Liberal Blogs, Ricky Gervais, and the Clash of Civilisations

It appears that I have been reaping the benefits of the WordPress community, with tag surfers riding the information wave into this blog. I’m not complaining.

As a result, I’ve been doing a little bit of this myself. I like dabbling in the liberal blogs. For example, I thought I liked Sam Brownback until I read this blog. Now I really like him.

I found out there’s some bloke on CNN called Glenn Beck who called one of the Dixie Chick “the fat one”. You can’t say that. You have to say, “the one of size”. You probably can’t even say “the fat-mouthed” one. You certainly can’t say, “The porker with the verbal dysentery.” I’m glad nobody said that. Being a bit overweight myself, that’s just downright offensive. After all, the fact that someone has no class has nothing to do with whether they have to hide the junk food on the tour bus. But anyhow, someone has a petition to fire Glenn Beck, not because of that, but because he dared to criticise and question Barak Obama. I’ve been looking for the one asking to extend his contract.

After a while the liberal blogs do start to blend together. All the vitrole against the Religious Right, making fun of GWB, and mocking of intelligent design all starts to sound the same after a while. It reminds me of seeing Ricky Gervais last week in Cardiff.

We had bought tickets months ago and the inclement weather almost caused to us abandon our plans. Fortunately there was a window of opportunity when the main roads were clear between the Thursday snow and the Friday ice.

The opening act was Will Smith. Or as he calls himself, the other Will Smith. I didn’t know until I got home and was looking at his MySpace page, he’s a fan of Bruce Cockburn.

Anyhow… Ricky was funny. He’s especially good at uncomfortable funny. You know, the kind that makes you wince because you’re not sure he should even be able to get away with it. And fortunately, it’s not particularly visual comedy, because from where we were sitting we were just able to associate the voice on the PA system with the little man walking around on the stage.

One thing stood out, however. Ricky is an atheist. That’s not a particularly big deal to me. It was to the audience. The only part of his 75-minute show that produced spontaneous applause and cheering was a brief bit when he made fun of God and Christians. There were cheers about how silly it was to think that God created the universe. And cheers at how obvious it was that there is no God because there is suffering in the world. They even laughed at how his RE teacher tried to be cool by having a leather jacket and a beard. (Even Mrs H laughed at that. I can’t imagine why.)

The only thing I can compare it to is the spontaneous eruptions of praise in some charismatic services I’ve been. It is a reciprocal anti-religious ferver. It is religious hatred. It is irrationality in the name of human reason.

I have alluded to this before, but this is the greater clash of civilisations. There is certainly an incompatability between Islam and Christianity. This is not necessarily the same as the incompatability between Islam and the West, because the West itself is locked in a struggle between Christianity and secularism. Muslims on 9/11 took less than 3,000 lives. There have been less than 3,200 coalition deaths in Iraq. Abortionists take 4,000 lives in the US every day. There have been 132 British fatalities in Iraq. Over 500 babies are executed each day in the UK.

Islam may have suicide bombers, but the secular West has the culture of death.

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8 Responses to Liberal Blogs, Ricky Gervais, and the Clash of Civilisations

  1. Dave says:

    Well of course I don’t expect you to believe that. That’s part of the point of what I’ve written. But throughout the history of western civilsation (and eastsern civilisation for that matter) there was no question of this until the last few years. The non-humanity of the fetus is a secularist invention.

  2. samhensel says:

    No, the humanity of a fetus is a religious invention.

  3. Dave says:

    You can argue this from an ontological perspective. Obviously ontologically the fetus (at whatever stage of gestation) either is or isn’t human and no argument will change this, but the arguments can be made.

    However, my point stands that throughout the recorded history of civilization the human of the fetus has been presumed. The suggestion of the non-humanity has been introduced into this philosophical hegemony by modern secularists. These are simply historical facts which are only open to dispute by propounding a reasoned theory based upon research into the history of philosophy.

    So as a non-religious person, would you say that humanity begins at the live birth of the entire life-form? There are, after all, a significant contingent of those sharing your world-view that say it is okay to breach the birth, leave the head inside the birth canal, pierce the skull, suck out the brains, and pull out the rest of the body, considering this to be merely the termination of a pregnancy supporting a non-human fetus.

  4. yucca says:

    you don’t even have to concede as much as sam does: the question is not whether a fetus belongs or not to the human kind (homo sapiens, to be clear). the question is only whether a fetus is a person and whether, therefore, deserves anything, like not being killed.

    nothing follows from the fact that a fetus is human

  5. Dave says:

    I hadn’t thought about the difference between being and person in this context. However, it really doesn’t change my point, because both questioning whether membership in the species equates to personhood and questioning the personhood of fetus are recent philosophical developments.

  6. yucca says:

    dave their are not “recent philosophical developments”. aristotle, and there ain’t much less recent philosophy than aristotle, thought that humanity and personhood were different. women and slaves were human, but not persons

    on a related matter: did you know that on the 50canadian dollar note it says “women are persons”. i mean, it says that today… crazy stuff

  7. Dave says:

    I will admit my knowledge of Aristotle on these matters is limited. I am curious as to what word he used for “person” or “personhood”. “Person” is a Latin derivative. Just today, there was a footnote in a book I’m reading, which says, “In the law of ancient Rome, persona from which ‘person’ is derived but which literally means ‘theatrical mask,’ referred to a man’s part in society, rather than to himself.”

    If Aristotle uses the word προσοπον then I would be interested in how he uses it. Is he juxtaposing it with ανθρωπος? Does he equate personhood with the right to life? My understanding was that Aristotle believed that the soul comes into being at 40 days gestation for males and 90 days for females, which was accepted for a time in Christian philosophy due to the influence of Aristotle on Thomas of Aquinas. However, I don’t know of any proponents of this view prior to Thomas. By the 17th, the ensoulment view had been entirely rejected.

    Because the Christian East was never influenced by Thomist thought, it is not surprising that there is no suggestion of a delayed ensoulment in any eastern writing of which I am aware.

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