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Messages - lapwing

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1531
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: XO: Spiritually dead?
« on: February 09, 2015, 04:46:36 PM »
The Psalms can be helpful e.g. 10, 22, 31.

1532
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: 78 Tough Questions for Christians - Answered
« on: February 09, 2015, 12:19:22 PM »
Well many of these question are "tough" if you think they require neat pat answers, rather than as open-ended discussion questions e.g. Which denomination is right?

This question presupposes that we can know the rightness or wrongness of everything before glory but the Bible is very clear that this is not the case.

On the first question one can bear in mind that the famous parable of the sheep and the goats has 3 groups ("these brothers of mine"). This parable seems to indicate that acceptance by God is not only based on praying the prayer of repentance/being baptised etc but on charitable works done for Christians/the needy (depending on how you interpret who the brothers of Christ are).

1533
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Israel-Palestinian conflict
« on: February 09, 2015, 09:16:05 AM »
Quote from: Booger
Not only that, but theirs is a tribal mentality in an honor-driven culture. All this makes for a very unstable and volatile mix. Pretty buildings don't make an advanced society.
This comes across as racist - was that your intention?
Reasons why you and Ordinary Clay may be wrong about all Arabs being backward:

1.
Quote
Arab logicians had inherited Greek ideas after their invasion of southern portions of the Byzantine Empire. Their translations and commentaries on these ideas worked their way through the Arab West into Spain and Sicily, which became important centres for this transmission of ideas. This work of translation from Islamic culture, though largely unplanned and disorganized, constituted one of the greatest transmissions of ideas in history
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_of_the_Greek_Classics

Quote
The House of Wisdom (Arabic: بيت الحكمة‎; Bayt al-Hikma) was a major intellectual center during the Islamic Golden Age. The House of Wisdom was founded by Caliph Harun al-Rashid (reigned 786–809) and culminated under his son al-Ma'mun (reigned 813–833) who is credited with its formal institution. Al-Ma'mun is also credited with bringing many well-known scholars to share information, ideas, and culture in the House of Wisdom. Based in Baghdad from the 9th to 13th centuries, many learned scholars including those of Persian or Christian background[1] were part of this research and educational institute. Besides translating books into Arabic and preserving them, scholars associated with the House of Wisdom also made many remarkable original contributions to diverse fields.[2][3]

During the reign of al-Ma'mun, astronomical observatories were set up, and the House was an unrivaled center for the study of humanities and for science in medieval Islam, including mathematics, astronomy, medicine, alchemy and chemistry, zoology, and geography and cartography. Drawing on Indian, Greek, and Persian texts, the scholars accumulated a great collection of world knowledge, and built on it through their own discoveries. By the middle of the ninth century, the House of Wisdom was the largest repository of books in the world.[3]

It was destroyed in the sack of the city following the Mongol Siege of Baghdad.

2. I'm surprised you called the skyscrapers of Qatar "pretty". Impressive from an engineering pov but not pretty. I would call this "pretty":



3.
Just to lay the idea to rest that this is all in the past:


One Hundred Arab Intellectuals Demand the Release of Palestinian Poet Ashraf Fayadh from Saudi Prison
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/16426/one-hundred-arab-intellectuals-demand-the-release

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Many consider the origin of this saying is older: from Sanskrit in ancient India:

Quote
The ancient idea that “The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend”  is widely attributed to the Arabs. But it is actually much older …  It originated in the 4th century B.C. in India.  Kautilya –  the “Indian Machiavelli” – wrote about the idea in the Sanskrit military book, the Arthashastra.
from http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/09/americas-strategy-failing-world-complex-use-enemy-enemy-friend-strategy.html

Do you think the US was right to use this idea when supporting the Mujahideen (inc UBL) against the Russian backed regime in Afghanistan. Which was better for women's rights: the Najibullah regime or the Mujahideen?

Do you think the US was right to continue this policy e.g. in supporting the "rebels" against Syria, some of whom became ISIS?



Quote
did you know that, in Islam, lying to "infidels" is acceptable if it is thought to advance Islam?
What is your source for this? Did you do a thorough study of usage of the word lie and its synonyms (and antonyms) in the Koran.


1534
I certainly would not say it is of no help.

1535
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Israel-Palestinian conflict
« on: February 08, 2015, 05:33:31 PM »
Judah,

Quote
Post 128, lapwing
(I think you mean #127)

1. Anti-semitism (actually anti-Jewishness - Arabs are Semites)
I've already addressed the issue of Arab "support" for the Nazis. Anti-Jewishness is not confined to the Arabs of course, neither is racism generally as black people still find in the US.

2. Jihad - This raises the larger question about Islam which has been written about a lot here but I don't think it has been done properly. Instead I've seen statistics about Muslim violence but with no way of comparing properly with violence from others in the world. Also, favoured texts quoted with little reference to context and an unproven assumption they are all open-ended - ignoring the fact that this can be done from the OT or Hebrew Bible as well.

3. Propaganda. I posted recently from a press freedom source about censorship in the West Bank and Gaza. According to that source, Palestinians have access to foreign broadcasts. it may be naïve to think that Israel does not also put out propaganda.

4. Corruption. Yes this is a feature of many autocratic Arab governments but is not confined to the Middle East.

5. Pride. I'm not a mind reader. However, having your land stolen from you is bound to be upsetting.

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I am glad you brought up the white-paper act of 1938

I quoted from the 1922 White Paper.

Quote
The Jews WERE the majority in the land partitioned unto them during the period of partition.
Yes but the key point is that they were very much in the minority in Palestine at the time of Balfour which you (and Zionists at the time) interpreted as sanctioning, at least, partition and a Jewish State.

There was no UN at the time of the American Civil War nor at the time of the partition of Europe post WW2. The Soviets had lost c 10 million military and a similar number of civilians. Note that: roughly 20 million people in the Soviet Union died as a result of WW2. Do you think that might be a reason why they wanted Germany split into East and West? Also, as I've already said West Germany was allowed post war debt restructuring - something they are currently denying Greece. Israel needs to keep its western backers onside.

The point of the UN is to put an end to "might is right". Do you disagree with that?

edit:
I've just realized there is an internal contradiction in what you are saying Judah:

1. The Arabs are so anti-Jewish they all supported Hitler
2. The British put out the 1938 (or was it 1939? the Woodhead commission reported in 1938) White Paper to garner support from the Arabs against Hitler. What would be the point since the Arabs were so avowedly pro-Nazi?

1536
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Israel-Palestinian conflict
« on: February 08, 2015, 04:28:03 PM »
Quote
If Israel is really the same as the Nazi's as some Arabs have said, then we shouldn't find people saying what that young guy was saying.

Well I haven't said that Israel is the same as the Nazis. However, neither "Israel" or "Arabs" are homogenous in their views. There were plenty of Iraqis that hated Saddam and also plenty who were against the 2003 invasion. So I think your thesis that a group of people cannot include those who have extremely opposite views doesn't work. Also, for many Arabs "Israel" means the gov't of Israel and its policies rather than the country or the people - and of course Israel has elections and the government (and its policies) may change.

There was a mistaken idea that the Iraqis would greet the liberating coalition forces with flowers - much like WW2 France. After all they were being liberated from cruel autocracy and being given the opportunity for democracy. Western media played down the naysayers and played up those who welcomed the coalition (people who already had a reason to be opposed to Saddam e.g. Shias). However, their reasons for welcoming the coalition were more due to opposition to Saddam rather than wanting to become a western style democracy, friendly and complaint to the west (oil remember!). The subsequent violent actions by what were called insurgents (but who were mostly native Iraqis) proved the falseness of this view.

Also, the Middle East is not homogenous in terms of material advancement e.g. Qatar! They are not all "backward" whatever backward means (not like the west?)



though it is a moot point whether this is more advanced than:



Quote
That aside, the Palestinians could have had a State in 1938 and the Jews would have had a tiny sliver, but it was rejected. There were times where they rejected things that could have worked for their favour.
I've heard this argument a few times as well.

The Sliver:


The problem with this argument is that it ignores what we know about Zionism pre-1938. It is clear that many Zionists would see such a "sliver" as a foot in the door i.e. the first stage in their avowed intention to have complete control of what was then referred to as Palestine, but which they wished to take over and rename as Israel.

"To make Palestine as Jewish as England is English" Weizmann in 1919
(there are other such statements of course)

It's also important to realise that the nature of Israel is western rather than middle eastern since many of the most influential Jews who have moved to Israel since Balfour are from western countries. In fact one can view this process as a kind of proxy colonisation of this part of the  Middle East by the west.

Quote
Kosovo was a country that was part of Serbia, and was historically part of Serbia for a very long time and *developed* land  with cities etc
Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912. It was split between the forerunner of Yugoslavia and Montenegro between the wars. During WW2 it was incorporated into Albania and after WW2 returned to the new Yugoslavia. So I don't agree with "a very long time".

1537
I agree that Electrofreak has given excellent counsel. +1

1538
I agree but if someone asks for advice then there's no reason not to give it and the one asking should be prepared to accept the given advice for what it is: advice but only advice (or counsel).


1539
Yes well I'm not going to insist on going to the closest church if the difference in travelling time is only a few minutes.

1540
Hi Q11,

It all depends on what you think are particularly strong reasons. There have been cases where a minister has been in an adulterous relationship - that would seem a clear case.

On the small church with few or no children one should consider that would be quite normal in an isolated community or a missionary situation. Also, as children get older they will be able to meet with groups from other churches.

1541
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Favourite classical music?
« on: February 08, 2015, 09:02:33 AM »
For a less obvious love of mine, any Arvo Part fans in the house?

I'm one!

1542
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: It looks like WAR is coming-
« on: February 08, 2015, 08:47:07 AM »
Quote from: Lightfoot
Greece for example
I'm not sure what this means but I think one can overplay the nature of the new Greek government (hard left, extreme left etc,) The kind of debt restructuring they are asking for was enjoyed by Germany in 1953 post WW2, so it's hardly radical or unprecedented. The previous governments in Greece have not done too well have they. Greece does not want to leave the euro or the EU. I think Germany will quietly soften its stance. Not all German politicians (or Germans) support Merkel's policy on this matter.

And I don't see WW3 happening while Ukraine depends on Russia for its energy - they have cold winters in Ukraine. However, I believe Ukraine is trying to become independent of Russian gas and has transferred debt from Russia to the EU (will that be ever paid?!). Ukraine will still be a conduit for Russian gas into Europe for the time being, provided they don't siphon it off as they have done previously.

1543
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: It looks like WAR is coming-
« on: February 07, 2015, 11:44:22 PM »
Maybe I'm wrong but I recall that Ukraine gets a lot of its energy (gas and oil etc.) from Russia and Ukraine owes Russia a lot of money for this energy. On the other hand isn't Ukraine the bread basket for Russia with all that topsoil that came off the Alps eons ago being good for growing stuff?

So an all out war seems unlikely, and if it did happen, would be very damaging to Ukraine and Russia, but worse for Ukraine. I can't see Angela Merkel wanting to bail out Ukraine if she refuses Greece!

More likely it will be a rumbling on proxy quasi-war to the detriment of the people of E Ukraine.

1544
Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Favourite classical music?
« on: February 07, 2015, 11:34:15 PM »
I like early music, Mozart, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and lots more - but they would certainly be in my Desert Island Discs.

In another thread someone was implying the period of the Reformation was the Dark Ages - after all they didn't have the Internet!

Well they composed and performed music like this:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b051c9t1

(15th century English polyphony)

1545
Now this is probably going to sound pretty naïve and stupid but my take on which church to go to is a bit different from what others are saying.

Coming from a poor background and not being particularly practical I didn't have a car until quite late in life. I lived in various places through work for a while so my choice of church was determined by how far I could walk or ride a pushbike.

However, now I've got a car I still think one should go to the nearest evangelical church (that 's an umbrella term for a church whose teaching is based on the Bible). Even if you don't believe in global warming why waste time commuting past lots of other churches when you can't really prove that one church is better (for you) than another. There might be exceptional reasons to look elsewhere but I think they have to be particularly strong - otherwise it seems like you're saying these nearer churches aren't good enough for you.

Another advantage is that it means you are living in the area where the church witnesses.

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