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Ch. 4: The New Call 
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Post Ch. 4: The New Call
Ch. 4: The New Call

Please use this thread for discussing this chapter. :eek:



Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:19 pm
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On page 67 Dan points out something I have long believed about the nature of religious conservatives.

Quote:
Religious conservatives have consistently resisted progress, preferring to maintain tradition for the sake of tradition alone, even if the tradition is bad. Some of us have a different priority. We prefer truth to tradition, progress to precedent, learning to loyalty.


Religious conservatives want to believe that everything is black or white, right or wrong, good or evil. Nothing is gray or situational. In the real world sometimes we need to actually use our heads and think through situations by analyzing the pros and cons of each alternative and potential consequence. Religious conservatives scare the shit out of me, to be honest. Anyone that needs to refer to a book to tell them what is the correct course of action is dangerous.


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Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:40 am
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I remember being in Spanish II class when I was in college and the teacher played a bull fighting video for us. She was from Spain and was clearly impressed by the matadors skill. After the video was over she turned to us smiling and asked us what we thought. I let a few people share their thoughts and then I laid it on her.

I remember explaining to her that I think it is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen in my life. Taking pleasure and making a sport out of brutally killing an innocent bull is horrible and any nation and people that engages in such barbarity ought to be embarrassed. She was shocked at what I said and tried to explain that what I saw was a very old tradition. WTF? So shoving swords down into a bulls back to pierce his heart and make him bleed to death slowly is a tradition? Well, so was slavery here in the United States and we evolved culturally. All traditions aren't good just by virtue of being a tradition. Some traditions need to die. I wouldn't let off on this no matter how she tried to defend her countries proud tradition. I even asked her, "How would you feel if someone slid long daggers down your shoulder and into your lungs and heart for fun and sport?"

Not sure why I added this to this thread. But when I hear the word "tradition" I immediately look for some sort of messed up practice. Yes, not all traditions are as disgusting as bull fighting, but many are and something should be done about these sorts of things.



Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:54 am
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Dan had me laughing on this one. Page 80 is where you'll find the following...

Quote:
Since I had been reading about Islam, I knew about the qibla wall, which orients the worshiper towards Mecca, and I pointed east to the niche or alcove and whispered to Ali, "Is that the direction of Mecca?" He nodded his head. "But that's not right," I replied. I pointed my finger down at an angle into the earth and said, "That is the shortest distance to Mecca." He didn't smile. Pointing back to the east, I said, "If you pray in that direction, your prayers will go straight out into space at a tangent and miss Mecca," He still did not smile, so I whispered, "What do you expect when you invite an atheist?"


He goes on to say, "I suppose it is possible that prayers are affected by gravity and bend around the planet, so I couldn't press the point."

LOL I doubt I'll forget this one. Dan's right. Muslims that are more than a short distance from Mecca that attempt to face Mecca are almost all facing in the wrong direction. Last I checked this planet is a sphere.

Ahh...facing Mecca isn't that important. It is more symbolic than anything, right? Yea, right.



Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:05 am
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[quote="Chris OConnor"]
He goes on to say, "I suppose it is possible that prayers are affected by gravity and bend around the planet, so I couldn't press the point."[/quote?
A bit literal-minded in its own right, though, isn't it? Since Barker apparently is joking, it's probably better not to make too much of it.

While I agree on the scariness of people whose truth is defined by the words of an ancient book, the same applies to any group that thinks it has a lock on truth, through some special group attribute. An atheist would certainly be no different. When Barker says in the other quoted passage that he values truth, the implication is that Christians don't, or can't because of irrational beliefs they hold. Yet this is itself not a reasonable statement. Barker may mean by "truth" what we can perceive through our senses, or scientific evidence. Traditionally, truth means a lot more than that, so possibly he should have used more specific wording.



Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:00 pm
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Last edited by DWill on Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:00 pm
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Last edited by DWill on Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:03 pm
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Last edited by DWill on Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:06 pm
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I agree with your third post DWill, but none of the rest. Sorry.



Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:46 pm
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I am enjoying reading this book, but I do find Dan to be quite an arrogant man. He talks about morals, but his seem to be lacking. First, as an evangelical preacher he seems more interested in his own accomplishments and proving how 'good' of a disciple he is. He does have a lot of passion and energy that he bring to his work of winning souls and convincing other that the way he sees the truth is the way they should see it. Then he does this 180 and again is convinced that he needs to win 'minds' for atheism. He's got to prove once again how right he is.
And to do this he walks away from a wife and four kids...an easy divorce, right, because they didn't have many assets...what about those four kids? Doesn't sound like he spent much time worrying about the effect on them, their dad walking away from all he had taught them, walking away from them. Where are the morals here? I had a hard time with this part, but he did say that his wife asked not to be in the book, so perhaps he has left out his anguish at hurting four innocent children whose beliefs he had shaped and then torn apart and walked away from.
On the other side...he is a very intelligent, obviously charismatic man and it must have taken a lot of courage to admit he was wrong and to change his life.



Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:24 pm
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realiz wrote:
He does have a lot of passion and energy that he bring to his work of winning souls and convincing other that the way he sees the truth is the way they should see it. Then he does this 180 and again is convinced that he needs to win 'minds' for atheism. He's got to prove once again how right he is.
And to do this he walks away from a wife and four kids...an easy divorce, right, because they didn't have many assets...what about those four kids?


Granted, we don't know the back story, but it is odd how little treatment Barker gives his own failed marriage. He does explain it somewhat by saying that Carol didn't want him to say anything about her, which sounds kind of lame to me. What I want to know is, was the rift in their marriage caused by his move away from Christianity? Or was it financial difficulties? Adulterous affair? Who knows.

Barker says only this:

Quote:
I could no longer imagine a marriage in which the man is the "head" of the wife, as the bible sets it up. Divorce is always painful, but we were fortunate that it was not too messy. We did not have much property to fight about, and neither of us wanted to fight anyway.


So yes, I'd say he gives the subject rather short shrift.

Did anyone else find it odd that Barker sent out letters announcing that he no longer considered himself a Christian? I know he was a preacher and all, and that some of his business dealings were predicated on the assumption of Christian faith. Still, there seems something rather odd about sending a letter out. As a lapsed Catholic myself, I never really got religion, so it's very difficult for me to imagine such a dramatic turnabout. For Barker, though, this dramatic reversal is his claim to fame, and the book's raison d'etre. I have to say (again) that this is where this book falls really short, in my opinion. Barker just doesn't convincingly portray how this dramatic switch has taken place. I'm still only halfway through, so I'll reserve final judgment.

I'm sorry for being so negative, but I have to pick on one more thing, which is Barker's editorial decision to use small case for the Bible (thus, the bible). I'm sorry, but this is simply grammatically incorrect. The Bible should be capitalized, same as the Koran, Larry, Mexico, the Boston Red Sox, and the Golden Gate Bridge. It doesn't mean anything except that it's a proper noun. I see he's trying to make a point, but it's a cheap shot at best.


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Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:04 pm
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Chris OConnor wrote:
I remember being in Spanish II class when I was in college and the teacher played a bull fighting video for us. She was from Spain and was clearly impressed by the matadors skill. After the video was over she turned to us smiling and asked us what we thought. I let a few people share their thoughts and then I laid it on her.

I remember explaining to her that I think it is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen in my life. Taking pleasure and making a sport out of brutally killing an innocent bull is horrible and any nation and people that engages in such barbarity ought to be embarrassed. She was shocked at what I said and tried to explain that what I saw was a very old tradition. WTF? So shoving swords down into a bulls back to pierce his heart and make him bleed to death slowly is a tradition? Well, so was slavery here in the United States and we evolved culturally. All traditions aren't good just by virtue of being a tradition. Some traditions need to die. I wouldn't let off on this no matter how she tried to defend her countries proud tradition. I even asked her, "How would you feel if someone slid long daggers down your shoulder and into your lungs and heart for fun and sport?"

Not sure why I added this to this thread. But when I hear the word "tradition" I immediately look for some sort of messed up practice. Yes, not all traditions are as disgusting as bull fighting, but many are and something should be done about these sorts of things.


Hemingway wrote an entire book about the the "sport" of bull fighting, but these days it's increasingly harder to justify blood sports. I know fox hunting is on the way out in Britain, isn't it? In my neck of the woods, they still hunt bears using dogs. The way they treat their dogs is criminal, not to mention the poor bears.

You're absolutely right that adhering to traditions simply because they're traditions is just plain stupid. My signature, "question everything" is a testament to just that. Don't do things just because your parents did them and their parents before them. That's not good enough.


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Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:15 pm
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Quote:
Did anyone else find it odd that Barker sent out letters announcing that he no longer considered himself a Christian?


I agree. I thought this was odd too. I suppose that they were people he worked closely with and thought that they should be informed of his change of heart.

I found links on youtube to the debate between Dan Barker and Dinesh D'Souza. It is broken up into 15 parts but I was able to find them all online. :D I thought people might be interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1arsUJI0 ... re=related



Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:36 pm
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