Sunday, January 10, 2010

Some Good Reads

UU Minister Marilyn Sewell has a discussion with the famous atheist Christopher Hitchens here.  It's worth the read, as is her blog post about the discussion here

10 comments:

Robin Edgar said...

It is indeed worth the read. It is both educational and quite entertaining. . . I get the impression from her blog post that Rev. Marilyn Sewell was a bit taken aback by fundamentalist atheist Christopher Hitchens' suggestion that she was not a Christian in any meaningful way if she did not belive that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ aka Messiah. I have to agree with him on *that* point however. People who do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth was actually the Christ should have the personal integrity not to pretend that they are Christians. Doing so only muddies the already quite murky waters of religion AFA*I*AC.

Did I wish youi a Happy New Year yet Rev. Cyn?

Cynthia Landrum said...

I can understand why, in general, some people desire more rigid definitions for things like Christianity, God, worship, and that people on both ends of the theological spectrum sometimes argue for those more rigid definitions. I remain in the camp of people who want to open up words and meanings, generally speaking. I don't use "Christian" to define myself, usually, without further clarification. I'll sometimes say something like "culturally Christian" or "christian-with-a-little-c" or "Christian, in that the Bible is my main religious text of reference and my cultural heritage, although my theology is.... and my christology is...." I'm unwilling, however, to say that the word "Christian" is exclusive of Unitarian Christianity.

Cynthia Landrum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia Landrum said...

And Happy New Year to you, too, Robin. I was sorry to see that one of the things you got for the holidays was an attack blog.

Robin Edgar said...

Well it was/is a bit of a "dog" of an attack blog and it seems to be at least temporarily "suspended", quite possibly as a result of UU bloggers submitting comments condemning its rather questionable allegations about me. At least when I publicly criticize people I have plenty of evidence backing up my allegations and accusations and almost always sign my name to the "attack". I had to laugh when the cowardly anonymous author(s) suggested that those UU bloggers who possess the moral courage and personal integrity to publish most if not all of my critical comments are cowards who only publish my comments out of fear of being attacked by the dreaded Emerson Avenger. I dare say that a bit of psychological projection seemed to be evident there.

As a rule the only people who get attacked by The Emerson Avenger are people who have gone well out of their way to invite his strong public criticism. Personally I think that the Robin Edgar Sucks blog is a hoot and only serves as yet another Unitarian*Universalist *example* of the kind of demonizing and marginalizing malicious gossip that I have been dealing with for well over a decade now. It is a quite U*Useful U*U foil for me to *play* off of and I am doing just that of course. . .

I am sorry that the Unitarian*Universalist religious community got saddled with yet another public U*U "stink" to start the New Year off with. I am confident that the Robin Edgar Sucks blog will ultimately do more harm to the Unitarian*Universalist religious community than it will to me, especially since I can quite thoroughly rebutt and discredit most of what has been said about me on it. As I pointed out on The Emerson Avenger blog and in private and confidential "electronic communications" with other UUs, the gossipy attacks on the Robin Edgar blog are actually rather tame, even quite lame, compared to the harmful attacks that I have been subjected to by "less than excellent" UU clergy that have been effectively condoned by both the UUA and MFC for years now. If you have any suggestions as to how I can successfully persuade the UUA and MFC to finally get around to freely and responsibly apologizing to me for allowing UU ministers to engage in far worse demonizing and marginalizing slander and libel against me I am all ears.

I hold out some faint hope that perhaps the Rev. Peter Morales' UUA administration will do the proverbial right thing later this year, hopefully by the 2010 UUA GA, but bitter past experience of the UUA and MFC does not allow me to *expect* it to do so in the sense of believing that it actually will do so. Of course I *can* and do *expect* it to do so in the other sense of the word *expect*. It certainly will be a happy new year for me *if* the UUA and MFC formally apologize to me for allowing intolerant and/or verbally and psychologically abusive UU ministers to deeply insult and harmfully defame me* with complete impunity aka zero accountability.


* To say nothing of rather too many other people of inherent worth and a modicum of dignity who have been insulted and defamed or otherwise verbally abused by abusive UU clergy.

P.S. If this public response to your comments here is a bit *too* hot for you to handle feel free to consider it to be a private message that you may share with other UUs as you see fit.

Robin Edgar said...

Getting back to my initial comment and your response to it I think that the key root word in Christian is *Christ* and the bottom line of Christianity is that one believes that Jesus was the Christ aka Messiah. Anything less than that and one is not a Christian in any *meaningful* sense of the word as Christopher Hitchens quite correctly pointed out to Rev. Sewell.

:I remain in the camp of people who want to open up words and meanings, generally speaking.

So am I as a rule but when opening up the meanings of certain words, perhaps especially names of groups, makes them effectively meaningless one has gone too far.

:I don't use "Christian" to define myself, usually, without further clarification.

I do not use "Christian" to define myself either. On the contrary I often make it clear that I am not a Christian to those who ask if I am a Christian or misrepresent me as being a Christian.

:I'll sometimes say something like "culturally Christian" or "christian-with-a-little-c" or "Christian, in that the Bible is my main religious text of reference and my cultural heritage, although my theology is.... and my christology is...."

The Bible (minus the New Testament of course) is the main religious text of reference and cultural heritage of Jews too, it figures to some extent in Islam as well. Using the Bible as one's main religious text of reference and cultural heritage does not make one a Christian any more than it makes one a Jew. Again, if anyone's "Christology" is not based on Jesus of Nazareth being the Christ it is not Christ*ology in any meaningful sense of the word.

:I'm unwilling, however, to say that the word "Christian" is exclusive of Unitarian Christianity.

I would be too. One can be a Unitarian and a Christian if one believes that Jesus actually was the Christ but disbelieve the doctrine of the Trinity etc. I would be just as unwilling to say that the word "Christian" is exclusive of the Christianity of Jehovah's Witnesses but AFAIAC Unitarians who do not believe that Jesus was the Christ should have the honesty and integrity not to *pretend* that they are Christians in any meaningful sense of the word Christ*ian.

Robin Edgar said...

Got your oven mitts on Rev. Cyn? ;-)

Thanks for publicly posting that somewhat "hot" comment. As always it is genuinely appreciated.

Would that more UU ministers were prepared to do likewise. OTOH hand I am actually quite favorably impressed with the fact that fewer and fewer UU ministers are censoring and suppressing my critical comments posted to their blogs these days. There is hope for the UU World yet. :-)

Best Regards,

Robin Edgar aka The Emerson Avenger

Cynthia Landrum said...

Hi Robin,
I appreciate that you're understanding and respectful about when I refuse to publish some "hot" comments. If it's directly attacking another minister, I'm not usually going to publish. OTOH, a general critique of the system I usually will. I've generally "allowed" statements critical of the UUA President's responsiveness, even though that could fall under the non-publishing category. That's a fine line, and I may not always consistently draw my lines, since it's a judgment call on each post I moderate, to some degree.

Cynthia Landrum said...

AFAIAC Unitarians who do not believe that Jesus was the Christ should have the honesty and integrity not to *pretend* that they are Christians in any meaningful sense of the word Christ*ian.

Well, it's why I don't usually use the word. I think something like Jesusian would be more appropriate for someone who follows the teaching of Jesus without thinking that he was a) God or b) specially and particularly annointed by God in a way not true for 100% of humanity. But Jesusian isn't a word, except in the Urban Dictionary where it says it means "1. Possessing qualities or being similiar to Jesus, often describing one's beard." In this sense, I'm definitely not Jesusian.

In other words, a Confucian follows the teaching of Confucius without thinking he was God. A Marxist follows the teaching of Marx without thinking he was God. A Buddhist follows the teachings of the Buddha without thinking he was God. What is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus without thinking he was God?

Robin Edgar said...

A Jesusian as you said AFAIAC. In fact we are very much on the same wavelength on that. Jesusian is in fact the exact word that I believe should be used to describe people who follow Jesus teachings without believing that Jesus was the Christ aka Messiah. Just because Jesusian has not entered the official English language lexicon yet does not mean it can't become a word that conveys that meaning.I came within inches of suggesting use of Jesusian in my comment but chose the fate of not doing so. I am glad that I didn't now since you volunteered exactly the same idea without the slightest influence from me. Maybe you and I should promote the use of the word Jesusian to describe those people who are followers of Jesus' teachings while not believing that Jesus was the Christ/Messiah or the Son of God. Jesusian is a word that even atheists or agnostics who none-the-less follows Jesus teachings from a purely Humanist standpoint can use with integrity to describe themselves.

To the best of my recollection I always understanding and respectful of UU ministers not publishing *some* particularly "hot" comments. Certainly since becoming aware of the "Code of Silence" written into the UUMA Guidelines I have understood why most if not all UU ministers will not post comments that are directly critical of a colleague. OTOH I have little respect for that "Code of Silence" and believe that it should be significantly modified or completely eliminated from the UUMA Guidelines.

Gotta go. . .