Religious symbols on graves: 8-21-09
New interfaith partners: 8-24-09

Inside terrorists' brains: 8-22/23-09

Especially since 9/11, people have been trying to figure out the minds of terrorists. What makes them tick? Why do they do what they do?


Well, I have no exhaustive answer for that, but in reading Robert E. McGlone's excellent new book, John Brown's War Against Slavery, I ran across a fascinating passage that helped me understand how complicated answers to those questions can be.

Brown, as you may know, fought valiantly and at times violently against slavery and the people who supported America's slave system. Indeed, in 1856 in Pottawatomie, Kan., he lead a group of abolitionists, including several of his sons, who murdered five pro-slavery people. Most famous, of course, was his attempt to seize Harpers Ferry and start an anti-slavery revolution.

At any rate, here is some of what McGlone writes:

"This brings us back to the question of how a deeply religious man like Brown could silence his conscience sufficiently to order murder. How could he believe himself chivalrous or just while taking men from their homes and families in the dead of night and butchering them? . . .

"Questions like these have intrigued scholars of twentieth-century terrorism, among them social psychologist Alburt Bandura. . .(who) identifies six psychosocial 'mechanisms of moral disengagement' that terrorists use to silence their own 'self-sanctions' and placate the scruples of their supporters against committing destructive acts.

"First, terrorists rationalize violence by putting it in the service of religious creeds, righteous ideologies, or national imperatives.

"Second, they try to compare their acts advantageously to allegedly most heinous acts or plots sponsored by an oppressive enemy. . . .

"Third, they may deflect or mitigate their sense of responsibility for the violence they commit by seeing themselves as instruments of impersonal forces over which they have no control.

"Fourth, they may blame their actions on the provocations of a third party, as when terrorists strike at Americans on grounds that the American government is complicit in the victimization of the terrorists' people. . . .

"Fifth, through selective inattention to consequences, terrorists may disregard or distort the effects of their deeds.

"Finally, they dehumanize their victims by objectifying them into 'savages' or 'satantic fiends,' or assigning them to other categories that render them incapable of suffering or responsive only to brute force."

It would be fascinating to see whether these six categories pretty adequately described the 9/11 terrorists and their decision to hide behind Islam for their violent ideology.

* * *


Florida's governor says he's asked God to protect his state from hurricanes, and so far it seems to be working. Could be. But it also reminds me of the guy in downtown Indianapolis who beat on a drum at noon each day to keep away the elephants. And guess what. No elephants.

* * *

NOTE: Until Monday, Aug. 24, my Internet access may be sporadic or even non-existent for hours at a time or even longer. So it may take longer than usual to get your comments posted. Thanks for your patience. Bill


Lynne -

a.theist wrote:

>And he expects us to take him seriously?

Not when he's clearly joking, no. Sense of humor. Try it sometime.

Will Graham

Bill, when you think about it, everyone of those six categories could apply to atheists as well.

1. Historically, atheists have used violence to gain power and retain it.

2. They compare what they do to actions and Plots of believers.

3. They definitely see themselves as agents, in deed as creations of, impersonal forces.

4. They blame their actions on the provocations of "believers".

5. When the consequences of their positions are pointed out, they simply ignore or ridicule those pointing them out...abortion, infanticide, euthanasis, wmds, etc.

6. The dehumaize their victioms by using ridicule and insult and even threats to marginalize them of force them to SHUT UP.

The only people around here who have bragged about guns, and knives, and people dying are atheists.

Lynne -

Bill, I think you and McGlone are making the mistake of thinking religiously-motivated terrorists are either using religion for an excuse for violence or hiding behind their religion. That would imply that these people do not have sincerely-held beliefs in their religion. I think it is possible for people to have sincerely-held beliefs that just happen to be both wrong and dangerous.

So how can two people interpret the same religion and one is peaceful and the other is violent? Authoritarianism. Combine enough authoritarianism with any religion or ideology and you have violence. But, that does not mean the religious beliefs are not sincerely held - they are just interpreted in a way that supports an authoritarian approach to life. Let me give a simple example of how this works.

Compassion. We think we know what it is, right? But in reading the blog comments concerning the European concept of compassionate release for dying prisoners, I have realized that there are two very different and sincerely held interpretations of what compassion is.

1) The American conservative (and authoritarian) version of compassion. Compassion is a gift you bestow onto the worthy. People are judged good or evil, and the evil are not worthy of compassion. Showing compassion to an evil person is an act of injustice. (In a sense, the good have "paid" for this gift by being good, while the freeloading evil people have not.) This version of compassion asks, "What do you/they deserve?"

2) The European liberal (and not-authoritarian) version of compassion. Compassion is an inward trait that just happens to express itself outwardly. It is part of who you are and is required for being a good person. It is a reflection of the compassion GIVER, not the receiver. Selective compassion is not compassion at all. It is a bad reflection on you as a person and causes you to lose claim to the moral high ground. This version of compassion asks, "Who, or what sort of person, do I want to be?"

Lynne -

You know I can't help but notice that as much as some people on here bash Iggy, his name is the number one most popular search keyword on this blog, according to the list at the right. I find that hysterically funny. *prepares to duck rotten tomatoes*

Dolores Lear

"..they may deflect or mitigate their sense of responsibility for the violence they commit by seeing themselves as instruments of impersonal forces over which they have no control."

Such as our American Soldiers at Normandy Beach in WW2. Impersonal Forces? Before this Peace Human Knowledge was given me, my family loved watching all the war movies.

My husband was in the army and was over there when we won. He drove an armored truck, and went ahead of his troop to find the 'enemy'.

I have not seen the recent movie, with Tom Hanks, about the landing at Normandy. My husband went after that, in 1943, and went through France and into Germany.

He was drafted but was deferred, because he was married and had a child. Then the Government had to draft Fathers also. Mohammad Ali went to jail instead of going to war, for his religion. Where were the Christian objectors? In Canada?

My Grandfather came from Germany when Lincoln was president. We lost touch with any relatives. I only remember he did write to a sister. He came to America when Lincoln was president, and lived until he was 93.

My Dad, and his brother, German also, were drafted and fought in WW1. At this time in our USA history, Germans were looked down on, and still are with the Holocaust, because of Impersonal Forces.

My Dad was the only child of 9, that was born in K.C. MO, in 1888. His family went back, and his Dad passed when he was 12. His mother and the rest came back, and were naturalized.

So Why are the Human Species MisBred, and determined to Kill Each Other and our Home Planet?

I accept Body Birth Reproduction, as the cause on Earth, of the instruments of Sin and Impersonal Forces, that continue to War, regardless of their Gods.


Bill, I kind of do think the 9-11 terrorists did possess all 6 of those criteria -- but I also agree with what Lynne said about authoritarianism breeding violence.

Of course, "violence" doesn't always mean people getting physically hurt or killed. Fred Phelps and his followers are not physically violent toward the people they protest against (but I suspect they might be to their women and children, judging by what Phelps's son Nate has shared about his childhood) -- yet they cause a lot of suffering, and their hearts are full of violence, and they spew it out of their mouths.

Sometimes their behavior results in others being violent toward them -- such as when somebody drove by and threw a drink all over one of (I think) Shirley Phelps's little boys while they were protesting. I feel so sad for these kids, being raised in this authoritarian belief system, and then if people "out there" are mean to them, it probably feeds right in to what they're being taught about the evils of the world.

I also agree with what Lynne said about the 2 different kinds of compassion. And this reminds me of a anecdote I heard years ago about some Christians who were helping out a single mother who was mentally retarded. I guess one day they were taking her some food or something, and while they were putting it away, her little girl got a package of condoms off a shelf and brought it to them. After that they quit helping this woman, because they felt she "hadn't learned" or something.


Lynne, I wanted to respond to something you said the other day, where you seemed to be comparing Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac to parents who refuse to vaccinate. I realize you didn't directly say that ALL parents who refuse to vaccinate are doing it because of blind religious faith. But it kind of came across as if this might be what you think.

It's true that most non-vaccinating parents in our area who want to enroll their kids in school, have filled out a form that says their child has a "religious exemption." In Missouri, and I think in Kansas, too, the only exemptions allowed are medical or religious.

And I think you can only get a medical exemption from a doctor, and they usually only grant them if you already have one child who's died or been severely-injured from a vaccine reaction. I think sometimes they will grant them if you have a family history of some illness that's been linked to the vaccine (i.e. the MMR vaccine has been linked to seizure disorders).

In states that allow for a philosophical exemption, I think quite a few non-vaccinating parents would feel more honest choosing that. Many parents have decided not to vaccinate, or to only partially-vaccinate, after researching the various diseases, and weighing the potential risks against the potential benefits of each vaccine.

Maybe for some parents it's blind faith -- but then some folks put blind faith in whatever their doctors tell them about vaccines. And I think very few doctors have actually done research on this: most of them are too busy in medical school to do more than memorize the information they're given so they can pass the tests. It's kind of like assuming your child's pediatrician is knowledgeable enough to advise you on breastfeeding ...

Uhm, yeah, some of them sure try to -- from my personal experience and from what I've heard, some of them lean heavily toward wanting mothers to supplement, and mothers who follow this advice are less likely to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. So there's blind faith and then there's blind faith.


Inside Christin brains - let's stay on the topic of today...

"Dan" - one of the Christian trolls adamh/Will Graham or one in three recently started calling me on my cell phone and hanging up. He was calling from the same cell phone that he had tested me about a very private matter about "master debater and glorious leader" James Christensen. If you remember he had claimed he had personal information about "trolls" adam and Will Graham as well as the master debater from "one time" they left some paperwork at Borders.

Well, I texted the troll back yesterday after he called me and the following conversation took place. Please, follow the pattern of it - it is a remarkable insight into a mind of a delusional Christian. Edited for spelling and clarity... (Continued)


(Contined) - from a mind of delusional Christian

Me: Troll, why don't you hide under a rock and live there?

Dan: What the crap are you talking about? Who are you?

Me: Who do you think you were calling?

Dan: Who is this?

Me: You should know who this is, you had texted me about the Master Debater.
Me: Lying is a sin
Me: As a Christian troll, you are going to Spaghetti Hell for lying.

Dan: So sin is fun
Dan: Do you need medical help? Are you crazy?

Me: I will call your Master, so he can fix your brain. And tell him what you told me about him (the private information) and his history. Not going to be fun for you, kiddie.

Dan: KMA (Kiss My A.s). He won't know who called you. You are dumb bunny.

Me: So, you know how I am, just lying again?

Dan: You act like the fool you are. You embarrass us all

Me: Embarras us all? I am not a Christian. Are you one?

Dan: I am a freethinker. You are just a pitiful bastard.

Me: Christian freethinker - oxymoron.

Dan: You do realize other atheists think you are a piece of crap?

Me: I don't care what other atheists think, it's their problem not mine.
Me: Nice wording for a Christian

Dan: WTF? (What the You fool. Jack off. I am meeting my girlfriend at eight and getting p.ssy. So you go and play with yourself.

Me: Are you coming for Tuesday Bible Study - your chance for a new brain.
Me: Hope to see you at Tuesday Bible Study
Me: Talk to me about your religious delusions.

Me: (last night after Sam Singleton pow wow at McCoy's in Westport) - Hey, lying Christian troll. You missed (Sam Singleton) atheist evangelist tonight. Was fun.

Dan: God damn. You are stupid


While we are on the subject of brains and what's inside them...

In the mind of delusional Christians...

Check out a clip from "Jesus Camp" a movie about religious children camp - - about 10 min clip

Some of the kids profiled in the documentary are from Independence/Lee's Summit area.

At 5:30 min into the clip the kids are using a hammer to break mugs "filled" with sins against god - among them is government coming in to take Jesus out of school (!@#$!@%) and all other sins.

These are porcelain mugs and the kids are not wearing any protection glasses - wow! They just hammer away!

This documentary is worth checking out. Maybe we'll watch it at one of our movie nights.


adamh, from yesterday: No, I don't think all the Jewish prophets had brain tumors or were hearing voices.

But your asking me this reminded me that I'm still wondering what you really think about Paul's statement that women's roles in the church should be limited because of man being made first, and woman being the one who got deceived into sin. So far the only answer I've got from you or Will, was that you think Paul was right because the Church was under severe persecution.

I'm sorry, but it just seems like you guys are putting words into Paul's mouth by saying that it was all really just about protecting women. Here is what Paul actually said in his letter to Timothy:

"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." 1 Timothy 2:11-14

If you read this and say that Paul was correct in what he said, I don't see how you could interpret it as only being correct for that particular time period, because of the persecution. It seems like you'd have to say it's also God's Word for us today.

So, with this in mind, do you agree with Paul that women's roles in the Church should be limited because of Man being made first, and Woman being the one who got deceived into sin?

Also, Will, does your 1:12 AM post mean you think ALL Atheists are terrorists?

Will Graham

Lynne, I also think it is funny that Iggy's name is the number one search word! It makes it easy for me to refer people on other blogs go examples of his fine work! (chuckle)

But as to his "jokes", who knows?

When asked point blank if he is joking about some of the vicious things he says, HE WILL NOT ANSWER.

Of course, LYNNE, you think his comments are funny.

That you think vicious insults and ridicule for MONTHS ON END are funny says more about you than you know.

Will Graham

Speaking of COMPASSION Lynne, do you have compassion at all for some ot the people who may have been hurt by your friends remarks?

You know, like wives, family members, or even co workers who have nothing to do with the posters but who have been held up for ridicule?

Or is it all their fault that they feel hurt?

Is that your liberal compassion, LYNNNE SCHULTZ?

Dolores Lear

"Especially since 9/11, people have been trying to figure out the minds of terrorists. What makes them tick? Why do they do what they do?"

When in the History of our Killer Human Society, have there not been terrorists, since Adam and Eve made Children by Body Birth? Cain the First Terrorist Murderer for Abel. Or is this new word?

As a child we were told to beware of the boogyman. Was he a terrorist? Why is it usually the male that is the terrorist?

Does God of Each Group of Humans make Terrorists? Or is God the Terrorist? Who was the Killer God in the Old Testament? A Terrorist?

Was the Creator Peace God 'in the beginning', the same Killer God in the Old Testament? Or is this just a result of translations of Man-Made Religious Writings and Myth?

Why is the USA considered a Christian Country, when they were the first with an atom bomb, and used it to terrorize Japan?

Is the USA the One Terrorist Military Power on Earth today, because God let us have the most weapons of mass destruction?

Is there something Wrong with Humans trained as a Child, about their Gods that Accepts Humans Killing Each Other, and our Home Planet?

Has the USA been Blessed by God and Jesus, with the most weapons of mass destruction? I hear people all the time, saying "Thank you Jesus". What kind of God of Love is this? A Human Man-Made God?

Is it time for Humans to figure out their Man-Made God Religions, and Why They Do What They Do, for God and Country?


Iggy, I think the Dan harassing you may be the same one who frequents the Faith Matters blog at the Kansas City Star. It seems like his only purpose for posting over there is to trash Bill's blog here, and to trash me.

Today there's an article, that I found very moving, posted by a woman named Jill, sharing about her feelings as she's been trying to find a job. Dan was the first commenter, and he informed her that our secular society doesn't care about what she has to say, and that if she came over to the Tammeus blog and shared these things she'd get laughed at.

I posted after him, so I hope this gives her some encouragement. It seems like Dan is so intent on trashing the people he disagrees with, he forgets all about compassion for those who are hurting.

Of course, he may be the one hurting if his girlfriend hears how he refers to the time he spends with her, when talking with other freethinking guys. But Iggy -- why do you call the term "Christian freethinker" an oxymoron? Is "Atheist freethinker" also an oxymoron then?

Will Graham

Susan, before you ask me about ALL atheists, ask Cole Morgan if he thinks ALL believers are PSYCHOTIC and ask Igor if he thinks ALL Christians are delusional.

After all, I know you want to be fair.

So, thanks in advance!

And I see Iggy is getting DESPERATE!

Now he is just making up dialog outright! Sounds like he had a few drinks down at McCoys and got in an argument with another atheist, because IF he was talking to someone that was no Christian.

Lynne -

Will wrote:

>Speaking of COMPASSION Lynne, do you have compassion at all for some ot the people who may have been hurt by your friends remarks?

>You know, like wives, family members, or even co workers who have nothing to do with the posters but who have been held up for ridicule?

I don't know that he has done any of that. I only know that you claim it, but I also know that you lie because you tell lies about me and atheists in general all the time. If you lie all the time, why should I believe anything you have to say about Iggy? And who are you to talk about compassion when you call all atheists terrorists just because we disagree with you?

Lynne -

Susan, Phelps is violence. Three of his grown kids have accused him of some pretty vicious child abuse.



Today's topic of being inside a brain just keeps on giving... Here is our own blog grown delusional Christian...

The new "Faithwalk" Column in Kansas City star gets "Dan" our Christian troll (adamh/Will Graham) all riled up about "them" - see first comment to the article at the very bottom of the page (if there are more than one pages of comments, it will be on the first page at the very bottom).

Who is "they?" - Leprechauns? Zeus worshippers? Thor admirers? Rha adherents? Atheists? Secular Humanists? "Non Christian" liberal/moderate Christians who don't believe in Hell? Is it Obama's administration? Who is "they?" Secular society? - it is "them?" - and our troll is "us?" - the only "us" and not "them?" - the righteous "us?"

"Dan" is the first one to comment on the faithwalk - hence he should be able to put into perspective who is "them". It appears in his delusional mind that "them" should be known to "everyone" by default.

Christians on this blog, are you praying for the brain of this "poor soul" to be cured of the illness of irrationality?

Remember, Jesus WILL GIVE IT TO YOU - anything you ask for. Even if this Christian is actively resisting through Satan's work, it will have to be given to you. This is what Jesus said. If you are failed by your prayer - your god has failed you, not adamh/Will Graham/Dan because he has not been rectified by the prayer. Your space alien is crystal clear about the results of the prayer - IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU! - no "ifs" or "buts" about it.

But what if you die before the prayer is answered "yes"/given to you? What if adamh/Will Graham/Dan die before the prayer is answered in "yes" - it CANNOT NOT BE ANSWERED 'NO' according to your god. Luke, John and Matthew - all say it will be given to you - ANYTHING YOU ASK FOR.

Does it mean that your god has lied? Has been delusional? Has been fallible? Or there is an invilible alien egg growing in your brains?

Christians, Think!


Susan thinking alert! Susan thinking alert!

Iggy, I just got an idea as to what Dan was trying to pull when he talked to you about getting his girlfriend's "p*ssy." I think he was trying really super-hard to pass himself off as a fellow freethinker, by acting the way he imagines freethinking guys act when just chatting amongtst themselves.

I think for Dan, and maybe for some other conservative Christian guys, fear of divine punishment is their only motivation for treating women with respect and kindness. So since you and Cole don't accept any religious standard for how you live your lives, he assumes that when you get together you are BSing about "getting p*ssy" and talking in other derogatory ways about wives or girlfriends.

It has been really telling, for instance, that whenever we get into a discussion here about gay rights, it seems like some conservative has to come on here nattering about how if homosexuality is okay, then so is child sexual abuse, incest, and so on and so forth.

Some Christians seem really stuck on the idea that without dogma, there's no other way to live morally, and everything becomes just one big free-for-all.

When really, rational thought provides an excellent basis for respecting other people, and for being careful with our sexuality as well as with other important areas of our lives.

adam harrison

Susan, your little anecdotal stories you use to attack other Christians are no more credible than the dialogs Iggy makes up as he goes along.

Any body can spread gossip like that, but it does not consitute RATIONAL DISCUSSION.

Of course, that is not the point around here anyway. Chuck Lunney was quite right about that; as your buddy admits, his goal is to drive believers off the board and get them to SHUT UP.

And I know you are blind to it, but you are a collaborator.

adam harrison

Susan, given the other things Iggy likes to make stories up about, from telling areas ministers that he is in telepathic contact with aliens (and he did that just to get a rise our of the ministers and for shock value) to bragging about his guns and knives and about how "Christianity must die, it is not difficult to see that he is just making up dialogs for shock value.

I don't believe he had ANY such "converstion" with "Dan"...a name he could have picked up from the Faith Walk Column...and I think you know he is BSing us.

But you don't care, because it serves your purposes.

adam harrison

Lynne, your pals Cole and Iggy call believers and Christians "psychotic" and "delusional" repeatedly.

Do you think that is funny?

Do you have any compassion for them?

Forget about me, I know you will lie about me anyway like Igor does, but what about other believers or Christians who might read that?

Do you think that impresses them with atheists "good will"?

Red Biddy

Bill asked yesterday "Why does mental instability require enlisting God as a co-conspirator ?"
This question was followed up to-day by wondering how a "deeply religious man like John Brown could silence his conscience in order to order murder."
This question could equally apply to the man who murdered George Tiller recently and the 80 year old who went and shot up the Holocaust Museum, killing a perfectly innocent security guard in the process and of course the 9/11 hijackers and the continuing action of suicide bombers who don't seem to care how many innocents they take with them on the way to eternity.
We have a saying in Yorkshire (from whence I come) "All the world's a little queer, save Thee and Me, and even Thee's a little queer."

The point I'm trying to make is that we human beings, all of us, have a part of our brain and thinking which is completely irrational - "odd" if you like or "queer" (if from Yorkshire )nothing to do with being homosexual of course though the label "queer" is used in that way. Could mean just "different" but "odd" is closer !

adam harrison

Are YOU a liberal fascist?

Do you dare take the quiz?

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