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I swear this post isn't about politics
07-05-2009, 10:09 AM
Post: #1
I swear this post isn't about politics
So, Al Franken apparently has won the Minnesota Senator seat, after a long and pointless legal battle filled with hypocrisy and lies. Good for him, he deserved it, after all he got more votes.

I swear this post isn't about politics, just bear with me.

So I haven't read Al Franken's books (including Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them: A Fair and Balanced View of the Right) but I do have good friends who rave about him. I know that he's going to easily become the most controversial voice in the Senate because of his long history as a comedian, writer, and talk-show host. So I went YouTubeing today to see what I could find out about him.

I noticed two things. First of all, his allegations against Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and other right-wing luminaries are as completely and totally true as I have been able to verify in a morning's worth of research.

Second, he's a complete jerk who's not above twisting the facts for his own purposes.

I swear this post is not about politics, so now let me get to my point.

People like Al Franken bother me. It bothers me when someone who is such an unlikeable man, a jerk who insults, twists facts, and has such a clear and blatant bias becomes the voice in the wilderness decrying truth against another group of liars. I want my voices in the wilderness to be men of good character, men whom I can hold up without qualification.

I feel this way about religion. I dislike Richard Dawkins. I mean I REALLY dislike Richard Dawkins. He is clearly biased, he is arrogant, he is not always honest, nor is he always right. But he is right MOST of the time. And that bothers me, because I can't really use him as a source when talking about god, can I? If I do, he's far too easy a target to attack. But while he personally is a man of poor character, many of his arguments are true and spot-on.

There's not really a question to this post, just something I need to get off my chest. It's very hard looking for truth when truth is only found in bits and pieces in the arguments of others. It's very hard looking for truth when that truth can only be found from biased sources, whom because of their biases should be doubted. It's very hard being part of a movement that everything I've researched tells me is true, when the leading voice for that movement is an odious character.

I imagine many theists feel the same way about the leading voices of their movements (the actions of Dr. James Dobson during this recent election cycle, for one that I was discussing with friends just recently.)

Again, no real question, just lamenting the lack of good leaders in this argument. It seems that religion, like politics, have very few balanced voices.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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07-05-2009, 01:08 PM (This post was last modified: 07-05-2009 01:08 PM by Stereophonic.)
Post: #2
RE: I swear this post isn't about politics
(07-05-2009 10:09 AM)GTseng3 Wrote:  ...religion, like politics, have very few balanced voices...

I sort of lost my interest in politics with the last election. So I don't care to talk on that subject.

I will note, however, that the people who seem to gain the spotlight in Christianity--the pastors and other public figures--seem to get to the spotlight by being "people" persons. They are outgoing and amiable and well-spoken; many if not most are decent and caring people. But they are not first and foremost thinkers and intellectuals. I can say this based on observations from the church pews, based on watching televangelists on TV, and based on my own classroom experience.

I treasured my opportunity to take graduate-level theology classes; for me, it was easily the best thing I've ever done with my time and money. And therefore it was painful for me to listen to M.Div. students (not all of them, but certainly many of them) complaining that all of that "abstract theory" was "boring" and "irrelevant" to their future ministries.

So anyway, I guess the moral of the story is that if a person is inclined toward intellectual pursuits, the best people to talk to, the best authors to read, would not be pastors, but rather seminary professors.

http://www.biblicaltraining.org/ --- http://www.ntwrightpage.com/
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07-06-2009, 12:34 AM
Post: #3
RE: I swear this post isn't about politics
As someone who tries to place more value on good reasoning than personalities, it's not as important to me Who said what, so much as the reasoning behind what was said. Therefore, I have nothing against Richard Dawkins' well-reasoned positions regarding biological evolution as they pertain to the God argument. I simply disregard his less well-reasoned arguments - arguments that are generally out of his field.

I seldom (if ever) quote Dawkins because I can usually find some other less polarizing figure who says the same thing better. That said, I think Dawkins has done a spectacular job of making the God question a topic of discussion in everyday life, and I think we will see positive changes in the future as a result of this discussion. Dawkins deserves some measure of gratitude for this, at least.

Also, apropos of nothing, politically I'm more libertarian these days.

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07-06-2009, 06:32 AM (This post was last modified: 07-06-2009 06:34 AM by Stereophonic.)
Post: #4
RE: I swear this post isn't about politics
(07-06-2009 12:34 AM)MerryAtheist Wrote:  ...apropos of nothing, politically I'm more libertarian these days.

It's a shame we don't have more than just two (viable) choices in our elections.

I can't remember exactly where, but I think it is Australia, where people are allowed a first and second choice for candidates; I suppose this would complicate the vote tabulations, but if your first choice doesn't get enough votes, then at least your second choice vote can be counted for something. If we had the same system in the U.S., we could vote our consciences without feeling that we're throwing away our vote entirely.
(07-06-2009 12:34 AM)MerryAtheist Wrote:  ...I simply disregard his less well-reasoned arguments - arguments that are generally out of his field...

Arguments that philosophers generally find risible.

http://www.biblicaltraining.org/ --- http://www.ntwrightpage.com/
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