A 2010 Wish List for Religions December 28, 2009

A 2010 Wish List for Religions

R. Joseph Hoffmann has a 2010 wish list for various religious faiths:

It is time for a list of things religions must give up, forswear, abandon and forever repudiate in order to be what they want to be–or say they do: mechanisms of peace, justice, compassion and love of humanity.

A few excerpts…

For Christians:

1. Abandon the mythology of Genesis. God did not make the world in 6, 8 or 1000 days or 1000 days of years. Stop squabbling over Hebrew syntax and what you think the Biblical writers meant. They meant what they wrote and they were wrong. We know far too much about how things really came about to believe any of the nonsense about how a Hebrew-speaking priest of the sixth century BCE thought things came about.

For Muslims:

3. Let your women get an education. Admit that the most ordinary housewife who chooses to wear hijab to keep her husband and eldest son happy is smarter than the average imam. Don’t cut off people’s legs for adultery. Stop the stoning. Stop saying that cliterodectomy is un-Islamic, or rather shout it out and mean it. Don’t throw battery acid in girl’s faces for consorting with boys en route to school. Stop torching the schools. Etc.

For Jews:

1. There are no chosen people. There are just people. It is depressing, isn’t it? We all want to be special.

I like his list, but the #4 item under Judaism rubs me the wrong way and I suspect many of you will feel the same. Hoffmann knows this and acknowledges it. I’m curious what you think of it.

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  • Harknights

    Might not have been worded correctly but I think I get what he is saying. A lot of people in China and Korea were slaughtered. The eastern front killed a lot of people. Fire bombing killed a lot of people. And so on. I think he’s saying the holocaust is a big tree in a forrest…but the forrest is sadly made up of a lot of trees.

  • The Jews were not the only group singled out for extermination – gays, Gypsies, disabled people. In my mind, the word “Holocaust” applies to all those systematically mudered, not just the Jews, although indeed they made up a very large part of the numbers.

  • Jeremy

    I agree with what he is saying, but not in the way it is being expressed. If any person or group of people let something negative define them, such definition is counter productive. We would much rather be defined by the good than the bad, else the bad has a hold on us that we can’t let go. Much like Stan Marsh; if you quite drinking entirely, alcohol still runs your life.

  • AxeGrrl

    PrimeNumbers wrote:

    The Jews were not the only group singled out for extermination – gays, Gypsies, disabled people. In my mind, the word “Holocaust” applies to all those systematically mudered, not just the Jews, although indeed they made up a very large part of the numbers.

    It would be really nice if the total number of those killed became ‘the’ number everyone knows, instead of the 6 million everyone thinks about now.

    Up until junior high school, I thought 6 million was ‘it’…..when I learned there were about twice that many (total) killed, I was confused and a little angry ~ I couldn’t understand why all the ‘others’ who were murdered didn’t ‘matter’ enough to be counted.

  • Shawn

    It’s hard to move on when a good chunk of the world would still like to finish the task the Nazis started (and it feels to me like there’s an apparent growth of Holocaust-denial). And a tragic history does make people feel more special. As a science-o-phile, I know I feel some things I’m not likely entitled to whenever I hear stories about Galileo or Hypatia.

    I think the thing that surprised me most about #4 was excepting Hiroshima. I’m admittedly not well-read on the Hiroshima decision, but from what I have read and the documentaries I’ve watched, it was a very difficult decision with enormous pros and cons whichever decision was made. Basically, my take was that it was a morally ambiguous decision. There was no ambiguity with the Holocaust.

  • HP

    I’m not sure where Mr. Hoffman (Jewish name?) was going with #4, but genocide wasn’t invented by the Nazis, and it hasn’t gone anywhere or stopped at any time since. Right now, as I type, a culture and a people are being killed. We will find out about it a few years from now, and the media will wring their hands and say, “Why didn’t someone do something about it?”

    Sometimes it seems to me that there’s a fine line between “never forget,” and “nothing to see here; move along, folks.”

    Hitler was right about the Armenians, of course. And Stalin knew all about the Ukraine. But of the surviving Armenians, how many give a rat’s ass about the Lowero Triangle? Do you give a rat’s ass about the Lowero Triangle? Tasmania, then. Or eastern North America. How about the Sudan? Or, dare I say it, Canaan?

    There are two planets in our solar system that feature a Great Red Spot. On both planets, it rages constantly, and moves all over the planet, but never goes away. Sometimes it break ups into smaller Red Spots, sometimes it forms into one huge storm. On Jupiter, it is made of wind; on Earth, it is made of blood.

  • Thegoodman

    I agree with #4 of Judaism completely.

    A minority cannot be defined by its persecution generations ago.

    I am not a holocaust denier, and we all agree that the execution of Jews in WW2 was an atrocity. However, Hitler’s ability to brainwash an entire nation into vehemently hating the Jews could not have happened with out ammunition to fire his hateful weapons.

    The Jewish community certainly was undeserving of their punishment by the Nazi’s, but their role as a catalyst for the Nazi hatred of them could not possibly be created if the Jewish community was the lovable doctors and children often depicted in Hollywood cinema.

    I don’t pretend to know much about the events leading up to WW2, but I cannot believe the Jewish community was an innocent bystander while Eastern Germany was the scapegoat of WW1. They were certainly victims, but not innocent. They just got way way more than they deserved.

  • TychaBrahe

    Disclaimer: I was raised a Jew, and while I do not follow the faith, I have an affinity for it.

    The Jews call themselves “The Chosen People,” and some take that for arrogance. But do not most faiths teach that their way is the one path to please their deit(y/ies) and to earn salvation or similar rewards? Do not Christians believe that Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)? Don’t Mormons believe you have to be married in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in order to be married eternally, to the point that they perform marriage-by-proxy for deceased relatives (and others)? Doesn’t the Quran say, “The only religion in the sight of God is Islam…”?

    The problem is that these sentiments can’t be boiled down into a single statement with the succinctness of “The Chosen People.” The ads don’t say, “Coke is an extremely tasty and refreshing beverage.” They say, “Coke is it,” or “Coke adds life.”

    I’m not sure that you can ask a religion to give up on the idea that they are the chosen ones. It’s sort of like asking Coke to say, “Coke is great, but we understand if you’d prefer to drink Pepsi.” What religion has ever said, “Those folks over there have the right idea about religion. I wish we were the favored nation, but God has ordered us to eat pork and shellfish, and although we will go to hell for it, we must obey God’s orders”? If you don’t believe that what you do earns you favor, you’d stop doing it.

    I don’t know who it was who suggested that “Love thy neighbor,” was too strict a commandment, and that “Don’t hurt your neighbor,” would suffice for now, but I’m voting for it as the starting point.

  • ThatOtherGuy

    “The Jewish community certainly was undeserving of their punishment by the Nazi’s, but their role as a catalyst for the Nazi hatred of them could not possibly be created if the Jewish community was the lovable doctors and children often depicted in Hollywood cinema.

    I don’t pretend to know much about the events leading up to WW2, but I cannot believe the Jewish community was an innocent bystander while Eastern Germany was the scapegoat of WW1. They were certainly victims, but not innocent. They just got way way more than they deserved.”

    Nnnnnnnnnnno. No no no no no and no.

    If you want to know whose fault it was that the Jews got blamed, try Martin Luther. He made anti-semitism a German institution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_and_antisemitism#The_influence_of_Luther.27s_views

  • TychaBrahe

    @Thegoodman: You need to read some history. No, the Jews were not “innocents.” They were ordinary people who made the singular mistake of not believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Their persecution during the Holocaust was merely the culmination of a long history of persecution.

    Jewish Persecution – 70CE to 1200CE
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_pers1.htm

    Jewish Persecution – 1200CE to 1800CE
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_pers3.htm

    Modern persecution of Jews – 1800CE to present day
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_pers2.htm

  • amandave

    As an American Jew, I am not so much disturbed by #4 – I second the above comments about not being defined by something negative. We would also do well to recognize the millions of others slaughtered similarly, as others here have recognized.

    No, I object to #3, which conflates the obnoxious and aggressive conduct of the Israeli government with Judaism, which are two different things. A common mistake for non-Jews, but I and many other Jews find the Netanyahu approach odious.

  • littlejohn

    Yeah, and the Pastafarians have quit complaining about abuse at the hands of Chef Boyardee (reputedly an atheist). And just because I have a parrot on my shoulder, don’t jump to conclusions.

  • MH

    Lots of luck with that list.

    My take on #4 is that they Jews have a right to be PO-ed. It was the crowning insult to centuries of persecution. It wasn’t even religiously motivated because people with Jewish ancestry who practiced other religions were targeted.

    The Holocaust also opened up a theological can of worms. Essentially number one on the list can’t be true, or if true then it was more like a curse. Essentially the focus on the Holocaust has the effect of driving people away from the religion. This last bit is from my spouse who was raised Jewish, but didn’t stay with the religion as an adult.

  • I agree. 6 million murdered is horrible but that was only part of the horror and it was generations ago. We should remember it so we don’t repeat it (like there’s been no “ethnic cleansing” since) but it is time that we and they moved on.

    Anyway there is one at the end that I do really agree with:

    Value secular learning. I do not know whether the truth will make you, or me, free. I do know that religious truth is normally a shortcut for the intellectually lazy, crafted and sustained by preachers who like one-book solutions to the manifold problems of a complex world. There are no one book solutions, and if there were, they will not have been written in antiquity.

    Why some of the religious seem to think that their holy book holds the truth and the weight of modern science, literature, art, philosophy and culture doesn’t count is beyond me.

  • AFAIK, the Jews were not murdered for their beliefs: they were murdered for their ancestry — even assimilated converts were not spared (though they may have escaped arrest a little longer than the visibly Orthodox).

    And to “Thegoodman”: if you wish your nym not to become a mockery, then learn some damn history. Learn, for example, about Luther and his “Against the Jews and Their Lies” pamphlet. Or about “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”. Learn about the centuries of persecution of European Jewry by the dominant Christian culture — mostly for the “crime” of being an easily identifiable outgroup.

    And if you ever say something that ignorant again, I will call you something extremely rude.

  • Can we not group all Muslims together under the umbrella of Islamist extremism? Please? Yes, there are those who throw battery acid in women’s faces and stone adulterers, and I don’t want to minimize the gravity and horror of these practices, but it’s well past time we recognized that not all Muslims are extremists and it is foolish to address them all that way.
    There are Muslims, as devout as can be, in the West and in the Middle-East, who nevertheless want, and work toward, reform and social justice. There are also moderate Muslims. Just as there are all kinds of Christians, from liberal, gay-and woman-friendly Christians to abortion-clinic bombers and Westboro Baptists, there are different ways of practising Islam and they are not all related to suicide-bombing and conservatism.

    You can’t incite Muslims to change by treating them all like they’re mad.

  • I think the list itself is pretty silly. It’d be like writing a list of things you wish atheists would do and saying “I wish they would start believing in God”… it really contributes nothing to the debate.

    I wrote a slightly different response here.

  • muggle

    There are two planets in our solar system that feature a Great Red Spot. On both planets, it rages constantly, and moves all over the planet, but never goes away. Sometimes it break ups into smaller Red Spots, sometimes it forms into one huge storm. On Jupiter, it is made of wind; on Earth, it is made of blood.

    Man, that was very well said.

    Thegoodman, I’m calling you out. You need to change your moniker because you are anything but. What a load of bigoted, ignorant tripe that was. Please educate yourself. You don’t need college to read a book.

    The Holocaust was important but I too am amazed at the number of people who don’t get that it wasn’t just the Jews. I was onced stunned by a black person on TV saying it wasn’t their concern, why should they get all worked up about Jews? I was sputtering at my TV, you do know blacks are not Aryan, right? Wished I could have confronted the moron face to face but I doubt he would have learned anything. Sometimes ignorance shows. (Not to mention, what was that attitude even if he had been right? They were killing some other group so it’s not my problem? You kidding me?)

    I think we need to remember the Holocaust (although, like amandave, I thought #3 for the Jews was much worse) but we also need to a) remember the other victims also and b) know that genocides are still going on and there’s no easy solution to this horrible fact. It’s easy to say go to war against but, really, that only adds to the bloodshed. We stop a Hitler and a few decades later a Darfur pops up.

    Also, I’d like to see the ignorance of statements like I’d stand up to them if I’d had been there put the lie to. It’s easier said than done and none of us really knows what it would take. We can’t really know what we’d do if we had guns in our faces ordering us onto some box car.

    One thing survivors seem to mostly concur on was that it sort of crept up on them. That they didn’t think the danger was real despite the blowhards. Another chilling thing I’ve seen in recent years is survivors who compare pre-Nazi Germany to the US today. Something to think about. But, seriously, what are you going to do? Stage a rebellion on vague fears of what might happen, risking life, liberty and freedom to do so? No, you are going to try peaceful means first to change the political clime. We may or may not succeed at doing so. We may find ourselves facing guns in our faces and orders to cooperate or be shot. The future’s not ours to see and we’re going to use sane methods to work towards the future we want.

    (Sorry. I’m reading “The Family” and it will scare the crap out of you if you haven’t read it already.)

    I don’t see the purpose of this whole list. I agree with much of it but I fail to see what’s the point of making such a hostile thing let alone publishing it. It can’t be to really convince theists to abandon their faith since it’s hardly designed to entice them to. So why other than to be unnecessarily nasty?

    It’s rather akin to pointing a finger at an old hag who ticks you off just because she dares to march to the beat of her own drum and crying “Witch! Witch!”

  • marsmar

    I would say that for “I suspect many of you will feel the same. Hoffmann knows this and acknowledges it. I’m curious what you think of it.”. It’s fine if Jewish people wish to morn over that event but if someone is criticizing their religion, they shouldn’t link that person to Hitler or the holocaust.

  • jugglingbuffoon

    I think that the judaism remark should have only been directed at some jewish organizations, not all jews. These organizations are some of the most visible of jewish organizations and they use the holocaust to excuse things that Israel does. And to attack Israel’s critics with a pretty much unanswerable response.

    I would also add one thing to both the jewish and muslim list.
    Stop mutilating your children. Especially jews who use no anesthetic.

  • Greg

    I happen to agree with #4, I have to admit. First off, I think the Holocaust happened, and was horrific, so no-one get on my back about that please. 🙂 Secondly, I don’t necessarily think this is as widespread as it was – maybe because I live in Secular Europe. Disclaimer over and done with:

    The thing is, though, that most people today not only had nothing to do with it, but also could have had nothing to do with it. As Hitchens says about Jesus, if he had been there when (if) Jesus was being crucified, he would have been morally obliged to try to stop it happening. But he wasn’t there. I am sure the vast majority of us here – hopefully the vast majority of the world – would feel morally obliged to fight against the Holocaust. The fact that we were unable to put our professed convictions to the test does not mean we have committed any wrong against the Jewish people.

    The Jews were horribly persecuted, but that does not mean that if someone says something against their religion, or culture as a whole, that the Holocaust is necessarily relevant in any way.

    Nor does it mean that the Jews necessarily understand suffering. The people who were alive at the time may indeed understand suffering, the people who were unspeakably executed in the gas chambers surely did. The people born since? Perhaps, just like anyone else. BUT regardless, even having been in the position of the victims is no guarantee that they understand the consequences of their own actions, or empathise with other people. People who suffer hardship can change in many different ways. Some become more empathic, some become more proactive in pushing preventative measures against the repetition of those actions.

    Some shut themselves away from the world completely, and/or become selfish. Others become determined to exact revenge. Other become insensitive to an extreme, and literally don’t have any empathy at all.

    No event, no matter how horrendous that event was, gives a free pass on any subject. Their actions still have consequences. In many instances events can, and should, lead to compassion, and assistance, of course, however.

    Civilisations tenaciously grabbing on to grievances, whether true or supposed, can only lead to bad things.

    The Holocaust itself is a fine example of it.

  • Twin-Skies

    I find myself agreeing with Hoffman.

    While 6 million deaths is an atrocity, they were not the only people who suffered through WWII.

    I’m a Filipino, and it just makes me boil with rage at the stories I have heard of my countrymen (or is it women) who were murdered, raped, and abused by our Japanese invaders during the occupation.

    My people also suffered, as did any other country’s – why should Jews get special treatment?

  • I agree with #4, with the usual provisos: not a Holocaust denier, horrible horrible tragedy, get on with your lives.

    I’d also like to add that the demonization of Hitler annoys me. Yes, he was a horrible human being, but people seem unable to accept that he was in fact a human being. We’re not really learning anything from this if we claim it’s all because some inhuman monster suddenly appeared and used his evil devil-magic to turn everyone mental, so stop making a fuss whenever one of his paintings resurfaces – nobody’s going to see them and think ‘Oh, that Hitler bloke wasn’t too bad with the old paintbrush, must mean Nazism was awesome! Better go kill some babies now.”

    /rant

    Sorry.

  • Trace

    @ Shawn: For what it’s worth, I find both the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki unethical.

  • Erp

    Jews get ‘special treatment’ because it was a culmination of centuries of abuse accepted by one degree or another by the majority including pograms, expulsions, discrimination in education, jobs, law and they were the largest single group deliberately exterminated. The Roma had also faced centuries of similar treatment and still do though their initial population was much smaller so fewer were killed. Slavs were added. Those deemed mentally and physically disabled were also killed (this started even before some of the other organized mass murders). People still alive, survived the camps; it is a present memory.

    The holocaust was shocking to the western world because a supposedly ‘civilized’ country like Germany did it and even more so because almost all of the rest of the ‘civilized’ world such as the United States and the United Kingdom let it and even abetted it by not allowing refugees in in more than a trickle. It happened. Smaller ones have happened since (e.g., Rwanda, the ‘ethnic cleansings’ in the former Yugoslavia, the partition of India and Pakistan (and the occasional massacres still)). The goal is for it not to happen again.

    This does not mean that Israel or any country or group of people should have immunity from criticism. Some Jews both in Israel and to a lesser extent America are well aware of this (look up “J-Street”).

    I must admit I’m not sure why Hoffmann wants the Catholics to go back to the Tridentine mass.

  • Ex-Muslim

    I thought the list was sort of ridiculous and childish, and the stuff about Muslims was just plain insulting. And that’s coming from someone who can’t stand Islam and certainly has very few Muslim friends left. #1 on my Wish List for atheists would be to learn about Islam and Muslim cultures before deciding that ‘all those people are the same’ and that Islam is a monolith while criticising it.

  • Neon Genesis

    #1 for the Christians actually doesn’t make any sense to me either and strikes me as being a contradiction. They want Christians to give up on a literal reading of Genesis, but if Christians do give up on a literal reading of Genesis, they’re still not giving up on it? Huh? And #5 on Judaism makes no sense to me as well. Either they’re just jealous or it was a bad attempt at sarcastic humor, but why should Jews be banned from winning Nobel Peace Prizes they rightly earned simply for being a Jew?

  • Staceyjw

    I’m surprised to see people complaining that Hoffman generalized groups of religious people, and lumped them all together for this list. I think we ALL know that people (even religious ones) are individuals, not every muslim is a suicide bomber, nor is every priest a pedophile- but all religions DO share certain dogma, beliefs attitudes and actions.

    As for #4, I think its a real problem that people talk so much about the holocaust, but nothing about the genocide occurring TODAY. All mass murders are terrible, especially when no one is doing anything to stop it. I don’t blame jews for wanting to keep this memory fresh enough to help prevent history from repeating itself, I’m sure all groups that have been systematically murdered feel the same way.

  • Neon Genesis

    But isn’t it a generalization to suggest no Jew should ever win a Nobel Peace Prize if they happen to be a Jew?

  • thegoodman said;

    I don’t pretend to know much about the events leading up to WW2, but I cannot believe the Jewish community was an innocent bystander while Eastern Germany was the scapegoat of WW1. They were certainly victims, but not innocent.

    And here I thought ony theists take things on faith and make statements with no basis in fact or reality. Oh, I’m not referring to the first sentence, that’s obviously true, just those that follow it.

    Pray tell, exactly what did the “Jewish Community” do that made them not “innocent” and some how culpable for their persecution that ultimately lead to genocide?

    Oh, I understand you have no facts, or education on post WW1 Germany events, but that shouldn’t stop you; just speculate if you don’t have any facts. Just throw something out there that makes your assinine comment appear to be based in something other than myth, blind faith, revisionist history or gross stupidity.

    Read “Constantine’s Sword” , or if you can’t bare to read that much, rent the movie. Anti-Semitism is a product of Christian doctrine. Martin Luther’s flavor of jew hatred was just a product of scripture and doctrine of the catholic Church for 1000 years before him.

    As for the blogger’s recommendation the Jews just “get over” the Holocaust, the greatest example of man’s in humanity to man and religious persecution in recorded history, I have nothing more articulate to say other than the comment disgusts me.

  • Philbert

    Jews get ’special treatment’ because it was a culmination of centuries of abuse accepted by one degree or another by the majority including pograms, expulsions, discrimination in education, jobs, law and they were the largest single group deliberately exterminated. The Roma had also faced centuries of similar treatment and still do though their initial population was much smaller so fewer were killed. Slavs were added. Those deemed mentally and physically disabled were also killed (this started even before some of the other organized mass murders). People still alive, survived the camps; it is a present memory.

    This. It’s unfortunate that the plight of the Roma has not really been recognized, but that is due to many factors (such as the continuing cultural isolation of the Roma in Europe) and can’t really be blamed upon Jewish efforts to tell their story of the Holocaust.

    It is also a sad fact that much of the Holocaust denial industry is driven primarily by anti-semitism, rather than anti-Roma or anti-slavic sentiment. Because the deniers focus so strongly on Jews, they naturally evoke a strong response from Jewish sources. Nobody says that the Holocaust was a hoax by a global Romani conspiracy.

    The comparison of Hiroshima to the Holocaust was simply stunning in its stupidity.

  • Katie

    To me, that particular #4 reminds me of the history of aboriginal Americans here in the U.S.

    Yes, the natives’ land was taken from them, yes they were killed, betrayed, treated like second-class citizens, taken from their homes and sent to “schools” that stole their culture, on and on.

    Yes, all of this happened. And yes, the “white man” was the cause of it. But there are many natives today who still hate “the white man” and go around with a chip on their shoulder. There are people who say “this is my land, because my people were here first.”

    Well you know what? I was born here too. I am a “Native” American, the same as my parents, and their parents too.

    It’s time to face the problems of the present. Learn from the past, remember the past, yes. Live in the past, no.

    In that way I think that although the whole world should remember and grieve all the losses in the wars that we have fought in our lifetime, and certainly grieve the lives lost in the Holocaust and the tragedy of the concentration camps, there comes a time when you have to let it rest and move on to face the present and future.

  • Chakolate

    For me it was never so much about how many, although six million is just too many to comprehend. For me it was that the Nazis were trying to exterminate an entire ethnic group. And it was also that the whole world seemed indifferent to it.

  • Yes, all of this happened. And yes, the “white man” was the cause of it. But there are many natives today who still hate “the white man” and go around with a chip on their shoulder. There are people who say “this is my land, because my people were here first.”

    You realize, I hope, that racism against Native peoples and their marginalization are not phenomena of that past, but very much a part of current North American society. They live in poverty today because of governments’ actions in the past and inaction in the present. The discrimination they face today may not be institutional in most cases, but it still exists.

  • Tim Carroll

    Well, personally I am not sure I can accept what this man is sayng about the holocaust, no matter how he says it.
    The holocaust happened in the 1940’s. While some of you may think of that as “generations ago,” I think that my parents were born in the 1920’s. My grandparents were born in the 1890’s. I am not Jewish, nor do I belong to any ethnic group that has experienced that level of ethnic cleansing in the past 200 years, unless you want to count the great hunger in Ireland in the 1840’s. There are many people living still whose parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins were taken from them in the holocaust. To tell these people to “get over it?” This is, to me, unthinkable.
    It is particularly unthinkable when one considers the fact that Jews (and many other ethnic groups as well) have been facing persecution for centuries and even millenia. It is unthinkable when one considers the level of anti-semitism that exists in the world today.
    While I do not hold with Zionism, and I do think that perhaps the United States and western Europe might be wise to re-consider their unthinking support of Israel versus the Arab world. I say “re-consider” and not necessarily “abandon.”
    But one think I would say to the Jews of the world is this: NEVER forget. What you forget today, you may be reminded of tomorrow.

  • Thegoodman

    I apologize for appearing so ignorant. I suppose I had a bad day yesterday and overstepped my bounds.

    The Treaty of Versailles forced East Germany to pay heavy reparations for WW1 which plunged their economy into a depression. The role of the Eastern European Jewish community in this treaty isn’t clear to me (or any of the history I can find online atm) but I always understood their role to be especially underhanded toward Germany. Unfortunately I cannot find a source that says this is true or untrue. If the Jews of Germany did in fact sell out their own country, they are not innocent.

    So I think my assumptions above, while not proven (id like help with this, right or wrong, I want to know), they are not completely fabricated.

    This is a great example of why WW2/Nazi/Holocaust discussions go no where. I feel like I am being called an antisemite for saying the Jews of WW2 are possibly not innocent bystanders in a world that hates them for no reason whatsoever. I just want to get the facts straight and I cannot imagine a world that creates the hatred seen in the movies. People are not good or evil, we all fall in the gray area between.

  • Thegoodman said:

    “The role of the Eastern European Jewish community in this treaty isn’t clear to me (or any of the history I can find online atm) but I always understood their role to be especially underhanded toward Germany.Unfortunately I cannot find a source that says this is true or untrue.”

    You “understood’ but can’t cite a source, or remember who told you this? Maybe there is no such scholarly source. Maybe you have a Jew hating friend, or a relative who was a Nazi, or who belonged to a neo-Nazi group.

    If the Jews of Germany did in fact sell out their own country, they are not innocent.

    Uh -huh…and so you continue to caste this absurd undocumented, irrational “belief” in the light of having some probable foundation and justification. “The Jews probably did SOMETHING to deserve this.” I nmean other than being “Christ Killers”

    So, exactly what did the millions of homosexuals, and disabled/deformed citizens of Germany and invaded countries do to undermine Germany and justify THEIR round up and destruction? After all “They must have done SOMETHING to deserve it.” I mean other than being “demented fags” and “subhuman cripples”.

    So I think my assumptions above, while not proven … are not completely fabricated.

    So, your assumptions are unproven, undocumentsed but couldn’t possibly be fabricated by anti-semites, neo-Nazis looking for justification of an unjustifiable act? They MUST have some basis in fact because you at one time heard it? What was the basis in fact for the blood libel that Jews killed and drank the blood of Christian children, which lead to hysteria and genocide in the middleages?

    You won’t find a basis for that filth, but you’re probably going to be quite sure it wasn’t “fabricated.”

    Thanks for demonstrating that ignorance and blind belief in the absence of evidence is not the sole provinence of religionists.
    Sometimes I need that reminder.

  • Heidi

    The Holocaust was important but I too am amazed at the number of people who don’t get that it wasn’t just the Jews. I was onced stunned by a black person on TV saying it wasn’t their concern, why should they get all worked up about Jews? I was sputtering at my TV, you do know blacks are not Aryan, right?

    This reminds me of a girl who used to hang around with my daughter. Tracey had… issues. One of which was that she would do anything to get a rise out of people. Another of which was that she thought things like anti-semitism (and wannabe-Satanism) were funny. So she’d go about writing slogans like “Hitler was right.” Her last name was something that ended with “wicz.”

    I once asked my daughter if Tracey knew that Hitler invaded Poland. She didn’t think so, because Tracey had failed every history class she’d ever taken, and then dropped out of school. This girl is 20 now, and has three kids. The oldest of whom she named “Damien” because she and that kid’s father thought that was funny. I shudder for these kids.

  • Thegoodman

    @Rabbi Dromedary Hump

    Germany “claims” that the Jews had a significant role in the oppression of Eastern Germany. I didn’t make that up, its well documented. What I couldn’t find in a quick search was proof of this claim, or any evidence to support or discredit the claim. Wikipedia says Germany made these claims prior to WW2.

    Again, these discussions quickly digress into calling a person you disagree with a Nazi. I am not a Nazi. Nor do I know any Nazis. I am also not Jewish and hold no special place in my heart to defend Jews (like you obviously have). I am not an antisemite either.

    Do you know for a fact that the Jews had absolutely no role in the reparations demanded of East Germany in the Treaty of Versailles? Can you provide this evidence?

    I am not saying the Jews were deserving of any ill will that went their way and may still go their way today. No person is deserving of being brutally murdered for his/her beliefs.

    “Thanks for demonstrating that ignorance and blind belief in the absence of evidence is not the sole provinence of religionists.
    Sometimes I need that reminder.”

    I am ignorant on the topic, I am asking for more information. Calling me a Nazi (or suggesting I associate with Nazis) doesn’t really help educate me.
    Blind belief? I am asking for information.

    Wikipedia and numerous other websites have evidence that states Germany made these claims prior to WW2. I just cannot find details about the claims. That isn’t exactly an “absence of evidence.”

    Take a chill pill. This isn’t Temple. No one here is condoning ethnic cleansing.

  • to the goodman…

    a) i’m not jewish..I just dispise the repeating of revisionist history through ignorance. You may as well blame the cathars for their destruction by the Catholic church. After all, the Church said they were heretics, defiled the body of Christ, and deserved it.

    b) you repeat the propaganda of the 3rd Reich, giving it a modicum of credence even though you admit you have no evidence for it.

    c) I didnt accuse you of being a Nazi. Don’t take it on faith … go read it again. I accused you of being a moron. You’ve done nothing to change that perspective, only reinforcing it.

    d)

    ” Do you know for a fact that the Jews had absolutely no role in the reparations demanded of East Germany in the Treaty of Versailles? Can you provide this evidence?”

    Ah! So now the burden of proof is on the one who takes the negative position (me) , NOT on the person making the Positive assertion (you)?? Just like a theist saying: “Prove there is no God” … as though failure to prove no God gives credibility for its existence.

    Why not ask for proof that the Gypsies, homosexuals, mentally impaired and physically crippled murdered in the millions by Hitler DIDN’T have some plot against the Reich. Please! They were as guilty as the Jews.

    Damnit man, you may as well be a fundie.

  • Ps: If one wants to learn something for which they know very little, they don’t float an unsupportable assertion as a “possible/probable/likely” truth based on propaganda. People who do that typically have a predermined postion.

    If one can find no support for an assertion, but repeats it as though it has a basis in fact they typically have an agenda.

    If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

  • Atheom

    I’ll echo the feelings of a few others and say that, while somewhat amusing, I’m not sure what this wish list was meant to accomplish. It’s not like the intended audience (ostensibly the aggregate masses of so-affiliated religionists) are especially keen to change their ways, or eager for feedback on their beliefs.

    One thing it was good for was stirring the hornet’s nest by singling out that #4 item. Unlike other commenters who, either cowed into submission by, or unwilling to subject themselves to, the shrill hysteria this topic seems to elicit, I will NOT start by disclaiming any affiliation with any holocaust-related mindset. Instead, I will issue the following disclaimer:

    I don’t care.

    That’s my answer to who’s to blame, why or when it started, and whether it should or will be forgotten. And it’s my answer to repeated pleas for me to “read more about it in order to understand it better.”

    I just don’t care.

    And I know I’m not alone.

    How much knowledge, and how many many civilizations, beliefs, cultures, languages and deities have been eradicated, either through blind selective processes or brute sentient forces, since the dawn of man? Is it likely that all of their ultimate demises were any less calamitous than the plight of Jews? Is there anything especially noteworthy about this debate over the cosmic injustices visited upon Jews ever since the Permian era other than that it survived to the present day to be documented and debated ad nauseam?

    The answer is no—of course there isn’t. Where it is singular is in the nauseating self-righteousness and intransigence it elicits in its proponents, and in the uncanny frequency with which the argument is continually re-ignited by agenda-bearing factions for what can only be temporary political gain. Unless you ascribe to deluded notions of the “chosen” and special status of the Jewish people, there really is no reason to think the holocaust was noteworthy in any dimension other than scale.

    Of course, the root for all of this poisonous vehemence is religion. That’s reason enough to take an especially rational look at the issue.

    Don’t come back at me with reasons why this issue is different—I don’t care. I’m just a normal adult with responsibilities trying to live a good life—I don’t have the time or the desire to pound the sands of history.

    As I read some of the comments, it was dismaying to see the harsh and uncompromising reactions of TychoBrahe, Eamon Knight, muggle and especially Dromedary Hump. I don’t think what Thegoodman said was inflammatory in the slightest (or even insightful, for that matter), but the excoriating reactions he received were like carpet-bombing a city to eradicate an anthill.

    Chill out, folks. Will history be re-written on this discussion board?

  • to Atheom:

    To be called “harsh, and uncompromising” for exposing as repeated fallacy anti-Semetic Nazi propaganda, by someone who “just doesn’t care” about what was arguably the greatest injustice ever perpetrated on the planet against a single group of people … I’ll wear as a badge of honor. Thank you.

  • twin-skies said:

    I find myself agreeing with Hoffman.
    I’m a Filipino, and it just makes me boil with rage at the stories I have heard of my countrymen (or is it women) who were murdered, raped, and abused by our Japanese invaders during the occupation.

    Let me see if I understand your position correctly: you find yourself agreeing with Hoffmann; but then in the same breath you bemoan, and your blood still boils, at the thought of your people having been so horrifically abused by the Japanese … 65 years after the fact.

    Hoffmann said “Get over it.” Am I to understand by your comments that your agreement with Hoffmann is only about the Jews… that only the Jews should “get over” their treatment under the Germans, but the Filipinos, including yourself, are exempt from “getting over ” their treatment by the Japanese? Or do I mis-understand your blood boiling comment, and you and your fellow Filipinois really ARE “over it?”

    My people also suffered, as did any other country’s – why should Jews get special treatment?

    What special treatment are the world’s Jews getting that you’d like to receive as a Filipino?

    Please start with the New York Jews, then the Polish Jews (such as that may remain), the Russian Jews, and work your way around to the Argentinian Jews, the Jews in Iran.

    Maybe if we understood what benefits, special treatment, the world’s Jews are getting we can coordinate a movement to get Filipinos equal treatment.

    Please respond soon, I’m anxious to get the movement started.

    Thanks

  • Baconsbud

    My main problem with #4 for the Jewish people is what they got for it. Had they not been mentioned as god’s people in the bible would they have been given the land they got? I know a small amount of the history in the bible is true but for the most part I don’t believe it is true. Why haven’t we set up new countries for all the different races, ethnic groups, and religious groups that have been singled out and targeted by people? Why does a country that is supposedly the chosen of god need so much aid from so many different countries but isn’t answerable for their war crimes?

  • Atheom

    To Dromedary Hump:

    I don’t know that you could have done a better job of illustrating my point. Thanks.

    For the record, it’s not the injustice per se that I don’t care about; it’s the fact that people like you deem it to be “arguably the greatest injustice ever perpetrated on the planet against a single group of people.”

    That point of view, and the blighted self-righteous vitriol it seemingly justifies (as you aptly demonstrated), is what I don’t care about.

    Get over it. And get over yourself.

  • Twin-Skies

    @Dromedary Hump

    Now that I think about it, it seems I came off a lot angrier than I was trying to present myself. As for our people “getting over it,” many of us haven’t.

    There are still calls among comfort women for the Japanese government to admit their part in allowing these abuses to take place during the war. They have yet to acknowledge any involvement up to now.

    What I was trying to say is that from what I’ve seen, the Holocaust is constantly getting treated as the biggest act of injustice that was done during the war, against a particular group of people. Everybody was affected one way or another and it seems to be an injustice to the lesser known victims to be sidelined in written history.

    As for your second assertion: If you’re talking about the Jews today, I don’t see any need for us asking for special treatment.

  • Twin-skies said:

    Now that I think about it, it seems I came off a lot angrier than I was trying to present myself. As for our people “getting over it,” many of us haven’t.

    Nor should you or the Filipino people “get over it.”
    Nor should those who experienced the Rape of Nanking “Get over it”.
    Nor should the Armenians “get over” the massacre by the Turks.
    Nor should we, as atheists and thinking people get over the Inquisition, the Crusades, witch burnings, persecution of Jews… all done under the guise of “the Lords work”. The fact we atheists so often invoke memory of those injustices indicates we haven’t gotten over it.

    As soon as we “get over” injustices, and the horrific acts perpetrated against “the other” we lose our humanity, and we diminish the impact of nthose acts, eventually relegating them to myth. The result is the potential of history repeating itself.

    To some people it seems that’s no big deal… until they become “the other”.

    Thanks for the exchange.

    Hump

    atheom said: “That point of view, and the blighted self-righteous vitriol it seemingly justifies (as you aptly demonstrated), is what I don’t care about.”

    Atheom–
    Frankly, your flippant dismissal of the Holocaust as just another historcal event renders your opinions not worth my caring about.
    Thanks again for underscoring my vitriol against people such as yourself.

  • CarolAnn :)

    The phrasing is definitely inelegant, but the sentiment is correct. No one ethnic group on this planet has a monopoly on victimization. We are animals, and animals will frequently prey on the weakest among them. Our intelligence just makes us that more creative about it and changes our motives a bit.

    Identifying oneself as a victim, whether on a macro or micro level, does nothing more than perpetuate the negative and prevent development of the positive.

    It’s also damned annoying to those around you, which I suspect is where the “get over it” comes from.

  • When I read the initial statement about Jews I was really confused as I began reading the comments posted here. Confused, because I don’t automatically think of “Holocaust” when the Jews “Chosen People” status is being discussed.

    The author’s wording “1. There are no chosen people. There are just people. It is depressing, isn’t it? We all want to be special.” does not contain anything about the Holocaust. Simply that the Jews think they have special status from Jehovah. Period.

    Antheom said: “Chill out, folks. Will history be re-written on this discussion board?”

    But if it is rewritten you won’t care.. right?

    Apathy is what allows violence to escalate.

  • Aside from whatever intent or purpose the author had, this is just badly written.
    There are so many run-on sentences and misplaced participles my brain hurt after reading the intro. And he misuses words, like “entheogenic” (unless he means people have hallucinations of the supernatural after consuming Huston Smith).

    As to Thegoodman’s comments here, well they do display a great deal of ignorance of history and illogical thinking.
    The people who murdered millions of Jews said the Jews were guilty of something so they MUST have been guilty of something. That’s like saying the girl who got raped must have been doing something to encourage it, since the rapist said she was asking for it. And he can’t even provide the Wikipedia link for us.

    Thegoodman, if you are going to wade into an argument, especially when admitting your own ignorance, you need to come in with at least a modicum of why you would think something is true. Now I admire that your faith in human nature is such that you can’t imagine the majority of Germans simply had an unreasonable hatred for a distinct group of others. However that flies in the face of the sum of human history. Sad, but true.

  • Woody Tanaka

    While most commentary on the Judaism section has been on item 4, number 3 is an insult to the millions of people who’ve suffered at the hands of the Israelis during the occupation of Palestine. (This is beyond the fact that lumping in the actions of Israel with Judaism is stupid to begin with.)

    To suggest that the only thing that the Israelis are doing wrong in that the “construction teams” won’t “take a vacation” is immoral bullshit. Anyone who implicates all Muslims worldwide in the acts of acid throwers and suicide bombers shouldn’t have had any problem in forthrightly stating that the Israelis should stop stealing the Palestinian’s land and give back what they’ve already stolen.

    But I guess the author was too busy making bigoted comments about Muslims, ignorant statements about Hiroshima, and lame jokes about how there’s just too darn many smart and funny Jews out there…