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US Abandons Efforts to Persuade Israel to Freeze Settlements

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The United States has decided to abandon its efforts to persuade Israel to freeze its settlement construction, saying the tactic has failed. The Palestinians’ leadership in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, has been demanding a total settlement freeze as a condition of attending direct talks with Israel under US mediation. Israel’s self-imposed 10-month settlement freeze expired in November which caused the direct talks also to end; Israel refused to extend the freeze on illegal construction of settlements in the occupied territories for 90 more days as requested by the US.Settlements in West Bank

The US offered a proposal with incentives such as jet fighters and security guarantees in return for the 90-day extension. The Israel cabinet rejected the proposal. On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu offered to freeze construction if the Palestinians recognised Israel as a Jewish State, but the Palestinian Authority dismissed that idea.

It is not clear what the US is planning. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the talks with the Americans were postponed because the US was busy dealing with the Wikileaks release of diplomatic cables. However, this was denied by US State Department spokesperson P J Crowley. The US made clear that abandoning efforts towards settlement freeze does not mean giving up efforts entirely. It said it recognised there was a need to change tactics to resume the peace talks.

Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief representative in the US, said that Israel should be made to comply with international laws and resolutions, adding that the Palestinian Authority had not changed its position on settlement construction. However, the BBC reported that the negotiators would be in Washington next week and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton would give a speech on the Middle East.

If the Palestinian Authority bends to the US’s pressure tactics, it could be suicidal to the Palestinians’ interests. The US has been weakened in international forums such as the G20, APEC and the IMF. The EU and emerging market economies such as China and Brazil are increasingly defying pro-US tactics on international relations. As a result, it seems the US is attempting to retain its supremacy with the help of Israel by integrating the Middle East and South Asia into the battlefield. Israel could become a crucial partner to the US in the future in its efforts to assert its hegemony in the global arena of economic, military, and political relations. There are plenty of chances for Israel’s position to be strengthened further because of the US’s weakening situation.

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About Sekhar

  • Fivish

    Yes, Israel and the USA MUST abide by international law and treaty! The San Remo Treaty, the British Mandate and the Anglo-American Treaty all require Jews to settle all the land west of the Jordan river and cede no land to a foreign(Arab) entity.
    The Arabs and the UN have ignored international law and treaty for far too long. The UN apparantly has no regard for its charter, article 80 which forbids it from interfering in the pre-existing legislation. The Arabs have no legal, historic or moral right to any part of the Land of Israel.

  • Ruvy

    Fivish is right in his assertions. But beyond that, this report is a bit late – and wrong. The US is still trying to shove its big imperialistic garbage down our throats – now it’s using proxies like Australia and Japan to do the job. And now there are no promises of anything on the table, just raw demands.

    The Americans were never willing to put in writing what they were alleging to promise Israel for yet another suicidal freeze on building construction in Judea and Samaria. And they are still not.

    Promises by the Americans are worth shit and definitely not worth the paper they are written on. American oral reassurances are worth less than shit. To be blunt, the Americans are no more reliable than the Arabs they enable to kill us.

    When the Americans show that they actually have the balls to do some good on the planet – like stopping permanently the Persian nuclear drive for weapons – then I’ll think of regarding them as anything more than pitiful collapsing giants.

    While I’m on the topic of pitiful collapsing giants, check out the price of silver.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    I note after reading the first two lines: whoever edited this piece has a better grasp of apostrophe positioning than the overwhelming majority of Anglophones.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    does.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    By that I mean, the comments can go back to being what they ought to be about. Good article, Sekhar, and kudos to the editor.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Gotta love it. The U.S. offers jet fighters (to drop things on Palestinians?) as an incentive for Israel to wait 90 more days before resuming… let’s call it, diplomatically… Palestinian-provoking architecture in the occupied territories.

  • Ruvy

    Like I said, this article was late as well as wrong. Hillary Clinton aggressively flapped her jaws about construction in Judea and Samaria at the Saban Forum, as well as demanding that we turn over land that is OURS BY RIGHT, AND BY INTERNATIONAL LAW to people who have no right to it at all.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Well, Ruvy, as you know, I am burdened with an inclination to see both sides, the Jewish and the Palestinian. So, I hope you won’t see me as your adversary.

    No doubt about it, Ruvy, since I believe the Bible, I have to believe that God gave those lands to the Jews.

    And since YOU believe the Bible, YOU have to believe that God took those lands away from the Jews when he sent them into Babylonian exile, as a result of their gross neglect of him.

    And since you and I both believe the Bible, we have to believe that God gave those lands BACK to the Jews. A generation later, a Babylonian king, though not a Jew himself, thought that giving them back would be a fair thing to do.

    There was no bloodshed involved in moving the Jews into the Holy Land, not like the first time they gained possession, when they had had to wrest it out of the hands of baby-killing Molech-worshippers. The second time the Jews got the land, which was removed from them AS A PUNISHMENT from God, they did not get it back through violence. They had to wait for the miraculous workings of Providence working through a Babylonian king’s fair-mindedness. To think of it!

    There hasn’t been anything by way of what EITHER ONE OF US would consider Biblical Revelation since A.D. 70, when the Jews, for a second time, en masse, left the Holy Land.

    Thus, it’s impossible for me to point to any specific Biblical support for the notion that the Roman overthrow of Jerusalem happened for the same reasons the Babylonian exile happened, that the restoration of the Holy Land is going to happen when GOD is ready for it to happen, and not a second before.

    I would tend to think, though, you’d agree, Ruvy, that the posture of Jews worldwide toward the Creator God is not what it might be, and that a full restoration of the Holy Land to the Jews through violent expulsion of Palestinians who’d been living in villages for centuries (I’ve heard this happened around 1947) might send Mixed Divine Messages.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Since the above attempt at persuasion is not accompanied by an offer of jet fighter planes, I trust it does not fall under the heading of “aggressive jaw-flapping.” That term of yours pretty accurately describes what passes for “peace talks,” I’m sorry to say. The Military Industrial Complex is always working both sides of the aisle.

  • Ruvy

    We Jews have our own reasons for believing why HASHEM blessed the hands of the Romans in their unsystematic attempt at the genocide of my people 2,000 years ago. It was hinted to in the Torah, Irene.

    But a Jewish state, faulty as it is, has been restored to us, by our own force of arms, and we remain forced to maintain a powerful military to continue to survive. Since the Arabs chose to fight us, they bear the consequence of loss. That we do not shove those consequences down the Arabs throats with a hobnailed boot is something you should be grateful for.

    Perhaps you should take up the cause of Germans returning to the Sudenland; or of Greeks to Ionia. Perhaps you can use the trashy arguments of the el-Husseini clan, the bunch that incited against Jews during the Mandate and who later founded the PLO, in trying to convince Bohemians to give up their homes in the Sudeten mountains to the Germans they forced out – or perhaps persuade the White Russians to allow the Poles expelled from White Russia in 1945 to return to their homes.

    As for Arabs driven from their homes in 1947, they could have accepted the illegal resolution 181 dividing up the Mandate. Our leaders were stupid enough to. They didn’t. They lost. Too bad. As for REAL international law, the entire territory of Mandate Palestine, the Land of Israel, was under Jewish sovereignty from 25 April 1920. Anyone who says otherwise – and the whole world does – is full of shit. So, we’ll just have to do what we’ve always done. Stand alone against the whole world. It’s nothing new – and this time we at least have some nukes to help us out. But in the end, it will be HASHEM, the living G-d of Israel, Who decides how the battle will go. I have the books of Ezekiel and Zechariah to give me a pretty good hint. Read them some time. And make sure you listen to Barry Chamish’s radio show on First Amendment Radio before it goes away on Tuesday afternoon.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena irene athena

    I have those books too, Ruvy, and my interpretation is, “No jaw will go unslacked.” Not yours, not mine.

    I already have a listen slated for Monday 9 PM US Mountain Time (EST minus 2) Is that before Tuesday afternoon your time?

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Irene, your arguments are somewhat interesting.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena irene athena

    Why, you have my most halfhearted thanks, Sekhar ;)

    The comments of most interest to you would be #6 and #9. You may take #5 as the sincere compliment it was.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena irene athena

    Or maybe I’m wrong about what you found somewhat interesting?

    Is the “somewhat” rating a result of including the interest score for #4 in the average?

  • Ruvy

    Irene, I mentioned Tuesday afternoon because it would be your time.

  • Ruvy

    People like Sekhar would believe this video called “Jew World Order” to be true – certainly all those who hate us would believe it to be true. Such brains these haters and swallowers of Arab propaganda have! It is all sarcasm. The truth is this video, called Home by the very same fellow is the truth. WE ARE HOME! FOR GOOD! And we are not going anywhere – ever! You don’t like it? That’s just too damned bad!

    As for the “Palestinian” Arabs, if they find a home, and peace in 77% of the Mandate stolen from us, known as Jordan, may they go with a blessing of peace on their heads. But if they start a war with us – they will die.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    “Jew World Order”– the title alone screams “White Supremacist Bigot (being parodied.)” So, I’d be surprised to hear Sekhar had been taken in.

    But then I don’t know the first thing about Sekhar, or you, for that matter. Others erroneously think they know everything about a person just because they’ve read a few dozen…hundred…of their posts online, or have google-street-viewed their home address.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    So speaking of home, I hope you are safe in yours. I think that’s where you are Ruvy, home.

    Other people in your vicinity, unhappily, come from families who, who, for two generations, have had no certain idea where “home” might be. I feel sorry for them. You don’t. I don’t think we’re going to be changing each other’s minds tonight.

  • Ruvy

    Irene, how little you do know! Most of the Arabs in my vicinity have lived here for less than 25 years, either having moved here when Jews started building Eli, Shilo, and Ma’ale Levona, or being the children of those who moved here. They know where they live, and have cars, satellite dishes, Facebook pages and all sorts of other stuff. Ramallah is a city with tall buildings visible from P’sagot and Bet-El. Unfortunately, the Arabs have a chaotic culture, with serious issues of homosexuality, paedophilia, terrible levels of violence against children, women and animals, far more so than Israelis. I don’t hate them. THEY HATE ME. But I feel sorry for them, not because they are “poor ‘Palestinian'”, but because the chaos in their societies and the levels of hate and savagery in their society. And these ARE NOT THE RESULT OF BEING “REFUGEES” – they are endemic to most Arabs societies.

  • Cannonshop

    Interestingly, when I was in hte sandbox back in the day, we took a trip to the bazaar in Riyadh, and there were copies of “Mein Kampf” for sale in english, and Arabic. This ties into the history of the region-the Waffen SS had good success recruiting both Indian, and Muslims, during WWII, and much of the islamic world openly sympathized and supported Hitler’s Third Reich. (No bullshit, they did!).

    Historically, during the thirties Jews were expelled from their homes in much of the Middle East (including Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, etc), and the White Paper the Brits were using actively opposed the formation of a Jewish Homeland in order to curry favour with the Arab nations created in the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The British actively avoided allowing Jews into the ranks for fear that Jewish Nationalists would use their training against the Empire, as well as the fear that Jewish troops would commit war-crimes against the Nazis.

    Until the revelations about the Holocaust, antisemitism was socially acceptable in the west. It remains so in the near-east. The reason that Palestinians live in Camps, is because their fellow-arabs don’t want them, but will use them-as instruments of foreign policy to justify ongoing low-intensity warfare against the Jews in Israel. They tried High-Intensity warfare, but after word leaked that the Jews might have the bomb in Israel, it became too risky to wage open warfare with actual armies-and the use of irregular forces also allows them to play a ‘sympathy card’ with the ignorant Westerners, to try and win it in the American and European media, rather like how the NVA managed to starve out the South before launching their offensive in 1975.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    #14 Irene, you have tackled Ruvy with your biblical knowledge. But I don’t have it. Ruvy sees the history from biblical perspective. I only have history knowledge. Of course, not that I know every part of the history. Israelis have religious attachments with the land.

    I try to get the knowledge of religious attachments of Jews from Ruvy’s comments. For the first time, I’ve read some counter on biblical line to Ruvy’s line of analysis. That’s why I’ve felt it interesting. “Somewhat” because of my half knowledge in bible.

    Ruvy, sometime you say you don’t hate Arabs or Palestinians. Except that, your every word about Arabs or Palestinians demonstrates your hate towards them and you never tried to hide it. Let it be. Why do you try to say you don’t hate Arabs or/and Palestinians?

    I want to clarify that I don’t have any reason to hate Jews. But, I hate hating people simply because they belong to certain race or religion or what ever.

    I have a perspective of understanding history. My perspective only depends upon people, their culture, their economic, political and historical evolution. Although religion and religious beliefs form a part of the culture, they are mostly exploited by the rich classes in the societies to suppress economic wishes of the working masses and to perpetuate their economic plunder.

  • Ruvy

    THE SOLUTION: JORDAN IS PALESTINE!

    Jordan was cut out of land that was the sovereign property of the Jewish people by the British, who were the occupying foreigners at the time. As this article shows, the majority of the “Jordanians” are really Arabs who from around here or their descendants, who have built lives over several generations. But these Arabs, the majority of the population, are discriminated against, though far less so in Jordan than in Syria or Lebanon, and the possibility for further unrest of this kind can create a war here.

    It is the opinion of Arab journalist Mudar Zahran that Jordan should be opened up as the “Palestinian” homeland because HE believes that any attempt to set up a “Palestinian” state in will only result in war and violence. HE says that his people do not have the political awareness to live in peace with Israel.

    Speaking of home, we are safe in ours. We just got back on the computer after a 3½ electricity blackout that blacked out the entire region (including the Arab villages in the area).

  • Cannonshop

    Oh…and some (minor) supporting documentation can be found in the bibliography of this page…

    Mohammad Amin al-Husayni

  • Ruvy

    Sekhar, I have told the brutal truth about Arab societies in general. It is of little interest to me whether they fit into your “narrative” of bullshit about the Middle East and imperialism.

    Note Cannonshop’s comment about his visit to Arabia under the rule of the Wahhabi garbage, the ibn Sauds. This is a country with the same kind of viciousness and violence that Iran displays towards it citizens. They persecute Indian and East Asian foreign workers and treat them as lower than dogs, with the general attitude that they exist to labor and to be tortured. YOUR government does nothing to stop this mistreatment of its own citizens. Why is of little interest to me. But the fact that you cannot admit to these unpleasant truths is most telling.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Ruvy, why do you say I don’t admit? There are facts of Indians being mistreated in Arab states. Indian rulers have never been for their people’s interests. I wrote about them in some of my articles. Not only in Arab countries, they are mistreated in the US and Europe even though they are ambassadors, ministers, scientists and computer programmers. There are also instances Indians are respected and accepted. They constitute another topic.

    Here, I am dealing with people of different races, religions and countries. I always see difference between people and regimes. Regimes’ interests are different from those of their people. Regimes represent their own interests but not of their people. If you can see this difference, we may not share our views with our governments. For example, I don’t see Indian governments, since independence, ever worked for people. They served western countries’ interests and developed local rich classes. That’s where I see the difference between regimes and their people. That’s why we need not hate Iranians by looking at Iranian government and its policies. But, as a sovereign country it has its own rights and interests which one should respect.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena irene athena

    Sekhar, it will take a lot of voices, yes. I think the only thing I have to contribute is to ask others to please keep talking, as long as they listen, too. I appreciate your voice, as well as Ruvy’s and Cannonshop’s.

  • Ruvy

    The point I am making here, all of you, is that Sekhar’s “poor Palestinian” narrative does not comport with reality. It is a small part of a greater reality: the bigger part of the “poor Palestinian” narrative is really the mistreatment of Arab refugees in Arab countries. But there is a dark side to the Israeli military regime in Judea and Samaria as well, one that does not fit the bullshit narrative of the lame brain mass media – both overseas and unfortunately, to a large part, here, as well. This article details this dark side, a side that the liberal media does not want to talk about.

    As for the mistreatment of Indians in Arab countries, Sekhar, that is a mere example of the base brutality endemic to ALL Arab societies. It is just worse under the Saudi thugdom. But if Syrians can kill 20,000 Syrian citizens with poison gas while nobody opens their mouths, why should anybody open their mouths if thousands of Christian Lebanese die at the hands of the “Palestinian” Arabs, while they scream bloody murder if a few hundred “Palestinian” Arabs die at the hands of Christian Lebanese?

    I suggest that you are being hoodwinked in a major way – and more to the point, you like being hoodwinked and made a fool of by the Arab terrorists of the el-Husseini clan. You may not like me saying that, but again, that is what appears in your articles, again and again and again, when they deal with Israel. It is the typical bullshit line of the Indian leftist – that the Jews in Israel are evil imperialists, and the Arabs are good, and mere victims of the evil Jewish imperialists.

  • Ruvy

    By the way, Sekhar, NOW, your article is finally timely. The United States regime has announced that it is giving up on a building freeze, and will attempt instead to get to “core issues” – namely attempting to strip us of half of our capital, as well as all of Judea and Samaria. The American puppet-in-chief, Netanyahu, has welcomed this change in policy, according to the Voice of Israel English News at 12:30 this afternoon, Israel Winter Time (05:30 EST).

  • Jeff

    There are one or two “inaccuracies” in the article above. First, from the article one could understand that the palestinians participated in negotiations until Israel refused to extend the freeze… where in fact, the palestinians REFUSED to enter into direct negotiations for almost the entire length of the 10-month freeze.
    Second, the invention of a demand for a freeze was first introduced by OABAMA’S administration and NOT by the palestinians.

    It should also be noted that Israel agreed to enter into direct negotiations IN SPITE of the fact that the palestinians were firing rockets into Israel from Gaza and that Abu-Abbas worked hard to block the decision to accept Israel into the OECD

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Ruvy, there is a lot of difference between us in seeing things. You are in the box and I’m out of it. If Arabs attempt sexual harassment on minor girls, they are pedophiles. But, if IDF personnel attempt the same thing it is just a dark side! I’ve read a lot of such stories on Israelis’ blogs.

    Arab regimes are no different from Israeli regime regarding preserving rights and interests of Arab people. That’s why majority of the Arab regimes are allies to the US and Israel. If not allies, they are at least, at compromise with the interests of the US and Israel to defend interests of the rich classes of the Arabs.

    You can not attribute criminal behavior of some Arabs to Arab societies, and to any society for that matter. There may be cultural backwardness among people. It is because people are kept away from cultural, political and most importantly economic development so as to preserve regimes’ and their supporters’ overall interests.

    I never said Israeli regime is an imperialist one. But, it protects imperial interests of the US in the Middle East. To conceal it, it encourages hate among Israelis towards Arabs. (You are one of the victims of such hate campaign.) It magnifies Arab threat to stop Israelis from seeing the reality of their support to the US imperial interests. If interests of the US imperil regime and Israeli rich classes are not there, over time, there is a chance for peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians. We can not see it openly, we can only understand it by observing underlying political and economic dynamics.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    #26 Irene, yes, I do wish it too.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Jeff, your first observation is right. I wrote it in previous articles on the conflict. But, the second one is wrong. Palestinians have long been demanding permanent freeze of settlement construction. Temporary freeze was announced by Israeli prime minister. It was the decision of Israeli government when pressure was built up after Goldstone’s report on war crimes of both IDF and Hamas during Gaza attack. Obama brought pressure on Abbas based on temp. freeze, first for indirect talks and then direct talks for a brief period.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Now listen, Ruvy. I am d/l-ing the interview you gave. I’ll post the link to it again because you did it WRONG on the previous page of comments.

    Ruvy, I’m listening to you; so, please listen to ME telling you WHY I am listening to you. (It will get less painful for you after this paragraph, but please finish this paragraph.) For as long as I’ve been talking to you on Blogcritics, Ruvy, I have been increasing my understanding of Israel through a somewhat idealized (in terms of what can be expected short-term by the larger population of the Holy Lands) perspective. My study has focused on a particular brotherhood of Arabs and Jews, living in the Holy Land. They have overcome their mutual hatred through their mutual love for their Saviour, Jesus Christ. He has brought them together in miraculous ways. For JESUS IS THEIR PEACE, who hath made them one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between them; And that is well and good, because it is a vision of what could be, and keeps me optimistic about the region.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    But I need to hear what you, and Cannonshop and that first Jew up in comment one are saying. You all tend to speak for Jews, to get a clearer up-to-date idea of what is going on, what is the reality for a majority of Jews and Palestinians, not the idyllic vision that a few Arabs and Jews are living now, together. I need to really understand, Ruvy, the details of what is making you and the rest of the Jews so angry.

    I already know what is making the Palestinians angry. American media and thus American favor run in cycles. From my teens through, I’d say, only about three years ago, the Jews were perceived by a majority of Americans as the downtrodden, and the Palestinians the wicked rogues. (Probably had a lot to do with guilt for the Holocaust in the earlier segment, and in the latter segment, the rise to power of the largely Jewish neoconservative politicians.) Today, for all but a few, such as most of the fundamentalists Christians (not the Ron Paul ones, who are against American M.E. involvement for the same reasons YOU are, Ruvy) and some of the conservative evangelical Christians, it is just the reverse: the Jews are the fiends, the bigots, and the Palestinians are the oppressed.

    My suspicion is that neither of these views is balanced, and I think Sekhar would agree here. I want to learn more TRUTH so that I can pray more direct spiritual warfare prayers, whose object is not calling for victory through human violence, but rather the changing of human hearts through concentrated prayer attack against the Enemy, who is the instigator of every form of human discord and misery. The spiritual warfare weapons my friends (not imaginary ones, but ones who drink coffee with me) are the battle-passages of the Psalms, for instance, and covering otherwise hopeless situations with the powerful Blood of Jesus, because there is “power, power, wonder-working power in the precious Blood of the Lamb.” This I know to be true, if ever I knew anything to be true.

    Dang, that thing is taking a long time to download!

  • Ruvy

    Irene,

    I need to know if you ever did get to listen to my friends Barry Chamish and Aryeh Gallin.

    In the first hour of the interview, Barry kept trying to pound home why the Arabs woud totally wipe the floor with us, concentrating on reports he had from the Arab press talking of a massive war-plan against us. In the second hour, he and Aryeh talked of the incredible violence in Arab society – towards women, children and animals. I was silent for a good part of that second hour because I had not witnessed the violence and viciousness my friends had seen here in Israel.

    But the bottom line, beyond all else, is this. Arab societies are chaotic and dysfunctional by nature, as well as violent. “Palestinian” Arabs have suffered from this violence, but they have also inflicted this violence on others.

    This chaos and dysfunctionality makes it harder to believe the Arab press when they talk of a master war-plan against Israel. When you have upwards of 120,000 rockets and missiles to spend, yes you can kill lots and lots of evil Joos. But not anywhere near as many as you could with an orderly society – even if it were a violent one.

    If you have time, the correct link is here. I’ve tried to preview the comment so that I get the link right, but the preview does not go down that far.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena irene athena

    Ruvy, I listened to both hours. You first posted the link on Alan’s Legless Man thread. The shows were about 1)fire and arson 2)mistreatment of animals. Can’t talk more now Ruvy. Gotta run.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena irene athena

    Ruvy, I’m pretty sure I listened to the programs you intended me to, with the link in #33. Interesting that Chamish said that such a lot of the new forests had been burnt up over the last 15 years, and that teens who are official suspects for latest conflagration are patsies for an Israeli government that wants to cover up its suspicions that the fire was started by Arabs. On tape 2 I heard you talk about the dog you rescued, etc, and other, less savory references to animals.

    Question, for you, Ruvy. If I were to post the official website of the group that is trying to reconcile Arab and Jewish-background Christians in Israel, you wouldn’t think of finding them and hurting them, would you? Because you’ve talked about that being an appropriate fate for Jews in Israel who had become Christians. I don’t know if you have changed your opinion since then, but I would hate to see harm come to them.

    Seems to me you would benefit directly from their continued success, since it results in less animosity between Arabs and Jews in your vicinity.

  • Ruvy

    You misheard a bit there, Irene. It was not me who rescued the dog, it was Aryeh Gallin. I was pretty quiet during most of the second hour. The Root & Branch Association, Ltd, with which I have had affiliation for a number of years, was originally a group to get Christians and Jews together. When my colleague Aryeh realized that most Christian groups were out to convert Jews if they could much of that aspect of the organization was dropped. But I would not harm groups of people trying to work together – unless they were working to harm this country. Think about that. I’m a patriot, Irene.

  • Ruvy

    And just so you get an idea of why I view what is called “Christianity” with such contempt, try looking at this website. This will succinctly give you all the reasons – and still let you view the world through the teachings of Jesus.

  • Ruvy

    Finally, since we are talking about lies and liars, during the recent Tzur Shalom fire at Mt. Carmel, most of the Hebrew and Israeli media hushed up at least 18 Arab arson attempts during this fire. The Arabs have been systematically burning the country down over the last 15 years and everybody is afraid to open their mouths – from the prime minister on down. There can be no peace with savages who viciously torture animals and burn down forests.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Ruvy, thanks for clarification re: dog rescue story attribution and your contemptuous but not vindictive attitude toward Musalaha workers so long as they are acting as peacemakers and not as agents to harm Israel.

    Ruvy, you say, “…my colleague Aryeh realized that most Christian groups were out to convert Jews if they could.”

    Well, Ruvy, you evidently are out to get ME to RENOUNCE Christianity, but I don’t view you with contempt. I get annoyed, of course, when you go on anti-Jesus, anti-Christian rants, but I’m not threatened by them, so I just walk away and come back when you’re ready to talk about other things.

    OK, Ruvy, per your request, I gave the ebionite site a look, and I’ve listened to TWO HOURS of your audio, so you should at least look at the FIRST page of the musalaha webite.

    Musalaha’s primary outreach is to people who are Christians already–and after the Arab and Jewish-background Christians have their OWN house in order, they aim to go out into interfaith communities and try to act as peacemakers, too, the way somebody did for THEM when they were still filled with bitterness. The organization, being made of Arabs AND Jews, has no particular political agenda for Israel. They just want all Israelis to live peacefully together.

    I don’t know that they’d completely dismiss your Jordan idea Ruvy, but I’d think most of them, even the Jewish-background Christians, would only consider that option as a last resort.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Irene, are you associated with musalaha? It may be easy to bring together the Jews and Palestinians who already learned why they did not need to hate one another. Could muslaha attract hardcore Jews or Palestinians to its programs? If it did, how far it succeeded in its mission? What are their views regarding Palestine state? Do they support two state solution? What is musalaha’s solution to the conflict?

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Hi Irene, when I read second time your comment #41, I noticed the sentence “The organization has no particular political agenda for Israel.” If that is true, let me say musalaha is chasing dreams. While muslaha’s aim is ideal, it is beyond practice. The conflict is about land. Without going into the land question, how can musalaha bring peace?

    Palestinians regularly face ill-treatment and intimidation. They are deprived of basic human rights. They don’t get regular work. Natural resources like water and land are kept beyond their reach. Jewish regime is continuously building settlements and dismantling Palestinian houses on one pretext or other. Sometimes such pretexts look beyond one’s imagination.

    I got this information from international news websites owned by western MNCs and blogs owned by Israelis too.

    In such difficult situations, where people lack even basic amenities, can Palestinians think about peace? If they get some work to live, then there can be a chance to think about peace. People are forced to see the conflict when they start their life every morning. Without finding some solution to such problems can musalaha sow an idea of peace among Palestinian minds except a few well off people, Irene? I am not saying Palestinians can not offer peace. I want to stress that Palestinians are at receiving end.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ irene athena

    Sekhar, no, I’m not on staff at Musalaha. They very much DO go into the land question, and the mistreatment of Palestinians, and the complaints the Jews have, too. The first thing to do in addressing the land issue/human rights issues is to get the two sides involved talking and actually caring about what happens to one another. Without this, any “peace solution” is just a veneer, an overlay imposed by outsiders.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Irene, have they reached a common solution or a common idea supposed to be the basis for a solution so far?

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    You know Irene, we can not equate a wound and the knife that caused that wound simply they both are bleeding. Wound says I’m bleeding and knife also claims see, I’m also bleeding, referring the blood that belongs to the wound.

    Jews may also complain but, they are just sporadic reactions from Palestinians resorted to out of frustration towards an unending oppression.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Of course, at times there may be some genuine claims from Jews, a result of exploiting the situation by some bad elements from the Palestinians.

  • Ruvy

    I took a look at Musahala and what it has to offer.

    The problem with Musalaha is not that they promote reconciliation. THAT IS GOOD. The problem is their route is “A Little Bit of Jesus”. You may need this in one form or another; Arab Christians might as well. But neither Jews nor Muslims do. At bottom both of our truly monotheistic belief systems will see Musalaha for what it truly is – a conversion engine covered with the toothpaste of “reconciliation”. That is why they haven’t gotten further than they have. Both Muslims and Jews can smell a missionary a mile away. Even Sekhar, who is neither Jew nor Muslim, and who disagrees with me profoundly, can sense this.

    As for showing you the “ebonim” site, the point for you is that while the essence of what you believe is good, the package that the followers of the Jewish apostate, Saul of Tarshish, created was a creed of murder, massacre rape and seizure of power. What you choose to believe – or not to believe – is your own business.

    True witnessing – proclaiming the name and glory of G-d – is done when you do so – and move on. It is up to you, the receiver of the message, to respond or not, and not up to me to force any of this further upon you. The leaders of Musalaha would do well to learn this lesson.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Actually, what I said has nothing do with Christianity or conversions. I just checked about the practicality of the musalah’s ideology and its work.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Sekhar, just as Christians who worked against the European slave trade (Livingstone and Wilberforce, for example) got discouraged at times–the abolitionist movement took a century to succeed–so the members of Musalaha report being discouraged from time to time. That doesn’t mean that what they are doing isn’t worth it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “spiritual warfare prayers”?

    Jesus didn’t preach anything like that…so such are therefore a doctrine of man. If you’re going to follow Jesus, then follow what He and the apostles actually said and actually preached (and this includes verifying each verse for the correct translation from the earliest available source. If you do, you’ll find that the VAST majority of churches that claim to be Christian really are not Christian at all.

    Sorry, Irene, I know that offends you – but to follow Christ requires sufficient humility to obey what He actually commanded…and to NOT do what He forbade. For instance, Jesus didn’t say “Remember and celebrate My birth”. He DID say, “Don’t do as pagans do”…

    …and consider that very closely as you look up where we originally got the Yule log, the Christmas tree (tanenbaum), the making of images of Jesus and God.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re not strictly following (within reason) the commands and strictures given us by Jesus and the apostles, you’re not following Jesus.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/a-nasty-mathematical-myth/#comments Irene Athena

    Glenn, the Bible says Jesus cast demons out and told his disciples to do the same. That’s spiritual warfare, and so is praying that the Enemy’s plans would be thwarted. I don’t know if your sect puts any store by Paul, but he said, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

    So, I’ve answered ONE of your objections, Glenn, and I’m sure you have many, many more, and I could probably answer them all, with verses you would interpret another way. I don’t think you’re going to convince me, I don’t think I’m going to convince you.

    Go buy your wife some flowers, Glenn. :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yes, I agree that neither of us will be able to convince the other, and both of us are looking at the other in utter pity.

    But I leave you with this – hold up each and every one of your beliefs to the commands of Jesus and the apostles, bolstered by Jesus’ admonition “Why do you say that you love Me, but do not do what I say?”

    Oh, and the trinity doesn’t exist (assuming that you’re trinitarian). Go back to the earliest extant Biblical Scripture, and there’s nowhere that Jesus is strictly called ‘God’ where the translation cannot be called into serious question. You can thank Jerome and his Vulgate and Constantine and his desire to align Christianity with all the other polytheistic religions of Rome in his day for this. If you’ll research, you’ll find that every single culture and nation from the Indus to the western Mediterranean had a trinity of some sort…except for the Hebrews.

    Isn’t that interesting?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Excuse my butting in, but this discussion is getting ridiculous. What has trinity or any other part of dogma got to do with faith? If my understanding of spirituality is correct, and I’m certain it surpasses your understanding, Glenn, it’s all about faith. Beliefs and the content of our beliefs are such an edifice we build, a monument to our faith, because truly, we humans can never reach a full comprehension of God if he or she does exist. We can only grope. Consequently, our concept of God always should be evolving.

    Irene spoke earlier of the masculine and feminine traits, but I think Ruvy provided the necessary correction. If Irene was right, it was only with respect to providing a model, a model we could all admittedly understand, a model, besides which is not tainted by the supremacist, male-run society – a tall order indeed given the tenor of our times. We humans can’t help but think in terms of gender, and the ideas of deity, necessarily, have got to be expressed in those very terms. But let’s face it, we haven’t a clue.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    but an edifice we build — third line

  • Ruvy

    Glenn, you may wish to look at the link I provided in comment 39. You may not agree with all you see there, but you may be surprised by what you see there and by how much you do agree. I suggest you look not to change your mind, but to give you a look at what appears to be a concept running parallel to yours. And Roger, maybe the best YOU can do is grope. That is what you get for wandering in philosophers’ tomes.

    I study the Torah and the Tana”kh, and the wisdom of my sages with enough distance to see where they whitewash, as well as where they are desperate. I seek for the answers – and the answers come – along with tremendous challenges.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I haven’t looked at it yet but I’ve made a new tab to look at it, and look at it I will.

    And I sincerely doubt there’ll be aught that offends or troubles me, because while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, no one is entitled to their own facts. If the website is factual, then so be it…but I think I’m pretty good at sniffing out inaccuracies.

    Of course we all think that of ourselves….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Okay…

    Much of what the site says certainly applies to the vast majority of churches that claim to be the ‘true’ Christian church…

    …but the Church of which I am a member does not believe that Jesus is God in any way, shape, or form. God is God, and Jesus is man and only man, though He is the only begotten Son of our Lord God. In fact, in the oldest known Scripture extant, Jesus is never strictly called ‘God’.

    We do not hold the Jews responsible for Jesus’ death in any way. After all, if Jesus’ sacrifice was part of God’s plan all along, how then could it be the Jews’ fault? But don’t get me started on what the Catholic church has done over the centuries – I think I can safely say that the Catholics and protestants have killed a lot more Jews than Muslims ever did.

    As far as salvation goes, we believe that one must be a true member of His Church. Why? The Bible states that the Church is the Body of Christ…so would Jesus save anyone outside His Own body? Furthermore, in Timothy IIRC, we are told that we are all to be of the same mind with no division – which means that there can’t be a whole slew of denominations all going kumbayah and assuming that being part of a particular Church is unnecessary regardless of what the Bible plainly says.

    But salvation is not a simple matter, no, not at all. Romans 10 mandates that one cannot be saved unless one believes, that one cannot believe unless he has received the Gospel from a preacher, and that a preacher cannot preach unless he is sent to do so.

    So think about that – the Body of Christ is the Church, and those in the Church are to be of the same mind with no division, and no one can become a true member of the Church unless he has received the Gospel from a preacher sent by God to preach. This is all plain NT language…and completely quashes the notion that it doesn’t matter what church one belongs to.

    And as far as God’s commandments go, which commandments are still in effect? Should we include the one from Deuteronomy that mandates that a disrespectful child will be put to death? No, I don’t think so. Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic law…and we are now to follow His words and the words of the apostles.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So Glenn, you don’t hold the Jews responsible for the killing of Christ but they’re still damned because they aren’t “true members of His Church?”

    In you estimation, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, etc. are all damned, as are Catholics and Protestants and any other line of religious thought that doesn’t coincide with the dogma you’ve put your faith in.

    This appears to only differ from other theistic faiths in the details, of which I’m sure you can all argue over until the bitter end.

    What hateful nonsense.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And Roger’s right, we ALL are groping in the darkness for something we aren’t even sure is there. That’s why it’s called faith, for cryin’ out loud!

    Ruvy can sit there and call upon the “wisdom of the sages” all he wants, but at the end of the day those “sages” were also groping in the darkness for something that they weren’t assured of.

    You can study all of the old books, read through all of the religious texts and do all of the incantations you want. If it makes your life better, that’s terrific. But at the end of the day, all religions share a lack of certainty in common. Nobody really knows anything, yet admitting that is, for most, out of the question. Embracing the quality of doubt and mystery is a seen as a weakness; “blessed assurance” is, instead, the path to take.

    You can have it. I’ve tried to walk that path for more than 25 years until I realized that any God that holds to such rigid dogma isn’t worth the paper he or she is written on. This is nothing more than human idolatry, a cruel hoax played on millions of believers and strung together with fairy tales and myths to support divisive dogma about infallibility and biblical inerrancy.

    To quote Bishop John Shelby Spong:

    “Integrity and honesty, not objectivity and certainty, are the highest virtues to which the theological enterprise can aspire. From this perspective, all human claims to possess objectivity, certainty, or infallibility are revealed as nothing but the weak and pitiable pleas of frantically insecure people who seek to live in a illusion because reality has proved to be too difficult.”

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Hi Jordan, what John Shelby said is correct. Illusions have to be replaced with reality and that reality has to be molded for the good of humankind.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    My appreciation of John Shelby is completely based on his quotation in comment #60, but not John’s philosophical perspective.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I don’t know, Jordan. I see “faith” more as a matter of existential stance rather than as something which is grounded in, or predicated upon, uncertainty and doubt – a stance expressive of one’s relationship to “all there is” and which acknowledges our Certainly, Paul or St. Augustine spoke of faith in that way, as something capable of “moving mountains.” That’s not anything which can be riddled with uncertainty and doubt. But what I object to is elevating a doctrine or dogma, in short, the cognitive content of our particular belief(s), to that very same same level and standards – whether it issues from the mouth of Ruvys, his inscrutable wisemen, or Glenns. Anyway, it’s not the nature of divinity that the ancient writers were addressing in their sacred books – e.g., whether it’s a trinity or not (theologians did that) – but the nature of spiritual experience. The Book of Job is a perfect example. So what’s wrong with settling for a kind of understanding to the effect that, say, “God is love,” and leaving the debate as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or some other such nonsense, to those who are so inclined?

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Roger, what do you mean by “inscrutable Ruvy”? Whether he is difficult to understand or there is nothing to understand from Ruvy? Just out of curiosity…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Faith is a gloss over doubt, though. That’s the whole point.

    Or, perhaps more accurately in Augustine’s words, “Doubt is but another element of faith.” His Confessions rightly walked through the elements, including doubt and wonder as vital components.

    Or Voltaire: “Faith consists in believing not what seems true but what seems false to our understanding.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    It’a nor Ruvy who is inscrutable, Sekhar, but his “wisemen.” Ruvy reads like an open book.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Voltaire was an atheist, Jordan. It’s doubtful whether he’d had a “faith experience,” so his perspective was limited to that of an outsider “looking in.”

    Perhaps Paul Tillich’s idea of faith as “the ultimate concern” says it best for me (The Dynamics of Faith) – again, the existential stance kind of thing but not not in the sense of hedging your bets like in Pascal’s wager, or simply acting on an as-if basis, but rather as a kind of stance which emerges in the course of human experience and conveys a new kind of understanding.

    Which isn’t to say that uncertainty and doubt aren’t always in the background, but I don’t think of faith as a negative response to the above, to help one deal with it, but rather as a positive kind of response, a response which captures one’s coming to terms with one’s limitations as a human and a realization that we’re not the masters of the Universe.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    And as regards Augustine’s apt remark that doubt is but another element of faith, I’d view it as a cautionary remark to the effect that the path is riddled with difficulties. Kiergegard’s entire output could be said to be dealing with exploring those difficulties.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Voltaire was a deist, actually, so his thoughts on faith certainly hold value as do his experiences.

    As for Tillich, his claims are, too, that doubt is an element of faith. For him, faith is “the state of being ultimately concerned” as you mention.

    Tillich’s insistence on “earnest reflection” most assuredly included elements of doubt, as he would share a belief in a “symbolic God.” This is where the question of what faith is “ultimately concerned” with comes into play and where his “God above God” sentiment also focuses. I’ve talked about this at length some months back on a thread here, but I can’t think of which one it was at the moment.

    I don’t ascribe doubt a negative or positive trait and I don’t think Voltaire does either. As the Frenchman would have it, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

    We may be talking at cross purposes here, Roger, unless you are purely stating that doubt is not an element of faith. I think it’s a requirement for faith.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Jordan, I got it. But, it seems to me that Ruvy has plenty to evolve taking into consideration his openness in expressing his views. I don’t mean to downplay him but I mean to say that he has potential to evolve. As a matter of fact, humans as a whole, have great potential to evolve further, provided they accept to evolve.

    #67 Maybe Voltaire had experience with faith as believing in what seems false to his understanding while being as an insider and then had become an outsider, Roger!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    The trouble I have, Jordan, what exactly do you mean by “element”? I spoke of doubt and uncertainty as an ever-present background. And I view those as the kinds of difficulties and obstacles that are always in the way and have got to be dealt with. Again, I brought up Kierkegard’s writings to illustrate the point. So if that’s what you mean by “element,” fine. But I just don’t think concepts as rich as faith can be conveniently analyzed into constituents and thereby pretend we’ve arrived at an adequate understanding of the concept and the underlying human experience.

    It doesn’t work like that, Sekhar. The way of faith captures a slice of human experience, and it is therefore subject to certain dynamic.

    One can discover or re-discover faith. Alternately, one can fall out of faith or rebel. But one can never become “an outsider” in the sense you’re intimating.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    And btw, Jordan, I didn’t say that doubt or uncertainty were negative in any sense. I only stated that to conceive of faith as a way of overcoming/dealing with/ doubt and uncertainty is a negative kind of response and conveys a certain misunderstanding of the concept. At the very least, it’s an oversimplification I would shy away from making.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I mean “element” as plainly as possible, Roger. Doubt is a component (maybe even an ingredient), one of many, of faith. I think that’s what all of the writers and thinkers I’ve referenced have been saying as well.

    But I just don’t think concepts as rich as faith can be conveniently analyzed into constituents and thereby pretend we’ve arrived at an adequate understanding of the concept and the underlying human experience.

    I can’t even begin to think of where you think this has happened in this discussion. I began this conversation by stating that I agreed with you: we are ALL groping in the darkness. I then state that certainty with respect to dogma is nothing short of human idolatry.

    You reply by stating, strangely I think, that faith isn’t something that can be grounded in uncertainty. Faith is, as you say, “not anything that can be riddled with uncertainty.” And that’s where I beg to differ because, to me, the uncertain element of the faith experience is the sure way to avoid pretending we’ve arrived at an “adequate understanding of the concept.” If anything, my posts have gone to great lengths to share that I expressly do not believe that faith can be “conveniently analyzed into constituents.”

  • Jordan Richardson

    I only stated that to conceive of faith as a way of overcoming/dealing with/ doubt and uncertainty is a negative kind of response and conveys a certain misunderstanding of the concept.

    I agree that this conception has negative connotations, but I disagree that it conveys any misunderstanding of the concept. On the contrary, the notion of “faith in things unseen” is considered a positive trait by most religious adherents. In fact, having such faith is a requirement.

    It would be unreasonable to ignore such a basic fact. And it would be unfair to suggest that my refusal to ignore that basic fact reflects an oversimplification of the concept, ESPECIALLY considering my history with it.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Or, put another way, the teaching of Christ to “enter the kingdom like a child” and the frequent Christian insistence, whether through hymn or sermon (I’ve heard a million of ‘em), to have “faith like a child.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    The oversimplification, Jordan, arises in the minds of the simpleminded – your’e not included – in that faith is a kind of line of defense. It is not. As I keep on arguing, it’s a positive response no so much to doubt but more so, to a realization of our limitations. And again, I’m going to argue it’s not the same thing. Consequently, my argument against oversimplification wasn’t directed at you but was advanced only in the interest of responsible speech.

    As to the component or ingredient kind of talk, I find it singularly unhelpful, against for those very reasons. So again, I didn’t suggest that you’re in the business of parsing out the concept in any such way, only that that kind of talk is unhelpful unless one attempts to describe the relationships between “the constituents,” how it all fits together.

    As for my thinking of faith as a positive kind of “response,” I’m guided by genealogy of certain relational concepts. Just as love, e.g., it’s arguable, evolves from simpler and “natural” sentiments, such as affection, for instance, so does faith, it’s also arguable, evolves out of simpler and more natural sentiments, in this case grounded in the notion of dependence. I’m speaking of “trust.”

    I’ve written an essay on the subject. Parts of it are lost, but the gist of the argument is still there. If you’d like, I could email it to you via attachment.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Exactly. A faith like a child, the kind of unreserved trust all children have in their parents or significant others. Until that trust is betrayed. Which then faces us with the business of recovering what we’ve once had but now is lost.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Wow! You people have gone a a long way.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Sekhar. I’m happy you appreciate the underpinning logic of language and the underlying experience.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Faith is a line of defence or of insulation for many religious adherents, Roger, and we’d be remiss to not include those reasons for it. I find myself increasingly sympathetic to the notion of faith as comfort.

    There are also associated cultural issues and so forth included in the umbrella that I think your well-intentioned thoughts sidestep.

    There are differences between honest, faithful searching and dogmatic attachments, as you’ve said.

    In terms of a relational construct, I think one needs some “thing,” for lack of a better word, to relate to. We “trust” presumably for often disparate reasons: one has “earned our trust” either by role (possibly a parent, etc.) or by action (they’ve proven themselves to be trustworthy). In this regard, faith or trust in a deity is divined, again for lack of a better word, by trust in a role rather than by action/evidence.

    Religious people really have no rational reason to trust in God, so they abide it by faith and “gloss over” the obvious lack of evidence. Intentions, whether for comfort or avoidance of consequence (hell, etc.) or through “honest searching,” are almost irrelevant in the final analysis in that the religious arrive at the similar points along the same theistic line. The only real differences come in dogma and/or doctrinal distinctions.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Thoughtful comment, Jordan. Here is my response.

    (1) I don’t deny that faith may and does serve as a line of defense or insulation for many. Nor can I rightly criticize their coming to, and holding on to, their faith so. And yet … Just as we speak of (looking for) love in all the wrong places, or of loving for all the wrong reasons, I believe similar logic applies to the faith construct and the underlying experience (from the purist standpoint, of course).

    (2) Trust doesn’t start with “being earned.” It’s a natural human response, of an infant let’s say – and a healthy one as well, one hastens to add – to a condition of utter dependency. Indeed, it’s only after trust has been broken time and time again, that we begin to speak, and quite rightly so, of trust having to be earned. Notice, however, it’s already a step down, and quite a step down, I daresay, from our initial condition of unconditional, childlike trust. The next and final step is coming to a realization that no matter what, humans aren’t trustworthy and reliable. And it wrecks devastation and desperation. Why so? Because we’re talking about what’s essentially an emotional connection. (That’s true of all relational constructs.) And it’s out of such condition of desperation and hopelessness that faith is born, faith no longer in humans but in God, because that kind of faith and trust can never disappoint. Which is why I maintain that faith is a positive and the only logical response to conditions of human existence, an existential decision/stand/position, if you will.

    (3) The above is but one account of the genealogy of the construct and the underlying experience. No doubt there may be other accounts, but this one rings true more than most. Which brings me to the present point.

    We shouldn’t conflate the existential conditions which give rise to a re-discovery of the faith construct as an essential part of human experience, the conditions of utter hopelessness and despair, with the faith experience itself, in short, the before with the after. And it is the latter that my remarks were directed at. For indeed, coming to faith involves coming to a resolution of sorts, a resolution of existential conditions which, prior to that, were unbearable. A sense of peace and a new kind confidence are the trademarks, though doubt and uncertainty still remain. So yes, I agree with your characterization of faith in terms of accrued comfort, but I must add it’s comfort that’s born out of struggle, a comfort which comes with any resolution. The idea of comfort wasn’t instrumental in acquiring faith, struggle was. Comfort is the natural fruit. And I’m not necessarily speaking here of an afterlife but life here and now.

    (4) You speak of “honest searching” as possibly relating to faith. If so, I disagree in that faith represents the end of searching, the culmination of searching. It’s more like a way of being.

    (5) You’re right of course in that faith has little to do with objects of belief, even less so with religion. I’m totally Pauline in my theology, not to scandalize our well-meaning Catholic friends.

    And Merry X-mas to you too.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    What I’d like to add to the above, Jordan, is that the theological construct of grace lends support to the notion the faith impulse is a positive kind of response.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’ll take these point by point:

    1. Agreed.

    2. Trust is still “earned” in some capacity, though. I think suggesting trust can be “earned by role” is accurate, as I mentioned in my above comment. I don’t even know that we only speak of trust as something to be earned after it’s been broken, as there’s a great deal of socializing that goes into the whole “don’t talk to strangers” apparatus and so forth. Trust becomes part and parcel, at least for infants, with familiarity/role. Comfort may well play a role here as well, but I think it’s probably more apt to suggest that trust is almost always earned. If an infant enters in to a world of pain, that trust factor is very quickly eroded on the basis of discomfort. In that respect, I think that there still are very basic conditions with respect to what you reference as “unconditional” trust.

    I’d argue that faith wasn’t born so much out of the need to trust something larger than humanity, although that’s obviously one of religion’s more attractive false promises. I would suggest, instead, that faith came out of a desire for purpose and a need to be comforted against the cold realities. As a species, we needed something to suggest that there was more to “this” than hurtling through space on a rock by sheer chance.

    I’m sure, then, that faith began as a logical response. It, like anything else developed in the human mind, evolved with more evidence and more considerations. And, as such, the same faith that our ancestors used to get them through the cold dark night has now been rendered a soft comfort in comparison to what we know about the universe, its origins and our place.

    3. That may be the opening stages of the evolution of faith, sure, but for many accepting religious dogma and accepting a vision of deistic splendour is relatively easy. Some don’t even give it a second (or first) thought. There are no universal hard and fast rules with respect to faith, at least currently, and for most thinking people faith doesn’t truly resolve anything.

    As Paul notes in his second letter to the Corinthians, “we live by faith, not by sight.” There is, in the words of Fanny J. Crosby, only “blessed assurance” of the “perfect submission” of faith. This isn’t a resolution; it’s a new beginning.

    4. I again disagree. Faith is the beginning, the step that says “I trust in the Lord.” It’s not final by any means. I would argue that nothing in the religious journey is final, in fact.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    #2 unconditional, childlike trust I speak of is predicated on “ideal” conditions, which is to say, when the infant’s needs due to utter dependency are met. This should go without saying. The complications you’re hinting at of course are of effect, but they don’t dismantle the logic of the original “concept” of trust, in a child, as a natural and healthy response both expressive of, and evidencing, an emotional connection with and attachment to the need provider. Overall, what I find most disturbing in your account is the emphasis on rationalization and too great a dependence on the cognitive aspect, especially as regards primitive emotions. And in so doing, you’re stripping them of what’s their primary, emotive content.

    As I’ve argued, to speak of trust as having to be earned, while a grammatical remark from Wittgenstein’s standpoint, already suggests a radical change from the initial conditions and represents a form of corruption and loss of innocence (yes, due to knowledge, sophistication and learning experiences – no contradiction there), a fall from Paradise. And for an adult to re-discover faith – not in humans but in God – involves nothing less than recovering the emotional connection which formed such an intricate element in what was originally unconditional, childlike trust (as per Christ’s saying you yourself have alluded to).

    #2 I wasn’t addressing the manner in which many or even most come to their “faith.” (Notice the scare quotes.) No doubt your account rings true for many of our contemporaries and even more so, I give you that, for our ancestors, “primitive” that they were compared to us. But these are secondary though not unimportant considerations from my particular standpoint. Many concepts and constructs undergo a kind of progression from more to less primitive, from less to more sophisticated; and faith is one of them. Your account would be much more convincing were you to situate your remarks within the context of some such overarching progress, providing thus a historical kind of account of a concept in a state of flux and ever-evolving. (Actually, you do do that, Jordan, though you don’t carry it to its logical conclusion.) However, even a historical account of the kind I’m alluding to wasn’t part of my agenda. What was it, then?

    #3 I stated at the outset that I’m speaking from the purist perspective, re-constructing “faith” as an ideal concept/construct, or in its purest form, if you like. Furthermore, the context isn’t any “primitive” society from our distant past but our own secular and sophisticated society where everyone is fully aware of the accomplishments of science and the capabilities of man. And from this particular vantage point, keeping these conditions in mind, the disappointment in humans, coming to a realization that ultimately, none of us are always reliable or dependable, emotionally and in other ways, is the necessary first step, I submit, for a rebirth of faith, again, in the ideal sense. Indeed, without coming to some such realization, take away the conditions which make such a re-awakening possible, and the concept of faith becomes vacuous if not superfluous as well. If humans could and would satisfy all our emotional and other needs, who would need faith? It is precisely because we can’t hold on to such a credo in any absolute kind of way that faith offers such a powerful antidote. Emotions are not to be denied. If worst comes to worst, we re-direct our emotions to another object, the object of emotional attachment. If humans disappoint, some turn to pets; others to God (who, the underlying premise is, will never disappoint.) Either way, emotions get transferred.

    You say, “I’d argue that faith wasn’t born so much out of the need to trust something larger than humanity, although that’s obviously one of religion’s more attractive false promises.” I say that if faith isn’t born out of hopelessness and despair – mind you, despair and hope are usually taken to denote quite contradictory sets of mental states and the underlying experience – then I say it’s not (true) faith, again in the ideal sense.

    Faith is essentially an emotion, Jordan, just like love is. Of course when fully blossomed, it’s a complex and sophisticated emotion with significant cognitive content. Still, the emotional underpinnings, the need for emotional connection, are the raw materials of however sophisticated and rich the concept. (BTW, I don’t mean thereby “irrational.” There’s nothing irrational about trying to satisfy our needs.) It is this, perhaps, which I find most remiss about your account.

    #4 “There are no universal hard and fast rules with respect to faith, at least currently . . .”

    Yes, there are, Jordan. Faith is a linguistic construct, and like any linguistic construct, it (along with the underlying experience and practice) is subject to linguistic analysis in terms of proper and deviant usage, the rules appropriate to the language game, sense, nonsense, etcetera (as per Wittgenstein). Granted, the rules aren’t “universal” in the ideal sense, which is to say, applicable to all possible worlds; they are contingent on our form of life (Wittgenstein again). But that doesn’t make them any less binding.

    #5 ” … and for most thinking people faith doesn’t truly resolve anything.

    “As Paul notes in his second letter to the Corinthians, “we live by faith, not by sight.” There is, in the words of Fanny J. Crosby, only “blessed assurance” of the ‘perfect submission’ of faith. This isn’t a resolution; it’s a new beginning.”

    Again, I’m not interested in what faith may or may not mean to many “thinking” people. Arguments such as this aren’t settled by appeal to statistics. (You’re not suggesting, BTW, that I am to be excluded from this illustrious group?)

    It is a resolution, Jordan, as well as a new beginning. No contradiction there. A new beginning made possible by the resolution.

    #6 “Faith is the beginning, the step that says “I trust in the Lord.” It’s not final by any means. I would argue that nothing in the religious journey is final, in fact.”

    Nowhere have I suggested that “the religious journey” is final in any sense. The notion of “resolution” doesn’t intimate anything of the kind. The resolution has to do with the initiating mindset. One has still got to learn to take baby steps at first and eventually, walk the way. And that’s where the journey begins.

    #7 You do agree with me as per point number one; and then you seem to take it all away.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    #2, first paragraph, should be marked #1

  • Ruvy

    Let’s move from the billowy clouds of philosophical bullshit to some hard realities. First of all, apparently, for all the whining of the pro-Arab writers here, there is a building freeze in place.

    In addition, You Tube, a property of the Google Empire has shut down Palestine Media Watch (PMW) for daring to expose the hatred of the Arabs towards Jews, blaming PMW for the Arab hate speech!

    All this while Arabs murder (and most likely rape – a gag order prevents stating that definitively) an American tourist here.

    All this goes on against a background of the Americans trying to stick their stinking noses long noses in our politics again to try to kick out Mr. Netanyahu from his office for not being an obvious enough puppet of the Obama regime.

    The day will come when we will kill those of you who interfere in our affairs. That day hasn’t come yet, but it is approaching.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I have to be honest, Roger. I can’t even begin to figure out what you’re talking about with most of your comment.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I wasn’t offering any kind of argument, Jordan, just a piece of understanding. Sorry to hear it doesn’t ring a bell.

  • Ruvy

    And while I’m bringing this thread back to reality, let’s post this oldie but goodie. Iran placing medium range missiles in Venezuela.

    These missiles will reach New York, Washington, DC, Miami, and even (gasp!!) Christian County, Kentucky, from whence much of the billowy philosophical bullshit is emitted to this site.

    Why, bless you all! Such a marvelous gift for Christmas! A stark reminder of how easily you can be burnt to a crisp with a missile! The fact that this is occurring is the doing of your own cowardly government, you Americans reading this. Now you will are under the same existential threat we all are. I rather like the poetic justice of it all.

    Hail Mary, and merry Christmas to you all!!!

  • Jordan Richardson

    I do want to leave you with this compelling

  • Jordan Richardson

    Okay, something just ate my post.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Whatever gave you the idea, Ruvy, that anyone is reading your posts? And as to those who still do, they’re certified idiots.

  • Ruvy

    Well, Roger, you obviously are. And that shows you for the kind of person you say reads my posts. I’ll say havdala for you if a brace of Persian missiles crisp up Christian County like a corn fritter…. All those philosophy books are sure going to stink up the place if they go up in smoke. I feel sorry for your neighbors and their nasal passages – if they survive, of course.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Roger, let the views be expressed. Some may look as you said, some may be intelligent as your comments, but we can not certify readers as you did. We can have knowledge of how differently can be expressed either good or bad, by looking at it instead of avoiding it completely. What do you say?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Not afraid of death, Ruvy. We’re all going to die.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Not stopping Ruvy from expressing his views, just told him he sounds like a broken record.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    The day will come when we will kill those of you who interfere in our affairs. That day hasn’t come yet, but it is approaching

    Did Israel kill such people for interfering in its internal affairs in the past, Ruvy? (Except Palestinian leaders, of course)

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    Oh, I see.

  • Ruvy

    Did Israel kill such people for interfering in its internal affairs in the past, Ruvy?

    Actually, Sekhar, we did once. This is what Hanukkah is partly about. Greeks interfered in our affairs and a whole bunch of Jews – very akin to the modern secularists in Israel in their outlook – went along with the Greeks. First a priest in Modi’im killed a Jew worshiping to a Greek idol. Then a revolt spread which killed both Greek soldiers and secularist supporters and resulted in the rededication of the Temple of Nehamiah in Jerusalem. This was primarily a civil war – but the Seleucid Greek foreigners and their armies were kicked out – those who weren’t killed, that is.

    So, that day is going to come again. The MI6 bastards, the CIA scum, the Shaba”k (secret police), the Americans, Brits and other Euro-trash who do what they can to incite the Arabs against us – all will be killed – or they will flee like rats for their lives. And of course, the Arab terrorists will also die.

  • http://financialpolitics.net/ Sekhar

    It seems you pardoned Israeli terrorists Ruvy?

  • zingzing

    ruvy’s got his dooooooom hat on.

  • Ruvy

    Sure hope that Chavez doesn’t target Williamsburg, zing. They got lots of da Joos there. It would be a shame if you got toasted to a crisp just ’cause of them…

  • zingzing

    “Now you will are under the same existential threat we all are. I rather like the poetic justice of it all.”

    i like how you decided to push this shit up from “planning to” to a done deal with locked and loaded missiles aimed squarely at the us.

    you can tell that was your intention because you were going to write “you will be” but then you just went for straight old “you are” but you forgot to erase the “will.”

    there’s a long way from selling missiles to venezuela to iranian-operated nuclear missiles falling on williamsburg, but you don’t care about little problems like that. nothing will stop your gleeful death march. same old ruvy.

    what’s your new year’s resolution? scalp someone?

  • Ruvy

    what’s your new year’s resolution? scalp someone?

    I celebrated my new year some months ago – you may have heard about it. It’s called rosh hashana. We call 1 January Sylvester – just another pagan holiday for you pagans.

    It will be nice to see the Persians deliver missiles to Venezuela while your pathetic “president” – another illegal alien – does nothing.

    And when the missiles are ready to fire, you WILL be under an existential threat – just like me. And there IS poetic justice to you arrogant Americans being under such an existential threat. Then YOU will understand what it is to live in Israel.

  • zingzing

    “And there IS poetic justice to you arrogant Americans being under such an existential threat.”

    do you not remember a little thing called the cold war? the whole world has been under existential threat since the late 40s or so. even if the cold war is over, the general conditions have not changed when it comes to the reality of possible nuclear annihilation. sorry to disappoint you, but if that’s all it takes to “understand what it is to live in israel,” it’s a bit old hat.

    “Sylvester?” that’s an odd name.

  • Ruvy

    zing, I grew up in the Cold War. I know a little bit more about it than you do. The difference between the existential threat of a Venezuelan (or HizbAllah) missile aimed at you and the mutual threat of thousands of missiles that could destroy the world several times over aimed at each other was something called MAD – mutual assured destruction. Understanding this kept the USSR and the former USA (now it’s the USSA (United Soviet States of America) from destroying each other. No such mutual threat of destruction exists now – either here or in the west.

    It’s a very new hat, zing, especially for you arrogant and spoiled Americans to be forced to wear. I look forward to seeing it on your head!

  • zingzing

    “No such mutual threat of destruction exists now – either here or in the west.”

    you must be joking.

  • zingzing

    “zing, I grew up in the Cold War. I know a little bit more about it than you do.”

    i grew up in it as well. actually studied it (from a military standpoint) during college. i don’t know if you know more about it than i do. but it’s a distinct possibility that you don’t.