-factor authentication, you know? Yeah, we invented biometrics too.
posted by aberrant at 2:04 PM on April 23, 2006


Oh, EB, hush. It's not going to get worse. We're speaking truth to ignorance and having a bit of fun in the process. Don't harsh the semitic mellow.
posted by aberrant at 2:05 PM on April 23, 2006


Thanks for outing yourself as such.


Jeez, I was just thinking the same thing.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:05 PM on April 23, 2006


"Let's trade. You give me the secret code phrase for the good wines and I'll let you in on the best Chinese restaurants in NYC."

In all seriousness, the only kosher wine I have enjoyed was smuggled into the country (I think) by a French woman I was dating. It was a white wine. All other kosher wines I have had (other than traditional sweet wines, which are what they are) have been, at best, drinkable, but barely. So I feel your pain.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:06 PM on April 23, 2006


Confucianism is a belief system oriented toward the proper organization of society. Its tenets concern, primarily, the importance of benevolent and correct rulership, filial piety, and so on.

It is not a "religion," as that word is commonly understood and used.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:07 PM on April 23, 2006


actually, one of them is me, maybe I wasn't clear about that.

God are you twisted!
posted by Krrrlson at 2:08 PM on April 23, 2006


Not surprisingly, this thread is now 3x longer than the one that "inspired" it.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:12 PM on April 23, 2006


Not surprisingly, this thread is now 3x longer than the one that "inspired" it.

Yes, but more than three times as useful, easily. Plus, PP, it gives us some rare common ground.

So that's nice.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:17 PM on April 23, 2006


mediareport wrote...
Question: what causes this phenomenon?

Um, Jews ask for it? That is your point, right?


No, actually. My point is that anti-semitism has been rampant for thousands of years and I don't know what causes it. I posted a theory I have about it in hopes of hearing other people's theories.

Unfortunately the reason the whole topic of anti-semitism was on my mind is that I was enjoying some flamebaiting earlier in the thread, so it was a poor choice to try to move the conversation over. My bad.

The mere fact that many Jews throughout history have been determined to hold onto their ancestral belief system - complete with physical markers of difference - in new lands is more than enough to explain the history of persecution.

Persecution, yes. History is full of cultures hanging onto their culture as they move into new countries, and persecution has inevitably followed. The routine flareups of outright genocide attempts seems unique to me, though.

Krrrlson writes...
Don't forget to say: "But I have Jewish friends!" before this thread is closed.

The line is "Some of my best friends are Jewish", and it won't be necessary. My friends know who they are, and I don't care much for the opinions of people who offer reflexive defensiveness and not much else. Fortunately this leaves plenty of Jews for me to be friends with.

Anyways, sorry for the fuss. As I say, it was a mistake to try to convert some gratuitous flamebaiting into a real discussion.
posted by tkolar at 2:19 PM on April 23, 2006


Astro Zombie: "And, unlike Christianity, works of good are seen as being intrinsically valuable, not as tickets to heaven"

Way to be a dick.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:21 PM on April 23, 2006


The routine flareups of outright genocide attempts seems unique to me, though.

That would be because you haven't read or thought much about prejudice.
posted by mediareport at 2:26 PM on April 23, 2006


When I was a kid living in Brooklyn, my folks used to receive bottles of Manishevitz from friends and neighbors during the holidays. They weren't really wine drinkers, but I remember them cracking a bottle and commenting on the sweetness. Of course, I pestered them for a sip until they relented. I fondly recall that my first taste of wine was Manishevitz c.1980.
Today, I realize that my raging alcoholism and general delinquency can only be blamed on the Jews.
posted by horsewithnoname at 2:43 PM on April 23, 2006


Let's see, what else have I got, other than the "drinking the blood of Christian babies" thing? Oh yeah:

My theory on anti-semitism


Yes, clearly you were trying to move on from flamebaiting to a serious discussion.
posted by amro at 2:44 PM on April 23, 2006


And, unlike Christianity, works of good are seen as being intrinsically valuable, not as tickets to heaven.

There are some varieties of Christianity about which this statement is almost as false as it could possibly be. But in general it is quite false as it seems to be entirely ignorant of the implications of the iconic sacrificial essense of Christian faith.

A better way to describe the important distinction you're getting at in your statement is that Judaism is essentially a pragmatic belief system where morality, religious practice, and daily life form a coherent whole upon which its metaphysics rests—not some profound Elsewhere and Other as in the example of Christianity. This is the reason why Judaism includes the idea of an afterlife that is vague and not centrally important. Judaism lives within the context of the practice of living, as for example Taoism does as well, though in different ways (and very explicitly in the specific practice of living and is in this sense comparable to Confucianism); and this in contrast to Christianity, which lives within the context of spirit and Platonic being and which is in many ways quite alienated from daily life, as for example Buddhism is as well, though in very different ways.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:44 PM on April 23, 2006


EB,

On what basis are you considering Confucianism a religion?
posted by Bugbread at 2:46 PM on April 23, 2006


Tkolar: "Fortunately this leaves plenty of Jews for me to be friends with."

Just not the first-born-male Jews, right? They're icky.

And just so we're all clear, what, exactly, is tkolar's "theory" on anti-semitism, anyway? That "[w]hile Jewish people as a whole aren't particularly annoying, the Jewish culture has produced some of the most spectacularly personally annoying individuals in the history of the planet."

There you have it--a unified explanation for Roman persecution, Russian pogroms, the Holocaust, etc., etc. If only the Jews could stop being so annoying!

Seriously, man, you're a bigot.
posted by Mid at 2:56 PM on April 23, 2006


And a troll.
posted by amro at 2:58 PM on April 23, 2006


bugbread: perhaps we night discuss this in email?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:58 PM on April 23, 2006


EB,

Fair 'nuff (though I'm away from my email account for a day or two).
posted by Bugbread at 2:59 PM on April 23, 2006


Tkolar: Actually it's a very small subset of Jewish characteristics that appear to be specific to first born males. Specifically it appears to be a mix of intelligence, stubborness, and a determination to keep arguing until they've been proved right on every last point. These are generally useful traits for our profession (software engineering), but my god can they drag a code review out.

I just caught this. You know, given the functional problems with your company's software over the last several weeks (years?), you might consider hiring a few more first-born Jews.
posted by aberrant at 3:00 PM on April 23, 2006


And a hypocrite.

I know, I know, brand new day.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:01 PM on April 23, 2006


Ethereal Bligh, please don't attempt to define religions you neither practice nor understand - pedantically, I might add.

The only essential component of Jewish belief and practice is the sh'ma: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."

All else is commentary.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:05 PM on April 23, 2006


Wait ... you mean Shabbatai Zvi *wasn't* the Messiah?

Rats. Back to the drawing board, I guess.
posted by kyrademon at 3:22 PM on April 23, 2006


(I should probably point out that I myself am an atheist and practice Buddhism, however wretchedly. I merely don't take kindly to goyim defining for me what it is to be Jewish.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2006


I guess people didn't noticed when I apologized for my earlier statement about Christians seeing good deeds as tickets to heaven, retracted it, and rephrased it. Bit, then, when you're immediately typing in responses without reading the entire thread, you end to make those mistakes.

I wasn't what I meant, and was poorly phrased on my part. But go ahead and make this thread about Christianity.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2006


By the way, I'm not sure whether it's Kosher or not (I suspect not), but MD 20/20 gets me where I'm going. Which is to the alley, where I plan to vomit.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:32 PM on April 23, 2006


Look, a man came around to my house last week and told me that Jehovas Witnesses are the most oppressed religious adherents ever, so I don't know what you're all going on about.
posted by Jimbob at 3:33 PM on April 23, 2006


asking EB to not do something pedantically is like asking water not to get you all wet.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:44 PM on April 23, 2006


I don't care much for the opinions of people who offer reflexive defensiveness and not much else.

Is reflexive defensiveness the equal and opposite force of reflexive offensiveness?

Or did culturally deterministic statements that scream in all their adolescent fury, "I'm an individual; I'm contrarian; I'm a free-thinker; I won't be subject to social and cultural propritary norms about discussing sensitive topics; screw you all for not being willing to engage me on my own uninformed terms" suddenly become fashionable?

Oh, and all reflexive defensiveness aside...

tkolar, if you want to stop sounding like a bigot, cease using your relationship with your Jew friends like it buys you any currency whatsoever to characterize Jews. You look like a fool, seriously.
posted by mrmojoflying at 3:47 PM on April 23, 2006


Etherial, I would love to have you offer some specifics of Christian sects that don't require specific belief in Christ as necessary. Also, while there is certainly a different life v. after-life emphasis, I disagree that an afterlife is not central to Judaism.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:50 PM on April 23, 2006


If it's central, it's very ill-defined. The rabbis talked about the subject often, but, for the most part, admitting that the discussions was mostly speculation. The Tanakh makes almost no reference to an afterlife, and, when it does, the reference is quite oblique.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:54 PM on April 23, 2006


Its not as central as in Christianity, which seems to take the position that you can be "saved" at any moment before you die, irrespective of your sins, evil deeds. But it is still central to Judaism.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:55 PM on April 23, 2006


Resurrection of the dead is referenced in the Orthodox and Conservative liturgy (not Reform or Reconstructionist). It is one of the fundimental beliefs of Judaism.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:57 PM on April 23, 2006


ParisParamus, don't commit an EBism. Belief in an afterlife is, or may be, central to one reading of Judaism. There are (many) others.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:58 PM on April 23, 2006


amro writes...
And a troll.

Nah, if I was a good troll I'd be satisfied with the outcome of this thread. Instead I'm somewhat dismayed at all the people who've been needlessly riled up.
posted by tkolar at 4:00 PM on April 23, 2006


But what the hell do I know, right? I'm an admitted heathen, only Jewish enough to get killed for it.

Alls I know is that none of my four grandparents ever mentioned an afterlife in my presence, and they were about as Jewish as anyone could possibly ask for.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:00 PM on April 23, 2006


Your both right. I had not considered the whole Messianic thing, but it is pretty central to traditional Judaism -- the one day Elijah will come, the shofar will sound, the dead will rise, and we'll all pack up out t'fillin and head to Jerusalem, to dine on Leviathan and bask in the presence of God. I hadn't really thought about this in terms of an afterlife -- it's about as far from traditional ideas of heaven as you can get.

That being said, while it's a central issue in theological discussions of Judaism, it doesn't come into play that much in practical discussions of Judaism. We don't follow commandments because it'll get us to Jerusalem -- we do it because God told us to, and God told us to pursue justice.

And I don't do it for any of those reasons, because they all seem a little crazy to me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:09 PM on April 23, 2006


That's perfectly fine, and they should seem crazy because they are not rational--I feel no differently. But in a discussion that was precipitated by the questioning of a potential convert/bal tshuva, I think it's important to spell out what the essentials are; not individual takes on those essentials.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:14 PM on April 23, 2006


Agreed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:17 PM on April 23, 2006


Incidentally -

"... a mix of intelligence, stubborness, and a determination to keep arguing until they've been proved right on every last point. These are generally useful traits for our profession (software engineering) ..."

Are you seriously trying to fob this off as an ethnic trait rather than a behavior exhibited by roughly 80% of all people in technical and scientific professions? My gf and I have nicknamed this the "Science Penis", and whenever someone tries it on one of us, I start ignoring what they are saying and roughly translating it as "My Science Penis is huge! HUUUUUUUUUGE! Marvel at the size of my Science Penis! Will you mate with me if I prove my superiority by belitting you?! No?! Why does that never work?! SCIENCE PENIS!!!!"

At any rate, it's a universal form of assholery in the fields in question. Quit trying to place the blame on the shoulders of my clan alone.
posted by kyrademon at 4:31 PM on April 23, 2006 [3 favorites]


(In fact, the behavior very likely extends out of the technical fields and into any profession where mastery of some form of minutiae can reasonably be considered an advantage rather than a personality flaw.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:36 PM on April 23, 2006


They weren't attacking the asker's religion; they were attacking one of their answerer's. It would be like in a thread someone asks what computer they should buy; someone else recommends a PC and Mac users jump all over them.

If you want to be "A Jew" then you have to do it right, which was what the asker was trying to do.
posted by delmoi at 4:40 PM on April 23, 2006


Well, it's more like someone said, "I want to buy a Mac, what's a good model" and somebody answered ,"A PC but in a Mac case."
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:43 PM on April 23, 2006


Whoa, whoa. Jews are Macs?
posted by Krrrlson at 4:44 PM on April 23, 2006


Religion is a sad little joke. Messianic Judaism is Judaism as far as I'm concerned - and I will now refer to it as Judaism explicitly to watch self-important dullards cry about it. It's fucking hilarious that people think their fairytales have some sort of greater "authenticity" than other fairytales. Like watching Evangelicals squirm around when Mormons call themselves Christian.

Hahaha. Dance for me little faith monkeys! 29 or 100 angels on the head of a pin? Slaughter eachother over it, and your magical deity of choice, with Kirk Cameron at its side, will tell you the answer "in the next life".
posted by dgaicun at 4:46 PM on April 23, 2006


You're the coolest!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:48 PM on April 23, 2006


but people frequently conflate Judaism with Zionism and think the discussion of one gives them carte blanche to spout off their criticisms of the other.

Often at the prodding of Zionists themselves, who often define anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
posted by delmoi at 4:50 PM on April 23, 2006


Religion is a sad little joke. Messianic Judaism is Judaism as far as I'm concerned - and I will now refer to it as Judaism explicitly to watch self-important dullards cry about it. It's fucking hilarious that people think their fairytales have some sort of greater "authenticity" than other fairytales. Like watching Evangelicals squirm around when Mormons call themselves Christian.

Well a free ticket to heaven is one thing, but a ticket to Israel is another...
posted by delmoi at 4:51 PM on April 23, 2006


(in other words, if you become a messianic Jew, all the other Jews, like Astro Zombie won't let you in their clubhouse)
posted by delmoi at 4:52 PM on April 23, 2006


Wow, dgaicun really put those religion people in their places!
posted by Bugbread at 4:56 PM on April 23, 2006


Real Jews don't have clubhouses.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:56 PM on April 23, 2006


Astro Zombie: Messianic Judaism is total bullshit

Just think about how dumb this comment is. People who follow one religion have lost all right, to designate how false other religions are, without looking like total fundamentalist fucktards.

bugbread, oh, I'm sorry, it's much more rational to take arguments about angels on pinheads seriously.
posted by dgaicun at 4:59 PM on April 23, 2006


kyrademon: thanks for aptly naming this phenomenon. There's a student in one of my classes who exemplifies this - he's bright, but it's hard to converse with him for more than 60 seconds due to his Science Penis. I've also heard a similar syndrome referred to as the "Right Man" syndrome.
posted by jtron at 5:01 PM on April 23, 2006


they don't have club sandwiches, either
posted by pyramid termite at 5:01 PM on April 23, 2006


People who follow one religion have lost all right, to designate how false other religions are, without looking like total fundamentalist fucktards.


WOW!! you, sir, have a BIG SCIENCE PENIS!!
posted by pyramid termite at 5:03 PM on April 23, 2006


It is not a "religion," as that word is commonly understood and used.

adamgreenfield is correct with regards to confucianism. It is not a religion.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:07 PM on April 23, 2006


kyrademon writes...
At any rate, it's a universal form of assholery in the fields in question. Quit trying to place the blame on the shoulders of my clan alone.

This is just fucking cruel. Here I'm trying ease my way out of this thread and forget that I caused a forseeable pile on for myself, and you set me up perfectly for a line about the relative size of ethnic penises. Talk about entrapment.

Alvy Ampersand writes...
And a hypocrite.

Indeed. Not one of my finer days, all around. Later tonight I plan on beating up a homosexual black homeless person while outsourcing my internet spam business to Cambodia for pennies a day. Maybe that will get it out of my system.
posted by tkolar at 5:12 PM on April 23, 2006


dgaicun : "People who follow one religion have lost all right, to designate how false other religions are, without looking like total fundamentalist fucktards. "

Ok, then. Messianic Judaism is a crock of poo. And I can say that, as I have the right, being an atheist.
posted by Bugbread at 5:19 PM on April 23, 2006


Sorry AstroZombie - I didn't read all the way through and I didn't see your retraction of that comment.
I apologize.
You are not, in fact, a dick.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:21 PM on April 23, 2006


I love it when non-Jews tell me what rights I have as a Jew in regards to defining myself, and, collectively, what rights we have as a group to define ourselves.

Hey, I have a suggestion: Fuck off.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:21 PM on April 23, 2006


Somebody should ask the Messianic Jews what they think of the old Jews who are still in denial. It just doesn't feel right getting one side of the story. I have a feeling the whole situation is a bit more complex than PP et. al let on.
posted by nixerman at 5:22 PM on April 23, 2006


Uh, this is the point where you stop posting, tkolar. You made yourself look like a fool by showing a ridiculously obvious bigoted streak; there's not much coming back from that in this thread. Go away, think about it, come back in another thread and demonstrate you figured out just how awful your statement truly was.

Oh, and Why does that never work?! SCIENCE PENIS!!!! makes the whole thing worthwhile.
posted by mediareport at 5:24 PM on April 23, 2006


Uh, this is the point where you stop posting, tkolar.

Nah, this is the part where I make comments to people who I have ongoing exchanges with. For example Alvy, who remembered enough of my posts to know that my comments in this thread contradict my general policy of not being pointlessly inflammatory.

The demonstration of my personality and what I believe will continue on other threads regardless, and folks will reach their own conclusions in their own time. Nothing I can say in this thread will affect that either way.

This is not my first internet flame war.
posted by tkolar at 6:02 PM on April 23, 2006


Ok, then. Messianic Judaism is a crock of poo. And I can say that, as I have the right, being an atheist.

I agree! but it's no more shit crocked than "authetic" JudaismTM.

I love it when non-Jews tell me what rights I have as a Jew in regards to defining myself, and, collectively, what rights we have as a group to define ourselves. Hey, I have a suggestion: Fuck off.

Well aren't you special. Define yourself however you want. But don't call other people's religious "beliefs" 'bullshit' based on your own bullshit religious beliefs, and expect to be taken seriously. You look no better than Pat Robertson.
posted by dgaicun at 6:03 PM on April 23, 2006


hey dgaicun, quick question. Let's say the scientologists decided that they too were athiests because they didn't worship Jesus. They started referring to themselves as such, including it on their literature. Pretty soon google was returning their websites for searches looking for more info on athiesm. Your friends would say "oh, you're an athiest. Like Tom Cruise?" I bet you'd be pissed.

Words have meanings.

PS. Aren't they scientists?
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:07 PM on April 23, 2006


"adamgreenfield is correct with regards to confucianism. It is not a religion."

This is truly an argument of definitions; an example of one which has little or no value. From a descriptive viewpoint, you can find ubiquitous both lay and expert use of the term "religion" to describe Confucianism. From a prescriptive viewpoint, it then becomes a question of what authority to believe. Sociologically, Confucianism functions as a religion functions. Yes, it avoids metaphysics and lives happily in conjunction with other religions, those that are primarily metaphysical in nature. But it seems to me that it's a western and Judaeo-Christian sensibility to deny Confucianism as a "religion", and that doing so is the result of the false assumption that what is central to Judaeo-Christian religious tradition defines the boundaries by which all other traditions are measured. In short, yes it is.

"Ethereal Bligh, please don't attempt to define religions you neither practice nor understand - pedantically, I might add."

I'll keep that in mind. I've not done so in this thread.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:16 PM on April 23, 2006


Funny, the most personally annoying people in this thread are the evangelical atheists.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:21 PM on April 23, 2006


God, thank you. And I'm an atheist! For me, the subject is one of cultural determination. I mean, if a group of white people from Canada started to suddenly claim that they were the true Japanese, and started telling actual Japanese people that they're not, would you feel as free to jump in and say, hey, we're all just a collection of atoms. If white Canadians want to call themselves Japanese, so what? How are they any less Japanese than the collection of atoms that come from Japan, speak Japanese, and have Asian characteristics?
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:29 PM on April 23, 2006


Well aren't you special. Define yourself however you want. But don't call other people's religious "beliefs" 'bullshit' based on your own bullshit religious beliefs, and expect to be taken seriously. You look no better than Pat Robertson.

SCIENCE PENIS! WHY WON'T YOU LISTEN TO ME AND MY SCIENCE PENIS? LET ME INSULT YOU SOME MORE, THAT WILL CONVINCE YOU.
posted by Snyder at 6:29 PM on April 23, 2006


Science penis is really funny, by the way.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:30 PM on April 23, 2006


OMG Science Penis.
posted by brownpau at 6:32 PM on April 23, 2006


"I bet you'd be pissed."

Yeah, but to what legitimate authority could I appeal that would recognize me and my friends as sovereign over the terms we use to self-describe? It may seem a simple thing to determine who owns a designating term, perhaps by measure of ancestral claim, or perhaps by measure of present use; but those sometimes conflict and human history is littered with repeated conflicts over inclusion and exclusion and the definition of terms. It is not easy.

I agree that there are numerous very strong arguments against accepting Messianic Jews as "Jews" and I agree with the determination. But as such usage continues, and assuming the number of Messianic Jews increase, at some point their inclusion as "Jews" will be a fait accompli and a distinction of not much importance to the rest of the world outside these communities.

For a neutral observer, what is most fair is to side-step the matter of the definition of the contested term and, instead, focus on the actual distinctions which matter a great deal in practice and not on the contested terms.

Ironically and/or hypocritically, I've failed to do this here with regard to the matter of whether or not Confucianism is a "religion". To some it is a religion and to some it is not. It is more helpful to explicitely discuss the ways in which it is, and is not, like other things that are frequently or sometimes called "religions".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:34 PM on April 23, 2006


Being Jewish and circumcized, I have an cience penis.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:37 PM on April 23, 2006


Women prefer it, apparently.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:37 PM on April 23, 2006


My father had science penis. He was a psychopharmacologist.

I've got playwrights' penis.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:39 PM on April 23, 2006


I've got a penis.
Not really makin' much use of it, these days.

$50.00 O.B.O.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:44 PM on April 23, 2006



posted by wakko at 6:44 PM on April 23, 2006


Heh. I just typed science penis into google image search and it lead me to this fascinating little essay.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:54 PM on April 23, 2006


I hereby declare myself to be Japanese. My nickname will be "Sashimi."1 Thank you.

1no guarantees that I'll remember that it's my new nickname, though.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on April 23, 2006


Dude, EB, can you not simply for once just say, "Hey, you know what? I was wrong!"

But it seems to me that it's a western and Judaeo-Christian sensibility to deny Confucianism as a "religion"

If you had stated that in precisely opposite terms, you would be closer to the truth: the notion of "religion," the box into which you wish to cram the practice of Confucian thought, is itself a Western idea. Classical East Asian thought and praxis don't map to the concept very well. (A very interesting, if problematic, related idea forms the core of Lionel Jensen's Manufacturing Confucianism, where he argues that Confucianism itself was essentially a construct of the Portuguese Jesuits, only comparatively latterly reintroduced to the Middle Kingdom.)

But, really, it would be better if you for once in your life admit that other people might just know more than you do about something - and not merely because they read about it in a book, but because they lived for years in societies utterly informed by the ideas you're blathering cluelessly about.

You're not a Jew, and so you should probably try to avoid the question of what constitutes a Jew. And you have no personal experience of Confucian thought, or the obligations imposed by it, and so it's probably for the best if you try to avoid discussing that body of human knowledge, as well, in any way that implies that you have some privileged position or advanced knowledge. Or at least, avoid it unless you're willing to do the good-faith fieldwork that would inform your words.

I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you're making it difficult. (Who was it that said, "beyond eloquence, there's rhetoric, and beyond rhetoric, there's sophistry"? Right now you're a few exits past sophistry...)
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:41 PM on April 23, 2006


That's hilarious, B_B.
posted by brundlefly at 8:43 PM on April 23, 2006


God, thank you. And I'm an atheist!

Ok, so it wasn't a religious thing on your part, but an ethnic thing. I apologize because that makes a lot of what I said false. On the other hand, it still leaves issues on the table.

I don't distinguish between "true" religions like Christianity and Islam and "fake" religions like Scientology and Wicca - I consider them equally ridiculous, and when I see people picking on the latter in alliance with the former it seems more like prejudice than it does reason to me. It looks like the strong rooting out the weak. Like, "We have a state, we have official recognition, we are the true Jewish religion, and you are a bullshit imitation."

Replace 'Christian' and 'Mormon' if you'd like, the point is I expect people to get their own houses in order, before singling out new religions for the wrong reasons. I guarantee you Judaism was a cult in the eyes of some other ancient Ur-religion it probably split off from too.

And if some Japanese people want to say they are my ethnic group (whatever it is). . . um, ok.
posted by dgaicun at 8:59 PM on April 23, 2006


I guarantee you Judaism was a cult in the eyes of some other ancient Ur-religion it probably split off from too.

Or even the religion of Ur!
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:01 PM on April 23, 2006


Sorry...around this time of night Eastern time I begin to suffer from a weakness for oyaji-gyagu.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:03 PM on April 23, 2006


By the way, fellow "atheist evangelist", The Raving Atheist has also criticized crypto-religious campaigns against so-called "fake Jews" in the past:
Cline has basically adopted the ADL's disingenuous argument that it's "deception" to assert that accepting Jesus as the Messiah is compatible with Jewish theology. But how does Cline know what the "real" Judaism is? Did God tell him? If so, did God also say which of the varied beliefs of the Reform, Conservative or Orthodox Jews are compatible with Jewish theology? They can't all be right about God's law.

There's no inherent logical conflict in a Jew accepting Christ as Messiah, and certainly no contradiction nearly as serious as those involved the concept of God generally. Jesus was a Jew, and presumably the ultimate Jew for Himself.
posted by dgaicun at 9:14 PM on April 23, 2006


Religion is a sad little joke...self-important dullards cry about it...It's fucking hilarious...Hahaha. Dance for me little faith monkeys!

Something tells me your arrogance and ignorance can rival that of any religious zealot.

We have a state, we have official recognition, we are the true Jewish religion, and you are a bullshit imitation.

The argument, if you had been paying attention, is against a deceptive conversion effort as opposed to "recognition" or "imitations."
posted by Krrrlson at 9:14 PM on April 23, 2006


Well, I went off for lunch, and the server has come back and adam has since responded ably (and a little caustically) to EB re:confucianism, but I'll kick in my (written before the server went titsup) two bits as well.

Sociologically, Confucianism functions as a religion functions.

As you probably know, I have lived in Korea for 7 of the past 10 years. (adamgreenfield also spent a number of years here.) Korea is uncontroversially described as the 'most Confucian country on the planet'. It is more than an argument of definitions, to me at least, because although around 40% of Koreans will identify as Christian and a similar percentage as Buddhist, and both still hold to varying degrees to a substrate of beliefs that are the modern manifestations of the old animist traditions, none would call themselves Confucian. Koreans, at least, do not believe in Confucian tenets so much as breathe them. This is despite the fact that no matter their professed faith, the Confucian hierarchical 'ideal' organization of society that adamgreenfield describes upthread has a massively disproportionate influence on their daily lives and the ordering of their society.

But it seems to me that it's a western and Judaeo-Christian sensibility to deny Confucianism as a "religion", and that doing so is the result of the false assumption that what is central to Judaeo-Christian religious tradition defines the boundaries by which all other traditions are measured. In short, yes it is.

It's an interesting argument, certainly, but I'd hope (in vain, no doubt) that you'd give me more credit. I don't think you go far enough in your thinking, here.

I see your point (as I understand it) that one can strip the metaphysical or supernatural claims of various religions and look at the way they shape cultures, in both intended and unintended ways; that you can examine the sociological impact they produce from that perspective, and that it can be a fruitful exercise.

But reduction ad absurdum, mmkay? If you insist on calling Confucianism a religion, you must, by my reading, call democracy a religion, or capitalism, or the American judicial system. Though it often seems that people (other than your president) regard the Bill of Rights with a near-religious awe, that does not make it a religious document, no matter how much it orders the way in which your society is run.

All of which can be rhetorically entertaining, but does nothing to clarify and much to muddy the water, in my opinion.

So, look: if Confucianism can be described as sociologically functioning as a religion functions, I'll go that far, in Korea at least. The effects are similar. But it is no more a religion than, say, democracy is. Confucianism is not a religion by its nature, it is a set of ideas about how society and human interaction should be ordered. It may be argued that religions are also sets of ideas about the ordering of societies, but they are also (or claim to be) more. Whether these claims are valid is another argument, of course.

You may take that for what it's worth, but unless you can offer similar on-the-ground experience, I cannot credit your argument with enough weight to sway my thinking much.

All of this is, of course, only my opinion, based not only on much reading (as it's clear you've also done), but a reasonably intimate knowledge of the culture.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:15 PM on April 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


...by which I mean Korean culture, at least, which, again, is modern Confucianism's home stadium, and more's the pity.

I can't speak for other countries where Confucian thinking is influential.

Also, -n.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 PM on April 23, 2006


Something tells me your arrogance and ignorance can rival that of any religious zealot.

Oh, of course, because whatever I'm selling is just as bad as theocracy and creationism, right? Meaningless, but it sure sounded like a good insult, didn't it?

a deceptive conversion effort

Uh huh, as opposed to "honest conversion efforts" involving brain-dead fairytales and snake-oil promises about "the next life"?
posted by dgaicun at 9:21 PM on April 23, 2006


Well, sure, the Elder Gods considered Judaism a cult ..

Yog soggoth! La Nyarlothep!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:22 PM on April 23, 2006


Oh, of course, because whatever I'm selling is just as bad as theocracy and creationism, right? Meaningless, but it sure sounded like a good insult, didn't it?

Seeing as how what you're "selling" seems to consist mostly of tired insults, your comment on meaninglessness is especially amusing.

Uh huh, as opposed to "honest conversion efforts" involving brain-dead fairytales and snake-oil promises about "the next life"?

Aaaaand right on cue, another great example -- what exactly does this statement communicate about my point besides the fact that you are here to insult religion?

Anyway, goodnight. Unlike yourself, I prefer to engage in masturbation *after* I log off Metatalk.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:26 PM on April 23, 2006


I do both, but that's part of the curse of playwright's penis.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:33 PM on April 23, 2006


Dinah Shore-ah would not approve-ah.

Get it together, you dang Christ killers! I thought you were all smart and shit.
posted by cedar at 9:33 PM on April 23, 2006


Look all of this started with religious insults against an innocent poster on an AskMe thread and Messianic Jews in general, any insult since then has just been counter strike. Heat, kitchen, etc.

Calling me "as ignorant as religious zealots", and then whining about insults when I call this meaningless insult 'meaningless', is 'especially amusing'.

what exactly does this statement communicate about my point besides the fact that you are here to insult religion?

It communicates that I honestly don't think there are "honest conversions" and honestly don't believe "fake jews" are "lying" any more than other religions in their conversion efforts.

Science penis 4evar.
posted by dgaicun at 9:38 PM on April 23, 2006


I find joy that - despite the bickering - most of us seem to support the Science Penis theory.
Sadly no one outside MeTa will understand if I try and add this phrase to a conversation.
posted by batgrlHG at 9:51 PM on April 23, 2006


tkolar: Question: what causes [anti-semitism]?

If you're really interested, I'd recommend Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), in which Arendt analyzes Nazi ideology.

From Chapter One:
There is hardly an aspect of contemporary history more irritating and mystifying than the fact that of all the great unsolved political questions of our century, it should have been this seemingly small and unimportant Jewish problem that had the dubious honor of setting the whole infernal machine [the Nazi movement and World War II] in motion. Such discrepancies between cause and effect outrage our common sense....

... According to Tocqueville, the French people hated aristocrats about to lose their power more than it had ever hated them before, precisely because their rapid loss of real power was not accompanied by any considerable decline in their fortunes. As long as the aristocracy held vast powers of jurisdiction, they were not only tolerated but respected. When noblemen lost their privileges, among others the privilege to exploit and oppress, the people felt them to be parasites, without any real function in the rule of the country. In other words, neither oppression nor exploitation as such is ever the main cause for resentment; wealth without visible function is much more intolerable because nobody can understand why it should be tolerated.

Antisemitism reached its climax when Jews had similarly lost their public functions and their influence, and were left with nothing but their wealth. When Hitler came to power, the German banks were already almost judenrein (and it was here that Jews had held key positions for more than a hundred years) and German Jewry as a whole, after a long steady growth in social status and numbers, was declining so rapidly that statisticians predicted its disappearance in a few decades. ... to a statistician Nazi persecution and extermination could look like a senseless acceleration of a process which would probably have come about in any case.

The same holds true for nearly all Western European countries. The Dreyfus Affair exploded not under the Second Empire, when French Jewry was at the height of its prosperity and influence, but under the Third Republic when Jews had all but vanished from important positions....
posted by russilwvong at 10:16 PM on April 23, 2006


Sorry, arrived late, but am keen to launch in here with some authority because, godammit, I have a Jewish christian name.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:29 PM on April 23, 2006


I used to be a Christian. Back then I could say you're all wrong and will never know the light of everlasting joy and truth. I miss that.

As it is, I don't even have a science penis. Just an intuition dildo.
posted by Football Bat at 10:29 PM on April 23, 2006


For the record, I hate white males who marry asians and spawn half-breeds. But, it would appear you don't, tkolar, you sick man.
posted by matkline at 10:37 PM on April 23, 2006


I have a Jewish christian name.

Funny, I have a French Jewish name.
posted by cortex at 10:38 PM on April 23, 2006


For the record, I hate white males who marry asians and spawn half-breeds.

I see. So tell me: do you therefore only semi-hate both myself and adamgreenfield, who are married to Koreans, but have not had any children?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:12 PM on April 23, 2006


adam and stav: I well take your points and give them the consideration they deserve as being both erudite and of personal experience. I'm not willing to say that I'm "wrong" because I still believe that depending upon where one stands, saying that Confucianism is a religion is reasonable. A problem for stav's argument is that no one, except in jest, refers to Democracy as a "religion". A substantial number of at least semi-authoritative sources do refer to Confucianism as a "religion". My argument partly lives by denying a western-centered point of view, and I will acknowledge that it dies by it as well: most of the sources that refer to Confucianism as a "religion" are western.

Nevertheless, the distinction here between your example of democracy and Confucianism is that, though non-metaphysical, Confucianism is a comprehensive ethos, which all these other things we might propose as "religions" are not.

So the distinction becomes concentrated in the presence or absence of the metaphysical and moral. Perhaps it is my bias against metaphysics and my (idiosyncratic) insistence that morality and ethics are the same kind of thing—two faces of the same coin—that for the purposes of understanding what religion is I don't believe that metaphysics and morality are determinative.

And I also believe that, in the end, this argument is superfluous. If two people can't agree on the definition of a thing, then they must look at whatever else is available. Like I said earlier, attaching the label "religion" to Confucianism or "Jew" to "Messianic Jews" is so much less important than comprehension. By your terms as you've presented them here, nothing I've said has been specifically wrong other than my claim that Confucianism is a religion. You each know more than I about Confucianism, but I haven't displayed any ignorance other than what you point to when you claim I mistakenly call it a "religion". I know what it is and how it functions. The very reason I choose it as my counterexample to the notion of religion as solely and essentially a metaphysically-based moral code (and not also essentially cutural) is that it is not. So obviously I knew of this quality of Confucianism when I wrote about it—it's the only reason I brought it up. Additionally, we might approach it from the other direction: if I were to agree that it in no wise is a "religion" then we are left defining it solely as a culture. But is it solely a culture? If I were to refer to Confucianism as nothing more or less than a "culture" would I be assured that no true authority would challenge that assertion?

So, to sum up: my argument for the correctness of my inclusion of Confucianism as a "religion" is that it is more like other things we call "religions" than it is not. But that is relatively trivial. My argument defending myself from the deeper sense in which both of you clearly think I am wrong—that is, that I'm ignorant—is that I am not ignorant, not essentially. Is it not possible that each of you were so quick to contradict me because you were responding to the typical ignorant Western view that will call Confucianism a "religion" in profound ignorance? I did not need to be told by either of you what Confucianism is.

An interesting quality of this thread is the heavily predominance of people claiming authority on a subject and denying that of others' entirely. There is a proprietariness here that is disturbing. Are any of us qualified to define these terms? What authority would we agree upon to determine this?

We can assert specific things about Confucianism and "Messianic Judaism" and they are testable. We can assert what Confucianism and "Messianic Judaism" are but how can those things be tested? The difficulty in both this little argument and the larger argument that spawned it are these very abstract, qualitative assertions.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:19 PM on April 23, 2006


matkline wrote...
For the record, I hate white males who marry asians and spawn half-breeds. But, it would appear you don't, tkolar, you sick man.

I like to believe I make up for that by storing my Guatemalan nephew in a locker when he's not in use.

russilwvong wrote...
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

Thanks for the reference. The first paragraph sums up my true feelings on the matter quite well.

If you've got any references on earlier periods I'm interested.

Regards,

-Tim
posted by tkolar at 11:25 PM on April 23, 2006


200+ comments in this thread?... wait, TWO HUNDREND PLUS comments in this thread?
jesus christ on a pogo stick! Someone was lamenting the lack of old fashion comment wars on MeTa recently.
I hope it was raining and miserable where all y'all where today becasue this would be a poor excuse to miss out on going outside and, you know, enjoying yourself.
Bah... sorry, grumpy rant.
posted by edgeways at 11:27 PM on April 23, 2006


Oi vey.

posted by matkline For the record, I hate white males who marry asians and spawn half-breeds.

What about white males who date and plan to marry their Asian girlfriends? Does this mean you only semi-partially hate me?
posted by fandango_matt at 11:35 PM on April 23, 2006


My argument defending myself from the deeper sense in which both of you clearly think I am wrong—that is, that I'm ignorant—is that I am not ignorant, not essentially. Is it not possible that each of you were so quick to contradict me because you were responding to the typical ignorant Western view that will call Confucianism a "religion" in profound ignorance? I did not need to be told by either of you what Confucianism is.

Well, I did ask you to offer up your Confucian Street Cred (heh), if you had some to offer, rather than saying outright that you were just wrong. And I don't discount book-larnin', either. I was careful not to do so, if you read what I said.

If you read what I said, too, you'll notice that I don't think you are wrong, entirely. I'm just accusing of you of not following your thinking through completely (which probably rankles the living hell out of you, knowing you to what little extent I do).

A problem for stav's argument is that no one, except in jest, refers to Democracy as a "religion".

Precisely. That was my point. It's silly. I think you may have missed the thrust of my argument, there.

Regardless. I think that it's possible that if we were in the same room talking this through, we'd end up on the same page, or near enough to it that we could zero in on where we differ and let it go at that. Text is too clumsy for this kind of nuanced discussion, and I haven't got the energy, to be honest.

Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:42 PM on April 23, 2006


For the record, I hate white males who marry asians and spawn half-breeds.

And how do you feel about the spawn?
posted by kechi at 12:14 AM on April 24, 2006


dgaicun :
"bugbread, oh, I'm sorry, it's much more rational to take arguments
about angels on pinheads seriously."


No, that would be pretty stupid, but so far only you and dydecker are talking about angels on pinheads. Everyone else is talking about definitions of terms. Someone can say that a creature with the upper half of a woman and the lower half of a fish is called a "mermaid", even though they don't exist. And someone else can say "It's a minotaur". And they can disagree and debate whether half-fish, half-person is mermaid or minotaur. Popping in to say "you're all automatically wrong because mermaids don't exist" indicates a lack of comprehension of what's being discussed in the first place.

Ethereal Bligh writes "A problem for stav's argument is that no one, except in jest, refers to Democracy as a 'religion'."

And a problem for me with your argument is that nobody except Westerners refer to Confucianism as a religion, and, in my experience, the more a person knows about Confucianism, the less likely he/she has been to call Confucianism a religion. Basically, right now, you're the big exception, because you're the first westerner I've ever met who actually knew something about Confucianism and yet called it a religion.

Ethereal Bligh writes "Nevertheless, the distinction here between your example of democracy and Confucianism is that, though non-metaphysical, Confucianism is a comprehensive ethos"

This may be the problem. The west generally doesn't have a lot of comprehensive ethos, so when it gets one, it doesn't know how to categorize it, and it grabs the nearest convenient name, which is religion. Confucianism is an ethos, and should be called as such. Calling it a religion because of lack of experience is like calling a dog a cat because you were raised on the Galapagos islands and you've only ever seen cats before.

Ethereal Bligh writes "Perhaps it is my bias against metaphysics and my (idiosyncratic) insistence that morality and ethics are the same kind of thing—two faces of the same coin—that for the purposes of understanding what religion is I don't believe that metaphysics and morality are determinative."

And I think that's part of it. Nothing personal, but while I think your position may have merit in day to day life, it clouds your judgement when it comes to discussions of terminology. It's like dgaicun, who disagrees so vehemently with religion that he can't see that whether something is true or false has no bearing on whether it's defined correctly.

Ethereal Bligh writes "By your terms as you've presented them here, nothing I've said has been specifically wrong other than my claim that Confucianism is a religion."

Well, yeah, it stuck out. If someone wrote a great (and serious) treatise on how Hitler was an asshole, and mentioned his invasion of Kansas in part of it, people are going to jump all over the Kansas part. That doesn't mean that the central thesis is wrong, and you shouldn't take someone's disagreement with that point to indicate that they disagree overall.
posted by Bugbread at 3:06 AM on April 24, 2006


For the record, I hate white males who marry asians and spawn half-breeds.

Is this a joke? If it is, it's not even on the same planet as funny. If it's not - well, there's irony in your calling anyone else "sick". In either case, I won't be reading any of your novels.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:25 AM on April 24, 2006


I thought it was funny.

And Bugbread did you miss this comment? Or this one?

Some of my comments about Astro Zombie were wrong. But there is more to this issue than mermaid/minotaur type definitional disputes. And no I don't distinguish between "real Christians" and evil, deceptive "fake Christians", as there is no higher level reality I can appeal to decide who "deserves" the label for themselves and who doesn't. To me that strongly looks like a religious dispute.
posted by dgaicun at 4:37 AM on April 24, 2006


Adam, bugbread, and stav: thanks, by the way, for the very thoughtful and respectful comments.

The problem I'm having here is that to split hairs about what exactly is and isn't a "religion" is exactly to push the term into territory where it becomes less and less useful. But I've pretty much already have said this, and it's not made much of an impression on you. So I'll try a different tack.

While I've been reading (a novel) in the interim of this last exchange, at some point or another thinking about this discussion something very similar came to mind, and I'm hoping that this comparable example will be illuminating.

I trust that all of us here are aware that the "glass flows in old windowpanes" is untrue folklore of a sort. I used to be very active on alt.folklore.urban (for those not familiar with the newsgroup, it's where snopes came from) and the argument about glass keeps springing up like weeds no matter how many times it's cut back. I've discussed it there and elsewhere extensively. And I believe that the chief culprit of why this argument is so pernicious and persistant, aside from the most obvious reasons (someone's teacher told them this; it's a tasty bit of secret bit of supposed knowledge of a sort), is that it so often mutates to the semantic argument of whether or not glass is a liquid.

You can say to someone that any checking with a real authority will reveal that the glass hasn't "flowed" in old cathedral windows; that until modern times glass was not cast at a uniform thickness, it was spun and thus varied in thickness (are you going to put the thick side at the top or bottom when you place the glass in the window?); that ancient glassware approaching 2000 years old is not uncommon and if cathedral glass would deform so much in 500 years how can a 2000 piece have retained its form at all?; and a host of other things...and the response quite often is, "well, that may be the case, but glass is still a liquid."

So is glass a liquid or not? As it happens, liquid as a technical term is, in the real world, in the most rigorous science of physics, not nearly so clearly defined as we were taught in school. But I've seen with my own eyes a handbook of physics which describes glass as a "liquid" with "very high viscosity". So that settles that particular argument. Or does it?

Turns out that materials scientists, for whom these terms have extremely relevant meaning, does not see glass as a "liquid", but very specifically terms it an "amorphous solid" as distinct from a liquid. Furthermore, applying the term "viscosity" to glass isn't very helpful because if it is "viscous" the quantification of that viscosity places it alongside a number of other things that no one is very eager to claim as a "liquid".

My point here is this: whether glass is a liquid or not is a red herring. Arguing that point doesn't, er, clarify...it obscures. It obstructs. Like many terms in everyday usage that are appropriated for science or other very technical things, the meaning of the word is elusive. It's useful as a quick gloss on something, but the more you push it, the messier it gets. And the irony here is that defining this term is not crucial to our enterprise—we are interested in such-and-such properties of glass, and questions about those properties have ready (and no-so-ready) answers. What people are really interested in answering when discussing glass in this context is whether it flows and how much it flows if it does. You don't need to define "liquid" to answer those questions.

However, while it is true that everyone is interested in knowing whether glass flows, and how much, a big part of the attraction for people to this in the first place is the commonsensical irony that something that seems in everyday life to be self-evidently a solid might in fact be a liquid. If we give that up, it's not nearly so fun. But it's worth pondering this: what are the motivations of those who are determined to argue, one way or the other, that glass is or is not a "liquid"? It's not to settle an argument about how it behaves...we have quantitative answers to those questions.

Arguments about terminology are quite often like this. They are, in a deeper sense, often about something entirely different from what they appear to be about. Most often, they're just collisions of opposing investments of emotion.

Moving back to our argument and with the preceding in mind, I'll admit that Confucianism is not a religion. Yet I'll still assert that it is. For some descriptive purposes it is, and for other descriptive purposes it is not. What is relevant here, then, are the implicit purposes of our discussion. What quality are we chiefly interested in? For me, that it is a comprehensive ethos that is self-evidently a culture seemed a counterexample to the implicit claim that Judaism is unique in that regard.

Anyway, I do think that our argument has some of the character of kyradaemon's SCIENCE PENIS farce because there probably isn't any very large disagreement among us that goes beyond a conflict of preferences of terminology, and we all—certainly myself being as I'm writing this now—should have kept our eyes on the ball and asked ourselves whether this argument is productive.

And I do think this parallels the "Messianic Jews" argument and that it's useful to draw attention to the parallel. There is little profit in the narrow argument of whether someone who calls themselves a "Messianic Jew" is a "Jew" when what most everyone is really concerned with is what it means to be a self-described "Jew" and a self-described "Messianic Jew". We can surely demonstrate how they are two very different things, incontrovertibly. We can surely make supportable statements about what most Jews think is most important about being Jewish and then measure "Messianic Judaism" by that standard. If we are of that number or in agreement with them, we can surely express our dislike of the appropriation of the term "Judaism" and explain why. What is not helpful is to assert a Platonic definition for "Judaism" that we cannot prove; nor assert a personal sovereignty over the use of the term which we deny others and which we are unable to incontrovertibly justify. We wouldn't be having this discussion if it were incontrovertible.

I've not really weighed in on the topic of this thread, but as an example of my method I'll quickly explain it. I am very much not comfortable with the term "Messianic Judaism" or the related appropriation of jewishness, but my rule-of-thumb is to accept the terminology by which people self-identify if I believe their self-identification is in good faith and not dishonest...or even if it is plausibly in good faith and not dishonest.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:10 AM on April 24, 2006


I think your forgetting to look at the function of Messianic Christianity: To convert Jews. It's an offshoot of an earlier evangelical movement that was notably unsuccessful. It employs people of Jewish ancestry in it's so-called "front-line" positions -- the positions that actively evangelize -- although, reportedly, a majoriy of members are, in fact, people who came to groups like Jews for Jesus through Christianity. There's an inherent duplicity in this, and even many Christians see this duplicity as deliberate -- The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington has denounced Messianic Jews for "deceptive proselytizing efforts," while The Board of Governors of The Long Island Council of Churches criticized such groups for "subterfuge and dishonesty" inherent in the "mixing [of] religious symbols in ways which distort their essential meaning."

So, you understand, Jewish anger against Jews for Jesus and othert Messianic Groups is not simply one of self-definition, and they're not simply a competing group of fairy tale enthusiasts who piss Jews off becasue they find their fairy tales incompatable. The stated purpose of Messianic Judaism is the conversion of Jews to Christianity, they are an offshoot of an earlier, explicitly Christian evangelical movement, they are primarily composed of Christians, and they use deceptive methods in order to seek converts. I don't believe their activities are in good faith. I believe they are Christians who have decided it is so important to convert those pesky Jews to Christianity that they'll don't mind fudging a little to succeed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:26 AM on April 24, 2006


They'll don't mind? Sometimes I don't even know what I'm talking about.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:32 AM on April 24, 2006


If you insist on calling Confucianism a religion, you must, by my reading, call democracy a religion, or capitalism, or the American judicial system.

This was my reaction as well, and to say "But people do call Confucianism a religion" isn't much of a response, because (as has been pointed out) those people almost uniformly know little or nothing about Confucianism. If you have any coherent standard for defining "religion," Confucianism isn't one.

But EB has (I think) acknowledged that. And I must say that, though my first reaction to seeing several screensful of prose was a sinking feeling and a reluctance to wade in, I found the discussion of glass, "liquid," and religion readable and genuinely enlightening. I will try to remember it and ask myself "Are we arguing about whether glass is a liquid?" next time I find myself in one of these SCIENCE PENIS slugfests.

And, um, there are certain people it's not worth trying to argue with, folks. Certain people combine belligerence, bad temper, and self-righteousness in a toxic mix that produces only increasing confusion and hostility if engaged with. This has been an interesting and often hilarious discussion; I just wish a certain user had either stayed away or been left to sputter in isolation. I name no names.
posted by languagehat at 5:40 AM on April 24, 2006


On non-preview: Astro Zombie is right, and reminds me I had meant to mention that EB's criterion of "their self-identification is in good faith and not dishonest" is not met in this case.
posted by languagehat at 5:42 AM on April 24, 2006


Fandango Matt: lol @ oi!!! vey.
posted by Mid at 6:07 AM on April 24, 2006


dgaicun : "And Bugbread did you miss this comment? Or this one?"

Yeah, sorry. I typed my response to you when MeFi was down, and then posted it when I woke up, so there were a few comments that I missed, and I apologize.

dgaicun : "And no I don't distinguish between 'real Christians' and evil, deceptive 'fake Christians', as there is no higher level reality I can appeal to decide who 'deserves' the label for themselves and who doesn't. To me that strongly looks like a religious dispute."

In principle, I completely agree. However, in certain cases, I think there is some ability to distinguish.

For example, let's say Alice calls herself a Christian, believing in Jesus who Died on the Cross for Us.
Let's say Bob calls himself a Christian, believing in Jesus who Came from Alpha Centauri in his UFO to Save Us.
Let's say Carl calls himself a Christian, believing in Buddha who Sacrificed Himself to feed a Baby Tiger.

Between Alice and Bob, I won't particularly hold a strong position. Sure, Alice is definitely what is more conventionally called a Christian, but there's no higher level reality I can appeal to to decide which is right. However, with Carl, it's a lot more clear. Part of the definition of Christian is a belief in or related to Christ. If Carl's belief system doesn't at all touch on Christ (i.e. there is not "Buddha is Christ", or "Buddha took a summer vacation to Nazareth and walked across a pond" or the like), then he's not a Christian, even if he calls himself one.

In this case, from a total layman's perspective, it seems that there are camps calling themselves Jews who believe they are Jews, and that Judaism means X. There are people calling themselves Jews who believe they are Jews, and that Judaism means Y. Between those two camps, it's futile to determine the "real" Jews. But it also appears there are people calling themselves Jews, who believe they are Christians, and that calling themselves Jews is a good way to get Jews to convert to Christianity. In that case, I wouldn't consider them Jews, and don't personally see a need for there to be a higher level reality to refer to to make the decision, as it's definitional.

EB,

Ok, understood. I would offer you the plain advice, though, that if your definition of a word is most often supported by people who know little of the subject, and rejected by people who know much of the subject, it is best avoided for efficiency's sake. You may in fact be right about your definition, but unless what you want to discuss is that definition itself, you're just asking for a big digression away from your central point. And lord knows, I'm often guilty of it enough to know.

Matkline,

Well, I've known people on MeFi that have disliked me, but it's good to know that there's someone here who goes as far as to hate me. I'm just surprised it's about my wife and kid, and not my commenting style.
posted by Bugbread at 6:11 AM on April 24, 2006


Just how many Jewish-Asians are there in this thread, anyway?
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 6:21 AM on April 24, 2006


shnoz-gobblin : "Just how many Jewish-Asians are there in this thread, anyway?"

ParisParamus is a Korean girl, so that's one for sure.
posted by Bugbread at 6:28 AM on April 24, 2006


Somehow I suspected...
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 6:30 AM on April 24, 2006


Look, I'm a strong believer in the reality principle. In my experience, reality trumps semantics each and every time. So we can argue all day about whether or not some body of practice meets some of the criteria of religiosity, and as to whether or not those criteria display the necessary centrality...but it matters, and matters a lot, that strikingly few of the people living in cultures we impose the label "Confucian" on would think of this particular body of practice in such terms.

There are - literally - almost two billion people out there whose daily lives and choices tend to refute any pompous armchair theorizing on the subject, and I'm of the view that it's their experience that needs to be weighted rather more heavily. bugbread says it best, here: that Confucianism is a religion is a point of view most often advanced by the ignorant, and there is a reason for this high degree of correlation.

Circling back around to the original original point, I think we've agreed that so-called Messianic Judaism is experientially and functionally a stalking horse, a screen for bad-faith efforts to convert Jews to a practice which is not Jewish by any reasonable definition. So it presents us with the same pattern: an assertion about a system or practice of belief made by people external to that practice, not corresponding with reality as it is experienced by the folks with boots on the ground.

What's lost in all the "science penis" cleverness is that, in either case we're discussing here, one "side" really does have a superior claim on truth, because it is their daily reality and they have no obvious incentive to relate their experience of that reality falsely.

One might want to argue otherwise, but in the end the observed facts simply don't support that reading. And I'm not so charitable as some other folks here, because I think we already have a useful word for those whose arguments are not supported by consistent, good-faith, empirical investigation: "wrong."
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:48 AM on April 24, 2006



For the record, I hate white males who marry asians and spawn half-breeds.


And the half-breeds? Are we to be despised, or just pitied? And if a white male dates one of us, is that better or worse?

I assume you were joking. Sadly, a lot of people actually think like that.
posted by Marit at 7:05 AM on April 24, 2006


Oh, and for the record: you needn't worry about my wife and I spawning half- or any other sort of breed. We've elected to remain...childfree! ; . )
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:14 AM on April 24, 2006


"I love it when non-Jews tell me what rights I have as a Jew in regards to defining myself, and, collectively, what rights we have as a group to define ourselves."

We're the ones that have to deal with all you damn Jews everywhere. I was at Dom's Bakery the other day, and this Orthodox Jew (he had the beard and curls) bought all the damn onion bagels right in front of me. Like, over four dozen! And asked for a deal on 'em! I had to get a sesame bagel instead. (This really happened). Damn Jews.

"The Board of Governors of The Long Island Council of Churches criticized such groups for "subterfuge and dishonesty""

Long Island is criticising Jews for Jesus for 'subterfuge and dishonesty'? It seems even the messianic can't escape the pernicious stereotypes of the faith...
posted by klangklangston at 7:16 AM on April 24, 2006


Look, I'm a strong believer in the reality principle. In my experience, reality trumps semantics each and every time.

Yes, but then again, the reality which you perceive is mediated by semantics, language, and power. This is a moot point until we start giving money, or detaining, individuals and groups of individuals based on what semantics says they are. Experience provides a powerful warrant for authority to claim "reality," but it is only one of many in play.
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:23 AM on April 24, 2006


[T]he reality which you perceive is mediated by semantics, language, and power.

Sure, of course, never meant to imply otherwise. If for no other reason than the fact that "reality" has a nasty habit of meaning jackboots...and not, at all, just for Jews.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:26 AM on April 24, 2006


klangklangston, you should know by know not to get between a Jew and his bagels.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:32 AM on April 24, 2006


I really don't get what half-breed spawns or linking to a picture of tkolar* has to do with anything, other than increase this thread's already high level of personal rancor and enmity.
Anyone care to spell it out for me?

*And I apologize for piling on with my hypocrite link.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:40 AM on April 24, 2006


klangklangston : "I was at Dom's Bakery the other day, and this Orthodox Jew (he had the beard and curls) bought all the damn onion bagels right in front of me. Like, over four dozen! And asked for a deal on 'em! I had to get a sesame bagel instead."

So, to try this from the top, let's start with some facts we can probably all agree on:

1) Klangklangston sometimes wants onion bagels.
2) An orthodox jew bought all the damn onion bagels right in front of him.
3) This simply cannot be a coincidence.

Question: what causes this phenomenon?
posted by Bugbread at 7:46 AM on April 24, 2006


Alvy Ampersand : "Anyone care to spell it out for me?"

I'm guessing it was just a jab-for-a-jab, like "Hey, tkolar, how's it feel to be on the receiving end of the hate stick?"

That's just a guess, though.
posted by Bugbread at 7:48 AM on April 24, 2006


If you replace the "sometimes" with "often," bugbread, your list will be remarkably accurate.
(Other factors— The best place to get fresh bagels, 24 hours a day, is just down the street from a Chabad House. The bakery is run by Koreans. FULL CIRCLE!)
posted by klangklangston at 7:53 AM on April 24, 2006


2.5) Orthodox Jew wants discounted price = PROFIT!
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 7:55 AM on April 24, 2006


I'm guessing it was just a jab-for-a-jab, like "Hey, tkolar, how's it feel to be on the receiving end of the hate stick?"

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the "hate" was meant ironically, and matkline was showing support for tkolar.

Tkolar was called out for acting like a bigot (intentionally or not), he finally stood down (in his own way) and disclaimed any prejudicial intentions.

Matkline, never believing that tkloar was indeed a bigot and was simply a victim of his own fast fingers, adopted the persona that could not be mistaken as anything but a bigot, while presenting photographic evidence that tkolar is really a culturally well-adjusted guy.

Tkolar thanked him, adding another piece of photographic evidence and a face-savingly appropriate comment.

Beware the perils of irony.
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:59 AM on April 24, 2006


"2.5) Orthodox Jew wants discounted price = PROFIT!"

I know, I was all thinking "Be a little more Jewey, Jew." But that's because my thoughts turn ugly when someone deprives me of onion bagels. And c'mon, if he was having a party or something, maybe he should have gotten a mix of flavors?
posted by klangklangston at 8:03 AM on April 24, 2006


Well, then, I think we can all agree that we can establish the true meterstick of Judaism from "likelihood of buying klangklangston's onion bagels". All that's left is the rote work of sending members from each self-proclaimed Judaic group in front of klangklangston, and seeing which ones buy his bagels, and which don't.
posted by Bugbread at 8:05 AM on April 24, 2006


klangklangston : "if he was having a party or something, maybe he should have gotten a mix of flavors?"

Yeah, that would go over really well at the "Onion Bagel Rave".
posted by Bugbread at 8:05 AM on April 24, 2006


tkloar's all right. He's just hot tempered. He must be Irish!

By the way, I am Irish-American. That's right, an Irish-American Jew. Wanna make something of it?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:30 AM on April 24, 2006


whoops. Small tags OFF.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:31 AM on April 24, 2006


Wha? You're an Irish-American Jewish playwright in Omaha, Astro Zombie?

and I thought "Twins, Max" was funny, adamgreenfield. I can even hear that actor's voice.
posted by cgc373 at 9:47 AM on April 24, 2006


I live in Minneapolis.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:58 AM on April 24, 2006


But I lived in Omaha for 6 years.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:59 AM on April 24, 2006


And I was in New Orleans up until about seven months ago.

Does anybody read the comments down here?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:07 AM on April 24, 2006


Does anybody read the comments down here?

No.
posted by popechunk at 10:13 AM on April 24, 2006


no
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:13 AM on April 24, 2006


See?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:14 AM on April 24, 2006


Sorry for the geography mix-up, Astro. I just saw you in the theater thread here and I guess kept you there. (In Omaha, I mean. Not in the thread.)
posted by cgc373 at 10:26 AM on April 24, 2006


I was put in a thread for a few hours once for misbehavior. It was actually surprisingly comfortable, in a very antisceptic way, like the waiting room for a hospital. There was a teevee. I spent the time watching old road runner cartoons. It wasn't too bad, but I learned my lesson and wouldn't want to have to repeat the experience.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:37 AM on April 24, 2006


Why the question "who's Jewish" is unavoidably conflated with the question of Zionism.

We do this kind of thread so well! But they're all just practice for the one I'm waiting for, the one between childfree vegetarian uncircumcized religious fat people and thin circumcized atheist meat-eating breeders. After that one happens the site will have served its purpose and can shut down. Only the left-behinds will continue to post.
posted by jfuller at 11:36 AM on April 24, 2006


Which side will declaw their cats?
posted by cortex at 11:45 AM on April 24, 2006


how much for the guatemalan in the locker?
posted by quonsar at 12:12 PM on April 24, 2006


Well, at this point, I think she has lost interest and doesn't know what to believe...
posted by ParisParamus at 12:18 PM on April 24, 2006


Wow...I'm jumping in from here-ish so forgive/ignore me if I'm just re-hashing what's already said, but has anybody mentioned that the arrival of Jesus Christ did not satisfy the literal conditions of the covenant as stated in the Torah (you know, no Elijah stoppin by the Seder, no 'dead walking around with the living')?

When the news of Jesus' virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, et cetera reached Judea (concept, not a real place), some Jews said "Good enough." Some said "Better!" and still others cried, "Bullshit!" All I know now is that the people who decided Yeshua was the messiah stopped calling themselves Jews soon after (around the time they started eating pork and wearing blended fabrics). Straight Judaism is a pretty strict religion. It evolves slower than dirt and it's often not pretty, and very few people would say that those who believe that the messiah came and left already could claim to be Jewish (even if they stopped eating traif and through away their poly-cotton blends).

Also, wow, what a great flamewar.
posted by elr at 12:48 PM on April 24, 2006


> Which side will declaw their cats?

That will be nofundy and bevets, playing tag-team.


> Also, wow, what a great flamewar.

Just to prove I'm Jewish, I haven't entirely given up on שבתאי צבי

posted by jfuller at 1:00 PM on April 24, 2006


Even after he covnerted to Islam?

Actually, there was a Shabbatian movement called The Frankists, who, inspired by the lead of Mr. Tzvi, converted en masse to Christianity, while privately maintaining their Jewish practices. Which, in their case, reportedly included secret mass orgies. Supposedly, many of the early founders of the Reform movement in Germany were secretly Frankists, which boggles the mind, because, you know, that's a lot of secrets to keep all at once.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:39 PM on April 24, 2006


"you know, no Elijah stoppin by the Seder, no 'dead walking around with the living'"
All depends on your mythology, don't it? Jesus was dead and walked with the living. Then he flew.
posted by klangklangston at 2:12 PM on April 24, 2006


I just wish a certain user had either stayed away or been left to sputter in isolation.

I love you too, my passive-aggressive linguist chum. Now back to my low IQ sputterings. . .

The stated purpose of Messianic Judaism is the conversion of Jews to Christianity, they are an offshoot of an earlier, explicitly Christian evangelical movement, they are primarily composed of Christians, and they use deceptive methods in order to seek converts. I don't believe their activities are in good faith. I believe they are Christians who have decided it is so important to convert those pesky Jews to Christianity that they'll don't mind fudging a little to succeed.

Again we go back to this distinction which I do not accept between "honest" religions/conversions and "dishonest" religions/conversions. In your mind telling people they get to dance with Jesus at the candyrock mountain "in the next life" is "honest", while melding the symbols of certain religions to do the same thing is "dishonest". Nonsense. Saying their beliefs are "in bad faith" is not plausible, charitable, or consistent with religious psychology. Of course their dogmas are streamlined to maximize confusion to convert Jews. . . that's how all religious memes work. I will provide plenty of psych references that self-deception is a major element of traditional religion - people convince themselves that they believe in fire and brimstone, but really these memes evolved because they were most effective at scaring (i.e. tricking/manipulating) people into a certain religion - and they know exactly when and how to apply these ideas for the noobs too. Welcome to religion: built of lies.

And for the record I consider universalist religions slightly less odious than ethnocentric ones, so I don't understand and can't join in any special outrage over the "tragedy" of people trying to convert Jews. I try to convert religious Jews too, to ditch ancient superstitions and suckle at the science penis.
posted by dgaicun at 2:25 PM on April 24, 2006


Well, if you don't accept the distinction, I guess that settles it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:27 PM on April 24, 2006


Suckle at the science penis. That was actually quite funny.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:30 PM on April 24, 2006


Over 200 comments -- have we solved all of the religious issues yet? We have?

Good. Now, I'd like to talk about me.
posted by davejay at 2:48 PM on April 24, 2006


dgaicun : "I will provide plenty of psych references that self-deception is a major element of traditional religion"

Right. And the big difference here is that we aren't talking about self-deception, but other-deception. And we aren't talking about unintentional other-deception, but intentional other-deception. If you don't believe that intentionally deceiving others and unintentionally deceiving yourself are different, then I'm going to have a hard time believing you in general, because your perceptions of truth/falsity and deception/honesty would preclude me from considering your comments as being in good faith (in general, not just in relation to this subject).
posted by Bugbread at 2:55 PM on April 24, 2006


Jews don't come here for the hunting, do they?
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 3:00 PM on April 24, 2006


Personally, my favorite of Tzvi's followers are the Shabbatian Muslims, who converted to Islam right along with him when he was given the options of 1) converting, or 2) dying. Now that's a Messiah! Practical, fluid, and sensible.

Although Jacob Frank did throw better orgies.
posted by kyrademon at 3:05 PM on April 24, 2006


Messianic Penis. Second Coming. I'm too lazy to actually make the joke.
posted by Dunwitty at 3:09 PM on April 24, 2006


If you don't believe that intentionally deceiving others and unintentionally deceiving yourself are different

Of course I do - I reject that's what's happening. Religious people don't see themselves as liars, even though what they are telling people are in fact lies, and it's simply not plausible at all that Messianic blah blahs are blah blah.
posted by dgaicun at 3:22 PM on April 24, 2006


dgaicun : "Religious people don't see themselves as liars, even though what they are telling people are in fact lies"

Exactly. They have deceived themselves, and thus actually believe what they are saying. We're comparing them, here, to people who do not believe what they are saying. Whether or not what they are saying is true or untrue is a completely ancillary point.
posted by Bugbread at 3:26 PM on April 24, 2006


people who do not believe what they are saying

And the evidence for this is . . .
posted by dgaicun at 3:32 PM on April 24, 2006


dgaicun : "And the evidence for this is . . ."

I'm not going to vouch for veracity. I'm not arguing that they are or aren't real Jews. I'm just saying that the argument itself does have possible cases where a "correct" answer can be determined (which is what I gather you were saying was impossible). If you meant that in this particular case, it couldn't be determined, because of lack of evidence, then I apologize, and I've been misreading you.

If the following is true (I don't know if it is or not), it would serve as evidence that the Jews for Jesus do not believe what they are saying (in relation to their being Jews):

Astro Zombie : "The stated purpose of Messianic Judaism is the conversion of Jews to Christianity"

But, like I say, my truck is not with whether or not the Jews for Jesus are or aren't Jews, so much as with the idea that, since religion is itself incorrect, any definitional statements regarding it are therefore unjudgeable.
posted by Bugbread at 3:39 PM on April 24, 2006


> Religious people don't see themselves as liars, even though what they are telling
> people are in fact lies


Oah yas. Like I, Rigoberta Menchu it may be factually false but that's of no importance because it reveals essentiial moral truth.
posted by jfuller at 3:39 PM on April 24, 2006


And the evidence for this is . . .

Actually, here's a better route: I've already seen the "evidence" presented for why those perfidious Messianic Jews are phony liars, and I think the arguments are all half-baked quasi-religious, quasi-ethnocentric hogwash. Oh noes, converting teh Jews!

See The Raving Atheist links above, who shares my thoughts.
posted by dgaicun at 3:52 PM on April 24, 2006


dgaicun : "I've already seen the 'evidence' presented for why those perfidious Messianic Jews are phony liars, and I think the arguments are all half-baked quasi-religious, quasi-ethnocentric hogwash."

Aw, man, if you'd just said that at the start, we never would have had this argucussion!
posted by Bugbread at 3:58 PM on April 24, 2006


To Jews,
My heart cried out perfidious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:14 PM on April 24, 2006


Everytime I read this post it gets funnier:

"Yes, it's terrible that they target easily deceived COLLEGE students, and gullible elderly people who've had an entire LIFETIME to analyze the tenets of their religion. Presumably if the JFJ's weren't cowards, they'd do what the "real" Jews do: engage in honest, scholarly persuasion on a level playing field with cynical, hard-bitten toddlers just out of their cribs."
posted by dgaicun at 4:34 PM on April 24, 2006


Metafilter: honest, scholarly persuasion on a level playing field with cynical, hard-bitten toddlers just out of their cribs
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:37 PM on April 24, 2006


Man, that's one devastating internet-based attack on the religions of man.
posted by Mid at 5:05 PM on April 24, 2006


If there's one thing we love here on MetaFilter, it's sophomoric attacks on religion.
posted by languagehat at 5:20 PM on April 24, 2006


What we need around here is more people breaking spontaneously into song.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:32 PM on April 24, 2006


♪♫♪ "They got the mustard oooooout!" ♫♪♫
posted by Gator at 6:39 PM on April 24, 2006


sciencepenis
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:28 PM on April 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Anyone else here hate davejay?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:19 PM on April 24, 2006


I'm gonna-gonna-gonna get you drunk, get you love drunk off my science penis.
posted by Snyder at 12:29 AM on April 25, 2006


metatalk threads never die, they just peter out.
posted by jfuller at 4:17 AM on April 25, 2006


You put that peter back in where it belongs, right now!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:19 AM on April 25, 2006


I'm trying to convert my jew into one that runs on ethanol.
posted by underer at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2006


"(In fact, the behavior very likely extends out of the technical fields and into any profession where mastery of some form of minutiae can reasonably be considered an advantage rather than a personality flaw.)"

Well it exists in law, but since in these parts, most attorneys are Jewish, I probably shouldn't point that out...
posted by ParisParamus at 11:39 AM on April 25, 2006


Why are atheists so evangelical? I’ve met very few religious people who were as eager to convert me as the average atheist seems to be. I mean, the Christians are trying to save me from eternal damnation. Why be so strident when all you’re trying to save me from are my own so-called fantasies that God exists?
posted by gokart4xmas at 12:02 PM on April 25, 2006


Why are atheists so evangelical? I’ve met very few religious people who were as eager to convert me as the average atheist seems to be.

I've met a few evangelical Christians. I've met a few evangelical athiests. *shrug*

Many athiests feel strongly about religion; their investment in the beliefs of those around them is generally more social and political—a reaction to the effect they perceive religious beliefs to have on society and life, and upon them as a result—but it comes to the same thing: they disagree with a large body of people, and wish to mitigate that body's influence on their life.

That a Christian is concerned for what they perceive to be my soul is on the one hand more touching and on the other more invasive than an athiest's concern for those societal norms which he sees organized religion as threatening. But it's a wash, really; if you're religious, you're going to notice the athiests when they are being pushy, and vice versa—we tend not to be as attentive to the aggressive behavior of those groups with which we agree, I think.
posted by cortex at 12:32 PM on April 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why are atheists so evangelical?

I reckon it's at least in part because God People kill each other all the goddamn time (and always have) over whose god has a bigger dick, and although it at least helps take more of them out of the gene pool, which is a plus, it keeps the whole species mired in blood and stupidity, which isn't, and your average atheist/agnostic/pantheist/whatever thinks that's just wrong. Finding somewhere to stand between the human sewers despair and outrage can be challenging.

Inflammatory, yeah, but I actually tend to think this is so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:42 PM on April 25, 2006


Why are atheists so evangelical?

Anyone who argues that lies are ok, as long as they're not hurting anyone is an authoritarian at heart (Strauss anyone?). Of course that's even assuming the lies aren't hurting anyone, but the bottom line is that lies are always detrimental to basic human dignity and freedom, and religious lies in particular.

The truly annoying people are those so panicked and discomfited by everything outside the status quo that they lump together everyone trying to "rock the boat" regardless of the merits of their actual positions.

It's the common American mental disease of "middle-groundism", for example Dilbert's Scott Adams showing he's "above it all" by lumping Intelligent Design Creationists and evolution defenders into the same category of annoying proselytizers. They're both very adamant you see and that's prima facie a Bad Thing, and to the average American dullard the merits of the various claims are besides the point, 1) because everyone already knows that when two extremes are being argued, the truth can never be entirely with one side or the other, but is always somewhere approximately in the exact center (that's how truth works doncha' know?), and 2) even if it wasn't, the inherent value of everyone compromising and just agreeing to disagree (so no one has to experience the unbearable personal discomfort of seeing people fight) is far greater than the actual content or consequences of what's being argued.

Of course this is a northern European affliction in general, and we see a similar thing in Denmark, when the local values of liberalism clash with the reactionary values of Muslim immigrants - rather than defend the superiority of liberalism, the polity just meets them in the middle, to avoid uncomfortable conflict. Just like the religious Right, I'm getting criticized for standing up against, they aren't uncomfortable defending their opposing values. The longterm effects on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, womens' rights, press and religious freedom, etc, are bleak indeed. But the important thing is that the strife of pesky disagreement was kept to the lowest possible level during the intervening years of civilizational collapse . . .
posted by dgaicun at 5:45 PM on April 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think the whole "God People kill eachother" is an example of correlation, not causation (If people kill eachother, and people are religious, then religious people are going to kill eachother, but that doesn't indicate causation. Stalin and Pol Pot did pretty well at being atheists and killing folks, and I don't think they killed due to their atheism).

I think, for me, the main reason that atheists seem more evangelistic is simply another example of correlation. I hang out on a message board with a bunch of atheists (MeFi) (Note, I am also an atheist) and few religious people. Therefore, if (random numbers) 25% of atheists are evangelistic, and 50% of Christians are evangelistic, then your average thread composed of 20 atheists and 2 Christians will result in 5 atheists evangelizing, and only 1 Christian evangelizing. In that case, atheists are less evangelical than Christians, but the opposite impression is given.
posted by Bugbread at 5:52 PM on April 25, 2006


I think the whole "God People kill eachother" is an example of correlation

Well, people kill each other for a wide variety of amusing and entertaining reasons. One of those is their religion. Eliminate one reason out of the many (and one statistically significant reason, it must be admitted) and the sheer volume of killing falls.

I wasn't attempting to claim that all organized tribal murderage on the planet stems from god-worship.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:04 PM on April 25, 2006


stavrosthewonderchicken : "Eliminate one reason out of the many (and one statistically significant reason, it must be admitted) and the sheer volume of killing falls."

My personal suspicion is that the volume would probably stay the same, and the desired "savings" would instead just be distributed out amongst the other reasons. That's just a guess, though.
posted by Bugbread at 10:27 PM on April 25, 2006


I have to agree with bugbread there. Most killing is done in competition for resources. Religion is just one of the excuses, even when it's indirect (I don't care if your religion exists, but it can't have any land, or tithe from people whom I need to tithe my religion, or have my women).

So, eliminate religion, and more killing happens in the categories of other places you compete with me.
posted by Dunwitty at 11:46 PM on April 25, 2006


Current conflicts and wars [...] which have as their base at least some degree of religious intolerance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:07 AM on April 26, 2006


Stav, nobody's arguing that people don't kill each other because of religion. What bugbread and Dunwitty are saying is that people will find reasons to kill each other whether religion's in the picture or not. Even when religions quite explicitly forbid killing and say war is evil, adherents still kill and make war with enthusiasm, using whatever ad hoc rationalizations occur to them. And even when people have no religion (see: communism) they manage to be just as violent and warmongering.

(Man, it gets tiring having to say this stuff constantly around here. And I'm not even religious.)
posted by languagehat at 6:19 AM on April 26, 2006


"Anyone who argues that lies are ok, as long as they're not hurting anyone is an authoritarian at heart (Strauss anyone?). Of course that's even assuming the lies aren't hurting anyone, but the bottom line is that lies are always detrimental to basic human dignity and freedom, and religious lies in particular."

That's bullshit of a most pernicious variety. One of those things that Plato was right about, and Strauss was a neo-Platonist, is that at a certain point every functional society needs to have a common lie/faith underpinning it. Rousseau talks about this with his "civil religion."
Flat out, there is no abstract truth so any system built on rational liberalism is grounded in a lie. There is no aspect of human interaction that cannot be reasonably contested, especially under a program of "freedom." There is no vision of the good that does not involve an incongruity between abstraction and reality.
To take a page from your book, dgaicun, if you wish to be consisten you must hold religion and justice or progress with equal disdain, as one falsehood is not superior to another.
This doesn't mean that people shouldn't construct visions of what "the good" is to them, but rather that they should realize that all such "goods" are contentious and seek to find mutually accepted systems for arbitrating the contention (even while realizing that those systems are abstractions and not grounded in anything more than politics and pragmatism).
posted by klangklangston at 6:38 AM on April 26, 2006


"(Man, it gets tiring having to say this stuff constantly around here. And I'm not even religious.)"

It's weird. I'm not religious at all either, but I find myself having to defend religion so often on MeFi that people just assume that not only am I religious, but that I'm Christian (and sometimes evangelical/fundamentalist). For the most part, I think that religion is absolute bunk, and though I can see quite a lot of good things in it I tend to think of those things coming from religious people rather than from religion. And it does continually disappoint me that the left seems so hostile to religion when the religious are a great way of getting things done that I believe in...
posted by klangklangston at 6:41 AM on April 26, 2006


Well, I'm a skeptic and I've always believed and felt that people's excessive credulity about many things, theism chief among them, is the root of a great many problems in this world. I don't think I was ever as pushy about atheism as the kind we're talking about here, but I was at least a little and I felt strongly about it.

As I've gotten older my views on these matters in general has gotten more nuanced and less judgmental, particularly with regard to theism. In theism's case I've become much more aware of the good things that it's done and so my intuition these days is that might just mostly even out.

Finally, there's a whole lotta things that many (or most) people believe that are crazier than theism and I get correspondingly more worked up about them.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:12 PM on April 26, 2006


It's weird. I'm not religious at all either, but I find myself having to defend religion so often on MeFi that people just assume that not only am I religious, but that I'm Christian (and sometimes evangelical/fundamentalist).

But your commenting record marks you as a religious funamentalist.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:11 PM on April 26, 2006


What the hell are you on about Krrrlson? Still pissed that you made a stupid argument and got called on it?
posted by klangklangston at 6:22 PM on April 26, 2006


What klangklangston said, flagged as fantastic and long overdue.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:57 PM on April 26, 2006


What bugbread and Dunwitty are saying is that people will find reasons to kill each other whether religion's in the picture or not.

That's fine, I understood that. Nowhere have I disagreed with them. What I do think is it's unsupported handwavery of the vaguest kind to decalre that there is a slack that would be just taken up somehow in the absence of religious conflict.

No need to get all condescending on me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:08 AM on April 27, 2006


tkolar: If you've got any references on earlier periods I'm interested.

I'm no expert on Jewish history, but Paul Johnson's A History of the Jews seems like a decent one-volume history. Anti-Semitism prior to the twentieth century doesn't seem so hard to understand; Jews in Christian Europe during the Middle Ages were targets because they were moneylenders (they weren't allowed to own land), they were scapegoats, they were viewed with suspicion because of their religion. They were generally safer in Islamic societies, which were more tolerant and cosmopolitan at the time.
posted by russilwvong at 12:12 PM on April 27, 2006


I'm no expert on Jewish history, but Paul Johnson's A History of the Jews seems like a decent one-volume history.

Thanks.

Anti-Semitism prior to the twentieth century doesn't seem so hard to understand

Well, you can't read Shakespeare without getting a general impression of what was going on in Western Euprope during the Middle Ages and Renaissance -- what I'm a little less clear on are the various Roman purges and, frankly, the entire history of Judaism in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe.

I'll check our A History Of The Jews and see what it says on the topic.
posted by tkolar at 1:18 PM on April 27, 2006


You're welcome.

According to Wikipedia, the Jews of the province of Iudea revolted three times to try to regain their independence from the Roman Empire. They failed each time.

The Pale of Settlement.
posted by russilwvong at 1:42 PM on April 27, 2006


What the hell are you on about Krrrlson? Still pissed that you made a stupid argument and got called on it?

I'm not sure whether you're an actual idiot or simply pretending to be one, but I don't really care to find out.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:51 PM on April 27, 2006


That's bullshit of a most pernicious variety. One of those things that Plato was right about, and Strauss was a neo-Platonist, is that at a certain point every functional society needs to have a common lie/faith underpinning it. . . To take a page from your book, dgaicun, if you wish to be consisten you must hold religion and justice or progress with equal disdain, as one falsehood is not superior to another.

Heh, yep. How "pernicious" of me. Sorry, saying that a radio works because it has tiny people inside, and agreeing that stealing is a crime is not the same thing. A society may require some measure of normative consensus, but that doesn't equate to people needing to believe in "lies" for society to function. Please think a little harder next time, before drooling out such Fascist dreck, compounded by the sheer gall of calling anything opposed to your evil philosophy "pernicious".


PS - I just typed 'dreck' into Google - check out the image it brings up, I think y'all'll be pleasantly surprised.
posted by dgaicun at 1:32 AM on April 28, 2006


The Republic was not a a practical blueprint for the construction of a State, and the Noble Lie was not intended to be the Foundational Lie which makes it possible for a society to function. Rather, the Noble Lie is an unprovable truth that allows one to choose beyond simple and immediate self-interest.

Not unlike a utilitarianist belief in a theoretic greatest common good.

You're in good company when assert that Plato's Republic was a fascist document; Sir Karl Popper famously said so. That doesn't make you any less wrong.

Perhaps the necessity of just one lie, and no other, is the instrumentality of fascism; but the necessity of many lies liberates us from the cold tyranny of Truth.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:03 AM on April 28, 2006


Well, all I'm saying is that any political philosophy that states people have to believe in some insipid bit of factual pseudoscience for society to work is both wrong and evil.

All the closet-atheist neo-cons at Commentary and National Review, who justify running Creationist bullshit, so as to not "undermine" the religious fabric they (falsely) believe keeps society from chaos, are my enemies.
posted by dgaicun at 2:34 AM on April 28, 2006


From dgaicun's link:
Kristol has acknowledged his intellectual debt to Strauss in a recent autobiographical essay. "What made him so controversial within the academic community was his disbelief in the Enlightenment dogma that `the truth will make men free.'" Kristol adds that "Strauss was an intellectual aristocrat who thought that the truth could make some [emphasis Kristol's] minds free, but he was convinced that there was an inherent conflict between philosophic truth and political order, and that the popularization and vulgarization of these truths might import unease, turmoil and the release of popular passions hitherto held in check by tradition and religion with utterly unpredictable, but mostly negative, consequences."

Kristol agrees with this view. "There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people," he says in an interview. "There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."
Doesn't get more straightforward than that. "Most people are too stupid for the truth, and we have to keep them in line."
posted by brundlefly at 2:56 AM on April 28, 2006


The penultimate sentence of the first paragraph should have included something about the Republic really being about a metaphor for the well-ordered soul. Thus the relationship of the Noble Lie to one's choices.

I understand where you're coming from, dgaicun. Certainly I have as little patience for Creationists and their supporters. But my experience in this life, and I'm sorry to say this, is that for a variety of reasons most people don't make it very far in Kohlberg's stages of moral development. And until this isn't the case, I don't believe that a society will be able to function without an external and simplistic morality for people to cling to. But I'm not a fascist, and even if this is true, it's the sort of truth that one must strive against until it becomes false.

On Preview, about Strauss: I've not read Strauss, I've only read of him, and that's a very dangerous intellectual position to be in. However, as I understand it I find Strauss's view utterly astonishing, peculiarly contrary. (Indeed, I suspect the biggest attraction of Strauss is his contrariness coupled with the benefits of an extreme intellectual elitism—and in this way he's not so different from the intellectually elitist contrarians found on the other side of the political spectrum.) It matters to me because I'm a Johnnie, and Strauss had several connections to St. John's College, not the least was an honorarium. And a number of Straussians are today associated with the College and certainly in the minds of many drawn to Strauss's thinking, St. John's and its Program are the natural domain for a Straussian. However, in my strong opinion that's not the case; there's a reason Strauss never taught at St. John's, unlike his close friend Jacob Klein, and there's a reason why Straussianism is, for those who know, associated with Chicago and only slightly with SJC, above and beyond Strauss's professional association with Chicago. A clue is to look at what Straussian Alan Bloom wrote obliquely about St. John's in his famous book, The Closing of the American Mind. He was disdainful, insulting, to the idea that raw students could make much of the books without mediation—which is essential to SJC's pedagogy. Scott Buchanan, one of the co-founders of the New Program at St. John's, wrote that it is not the gifted student who has the most to gain from the Program, but the average student. Everything about the social structure of the College denies an intellectual elitism (within, at least). Someone told me that a contemporary of theirs said that the difference between Strauss and Klein (who was an SJC tutor) is that Strauss had disciples and Jacob Klein did not.

To me the idea that the Great Books have an inner, esoteric, dialogue is offensive to the very open, curious, and earnest spirit within which they sometimes existed and certainly blossomed. To me, the Republic is a dialogue about the well-ordered soul because it claims to be a dialogue about the well-ordered soul, and the ordering of a city at best a useful metaphor. But perhaps (I don't know, I've not read him, but it certainly seems it almost must be necessarily true) Strauss saw it as something else, that the metaphor was a guise and its true business the governance of Man. Indeed, I can see the attraction of this view because it implicitly resolves some questions about Plato. I'd guess that in Strauss's view, Republic is all Plato, all the time; and in that, I'd nearly agree with him. Socrates could not countenance a lie, but perhaps Plato could, Plato did. And if we are able to pierce the veil around Plato's greatest work, who's to say that we've not found a Method about which we can build an esoterica winding through the entire Western Discourse? We can be like little boys with a secret; such clever, clever little boys.

And in this, perhaps, if I have correctly guessed, has Strauss inverted the Noble Lie; appropriate, perhaps, if the context is truly the State and not the Soul. The Noble Lie of the Soul in modern language is "self-esteem", a hidden anchor in rough waters, a sense of Self that is secure enough to tolerate Not-Self, even to love it. This Straussian Noble Lie is all in the Seeming, baubles to catch the untutored eye, a gilded prison for the unworthy, a narcissistic love of Self that hates the Not-Self...a hate easily guided and channeled.

I don't know. I could be full of shit.

But beware of all who aspire to a mastery of esoterica, to claim ownership of secret knowledge, to thus rise above all Others and with enormous pride. Anything can be said to conceal a great secret, and Reason is no exception, and an atheist such as Ayn Rand a notable example.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:13 AM on April 28, 2006


I understand where you're coming from, dgaicun. Certainly I have as little patience for Creationists and their supporters. . . I don't believe that a society will be able to function without an external and simplistic morality for people to cling to.

Are we disagreeing on something? In case there is some confusion, let me say that I think people are drastically unequal in their genetic and developmental intellectual and moral potentialities. Again I think there is a difference in what we are considering a 'lie'. Society certainly needs some manner of shared moral premises to function, but I DO NOT consider these shared moral premises to be "untruths", nor do I believe lies are the manner in which they need to (or do) come about. What I don't believe is that false facts (2+2=5; the world is flat) serve any noble or even utilitarian purpose.

Now, like in all issues, there is room for gray areas at the edges here: for one, all moral premises have some basis in fact; for two, questions like "should the government not have military secrets", etc., but this is going much further than the rather simple issues at hand here. Bottom line is that I don't think everyday lies like religion, or horoscopes, or folk superstitions are helpful or OK. And it is clear that even to the extent they could be helpful, it would not be enough to overcome the large degree to which I believe lies are inherently bad, ultimately harmful, and insultingly dehumanizing. In short, I am a major subscriber to "the Enlightenment dogma that `the truth will make men free.'"
posted by dgaicun at 6:14 AM on April 28, 2006


*swoons, intellectually speakin'*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:02 AM on April 28, 2006


*passes stwchicken the intellectual smelling salts*
posted by Cranberry at 12:27 AM on May 5, 2006


Chicken . . . salt . . . whatcha cookin', Cran?
posted by Nice Donkey at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2006


Would anyone roast the wonder chicken? Surely not.
posted by Cranberry at 11:22 AM on May 7, 2006


Isn't salting a method of preserving meat? Kind of like loading up spices to preserve sausage?
At any rate, if our voyage ends in early June, it is too late to teach me to cook/preserve dhicken.

As gnfti said in 11645:

One month to go (big mess link).

That is all.


I almost clicked on his link! Someday I will go back and reread all of 9622v2, but not today.
posted by Cranberry at 11:30 AM on May 7, 2006


Good.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:42 PM on May 8, 2006


Good news.
posted by Nice Donkey at 11:04 PM on May 8, 2006


for the Insane
posted by Cranberry at 1:05 AM on May 9, 2006


Nice.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:31 AM on May 9, 2006


Donkey
posted by Cranberry at 3:09 PM on May 9, 2006


Mice.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:05 AM on May 10, 2006


Are you people deaf? There's a war going on.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:11 AM on May 10, 2006


Mice ord is broken, so I cannot play in IIHAA's war. Where is it?
posted by Cranberry at 12:07 PM on May 10, 2006


Eye dote half an knee where pons four fire tin eye the roar eye wood bee rye don duff runt lie nah lawn whiff thee oar if is less warn.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:26 AM on May 11, 2006


babelfish shrugged.
posted by Cranberry at 1:09 PM on May 11, 2006


Car morn! You shore him ad gin ace shun.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:30 PM on May 11, 2006


I don't have any weapons for fighting the war. I would be writing differently, um, the rest suggests that there is a condition called longboat crazy. It is akin to stir crazy and cabin fever. The symptoms are whiffing the oar on the lawn.
posted by Cranberry at 12:04 AM on May 12, 2006


Nigh strike ran bear e.

Noak app in fee for, rhea lee, wrath erst ock home send roam.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:20 AM on May 12, 2006


Hey wait, you can't have that! You are Dutch not Swedish.
posted by Cranberry at 11:41 AM on May 12, 2006


Hook airs, whirr alder saim you rote rash annie whey.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:34 PM on May 12, 2006


heh. Right You are. Americn trash can have it too, e.g., Patty Hearst and the SLA.
posted by Cranberry at 1:38 PM on May 12, 2006


Ok, so I don't check gmail very often. Someone could have told me that there is now a font named "trebuchet" in gmail. Think of all the opportunities for tie-ins that have been wasted, um, I really can't think of any.
posted by Cranberry at 4:49 PM on May 12, 2006


From now on, all of my gmails are sailing through the ether with style, the trebuchet way.
posted by Nice Donkey at 3:27 PM on May 14, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by Nice Donkey at 3:29 PM on May 14, 2006


eeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!
bloodshot eyeballs from too many Martinis?
posted by Cranberry at 10:31 PM on May 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


My chicken is pastede on my penis yay
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:04 PM on May 15, 2006


Wow! Such filth! Posted by a leader!

bloodshot eyeballs from too many Martinis?

No, bloodshot eyeballs from too much chicken sex!
posted by Nice Donkey at 9:57 PM on May 15, 2006



posted by Nice Donkey at 10:01 PM on May 15, 2006


So, are we going out with a whimper or a bang?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 6:37 AM on May 16, 2006


Bang. Please all list your plans.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:48 AM on May 16, 2006


An actual thread of our very own?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:50 AM on May 16, 2006


Multiple. About vikings. And longboats. And related. I'm thinking quality, viable threads. If we narrow down possible subjects and each stick to our own and make it interesting, I'm convinced it's feasible.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:00 AM on May 16, 2006


Those sound like blue threads(?) A coordinated diaspora to a new sub-domain? Interesting.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 9:04 AM on May 16, 2006


Coordinated, yes. A diaspora not quite: merely a one-time event to celebrate, commemorate, and say goodbye, perhaps.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:24 AM on May 16, 2006


Am I ever gonna see you guys again? I'm not ready to say c-ya. Let's not lose touch after graduation!
posted by Nice Donkey at 3:29 PM on May 16, 2006


No. Hold it right there, ye rats. This ship, er, longboat ain't fer sinkin' and ye ain't fer desertin'. So scupper that talk aboot diasporas, blue threads, etc. Those who wish to continue the longboat tradition should be able to - right here in the gray where crap, er, fascinatin' discourse like this belongs.
posted by Lynsey at 10:29 PM on May 16, 2006


Er, belay that talk, etc. (*turns to correct page in pirate dictionary*)
posted by Lynsey at 10:33 PM on May 16, 2006


I'm a Viking!

Okay, let's not disband, whatever. But let's *do* something, something *big*.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:24 AM on May 17, 2006


Just because she is a 3 digit, do we have to do what Lynsey says?

However, we might want to consider carefully before we do anything that will rattle the cages of the negatively oriented mockers.

There are only 4 who have posted to this thread - 5 if you count Lynsey. If anyone else cared, wouldn't s/he be here?
I foresee many 'heartfelt' recommmendations that the remnants of the crew who have persisited when every one else has moved on
1) grow up
2) get a life
3) I really hate to contemplate this possibility

This is not to exclude a tasteful anniversary reminder of DDay - the 6th of June not 1944 but 2005. Mathowie might not delete it from the gray if it referred to a Meta- function.
Other opinions?
posted by Cranberry at 1:03 PM on May 17, 2006


Word for the Day: persisited.
Meaning: roughly the same as persisted
posted by Cranberry at 1:06 PM on May 17, 2006


Um, what happened here?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:43 PM on May 17, 2006


Not here to crash the party or anything, but fuck if I know. Would appreciate an explanation.
posted by donpedro at 10:45 PM on May 17, 2006


Noticing that the poster had no member number, I concluded that he - undoubtedly it was a he - was an invader. Hacking Meta was possibly the high point of his lonely life.

donpedro- no one crashes, all are welcome.
posted by Cranberry at 12:48 PM on May 18, 2006


*does a little dance, passes out sombreros*

Welcome to our longboat, donpedro!
posted by Nice Donkey at 9:22 PM on May 18, 2006


Ooh thanks for the sombrero Nice Donkey! I put my longboat tiara on over it and now I look like a rodeo queen idiot.
posted by Cranberry at 10:41 PM on May 18, 2006


That's the second time in, well, not a very long time that I've been engaged in a MetaTalk exchange about donkeys and/or asses. iAy-yi-yi!
posted by donpedro at 11:04 PM on May 18, 2006


Welcome donpedro! Have a nice refreshing glass of Cok juice.


posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:28 AM on May 19, 2006


When is it again?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:31 PM on May 19, 2006


I think it is always apple juice.
posted by Cranberry at 11:28 PM on May 19, 2006


Whetherto for the last stretch?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:31 PM on May 21, 2006


11746 + 101 = 11847. OK with everyone?
posted by Cranberry at 8:06 PM on May 21, 2006


Yeah, 11847 looks hospitable enough. Plus it has spaceships and drugged licorice!
posted by Nice Donkey at 8:20 PM on May 21, 2006


After being off line since a lightning strike last night, I am ready for spaceships and drugged licorice.
I was facing a window when the lightning struck - I now know how celebrities feel when the papparazzi fire their flashbulbs. Two Comcast crews came today and undid the damage, and cured my internet withdrawal symptoms.
posted by Cranberry at 1:25 PM on May 22, 2006




posted by Jamie Farr at 8:16 PM on May 22, 2006



posted by Jamie Farr at 8:18 PM on May 22, 2006


I wonder why mathowie disabled the BIG tag
posted by Cranberry at 11:37 PM on May 22, 2006


the big tag
posted by Cranberry at 11:48 PM on May 22, 2006


« Older Back in December I asked for v...  |  Don't get me wrong -- I want t... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments