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


adam harrison

On atheists who like to talk about aliens and "Christian terrorists"...

Red Biddy

continued....but I think my first effort got wiped off for some reason....
Had an experience yesterday to make my point of how NUTTY all we human beings are capable of being even seemingly the most intelligent among us.
I was about to undergo some minor surgery in a doctor's office, yesterday, and I asked him about a strange looking guy in a photograph he had hanging on his clinic wall.

As he was coming at me with a scalpel (so I daren't resist !) I received an incredible tirade of transcendental spiritual nonsense about the man in the photograph, and his belief in him as a the greatest philosopher in the world !!!
I'd never heard of any of this before.

The man in the photograph was a Franklin Albert Jones, born 1939 Queens New York, and who recently died at age 69 in 2008. This Jones character had changed his name to Adi Da and had apparently started a new religion; kind of a cross between Scientology (of which he had once been a member) and Buddhism, Hinduism etc... you name it !
I got this off one of the Adi Da web sites :-
"Adi Da said and is seen by his devotees to be the most spiritually realized human being ever to be incarnate in human form." Sounds familiar doesn't it ?
My doctor made sure I left the clinic with a flier all about this guy, web sites etc...I think he thought he might convert me (fat chance !)
Point I'm trying to make is that even the most intelligent, well-educated people can go off on cloud nine when it comes to matters of religion !
Couldn't help wondering (after I left the clinic) whether if my doctor had believed that Adi Da had told him to cut my throat whether he would have done so !.



Did you know that the New Testament story about the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) is not found in the earliest manuscripts and was likely inserted into the Gospel of John some centuries after the Canon had been closed.



Of course he's joking. But why would he even post such tripe?

Oh wait, everything he posts is tripe. Sometimes it's vicious tripe and when he's called on it, he claims he was just joking.(See your post.)

Pretty sad.

Will Graham

I alwaya find it ironic that atheists will always be ready to condemn those "religious" terrorists who "don't seem to care how many innocents they take with them" (as Red Biddy/Theo cries) but have nothing but praise for atheistic scientists who continue to provide weapons of mass destruction...chemical, biological, and any government with the means.

Indeed, if anyone dares point this out, they are "anti science".

Nope just "anti atheist".

Largely beause of their moral relativism.

Moral relativists all, from those like Iggynorant who are blunt enough to say there "is no truth" to those who like to hide it like Susan who tells us she can be wrong about "anything and EVERYTHING"...which is not just a statement of fallibility but a statement that she can never know the truth even if it exists.

And its a simple step from their to abortion, infanticide, euthanasia...and "whatever".

Will Graham

*****Famous Atheist Quote*****

For you moral relativist:

"What is good? All than enhances the feeling of Power, the Will to Power, and Power itself in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is increasing, that resistance has been overcome."

Nietzsche, The AntiChrist, sec. 2

This is one of the favorite atheistic books of one of the hosts of the Voice of Reason, a local atheist radio show.

Will Graham

Atheist Michael Ruse on "Why I Think the New Athesists are a Bloody Disaster".

Imagine that! The atheists fighting with each other! LOL!

Will Graham

Susan, take a look at the 9:35 a.m. post on the date below, and tell me if what this poster claims to have done is FUNNY, and if it inidicates the would be capable of making up an imaginary cell phone "dialog".

Dolores Lear

"John Brown's War Against Slavery", by Robert E. McGlone.
"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? -
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."

This is what President G.W. Bush Government, did to Saddam Hussein after 9/11.

A group in the 1990s were involved with Pre-emptive War. And some, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, were part of Bush's Cabinet.

Dick Cheney was part of Jimmy Carter's Government, and was involved with the Fall of the Shaw of Iran. Cheney also picked himself as Vice President. I accept Cheney was the Power behind the throne of President G.W. Bush.

All the costs of the war, were not so much for the soldiers equipment, as to build the massive U.S. Embassy Green Zone Complex with all the padding of costs by contractors.

Matthew 15:18,19. KJV. (Jesus) "For those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"

The USA is a Christian Country in Majority Religion Only. Not a Christian Lifestyle of Peace and Equal Sharing of Resources, like Jesus taught as a Lifestyle.

Mouth worship ends in Hate and War, since Cain killed Abel.

We had a great time with brother Sam Singleton Friday night. Good food and drinks. About 25 people showed.

Some of us joined the Xs outside on the street corners. They handing out religious tracts and we handing out fliers like” Smile there is no god. Dogma is bad for you, think for yourself. Very interesting conversations and reactions. All very peaceful.

Sat afternoon I enjoyed a potluck, about twenty people and kids, then later our reading group at black dog café. Fun times. We all talked about real things. In the real world. It’s time to move further from bronze age superstition. It doesn’t cost you a penny to have healthy thinking…

Well tonight is bible study so I have to read more verses.

Organized religion is slowly fading toward - thinking for yourself.

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole

A theist. Never heard from you. I didn’t think I would…

Pretty posted about Iggy joking, “Pretty sad.”

So is lying, huh.? Where is Bill’s post about me wanting to sue you? All fabricated, as was you insinuating something I never said. You asked for my email and I gave it to you, yet no reply.

Well, I suppose when you have been brainwashed by the jesus myth, lying comes naturally – or Is that supernaturally?

Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Chicken is just another way of saying poultry.

Yesterday, adam made a list of atheist evils. You can put X in front of every one of those and be correct. The good old days of torturing heretic.

It’s a good thing we are living in the best of times and they will keep getting better no matter how doom and gloom some are-

Thou Shall not lie. What would jesus do?

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole


Did you know that Brad Pitt is a non believer - Bill Mahers's show - talking about religion

A surprising number of contributors to are former pastors or missionaries who now feel a sense of remorse about their recruiting work. Most never expected to be where they are today.

At Glendale’s Avenues Pregnancy Clinic, women go in for a pregnancy test and come out fearing eternal damnation

Whitewashing and Cherry Picking Religion

The Jesuits have a saying sometimes attributed to Francis Xavier, “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.” The Jesuits were a tad optimistic, but ample research on identity formation shows that religious, cultural, and political identity become established by early adulthood and rarely change thereafter except in response to crisis. In fact, even in the face of crisis, core beliefs about who we are and why we are here, can be remarkably resilient.

Republicans, Religion and the Triumph of Unreason

Red Biddy

Will G,
Thank you for link to Michael Ruse "Why I Think New Atheists are a Bloody Disaster."
Kind of makes my point that all of us human beings, atheist or believer are capable of being as nutty as anyone else ! I love it when atheists fights just as much as spats between the different religions !!
One thing I particularlyy do not agree with Ruse on (and he has had a lot of flack from atheists about this) is his view that:-

"If teaching "God exists" is teaching religion and it is - then why is teaching "God does not exist" not teaching religion ? Obviously it is teaching religion."

Teaching science, any science, physics, chemistry, biology etc...."God" isn't even mentioned (why would it be ?) so is not a case of teaching that "God does not exist" ....God belief is irrelevant to science I would have thought.

I think Michael Ruse is jealous of the "New Atheist" sales success !! But he's a fun read.


Will, I read the post of Iggy's that you linked to. And, to answer your question -- no, this post doesn't seem like evidence to me that Iggy would totally fabricate a phone conversation.

Plus, that Dan who's been dogging my posts over at the K.C. Star Faith Walk Column seems like a real piece of work. He now seems to be implying that Jill, who wrote this week's column, was sharing her story so she could get help.

He has let her know that he can direct her to some churches that can help her -- while warning her that she won't get any help over here at the Faith Matters column. This seems very patronizing to me -- but Dan seems oddly sincere. So I'm thinking he just has a rather skewed perception of reality.

And, Will, about that post you linked to, where Iggy seemed to be encouraging people to join him in thought experiments ... i.e. if you really thought God wanted you to play Russian Roulette, would you do it ... and of course if some complete stranger walks up and says "I'm Jesus Christ," you really don't have a way to disprove that they're Jesus.

I'd just say Have a nice day and go on my way. But, really, what Iggy's asking are valid questions, because there are so many denominations that uphold the entire Bible as God's inerrant Word -- including the verses about God demanding Isaac as a sacrifice, and including the verses explaining that because woman was last in creation and first to sin, women therefore need to be limited in their roles in the churches. (Continued)


(Continued) Since so many Christians have a philosophy of "God said it. I believe it. That settles it" -- it stands to reason that Iggy would ask Christians, "If God told you to murder me would you do it?" Of course, the usual Christian fall-back is to say But God would never have me do something so cruel and unloving!

But, of course, the person who knows the Bible can pull up accounts where it says that God commanded killing and even mass killings.

Many Christians act like we should just gloss over all "that" stuff -- kind of like how adamh or Will felt like I shouldn't be focusing on Paul's verses limiting women because of all the really wonderful stuff Paul said. And I am actually all for cherry-picking -- only I think of it more as treasure-hunting: pulling out the things of God that I find in the midst of all the human error.

Of course the treasures are often easy to see which makes it more like cherry-picking!

Only, the reason why all those little objectionable verses matter, is because there are some people here who uphold the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. At least one person here has said that it's a slippery slope if you don't accept every. single. verse of the Bible as God's Word. (Continued)


(Continued) And I'm honestly not sure where you guys stand, adamh and Will, with regards to Biblical inerrancy -- but since at least one of you has said that he doesn't think Paul was mistaken in what he said about women, maybe you are inerrantists when it comes to Paul?

Well, and, when I shared my concerns about the Sacrifice of Isaac being upheld as God's inerrant Word, one of you guys asked me if I thought all of the Jewish Prophets had a brain tumor or were hearing voices -- so I'm guessing that since the whole Bible was most likely written by Jewish prophets, maybe you really are inerrantists with regards to the whole Bible after all?

Will Graham

I am not sure if my last post went through, but as I was saying in regard to your recent post, Susan, the point of my link was that Iggy likes to make up stories.

So I posted that link because it had a couple of doozies, and, I think, was before you came here.

I thought maybe you didn't realize the scoop on his stories, but now I see that either you did, or, it makes no difference.

And he has told some others! Like going aroung to area ministers and claiming he is in telepathic contact with aliens and Hanniabal Lector or some such thing.

Of course they are stories, and he does it to shock people; the trouble is, he thinks he is proving something, but they tend to think he nuts or just a jerk.

Oh well, more power to him in that regard! LOL!

And thats the point regarding the phone conversation; if fits in with the type of thing your friend does, and is just too pat for his purposes.

Bluntly, I think he is lying about it like he has this other stories.

Morever, I think you know it too. Sure, I could be wrong, but even if you did know the phone deal was made up, I don't think you would admit it here.

After all, he is your friend and you want to back him up.

I understand that.

As to the story of Isaac, if you are going to draw theological conclusions from it, deal with the story as it is. Abraham knew Isaac was not going to be sacrificed...Genesis 22:5 and 22:8 in context.

And Susan, mass murder? The Jews were a former slave population and they fought against extermination.

In World War Two they did not fight, and the result is well known. Perhaps the latter scenario is preferable to you?


Will, I see that you think Abraham knew God was going to change his mind at the last minute. This still doesn't explain why he bound Isaac. As I've said before, this must have been truly frightening to Isaac.

As to all the killing, I do see your point that if the Jews hadn't been so successful, they wouldn't still be a distinct people-group today. And maybe this really was a case of the best defense being a good offense. I'll have to study up on that more.

Now, as to your allegation that I'd back up a friend even if I knew he was being dishonest -- I think you are again doing that thing you and adamh do: you are assuming that I think like you.

You guys periodically express incredulity that I would be offended by allegations that I'm involved in some sort of dishonest collaboration with Iggy and Cole. You say -- What? Aren't they your friends? Aren't you proud to be linked to your friends, Susan?

It makes me think that you guys'd be thrilled if someone "linked" you two by saying that you spend your Saturday afternoons together, having sex with farm animals (a phrase I borrowed from the new Star Trek movie). If you are friends with someone, you are "proud" to be linked in any way that other people might choose to link you ...

So I guess it really is too much to wrap your minds around, that I don't see all links as equally wonderful. Oh, well, I hope you guys had a great day on the farm the other day ...


Comment on: Will Graham | August 18, 2009 at 02:06 AM
"What I am waiting for is for Iggy and Cole to go to some local Mosques and challenge the Muslims!"

First off we are talking :)
Second what are you getting at about local Muslim Mosqus?

What I am has all ways been here, and will always be around John.


Did I miss something?

Cole, You have the email as promised.

Lynne -

RedBiddy wrote:
>Point I'm trying to make is that even the most intelligent, well-educated >people can go off on cloud nine when it comes to matters of religion !

Yeah that's cause at that point it doesn't have to do with education or intelligence; it's an emotional thing.
iggy-bashers: there is a difference between -recognizing that someone was attempting to be humorous while deciding it wasn't funny- and failing to even recognize that the person wasn't trying to be serious and continuing the discussion as if he really WAS being serious. I've seen this same pattern in other extreme fundamentalists. You guys wouldn't know a joke if it lost its bid for vice-president and then quit the governorship of Alaska midterm. Lighten up.

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