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  #51  
Old 07-31-2004, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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Originally Posted by Ronin
And, being Catholic...the only true theist.

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So some would say ;)
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  #52  
Old 07-31-2004, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

I don't think the question is whether anyone is a theist. It's whether one believes that a deity is giving one policy advice.

My suspicion, for what it's worth, is that GWB and Co believe that their policies are informed by their faith -- in some slightly less direct way than divine whispering into the ear.

But their faith is largely so ill-informed, so illiterate even of scripture, that this conviction just becomes a way of reading some theo-moralistic legitimacy into their plain, old, personal, worldly, political prejudices.
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Old 07-31-2004, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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Originally Posted by HelenM
There are other explanations than the two you gave.

Anyway, Kerry is a theist too.
Kerry is a theist, but from what I have seen holds his beliefs as private. GW says that God appointed him President, and that God told him to go to war with Iraq. I dunno, just seems an evil way to emotionally manipulate believers....making himself God's warrior or something.

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Old 07-31-2004, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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Originally Posted by Clutch Munny
I don't think the question is whether anyone is a theist. It's whether one believes that a deity is giving one policy advice.
It would be inconsistent to believe that God cares about every aspect of one's life yet won't help one with one's job.

Quote:
My suspicion, for what it's worth, is that GWB and Co believe that their policies are informed by their faith -- in some slightly less direct way than divine whispering into the ear.
I'm sure they do believe their policies are informed by their faith. But maybe Kerry believes the same to some extent, whether or not he chooses to be as vocal about it as Bush.

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But their faith is largely so ill-informed, so illiterate even of scripture, that this conviction just becomes a way of reading some theo-moralistic legitimacy into their plain, old, personal, worldly, political prejudices.
First, based on my observation, their faith is based on a commonly held conservative Christian understanding of Scripture. Please give me an example of how their faith is "illiterate even of Scripture".

Second, if it is illiterate of Scripture, I don't see how that proves anything about their motives.

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Old 07-31-2004, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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Originally Posted by LadyShea
Kerry is a theist, but from what I have seen holds his beliefs as private. GW says that God appointed him President, and that God told him to go to war with Iraq. I dunno, just seems an evil way to take manipulate people....making himself God's warrior or something.
If Bush is lying and doesn't believe what he says, then one might suspect he's doing so to manipulate people. If he sincerely believes what he says, which is how it appears to me, then in what sense is he being manipulative?

But in a general sense I think both candidates are being manipulative by the way they do or don't talk about their faith. Bush's openness is intended to win favor from conservative Christians who believe as he does and will place more trust in someone who - at least appears to - actively seek God's input in his decision-making. Kerry's approach of keeping his more private will appeal to people who consider Bush's evident reliance on what the Bible says (as interpreted a particular way) scary and foolish.

Anyway, in my opinion and experience, some theists are more competent decision-makers than others and the same is true of nontheists. My choice of who to vote for will be based on my best assessment of who would be the better President and as far as I'm concerned, that determination cannot be made solely by looking at how they present their faith in God.

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Old 07-31-2004, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenM
There are other explanations than the two you gave.
Well, minutely analyzing Bush's words might be an exercise in futility, but recently he told a group of Amish, "I trust God speaks through me." Not "I hope..." or something that would imply that he is trying to listen to his conscience, but that he simply TRUSTS that that is the case. And while Bush isn't the one who publicly claimed that he was 'appointed by God,' he never denied it, and he's said a few things that would seem to imply he believes it, too.

Personally, I have a hard time believing that he believes what he says he does. He had no qualms about executing massive numbers of prisoners (at least a few who were likely innocent) when he was Governor of Texas. He even made a point of publicly taunting Karla Fay Tucker about it.

He doesn't give to the poor. He doesn't aid the needy. He's spent his life trying to accumulate wealth and power. He lies, he attacks others, sometimes mercilessly, and frankly, I'm hard pressed to think of a single example of what is supposed to be Christian behavior, except for a hell of a lot of blathering about it. He talks a lot about religion, but if he really believes what he claims to, he must think he's above his religion's teachings, just as he seems to think he's above the law.

Karl Rove, one of the vilest, most evil and dissembling little schemers ever to walk the face of the earth, is Bush's right hand man and trusted advisor. KARL ROVE. And it's not like Bush is just hanging around with the guy because he's some tolerant Christian or something. He listens to the guy, and lets him conduct his disgusting little schoolyard campaign smears on his behalf. Remember what he did to McCain? Bush's presidency is built on lies, smears, and outright fraud. And he claims that God did it. How is this different from a murderer claiming that God ordered him to kill? How many Christians would be willing to accept that explanation? How many have been willing to accept Bush's? And why?

I can understand Christians saying they TRY to listen to their God, because I know what that means. That makes sense. It's humble, and it implies that they're at least trying to do the right thing. This is not what Bush claims. Bush's claims imply not that he's being introspective or trying to make the right decisions. They imply he's infallible.

As I said, whether Bush really believes this stuff or not is pretty much irrelevant to me. I've never understood how it is that so many people who claim to be Christian seem to think that it's sufficient just to talk about it a lot, and treat it cafeteria-style, picking the parts of it that they feel like following or that make them feel better, and ignoring the rest. I'm fairly certain that, if I were a Christian, I'd be even angrier at Bush than I am now for exploiting my belief system and for not even trying to live by its teachings. But apparently, a lot of US Christians think that's just fine.

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Anyway, Kerry is a theist too.
What does that have to do with anything?
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  #57  
Old 07-31-2004, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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Originally Posted by HelenM
It would be inconsistent to believe that God cares about every aspect of one's life yet won't help one with one's job.
First, this is not inconsistent in the least. Caring about and helping are not the same thing. I've never been asked to care about someone moving a piano up some stairs.

Second, "help" is a strange under-description of what was being discussed here. The worry was not over the prospect of a god's "helping" a politician, which might include anything from easing other concerns to granting more restful sleep, but rather to the idea of the Creator of All Things Seen and Unseen passing on direct policy advice: "Ease the tax burden of the fabulously rich, while killing foreign aid that enables women to control the number of children they bear! It's a divine idea..."


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First, based on my observation, their faith is based on a commonly held conservative Christian understanding of Scripture. Please give me an example of how their faith is "illiterate even of Scripture".
It's tempting to say that you asked it and answered it right there. Bush's "Supply-side Jesus" is of dubious scriptural provenance. He's on record as saying that Jesus is his favourite philosopher. Now, be honest... on what textual basis do you think GWB said this?

I'm not suggesting he's wholly cynical in making such a claim. I think he's quite sincere that Jesus is his favourite philosopher. It's just that there's no good reason to think Bush has contemplated or understood, or even really read, the words and thoughts attributed to Jesus by scriptures. There's every reason to think that Bush's Jesus is the Jesus of marginally literate American social conservatives -- the Jesus who said, "Hooray for democracy; be kind to little children; U-S-A kicks ass!!; and if you're poor, you probably deserve to be".

Al Franken quotes a Newsweek story that recited a Republican PR vignette: how Bush and his close friend, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, spent two years of "intensive" study reading Acts and Luke. Franken, an ambushing sonofabitch, is of course wholly denied access to Bush. But he did manage subsequently to ask Evans if he knew what the book of Acts was about. The answer, of course, was that he did not. You, of course, will know that Acts verges in places on a blueprint for redistributive justice: "to every man according to his need", and all that.

There is a powerfully cynical overtone to such image-building, in the absence of real interest in Christianity. Again, though, I think that Bush at least sees himself as implementing God's will. It's just that, having no great interest in exploring the vexed questions of what God's will might be, this turns out to be a way of gifting his own bog-standard view of government, wealth and privilege with the aura of divine approval.
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Old 07-31-2004, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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If he sincerely believes what he says, which is how it appears to me, then in what sense is he being manipulative?
Well, I know some Christians who were aginst this war. Some are against war in general, or at least uncomfortable with the thought of so many being killed...but when Bush says God told him to invade, it seems to me to say "If you're against this, you are againts God's plan".
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Old 07-31-2004, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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Originally Posted by LadyShea
Well, I know some Christians who were aginst this war. Some are against war in general, or at least uncomfortable with the thought of so many being killed...but when Bush says God told him to invade, it seems to me to say "If you're against this, you are againts God's plan".
I'm not familiar enough with Bush's words to know how strongly he asserts that what he is doing is God's plan. Generally Christians don't claim absolute certainty about what God's plan is - except when they are referring to something the Bible states is God's plan; in other words their position is "I believe this is God's plan" which implies "if you are against this, you are against what I believe is God's plan", rather than "if you're against this, you're against God's plan, period".

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Old 07-31-2004, 08:38 PM
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[QUOTE=lisarea]Well, minutely analyzing Bush's words might be an exercise in futility, but recently he told a group of Amish, "I trust God speaks through me." Not "I hope..." or something that would imply that he is trying to listen to his conscience, but that he simply TRUSTS that that is the case. And while Bush isn't the one who publicly claimed that he was 'appointed by God,' he never denied it, and he's said a few things that would seem to imply he believes it, too.

Quote:
Personally, I have a hard time believing that he believes what he says he does. He had no qualms about executing massive numbers of prisoners (at least a few who were likely innocent) when he was Governor of Texas.
Lots of conservative Christians who believe what they say support the death penalty because it's prescribed in various places in the Bible.

Quote:
As I said, whether Bush really believes this stuff or not is pretty much irrelevant to me. I've never understood how it is that so many people who claim to be Christian seem to think that it's sufficient just to talk about it a lot, and treat it cafeteria-style, picking the parts of it that they feel like following or that make them feel better, and ignoring the rest. I'm fairly certain that, if I were a Christian, I'd be even angrier at Bush than I am now for exploiting my belief system and for not even trying to live by its teachings. But apparently, a lot of US Christians think that's just fine.
Exactly. So if you were a Christian you might not be angrier at him - you might be pleased that he is trying to live according to the Bible. Since lots of Christians do seem to feel that way.

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What does [Kerry being a theist] have to do with anything?
I don't know. You brought up Bush's belief in God so I was simply pointing out that Kerry believes in God too.

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Old 07-31-2004, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

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Originally Posted by Clutch Munny
There is a powerfully cynical overtone to such image-building, in the absence of real interest in Christianity. Again, though, I think that Bush at least sees himself as implementing God's will. It's just that, having no great interest in exploring the vexed questions of what God's will might be, this turns out to be a way of gifting his own bog-standard view of government, wealth and privilege with the aura of divine approval.
It seems to me that Bush sincerely seeks God's will.

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Old 07-31-2004, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenM
I'm not familiar enough with Bush's words to know how strongly he asserts that what he is doing is God's plan.
Helen
This is how it has generally been reported


Quote:
'God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.
Haaretz article
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Old 07-31-2004, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyShea
This is how it has generally been reported

Haaretz article
I dunno, that's a pretty sketchy source. Did Bush ever admit to having said that? Even commondreams.org said, in this review of that article:
Quote:
Before you jump to any conclusions, remember that you are reading a translation of a translation of a translation. Mahmoud Abas does not speak English. Bush does not speak Arabic. If Bush said these words, or something like them, Abas heard them from a translator. Then Abas repeated them, as he remembered them a couple of weeks later, in Arabic. Some unknown person wrote down what he thought he heard Abas say. Then Regular, or someone at Ha'aretz, translated them back into English-or perhaps first into Hebrew and then into English.
Incidentally I'm not saying he didn't say it - after all I have relatives who believe that God speaks directly to them, so I'm not oblivious to the fact that some people do believe such things - but I really can't believe even he would be so stupid as to stand by those words, assuming he was stupid enough to say them.
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Old 07-31-2004, 11:08 PM
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Thats why I said "generally reported" I read it from the same source you did, so grain of salt.

I don't think he has admitted to it, nor denied it.
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Old 08-01-2004, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenM
It seems to me that Bush sincerely seeks God's will.

Helen

I follow American political news thoroughly, but not exhaustively. If you have any evidence of this seeking behaviour, I'd be interested. I've seen nothing of the sort; indeed, his actions and words seem to reveal an astoundingly unreflective person.
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Old 08-01-2004, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Clutch Munny
I follow American political news thoroughly, but not exhaustively. If you have any evidence of this seeking behaviour, I'd be interested. I've seen nothing of the sort; indeed, his actions and words seem to reveal an astoundingly unreflective person.
word.
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Old 08-01-2004, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Clutch Munny
I follow American political news thoroughly, but not exhaustively. If you have any evidence of this seeking behaviour, I'd be interested. I've seen nothing of the sort; indeed, his actions and words seem to reveal an astoundingly unreflective person.
For one thing, evidently he reads the Bible every day, which is a primary way Bible-believing Christians seek God's will.

Quote:
Bush's daily devotional activities, Aikman notes, include reading from The One Year Bible, a book that divides the Bible into 365 sections so a reader goes through the Old and New Testaments in one year's time.

from Bush Brings Faith Into Full View
The same article mentions that he has spent a lot of time talking to particular Christian ministers, which is another way Christians seek God's will.

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Old 08-01-2004, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by HelenM
For one thing, evidently he reads the Bible every day, which is a primary way Bible-believing Christians seek God's will.
Does God's will call for lying to the nation as to the reasons for going to war?

Quote:
The same article mentions that he has spent a lot of time talking to particular Christian ministers, which is another way Christians seek God's will.
Does God's will call for going to war against a nation that has WMD that actually has none? Does it call for going to war against a terrorist suporting nation that is actually a secualr state?

If GWB is actually hearing the voice of God then I have irrefutable proof that God is not omniscient.

Does God support stem cell research? If so, why doesn't GWB? If not why did GWB give federal funding (read your money) to it's research on existing stem cell lines?
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Old 08-01-2004, 04:20 AM
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Does God's will call for lying to the nation as to the reasons for going to war?
Lying is knowingly saying what is false in an attempt to deceive others. Someone who thinks they are telling the truth, is not lying even if what they are saying isn't in fact true. Is there evidence that GWB knowingly said what was false to the nation? If not then he wasn't lying. He was mistaken, but that's not the same as lying.

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Old 08-01-2004, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenM
Lots of conservative Christians who believe what they say support the death penalty because it's prescribed in various places in the Bible.
Wow. The Bible prescribes execution for the wrongly convicted?

I don't doubt that many people like that believe what they say, for large enough values of belief. I do doubt that they understand it, and I doubt their motives are sincere.

Quote:
Exactly. So if you were a Christian you might not be angrier at him - you might be pleased that he is trying to live according to the Bible. Since lots of Christians do seem to feel that way.
Maybe if I were one of those Christians who believed everything they saw on Fox News or something, but what is the point of bringing up that hypothetical? What if I were illiterate, and lived somewhere along the Amazon or something, with no contact with the outside world, and Bush came to my village and gave me a candy bar? Hell, I might think he was a god. So what?

Bush has shown no real conviction, and no evidence that he's given any real thought to any of his beliefs. Apart from claiming to study the Bible, which is doubtful, what evidence is there that he understands Christianity, or humanity, or has even an iota of moral leanings, in any way at all?

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I don't know. You brought up Bush's belief in God so I was simply pointing out that Kerry believes in God too.
So you didn't understand the point, then?
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Old 08-01-2004, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by HelenM
Lying is knowingly saying what is false in an attempt to deceive others. Someone who thinks they are telling the truth, is not lying even if what they are saying isn't in fact true. Is there evidence that GWB knowingly said what was false to the nation? If not then he wasn't lying. He was mistaken, but that's not the same as lying.

Helen
Well Bush was told repeatedly that the 9-11 and terrorism connection to Iraq was suspect. In response his handlers commissioned a group within the CIA to find evidence that didn't exist.

When insiders went public with this info, they got fired or "resigned" instantly.

At this point it is well known that the WMD/terrorist supporting claims are false. This hasn't stopped Cheney from saying he has evidence the 9-11 comission doesn't that completely establishes the Iraq-Alqueda connection.

Why didn't Cheney give this evidence to the commision? What is this evidence?

Did Cheney lie? If he did lie why isn't the president of the US exposing him?

Who controls GWB? Is it an omniscient, omnipresent god or someone, something else?

Why are Christians supporting GWB? Do Christians not realize they are supporting a known liar who falsely claims he is the mouthpiece of god?
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Old 08-01-2004, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenM
For one thing, evidently he reads the Bible every day, which is a primary way Bible-believing Christians seek God's will.
How is this evident?

All that's evident is that he says he does; more accurately, that his handlers say he does. Since his actions and words bespeak an interest neither in scriptural themes, nor religion more broadly, nor reading in general -- he's on record as disliking reading, in fact -- there is no reason to think he reads anything every day.

Again I ask: Do you really think that Bush was reporting some preference for specific philosophical virtues of Jesus' actual words, over the philosophical views of other famous figures, when he said that Jesus was his favourite philosopher?


Quote:
The same article mentions that he has spent a lot of time talking to particular Christian ministers, which is another way Christians seek God's will.
Was he seeking God's will when he consulted with Bob Jones III, Christian minister who until recently banned interracial dating among the students at his university? If so, this is a strange notion of seeking, indistinguishable from what I would call indulging sick bigotry. If not, then it is unclear how merely spending time among Christian ministers, soi-disant and otherwise, amounts to seeking God's will.

In any case, this strikes me as trying to explain the obvious in terms of the less obvious. If you really do think that GW Bush is a well-intentioned and reflective man sincerely seeking to follow God's will in some non-pathological sense, then I do not believe that any investment of effort I'm willing or able to make here could convince you otherwise.

I recognize the possibility that I'm misjudging him, to be sure. But the probability strikes me as vanishingly small.
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Old 08-01-2004, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutch Munny
How is this evident?

All that's evident is that he says he does; more accurately, that his handlers say he does. Since his actions and words bespeak an interest neither in scriptural themes, nor religion more broadly, nor reading in general -- he's on record as disliking reading, in fact -- there is no reason to think he reads anything every day.
Wrong. There is reason - the quote I supplied which says he does!

Anyway, it's not true that he shows no interest in Scriptural themes. The key scriptural theme is God and clearly he talks about God more than most Presidents have.

Quote:
Was he seeking God's will when he consulted with Bob Jones III, Christian minister who until recently banned interracial dating among the students at his university? If so, this is a strange notion of seeking, indistinguishable from what I would call indulging sick bigotry. If not, then it is unclear how merely spending time among Christian ministers, soi-disant and otherwise, amounts to seeking God's will.
I think you're confusing "he doesn't seek God's will" with "I object to how he seeks God's will".

Quote:
In any case, this strikes me as trying to explain the obvious in terms of the less obvious.
I think that's exactly what you're doing when you dismiss the statement that he reads the Bible every day.

Quote:
If you really do think that GW Bush is a well-intentioned and reflective man sincerely seeking to follow God's will in some non-pathological sense, then I do not believe that any investment of effort I'm willing or able to make here could convince you otherwise.
If you're going to dismiss quotes about what GWB does with "I don't believe it" then I agree that it's a pointless discussion.

Quote:
I recognize the possibility that I'm misjudging him, to be sure. But the probability strikes me as vanishingly small.
I think it's highly likely you've misjudged him to some extent since you selectively dismiss things written about him simply because you don't believe them.

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Old 08-01-2004, 01:49 PM
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And since "God's Will" seems to be precisely reflective of whichever desires a particular human has in a particular time period...it should be obvious that there are right around six billion Gods walking the earth as we speak.

:innocent:
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Old 08-01-2004, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Anybody Watching the Convention?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenM
Wrong. There is reason - the quote I supplied which says he does!
I've explained that this sort of PR image-building means very little -- which is not a selective comment about Bush, but a general truth about the media spin that handlers create around political figures. Remember the Newsweek story of Bush and Evans' two-year intensive study of Luke and Acts, in contrast with the report that Evans couldn't subsequently say what Acts was about?


Quote:
Anyway, it's not true that he shows no interest in Scriptural themes. The key scriptural theme is God and clearly he talks about God more than most Presidents have.
"Clearly" is one of those words we all have to watch; it's so easy to substitute it where research and argument are lacking. You should look into the question of sheer number of references to God by presidents. You might be surprised by how often Clinton "talked about God".

In any case, you are again badly misdescribing the worry that has been pretty carefully expressed more than once now. It's how, and not how often, Bush refers to God that is a cause for concern.


Quote:
I think you're confusing "he doesn't seek God's will" with "I object to how he seeks God's will".
Well, I am assuming that there are some behaviours that you would agree do not count as defensible on the grounds that one is seeking God's will. Am I right?

Compare:
-- What about when Bush ritually murdered those toddlers and used their entrails to scry the details of the Patriot Act? Was he just seeking God's will?

-- Oh, you're confusing "he doesn't seek God's will" with "I object to how he seeks God's will".

Uh-huh.

Now, legitimizing racist Bob Jones III is not as evil as murdering toddlers. But it is still grossly immoral. Where do you draw the line for those cases that can be vindicated as non-pathological on the grounds that one was just seeking God's will? That I'm objecting to how Bush seeks God's will has been obvious from the outset. The question is, shouldn't you be objecting too? Shouldn't all decent people?

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I think that's exactly what you're doing when you dismiss the statement that he reads the Bible every day.
"Dismiss" is yet again a careful under-description of what I've said about such statements.

Quote:
If you're going to dismiss quotes about what GWB does with "I don't believe it" then I agree that it's a pointless discussion.... I think it's highly likely you've misjudged him to some extent since you selectively dismiss things written about him simply because you don't believe them.
If you're unconvinced by the analysis and countervailing evidence regarding such reports, that's fine. If you can't be moved to address them directly, that's your business. But to pretend they have not been given, as if all I had said was "I don't believe it", is, I would have hoped, beneath you.
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