published Friday, January 11th, 2013

Cook: Zero Dark Gospel

Need a topic for small group discussion? Or a Sunday sermon? This weekend, get some popcorn and go watch someone being tortured.

It may open the door for a conversation that is long overdue.

"The first extended sequence in the movie shows a detainee being strung up by his wrists, sexually humiliated, deprived of sleep, made to feel as if he's drowning and shoved into a box smaller than a coffin,'' writes Frank Bruni of The New York Times.

Opening today in theaters is "Zero Dark Thirty,'' the two-hour, 40-minute movie based on the Navy Seal account of the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden.

Directed by the powerful Katheryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker''), the film revives post 9/11 ethics: In the pursuit of bin Laden, is torture -- electric shock, sexual violence, sleep deprivation, waterboarding -- an acceptable and moral tool?

"As a former Army Ranger, I was appalled that any branch of government would even consider waterboarding or any other type of torture. When I was in, it was very much illegal,'' said Chattanoogan Steve Huff. "But after 9/11, things changed.''

The film -- critics are calling it the best picture of late -- helps us confront the shadow of our national self. Like "Lincoln,'' the film pushes us to ask: Who are we as Americans?

"The movie shows us who we are, but then we need ask ourselves, is this who we want to be?'' Huff said.

Huff has lived a life shaped by two forces, both a distinct part of the American landscape.

Christianity. And the military.

Among the American troops who invaded Panama in the pursuit of former dictator Manuel Noriega, Huff understands the practicalities and consequences of violence.

"It produces a Medusa effect. You chop off one head and two appear,'' he said. "You torture one terrorist and two show up. You kill one terrorist and three more swear a life of terrorism to avenge his blood."

Huff condemns the tempting politics of Machiavelli, the Italian Renaissance philosopher who introduced the political concept that immoral action can lead to moral good. The means (torture) do not have to justify the ends (peace). His influence has been a whisper in the ear of powerful people ever since.

"Somebody please tell Dick Cheney that Machiavelli was a fool,'' said Huff.

After his career as a Ranger, Huff -- raised in a fundamental northern Adventist community -- encountered a God he describes in profound ways: more interested in mercy than revenge, steeped in forgiveness, rooted in nonviolence.

Three things not part of the hunt for bin Laden.

"If evil is truly to be overcome, it must be overcome with good,'' said the former Ranger, who has written a book ("Altar Call: Where Went Mercy?") that includes a chapter about waterboarding in the Bible. "Mercy is a higher form of behavior than vengeance.''

Jesus was, as they say on the streets, straight-up. He didn't mix words. Lay down your sword. Love your enemies. Turn the other cheek. Forgive. Judge not. Forgive some more. Love some more.

Why? As the old saying goes: You make the road by walking.

Acting with love hastens in a beloved community. The ends and the means become one in the same. Doing otherwise distorts the Christian message and paints a secular ethic over a lofty one.

Yet the violence of our post 9/11 policy -- two wars, billions of dollars, torture politics -- have met little resistance from American Christians. Silence. Or support. But not resistance.

"Love your enemy,'' Huff said, "is the truest definition of love there is.''

Is that an American thing to say?

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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daytonsdarwin said...

The religious fanatical Christians and Jews are as dangerous as the religious fanatical Muslims. Belief in any literal god, gods, or demons and their "Holy Book" as factual and god ordained gives us the religious lunatics who destroy, murder, and commit genocide is the name of that god.

When superstitious beliefs in actual gods are finally buried in the dung heap, then real human progress has a chance.

January 11, 2013 at 9:20 a.m.
davidcook said...

Daytonsdarwin, are you saying that any religion or myth is wrong and detrimental? Or just the fanatical version? I would argue with you for the latter, but not the former.

January 11, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.
davidcook said...

Daytonsdarwin, are you saying that any religion or myth is wrong and detrimental? Or just the fanatical version? I would argue with you for the latter, but not the former.

January 11, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I have stated before that myths, accepted as the face of the mysteries of life, are instrumental in allowing a person to participate in those mysteries. But the face and the mysteries are not the same.

But myths as reality, particularly in the Abrahamic traditions, have led to the greatest crimes committed by humanity.

Myths are powerful and can have wonderful life-enhancing properties for individuals, but when accepted as historical fact of a divine being and ordained commandments are dangerous.

January 11, 2013 at 9:46 a.m.
Easy123 said...

The fanatical version is the "real" version. The Muslims we call "fanatics" are just the ones that actually do what their holy book says. Same with Christians, Jews, etc. Christians tend to distance themselves from groups like Westboro Baptist but those people are just doing what the Bible tells them do when they vocally condemn homosexuals. When they preach that "God" is punishing us i.e. 9/11, Sandy Hook, etc., they are making those inferences from their Biblical teachings. Most modern Christians, Jews and Muslims tend to water down their particular interpretation of their holy books because most people actually have a conscience and understand that it probably isn't moral to stone your children or homosexuals, own slaves, kill the infidels or any of the immoral actions portrayed in these holy books.

Religion is and always will be detrimental to the search for truth. Only with the religious is faith a virtue. Why is zero proof only acceptable when talking about religion? I can't make any extravagant claim in todays society without proof. Why is it acceptable to believe the outrageous, seemingly unbelievable claims that the Bible presents without proof?

January 11, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Oh Boy! Here we go again. How many times must one be told? There are abundantly more proofs for the facts of Jesus Christ than against the facts of Jesus Christ. To wit:

A blind man said to his teacher, "That mountain you claim is less than 10 feet from us definitely is not there". You know what? He was correct. For him, the mountain was not there. He did not see a thing, he was not able to perceive what was actually there! Could it be proven to exist for the blind man if he had used his other senses to perceive it? Yes, but he refused to use them. His teacher implored the blind student to use his other senses, but, still he refused. The Word of God implores us to study to show ourselves approved unto God. Also, that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If ..i refuse to study, and 'hear' the Word of God, then, i cannot 'perceive the mountain', so to speak. Whose fault is that? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I please God through my faith. Therefore, I know the first cause of existence. Like non-believers, i do not know from where the first cause came. Nor, do i know how the first cause came about. The non-believer has faith that the first cause is not God. The believer sees God. The non-believer experiences perceived benefits by not believing, and, the believer, by believing. Believers have chosen to use their sense of faith to believe in Jesus Christ. We believe non-believers are like the blind man above who chose to not use one, or more, of his other senses to perceive the obvious.......kwo Saint Thomas said, "... Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."***And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing". And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed".

Ken ORR

January 11, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.
Sailorman said...

The evil that has been done in the name of god and religion astounding - not to mention ongoing.

January 11, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Biblical prophecy: Approximately 2500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter,no errors. (The remaining 500 or so reach into the future and may be seen unfolding as days go by.) Since the probability for any one of these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance averages less than one in ten (figured very conservatively) and since the prophecies are for the most part independent of one another, the odds for all these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance without error is less than one in 10 to the 2000th (that is 1 with 2,000 zeros written after it)!

Archaeology: Well documented artifacts such as Western Wall(19 BC) is an important Jewish religious site located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BC by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts consisting of biblical manuscripts from what is now known as the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1946 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. (There exists thousands of other artifacts of proof).

Anthropology: Since God is a person and He does not have a body, but is spirit, we can safely argue that possessing a body is not the 'sine qua non' of being a person. That is,personhood can exist apart from embodiment. The term anthropology comes from two Greek words, namely, anthropos meaning man and logos meaning word, matter, or thing. We use the word 'anthropology' to refer to the study of man, and a Biblical anthropology is the study of man as understood primarily from Scripture. (The Anthropological Case can be easily substantiated). Cite: Study By: Greg Herrick

Historicity: Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Julius, Africanus, Origen, Pliny the Younger, Witnesses. Many, Many, others! A gentleman, Kenneth Samples, said it better than I can: "Christian truth-claims do not violate the basic laws or principles of reason. Christian faith and doctrines (for example, the Trinity and the Incarnation), though they often transcend our finite human comprehension, are not irrational or absurd." Here is an example that we have been discussing: The God Particle(Higgs Boson). Even the existence of event horizons of intergalactic black holes (singularity) had to be postulated, then, proven. Well. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:..but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,..." kwo

January 11, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Orr represents that side of evil that would harm non-believers. An American version of Taliban terrorists, the Christian terrorists are cut of the same cloth of ignorance, self-appointed executioners for their god, and not to be trusted for veracity in their claims of absolute truth.

Orr is that Christian example of sublime ignorance, deceit, and prevarication.

January 11, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.
davidcook said...

Mr. Orr, would you say that the American foreign policy - specifically the military budget and bin Laden hunt - are all Christian endeavors?

January 11, 2013 at 11:12 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Luke 22:36 "Then said he [Jesus] unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

Just one of the many contradictions found in the Bible. Before all you Biblical "interpreters" get started, why is it you take some biblical words as literal, but then feel it's necessary to interpret others? Either it's word for word true as you claim, or it's not. It's either literal and true in its form or it's not.

That's why there's Christian apologetics — an attempt to twist, turn, and discombobulate humanity into believing that such hocus-pocus claptrap, contradictions, and insanities are actually true.

It doesn't work anymore.

January 11, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

KWO...

Every historian of note who had the opportunity (living at or near the time that Christ supposedly lived) to write about JC wrote only the most scant and vague impressions of him. The most famous is the Testimonium Flavianum, of Josephus. He wrote only one very brief paragraph - a few short sentences - about him, and most scholars, including many Christian apologists and Biblical historians and theologians - agree that the insertion is a blatant forgery. The style and the context of that lone paragraph did not in any way correspond with the style and flow of Josephus's writing up to that point or with his writing that followed. He was a very detailed writer and was not known for brevity.

What JC supposedly did during the last three years of his life would have been enough for any historian of his time to have written a complete book about him in his own right. Yet no historian did anything but pay mere lip service to him, in no more than a few brief sentences, leading most scholars to deduce that those writings were nothing more than forgeries and interpolations, added by "holy liars" like Eusebius (263 – 339) who admitted that lying for the sake of spreading God's word was not only acceptable but admirable. There was no record whatsoever of Josephus' mention of Jesus Christ until it strangely and coincidentally appeared right about the time of Eusebius.

If there had been someone who stirred up the masses to the extent that Jesus supposedly did, and if he had raised anyone from the dead or walked on water or performed any of the miracles that he supposedly did, and if he had earned the ire of the Jews and of the Roman rulers to the extent that he did, and if he had risen up from the dead (with plenty of witnesses) the way that he did, then why is it that only the Bible gives a detailed account of such events? Why didn’t any historian of his time write at great length about such a controversial and significant character?

January 11, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

TESTIMONIUM FLAVIANUM:

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day." - Tacitus Flavius Josephus

This is the ONLY writing attributed to Josephus on the life of Jesus Christ. Not only is it odd that a man of such fame/infamy as Jesus did not get more detailed mention from this or any other prevailing historian of the time, but there are two very obvious reasons why Josephus probably never wrote this:

1) Josephus was a Jew. It would have been highly unlikely of him to refer to JC as "the Christ." Just wouldn't happen.

2) The term "Christian" did not even exist during Josephus' lifetime (37 - c.100) It was not until long after his death that that term even came into being. The only explanation is that someone had to have inserted this much later, at a time when there really was such a thing as a "tribe of Christians."

January 11, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Some noteworthy Biblical factoids and tidbits:

  • There never existed a custom whereby the Roman rulers allowed the crowd to decide whom to set free and whom to condemn. The story of Barabbas and the Jewish throng deciding to set him free and to crucify Jesus is just that – a story. It was simply concocted by the New Testament story -tellers to bear out “prophecy.” It never happened.

  • The Romans did not take their crucified down from the crosses, ever. Entombment was never an option. They left them hanging on the crosses as a deterrent to others who could see the consequences of their criminality.

  • There was never a “world-wide” census, as mentioned in Luke. At least not a census whereby everyone had to travel to the land of their origin. It would have been preposterous to have even conceived of such a thing. There would surely have been records of such widespread happening, and there are NONE, except of course in the Bible. Ancient census-takers wanted landowners to be connected to their land, for tax purposes. The census-takers traveled, not those being taxed. Again, this was a story concocted by the NT story-tellers simply to bear out “prophecy.”

  • King Herod, who was actually a historical figure (unlike most of the other Old Testament characters such as Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, Noah, Abraham, Adam, Eve, etc. who were purely mythological) did not commit infanticide in some sadistic attempt to slay the “Christ child.” Or at least there was no record of it. There actually were detailed accounts of Herod’s life but no historian of his time recounted any such event happening. One would think that something as horrific and large-scale as that would have at least gotten passing mention. Never happened. Except, of course, in the Bible....along with all the other myths and fairy tales.

January 11, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Cook, regarding your "Mr. Orr, would you say that the American foreign policy - specifically the military budget and bin Laden hunt - are all Christian endeavors?"

I didn't see anything in what Mr. Orr wrote that would warrant such a question. However, I will give my answer to your question.

Winning people to Christ would be a Christian endeavor. Jesus commanded his disciples to spread the gospel:

Mathew 28:

18-20 "18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying , All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo , I am with you alway , even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Governments are ordained by God to protect their people and punish wrongdoers. Here from Romans 13, the Amplified Bible:

Romans 13

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.

2 Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them].

3 For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation.

4 For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer.

5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience.

This Bible version is pretty plain and simple even for those who are not Christians.

Our government permits the Godless murder of the unborn and often will not punish those who unlawfully kill others. However, it would be suicidal if we had no law and order. The Liberals are "endeavoring" to do that.

January 11, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Conservative wrote: "Winning people to Christ would be a Christian endeavor. Jesus commanded his disciples to spread the gospel:"

That's the excuse Christianity has given for centuries to plunder, murder, and commit genocide.

Conservative is another member of the American Taliban for Jesus.

January 11, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.
timbo said...

This isn't a religious discussion. This is a survival discussion. You pseudo itelllectuals can discuss the the JC trivials down to the color of his underwater. That has nothing to do with so-called torture. If you liberals and religious idiots want to feed themselves to the lions, good riddance.

On the other hand, if someone wants to make war on us we should respond in kind. The Christian religion wouldn't have survived without military protection. This is about protecting our families and we should do what it takes, within our ethical parameters, to accomplish that goal.

We should do two things in war...protect your people and kill as many of enemy as possible. The interrogation techniques are torture "lite" compared to beheading and starvation. Hurting their feelings, humiliation, and fooling them into thinking they are drowning is not exactly the same. If that is what it takes to win, so be it.

Let the adults handle these "difficult" questions and you all can sit around and talk about how evil and heartless the rest of us are.

Make it easy on the lions, take a bath in meat tenderizer.

January 11, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

David Cook wrote the first lines of this article, "Need a topic for small group discussion? Or a Sunday sermon? This weekend, get some popcorn and go watch someone being tortured."

At first I thought he was referring to "The Passion of the Christ." There's a snuff film that evangelicals love.

"Pass the popcorn Ma, Jesus is getting another forty lashes. Call in the kids so they can see what we can do to unbelievers and heretics in Jesus' Holy name. Hey Ma, hold down Junior while I pour Drano down his throat to get rid of those demons and devils them good Christians on TBN always tell us about. Don't be soft Ma, or I'll take a stick to you too. Women must be submissive to the menfolk just like the Good Book says."

Got to love those good Christians, following their God's great example of cruelty, hate, and paranoia.

"The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive...but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born. Christianity will doubtless still survive in the earth ten centuries hence--stuffed and in a museum." - Mark Twain

January 11, 2013 at 4:26 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Just like our overblown fear of Communism took us insanely into Vietnam and kept us there even after we knew it was pointless, committing genocide and infanticide all for the purpose of protecting us from what we thought MIGHT happen if we didn't keep those Communist "dominoes" from falling, we are still fighting this "war on terror" based on our paranoia and overblown fear of what we think MIGHT happen. We went into Iraq based on what we thought MIGHT happen. We are still in Afghanistan fighting enemy combatants that are enemies only because we are there in the first place, occupying and ravaging their land and killing innocent people, all the while chalking it up to "collateral damage."

Everything we have done militarily, from the "Red Scare" days, and then from 9/11 onward, has been based on what we think/fear MIGHT happen. The fact that we have morphed so easily and suddenly into becoming torturers is proof that we have lost the war on terror, because we have allowed ourselves to become the terrorists. Nobody has limited our freedoms but ourselves. We are our own worst enemy.

January 11, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"On the other hand, if someone wants to make war on us we should respond in kind." - timbo

On 9/11 approximately 3000 Americans were killed by hijacked planes flying into the WTC. If you choose to believe the official version of events, that a rag-tag team of Muslim jihadist terrorists commandeered their planes to their targets of destruction, then we more than amply responded in kind, I would say.

To date, we still have 166 prisoners in Guantanamo; we early on routed out, killed, captured the al-Qaeda operatives known to have had anything to do with 9/11; Bin laden is dead; the hijackers who supposedly carried out the hijackings are all dead; Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11 but we invaded it anyway and we have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and totally decimated their land; Afghanistan as a nation had nothing to do with 9/11 (it was al-Qaeda who was merely using a small part of Afghanistan as their site, and the vast majority of Afghanis had no knowledge of their terrorist activities and inclinations), yet we still occupy their land and have killed tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children there. And still, we keep this "war on terror" alive and humming as we torture, detain, and kill people ad infinitum.

The only war that has actually been made on us was 9/11 - not really war as such but an egregious terrorist attack. Still, if you want to consider it an act of war, I would say that we have done quite a bit more than just "respond in kind," wouldn't you?

But wait...I need to consider who I'm talking to - big bad timbo. There is no such thing as over-kill or collateral damage when it comes to military might in your book, is there? Big bad timbo shoots first and asks questions later and that is the America that timbo believes in. Torture worked on "24" and it worked in "Zero Dark Thirty," so it must work in real life, right? So let's all hear it for torture! It's the new America and it keeps us safe and happy and free.

January 11, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo.....let me put it in religious terms....kill them all and let God sort them out. We should kill them until they stop. Torture does work. It has been effective for thousands of years. We are rank armatures compared to the Romans, Germans, Russians, Iranians, etc. Our approach is a walk in the park compared to that.

Your probably going to give your lion indigestion.

January 11, 2013 at 6:35 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Rickaroo,

You have embarked on a hopeless endeavor, my friend. Debating people like timbo is like trying to potty train a rambunctious puppy. You end up frustrated and he still pisses on the rug.

January 11, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Timbo makes an excellent case for the American Military Mercenary Forces. That's what we've been doing and see how well that's paid off.

That's the reason I no longer suggest anyone join the US military. The US military has become a giant mercenary for hire, not for National Security, but to murder, plunder, and torture for Congress, corporations, and Christ, the unholy trinity of foreign policy.

January 11, 2013 at 6:47 p.m.
conservative said...

Life is one big I.Q. test.

Life Question :

Do you believe if Mr. Cook's children or parent's lives were in the hands of terrorist and he could save them by making another terrorist "feel as if he's drowning" that Mr. Cook would call this "torture" and let his children or parents die rather than save their lives?

January 11, 2013 at 7:23 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Conservative: Life Question

If your God is so loving, great, and good, why would he allow Mr. Cook or anyone else to undergo such torment?

Conservative's and littlejohnnyrossy's "duh" moment.

January 11, 2013 at 8:20 p.m.
Easy123 said...

JonRoss,

You've never said anything remotely logical or intelligent in your entire life, at least not on this site.

January 11, 2013 at 9:43 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Mind-numbing ignorance from JonRoss.

January 11, 2013 at 11:40 p.m.
SirMichaelb said...

Comparing the evil in America to a time of war is unbelievable. Rather, compare it to the torture and murder of human beings aborted. Water boarding or being vaporized by a drone is nothing compared to being sucked thru a vacuum and dismembered in a jar and discarded as toxic trash. The numbers are astounding. Ending this mass murder of baby's is the first step in " and may GOD bless America" again. Folks, do you really think these killings are going unnoticed by their creator? Behold! Our judge is standing at the door. Believe or not, our judgement is near. By the way. I'll never forget the images of our soldiers being dragged thru the streets via motorcycle, and were talking about water boarding!

January 12, 2013 at 8:39 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

God becomes the excuse when evangelicals can offer no proof.

There is no real god, never has been, never will be. I judge god to be an evil conception, a means by priests and politicians to command the minds and pocketbooks of humanity, with murder, plunder, and control to be the outcomes of such imaginary life-destroying creatures.

Abort god from your mind. Free yourself from the self-imposed chains of mental slavery that imaginary deities and their underlings proclaim.

Break free from gods, devils, and demons created by man and preached as divine law by man, and free yourself from the fairy-tales and those that tell them. They are the devils of your freedom, and the demons that impede human progress.

January 12, 2013 at 9:04 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

JonRoss said...

dayton your God, the Progressive elite dictatorship, in which Mr. Cook serves as a propagandist, tortures me daily by stealing my hard earned money and crapping on my children and grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, and gggrandchildren, on and on.

littlejohnnyrossy, how about the money you stole from hard working people and creditors in your bankruptcies? Have you paid that money to those you stole from? From those who depended on your word? From those who trusted you to be a man? From the tax-payers who propped you up while you reneged on your obligations?

You said you'd pay them back. Have you? It's not the terrorists who'll do us in. It's you, a cowardly little taint, who loves to start fights and then runs away, pleading for the government to protect his fanny from the bullies.

January 12, 2013 at 9:37 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Poor littlejohnnyrossy, never one to face up to his responsibilities but blames the world for his personal failures.

January 12, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

The only difference, littlejohnnyrossy, is my facts are true. Have you paid back all the parties you bankrupted on as you said you would? A simple question for your simple mind. Yes or no?

January 12, 2013 at 10:24 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

littlejohnnyrossy,You've been busted — again. It's so easy with whining hypocrites like you.

January 12, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.
Easy123 said...

I can't help but laugh when I read anything JonRoss posts. It's truly the most inane, ignorant garbage I've ever read in print.

January 12, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Is there an echo in here? Oh nevermind, that's just more banality from JonRoss.

January 12, 2013 at 3:50 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

davidcook said...

"Mr. Orr, would you say that the American foreign policy - specifically the military budget and bin Laden hunt - are all Christian endeavors?"

Greetings! I'm currently spending eight hours per day in a Financial Services classroom. Extreme amounts of study is what it's taking. I have just noticed that you directed a question to me. Thank you.

Yes, I do believe the American foreign policy - specifically the military budget and bin Laden hunt - are all Christian endeavors. This inasmuch that our citizen's security is paramount. This compares to a fundamental doctrine of Christianity which seeks the security of followers of Jesus Christ. This is true in the physical and spiritual applications to our lives. Our military budget is righteous in that we are commanded by Jesus Christ to not defile our temple (physical body) of His Holy Spirit. If we do not protect ourselves from violent invasion, then we give the perpetrators permission to 'defile' our temples.

Economic prosperity, indeed, prosperity in general is also the will of Jesus Christ for His followers. Prosperity is a relative term, but it is God's will for us all. We, as Christians, seek to establish free market economies abroad. This is sanctioned by Jesus who said to 'render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar' (Believe me, the Theocracy will arrive soon enough).

It is my belief that nearly 100% of the nations with whom we seek diplomatic dialogue know of our nation's Christian foundation. Therefore we approach them, especially in their reckoning, as a Christian nation.

Bin Laden: Osama Ben Laden, well, he was a leader of al Qaeda. What does that fact say to many intelligent people? It says that he was a militant, terrorist, Islamic jihadist. It says to many that he was a mastermind in the jihadist terrorist network. It is reported he specialized in plots to murder key United States government leaders. How many innocent people were murdered by, or because of Osama? I don't know.

Jesus Christ told His followers that there is a time to take up the sword for self defense (Saint Luke 22:36). U.S. government intelligence believed Osama bin Laden murdered innocent people. He had to be stopped. I believe Christians are sanctioned to kill in time of war, but they cannot murder. We were at war with al Quada which gave us legal sanction to kill Osama.

Ken ORR

January 12, 2013 at 8:45 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

More bovine excrement from Orr. Now you see why religious fanatics are the bane of civilization — "Killing for Christ" since 325 CE.

Truly laughable. Aren't you glad Orr doesn't have his finger on the button? Aren't you glad you don't live next door to this madman?

"God loves a Cheerful Killer!"

January 12, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Preacher Orr, your logic - if it can be called that - is, as usual, all over the place. Your cherry picking of the Bible is outmatched only by your nonsensical "reasoning." The entire Bible is filled with contradictions and nonsense and your Jesus was as guilty of contradicting himself as anyone. You pick only those Bible quotes that serve to make your argument and you conveniently ignore the rest.

How in the world do you infer from Jesus saying, "Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar" that he wants us to be prosperous and to establish free market economies abroad?? What he's saying is as straightforward as it seems: that we should all pay our taxes, period. It's as simple as that. "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21). What, pray tell, does that have to do with God's or Jesus' will for us to be prosperous, and what in the world does that have to do with establishing "free market economies abroad?" Seriously, how do you connect the dots and come up with such a far-fetched conclusion?

Every other time Jesus spoke of riches, he was condemning them, saying how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God and how a person needs to sell all that he owns and give it to the poor if he truly wants to be his disciple and follow him. How is it that you so conveniently tune your Jesus out when he speaks thusly? Or maybe you can provide us with your Christian logic as to how selling all that you own actually means NOT to sell everything but to be greedy and make as much money as you can? Maybe when he said that it is harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven, he actually meant that it is EASIER and that we in fact NEED to be rich and prosperous if we want to follow him? Maybe his words were just translated wrong and it takes someone of your saintliness and with your Biblical knowledge to understand the true meaning? I think not. I think, rather, that you simply cherry pick what you want to cherry pick, see what you want to see, and think what you want to think.

There is nothing about your Bible that is perfect or absolute - except that it is absolute nonsense. Indeed, there are a few pearls of wisdom contained within its pages, but they seem to be overlooked by people like you who conveniently cherry-pick what you want in order to justify your own small-minded, rigidly dogmatic views.

January 13, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
jesse said...

I always associated torture w/ pullin off finger nails,gouging out eyes,chopping off limbs and gettin creative w/branding irons!stuff like that!

January 13, 2013 at 5:13 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Greetings Rickaroo~

I try to honor You by fully reading Your comments. I have learned from You. Fallible humans do make errors. I would like to bring something to Your attention:

Rickaroo said...

2) The term "Christian" did not even exist during Josephus' lifetime (37 - c.100) It was not until long after his death that that term even came into being. The only explanation is that someone had to have inserted this much later, at a time when there really was such a thing as a "tribe of Christians."

Rickaroo, I present to You a passage written AD 62 to 63. The Book of Acts ends with Paul in house arrest waiting to present his case before Caesar. Of course, this is very much during Josephus' lifetime.

Acts 11:26

"And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."

Now, 'Render unto Caesar':

In 3 John 1:2 Jesus said 'through' Saint John,

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

To be able to prosper with a tax base, nations must have a strong economy. Jesus understood that the government (Caesar)had to collect these taxes. The United States of America, being the most powerful, richest nation on earth, understands that free market economies are superior to others. Jesus Christ knows that fact even better than the United States government. I can imagine Jesus saying, "Bring on the strongest free market economies...that's how to really prosper"

I try to 'look a little closer' at what You write. Then when I look, and look again, I discover Your concepts. Thank You for investing time to help me learn to write my concepts more clearly.

Ken ORR

January 13, 2013 at 11:49 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Orr,

"Rickaroo, I present to You a passage written AD 62 to 63. The Book of Acts ends with Paul in house arrest waiting to present his case before Caesar. Of course, this is very much during Josephus' lifetime."

The term did not have the same meaning then. It was more of an insult. The word "Christian" was only used 3 times in the New Testament. It wasn't exactly a common term.

"To be able to prosper with a tax base, nations must have a strong economy. Jesus understood that the government (Caesar)had to collect these taxes."

Show us all where Jesus told you that or how you would know that at all.

"Jesus Christ knows that fact even better than the United States government."

Based on what evidence?

"I can imagine Jesus saying, "Bring on the strongest free market economies...that's how to really prosper""

I can imagine Jesus saying, "What the hell is an economy?

You are highly deluded.

January 14, 2013 at 12:30 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

It seems as though Orr has performed Mr. Spock's mind-meld with the imaginary Jesus. Next will be Orr in flowing white robes, wearing Jerusalem cruisers, performing magic tricks at home-schools and Easter services, while hanging on a fiberglass cross.

And people say that Muslims are nuts.

January 14, 2013 at 8:25 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Please, Please, Please...Chattanooga Times Free Press Commenters (Commentators?)! Because of my massively recognizable humbleness I would never want to publicize selfish facts of my life. Yet, I will reveal in private, and only to You, that...TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY, uhmmm, i meant to say (w-h-i-s-p-e-r)...'today is my birthday'. So, therefore, because of, since this having been said, I shall propose that it would be the charitable thing to do to agree with me on whatever i write, just for today. Humor me from a perceived sense of familial ties within the brotherhood/sisterhood of belonging to one human endogamy lineage. Expanded explanation of terminology: 'Since we all descend from Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, then, we qualify for endogamy. (It's not just so in the A.M.C. {Appalachian-Mountain-Club}). So, please don't publicize my BIRTHDAY!!! [birthday]. Just give me one break on this one day and say that You absolutely agree with everything i write.......today, MY BIRTHDAY.

Ken ORR

January 14, 2013 at 9:43 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Preacher-man Orr, I will certainly wish you a happy birthday but I most definitely will NOT agree to agree with you, especially as long as you continue to attempt to make sense out of nonsense and spread nothing but false claims about a false God and his fairy-tale son and a fairy-tale book that you try to pass off as historical and inerrant. The fact that you wish to be "humored" for a day by having your antagonists pretend to make nice and agree with you only shows how insecure you really are about your beliefs. I would never dream of having someone just pretend to agree with me simply for the sake of humoring me. I find it bizarre that you would even suggest such a thing. But then, I've never made sense of your nonsense anyway.

As for your comment about Paul's use of the term "Christian": It's funny (and so predictable of you) how you always resort to your circular logic of turning to the Bible to substantiate your claims, when it's always some aspect of the Bible that we are debating in the first place. Your baseline answer is usually nothing more than, "the Bible tells me so."

While there were definitely some early Christians in the first century, they were of the gnostic sect; i.e. they did not believe in a literal Jesus but strictly a figurative, celestial one. For what was taking shape in the early stages of Christianity was the merging of the various pagan beliefs, which all had their own similarities with the Christ myth and character; and their beliefs were astrologically based, with the sun being their God and the focal point of their worship. The entire Christ story is actually nothing more than an allegory for the sun as it makes its way through the sky (at least in the geo-centric universe as they perceived it at the time). And the 12 signs of the zodiac were in essence Christ's apostles, who, like Christ himself, eventually came to be literal characters to fundamentalist Christians like you who have been duped by the forgings, lies, and interpolations that went into the Bible throughout the first centuries A.D.

It's highly doubtful that the term "Christian" was extant at the time of Josephus, but even if it was, the entire Testimonium Flavianus has been thoroughly debunked by many scholars, both Christian and non-Christian, for other reasons. To date there is no historical evidence that your Jesus was a real, live human being. But wait...your Bible tells you so, doesn't it? And we all know that that is all the "evidence" you need, right?

Jesus loves you, this we know...for your Bible tells you so. And I'm sure that your Jesus is wishing you a happy birthday, too.

January 14, 2013 at 1:35 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Well put Rickaroo. Thank You! Regarding what You have written, I will 'look a little closer'. I will 'look, and look again', being the inquisitive person i truly am. kwo

January 14, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Garsh(facepalm).. Orr you're such a flaming dork..

January 15, 2013 at 11 a.m.
songofthesouth said...

Who is the Steve Huff talking in this article? Overwatch?

February 18, 2013 at 4:51 a.m.
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