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TSE  November 2004

TSE November 2004

Subject:

OT: It's not the religion that is the problem

From:

Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Tue, 9 Nov 2004 19:37:34 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (83 lines)

Dear Tom,
    What I wrote, and what I mean, is that had Will said (or meant) "I
believe this is the way things are" rather than "Remember, Marcia, this
is the way things are" I would have no public problem. Had he said (or
meant) that those out to save souls do not take into account how those
souls might respond, yet persist regardless, I would have not have
directed him and others to what a thoughtful and well-regarded minister
has to say on the subject.

> I will admit that the "was meant to be" language jumped out at me, and
> I can readily understand your objections.  And yet, they do not really
> make much sense when directed at a believing Christian, unless you are
> saying that he should structure his language to conform to someone
> else's beliefs. But surely we do not expect believing Jews to tailor
> their language, when referring to the New Testament, to conform to
> Christian beliefs. Why should Will be held to a different standard?

    I haven't and won't ask Will to tailor his language. I asked him to
acknowledge how he knows what he knows, to acknowledge there people
being addressed by his posts. This seems to me a basic in any civilized
conversation. Why should Will be held to a different standard?  You
misunderstand if you think this is a question of what Jews think / what
Christians think. To claim without complexity that the Hebrew Bible is
Christian pure and simple is an historical untruth.  Why do you think
"Judeo-Christian" is in the language? All I'm asking for is the usual
standard of conversation; "I say it this way because ... ."

> I suppose what it comes down to is, Will's usage was needlessly
> inflammatory and perhaps impolite, but perfectly defensible given the
> premises and beliefs that he has identified himself as holding. Your
> objections are well taken on the level of etiquette, but appear to
> make sense beyond that only if you are laying down a rule that a
> speaker must abandon his beliefs in favor of those of his interlocutor
> where there is a likely conflict.

You've made this up. I don't care a fig about his beliefs or conflicts
on the list except insofar as I care about the exchange of ideas on this
list.   I'll try one more time to respond to your words:

> A believing Christian surely is permitted to profess belief that
> Christ came for all mankind, "to the Jew first but also to the
> Gentile", as  Scripture puts it. To call that lazy or bizzare is to
> apply those terms to a fundamental tenant of someone's faith. You're
> free to think that way, and of course to express yourself, but you
> should not be surprised if there are those who find *your* views at
> least as  offensive as those you object to (and no more On Topic.)
>
    What is my view? It is that Will not preach about what all
Christians, as well as all or some or most Jews, believe, but that he
find a way to either discuss his points without always playing the trump
card of faith, OR that he be clear when he is positing matters of faith.

>I never suspected that you would be bullied by me or anyone; I'd be shocked and disappointed if you allowed that to happen.  Nor did I suspect that anyone could perceive that I was attempting to bully you in the exchange below.
>
Yes, I find it bullying when I'm addressed by name and told by Will what
I should remember about something he says he knows little about, absent
any sense of my side of the conversation (not my "view" which you
manufacture, but the social nature of the exchange), and then you tell
me (one quotation back) that my protest at not being taken into account
and of questioning what Will knows is a view of some sort, and an
offensive (not a word I use in any form, please, as you continue to say)
one at that.

>But that is a reason for me to read through such posts very quickly, not to characterize them as "an offense".  (Your term which, as you correctly note, I mistakenly transposed in my head and in my post to "offensive".)
>
I don't call Will's faith lazy or historically bizarre--I don't care
about it--, but his substitution of tenents of faith for reasoned
arguments.  No, not that his faith must be reasoned.  Can't you get it?
Will gets a bye in every matter if we are not allowed to respond in
reasoned ways, and even that is irrelevant.  Let him evangelize away.
What matters is that we must now curtail the wonted mode of this
collective conversation, else you'll bring out the charge of offensive
views.  This is why I mention that this is a secular list.  Not because
faith is taboo, but if it demands to be treated specially, the nature of
our commitment to each other has changed.  I'm on the verge of saying to
hell with this.  I'm ashamed to be part of something that requires me
not to expect, ask for, and contribute intellectual rigor.

Marcia

PS:  Having known each other so long, Tom, I must say I would have
expected you to take some account of my conversation on the list and
wonder if I really would call for conformity of thought or language.

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