First, a rave:  I am most grateful for Atheist Nexus.  Since effectively rebirthing myself as an atheist (decades ago, I was an agnostic), I've had no place to voice opinions, reactions or thoughts, where others might share them and perhaps further stretch my brain with their reflections.  Thank you, A/N.

Now, a rant:  There is little if anything more sacred to me, in all the history and legacy of the United States of America, than the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.  The most sacred part of that, these days, is the wall of separation of church and state.  It is crumbling rapidly, but the blasts of Dominionists and their political lackeys have finally opened such a view, moderate Christians can't help but begin to notice -- finally!  The rest of us are seeing sooner what's to come if nothing is done.  Some of us are very scared.  I know I am.  It feels, here, now, like Germany must have felt, as the Nazis gained speed in their takeover of power.

So, another rave:  I stand and salute Pat Condell (chronologically my first atheist hero), Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Brother Richard, Seth The Thinking Atheist, and every other courageously and intelligently outspoken atheist who was willing to risk his or her status in society, inside family, and in career, to make way for the rest of us.  You have given me clarity of the thought, courage of conviction, well reasoned approaches to superstitious presentations of unthinking individuals.  I admit, I had more courage in college, where free thinking in the most basic sense was welcomed and encouraged.  That college no longer holds the personality which drew me to it.  Since graduating and leaving that nest, I have come across more dire religious discrimination than even the 12 year old nazi boy who threw a rusty dart in my 4 year old shoulder, half a century ago.  Were it not for these new heros of mine, and due in large part to my precarious circumstances resulting from religious discrimination, I would not have the courage to come out of the closet.  It was torture.  Being compulsively honest, yet having to lie to myself and others, to try to believe in something I knew wasn't there, was self destructive torture.

So, I leave you with that rave and know I will add plenty of rants to follow.  Check my inputs about Thomas Jefferson causing the east coast earthquake (satire) and the educational trend in America over the past many decades (personal view of history as it happened).  They're both on A/N, somewhere.

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Comment by Doc on September 18, 2011 at 6:50am

Thank you, Atheist Exile, for your input.  I believed much as you did, until newer studies started coming out.  I was a resident at Stony Brook (SBUH) when the news from their academic branch (SUNY Stony Brook) mentioned a professor authoring a book about roots of antisemitism in Christianity.  About 5 years later, I learned of "Constantine's Sword", by James Carroll (hope I'm getting his name right), a Catholic who left the Jesuit priesthood over the disturbing results of his research into this.  It's one thing for antisemitism to percolate along, quite another for early Christianity to make it an official, inherent part of their belief system -- especially when promoting blind ignorance and fear of questioning for so many centuries.

One other thought:  Were Jews used as scribes for the early Muslims, because Muslims were illiterate?  I'd heard the Muslims (perhaps Muhammed, himself?) took what he could from Jewish history and belief, so as to give deeper roots to his nacent religion.  I thought Jews and Christians were initially kindly treated, in early Islam, as "peoples of the book", believers in a single god, expecting they would convert, and when they didn't, then the relationship became violently adversarial.  This is not something I've specifically studied, so it would be good to know if anyone else has deeper knowledge.

Comment by Atheist Exile on September 18, 2011 at 1:28am

Since at least 722 BC (when the Assyrians conquered Israel and enslaved many of them in Persia), Jews have experienced an unending series of enslavments, diasporas, forced expulsions, persecutions, dhimmitude and religious hatred.  Because this aspect of their history started many centuries before the crucifixion of Jesus, I don't think persecution of the Jews can really be blamed on their role as "Christ killers" (although that certainly didn't help).  Instead, I think the root cause of their persecution is a result of their unique identity as the chosen people of God.  Their unique monotheistic religious faith forged strong cultural and societal bonds that made them more cohesive (and militant) -- and therefore more problematic -- for larger, more dominant civilizations.  Faced with such strong-willed people, forced expulsions and enslavement were logical (if inhumane) ways to neutralize the threat of insurgency or revolt.

After the (alleged) crucifixion of Jesus, Jews were saddled with the blame for his death.  It doesn't seem to matter that Jesus was a Jew or that his death was preordained to begin with.  The result is that prejudice against Jews is AT LEAST a subliminal part of Western cultures and is openly preached and practiced in Arab cultures.

The Jews of today, in Israel, still have their unique identity and religious bond but they're worlds removed from the nomadic warriors of the Bible.

Comment by Doc on September 17, 2011 at 3:40pm
@Glen Rosenberg, thanks for the input.  About the ice cream, though, where does that fit in?
Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 17, 2011 at 3:25pm

How'd you like some chocolate ice cream doc?

It really is amazing the degree of anti-semitism that is just beneath the surface and often times it is being displayed proudly. And it is really sad when it is promulgated by atheists. I always fancy or hope that all of the inimical forms of discrimination tied in with religion dissapear. But it aint so.

Comment by Doc on September 17, 2011 at 12:30pm

This rant scares me, so read through, think through, sleep on it, then stay tuned in your world to see if it seems to fit there, too:  It appears to me that the last vestige of religious indoctrination, the remnant still echoing out of many too many atheists and freethinkers, is antisemitism.

Now, hold on before saying anything.  James Carroll, who was a Jesuit priest in his early adulthood, recognized it in the church, Catholic and non-Catholic, the way many of us came to recognize there cannot be a god.  The reality haunted him until he faced it, personally researched it, traveled the world to investigate the roots of it, and produced his findings in both a book and a documentary, both called "Constantine's Sword."  

I, raised Jewish in the deep south, exposed to violent antisemitism as a small child and political antisemitism at many times in my adult life, thought I was familiar with the subject.  Then, I saw his documentary.  I cannot put into words how it made me feel.  Shocked, disillusioned, vindicated, enlightened, all sorts of things rolled into one.  The old saying, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you," even comes to mind.  It is a must read, must see.  (I would read it, but disability interferes with focus.)

With antisemitism invested into Christianity before it branched out, and written into Islam, both east and west take it for granted as true, immutable, undeniable, and believed by all.  It takes a true freethinker to recognize any of it in himself or herself, ask where it comes from, learn the deep, dark roots, and work to eradicate it.

Sadly, I've seen antisemitic remarks, spoken as common sense accepted by all, from some of our staunchest, most respected atheist leaders and heroes.  One can't conceive of confronting them.  Between the normal human reaction of denial and the experienced skill of debate, they might verbally slash and burn the accuser.

And so, I open a moderated debate, here, to see if there are any brave atheists willing to take the challenge:  See or read "Constantine's Sword" and then look around you and inside yourself.  Write what you find, here.  Don't be surprised if your take on the situation develops over time.

I sincerely thank you.

Comment by Steph S. on September 10, 2011 at 7:59pm
Welcome to the site Doc! Will read all your rants.



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