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Old June 15 2014, 07:44 PM   #1351
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ancient Mariner wrote: View Post
Yes, it does, Christopher. In the context of a narrative, the one has the explicit decision to label the mob as either "Christian" or something closer to the actual fact. YOU might make the distinction, but you are not the entire audience. Therefore, narratively, it is the responsibility of the authors to provide a description of the mob that best suits the purpose of the narrative - and this is about anti-intellectual fanatics, not Christians.
But it is about Christians -- those who abuse the teachings of their faith and give othe Christians a bad name. The point is that you don't need to draw that distinction because most people in the audience don't need it explained. Should the media have avoided mentioning that Elliot Rodger was male for fear of tarring all males with the same brush? Of course not. His violent misogyny was a corruption of masculinity, but his view of his masculinity was an important factor in what motivated him, and those who try to sidetrack the debate with the "Not All Men" meme are trying to put us on the defensive and keep us from saying things that need to be said. It would be wrong to paint it as generic violence, because it was specifically about gender, even if it ws a corrupt view of gender. So trying to hide from the fact that Rodger was male and that that was a key factor in his actions is dishonest. And the same goes here. The mob did not represent all Christians, which is something that any honest and reasonable observer already knows; but their actions were directly motivated by their Christianity, by the way the Christianity of their time and culture perceived itself and other faiths, by the historical context of Christianity's displacement of paganism. It is an important part of the story, and it's wrong to try to pretend they were just generic, religiously neutral fanatics. You're letting the opposition define the terms and thereby trap you into a dishonest argument, and you're unable to see it. I'm trying to help you recognize how you're hurting your own position -- and my position -- by letting the other side manipulate you.

Christians have to accept and understand that fellow Christians did such a heinous and violent act, because they need to be able to take a look at themselves and what they believe and recognize how it can be corrupted. Just like men have a responsibility to look at ourselves in the wake of what Elliot Rodger did and face those parts of our cultural beliefs and self-images that can be taken to such dangerous extremes if we aren't careful. These acts of violence are not neutral, and it's dangerous to pretend they are, because that just gives us an excuse to avoid questioning ourselves. And that's exactly what is desired by the people who are sidetracking the debate with these "Not All Men/Not All Christians" sort of responses. They're trying to avoid the need for self-criticism and taking responsibility for the misdeeds committed by members of our own groups.
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 11/16/14 including annotations for "The Caress of a Butterfly's Wing" and overview for DTI: The Collectors

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