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The Boy With the Thorn in his Side
September 24, 2009 3:57 AM   Subscribe

A three part profile on Glenn Beck by Salon.com's Alexander Zaitchik A morality play in three acts, or, how Glenn Beck parlayed a parlayed his finely honed skills as a drug addled morning zoo shock jock, into the media force that is making America dumber by the minute. Some excellent profiling by Alexander Zaitchik of Salon.com:

Part 1: The making of Glenn Beck - His roots, from the alleged suicide of his mom to Top 40 radio to the birth of the morning zoo.

Part 2: The Meltdown - The radio phenom takes over the morning zoo, makes fun of miscarriages and flames out.

Part 3: The Resurrection - Getting clean, getting Mormon, getting talk radio -- and going to Yale, with the help of Joe Lieberman.
posted by psmealey (220 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've heard that Fox News wasn't really born in America but was instead born in Australia.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:03 AM on September 24, 2009 [14 favorites]


The fact that he's a Mormon just slays me, for whatever reason. I don't know that it's right to use bigotry and hatred, even to fight other bigotry and hatred, but it seems like a lot of his followers would shun him if they found out he's not a Christian. Is that fact a tool that should be used, or is it wrong to fight hate with hate?
posted by explosion at 4:13 AM on September 24, 2009


Glenn Beck isn't making America dumber. Glenn Beck just realized that there are a lot of dumb people in America who watch TV. He's a conspiracy theorist, comedian, charismatic preacher and political pundit all rolled into one steaming pile of balls. Of course he's successful. 90 years ago he would have been running a circus, 70 years ago he would have been a well-known evangelist, 50 years ago he would have been a Senator from Wisconsin and 20 years ago he would have been Art Bell.
posted by billysumday at 4:13 AM on September 24, 2009 [36 favorites]


But....but....if you don't watch his show, he'll cry!
posted by jamstigator at 4:18 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


A lot of what Beck is doing makes more sense if you've read Cleon Skousen. Until you read this truth, you may not appreciate the level of infiltration of subversive communist socialism in our God-fearing Mormon culture. That's why I encourage you to join the John Birch Society... the only source of truth in the modern age. By "modern age", I mean the late 1950s.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:22 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Glenn Beck Throws A Frog Into Boiling Water?
posted by sciurus at 4:25 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Why's the page for 1990 giving me a 404 not found?
posted by Abiezer at 4:27 AM on September 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


Glenn Beck isn't making America dumber. Glenn Beck just realized that there are a lot of dumb people in America who watch TV. He's a conspiracy theorist, comedian, charismatic preacher and political pundit all rolled into one steaming pile of balls. Of course he's successful. 90 years ago he would have been running a circus, 70 years ago he would have been a well-known evangelist, 50 years ago he would have been a Senator from Wisconsin and 20 years ago he would have been Art Bell.

The real question is what he would have been 19 years ago.
posted by atrazine at 4:31 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also Art Bell, but with a nice mustache.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:32 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


what he would have been 19 years ago.

An alcoholic?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:33 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nice title. The Moz would cringe, though.
posted by elmono at 4:34 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by PlusDistance at 4:39 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


These guys on the right who spread lies and hatred for sheer entertainment value are the real traitors, IMO. It's a laugh line, but they're hurting this country in a very real way.

Not long ago one of the local Philly Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck pretenders, one Dom Giordano, was going off on a pro-torture rant about how any means is OK if it justifies "keeping us safe", and actually said that if the government deems his family to be at risk, he's in favor of their doing ANYTHING, Constitution be damned. His and his family's personal safety comes first. Exact words.

And yet the Democrats allow these idiots to own the Patriot label.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:49 AM on September 24, 2009


I'm with billysumday. There are a shit load of dumb Americans. Tons and tons. This dude, like many other people in the states, are happy with feed them whatever they want to hear. You already have to be kind of pretty stupid to eat up a tenth of the shit that comes out of this dudes mouth. Or Palin's. Or whatever dumbass right-wing talking head is in vogue at the moment.
posted by chunking express at 4:58 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Beck's an idjit rangler. He's aware that he has an abundant resource out there across the fruited plain. He's adept at whipping up that resource into a frenzy of abject butt-sniffing dipshittery and he's been pretty successful at it. He's the perfect media personality for those who cannot or will not think, but would rather just react.

When I was a kid All in the Family was very popular show. Archie Bunker was someone to be laughed at because of the depth of his ignorance. I never imagined that he'd become a role model for some. Live and learn.

The sad thing for me is that people really do have legitimate grievances and reasons to distrust government. People like Beck only serve to keep people from being able to focus on real issues, they keep the water muddied and the real problems from being easily seen. Truth be told, Beck is one of the worst enemies his own viewers have, if only they could see that.

But they'll just continue to victimised by their own fears and prejudices and the likes of Beck will laugh all the way to the bank. Oh well.
posted by metagnathous at 5:01 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, after they put the Patriot label on that missile, I kinda felt like it had been devalued a little.
posted by box at 5:03 AM on September 24, 2009


Well, after they put the Patriot label on that missile, I kinda felt like it had been devalued a little.

It's all just an act.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:05 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The slight outraged Beck, who got his revenge with what may rank as one of the cruelest bits in the history of morning radio. "A couple days after Kelly's wife, Terry, had a miscarriage, Beck called her live on the air and says, 'We hear you had a miscarriage,' " remembers Brad Miller, a former Y95 DJ and Clear Channel programmer. "When Terry said, 'Yes,' Beck proceeded to joke about how Bruce [Kelly] apparently can't do anything right -- about he can't even have a baby."
Christ.
posted by Abiezer at 5:08 AM on September 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Read this book a couple of years back. It was helpful in coming to some kind of understanding of your Becks, O'Reillys, Coulters and Savages and those who hang on their every word. And man, does this country not have a bottomless well of putrid pundits to draw from? I know that there are some very learned thoughtful and wise people out there, but it seems it's the village idiots that get the most attention.

Not good.
posted by metagnathous at 5:18 AM on September 24, 2009


What the fuck is wrong with the world when certifiable stoners like Glenn Beck and G.W. Bush get positions of national prominence and then are like, you know... "I'm not stoned, I'm crazy".

I mean, what the fuck?
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:18 AM on September 24, 2009


Let’s Ignore The Village Idiot
posted by adamvasco at 5:19 AM on September 24, 2009


The fact that he's a Mormon just slays me, for whatever reason...a lot of his followers would shun him if they found out he's not a Christian.

Wh-wh-wha? Mormons aren't Christians?
posted by Bokononist at 5:20 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone should edit the FPP to make it clear that the linked work is by Alexander Zaitchik of Salon.com.
posted by Bokononist at 5:23 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


certifiable stoners like Glenn Beck and G.W. Bush

They're not stoners. If only they were. You know that illustration of the ascent of man? Flip that baby backwards. That's what Beck and Bush are about.
posted by metagnathous at 5:25 AM on September 24, 2009


Happily I have managed to avoid hearing or reading a single word from Mr. Beck, or even seeing a picture of him. Because judging by these threads (and Palin threads) the IQ of anyone who pays any attention at all to such persons, pro or con, drops like a stone.
posted by jfuller at 5:27 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


explosion: The fact that he's a Mormon just slays me, for whatever reason.

So's Harry Reid. Doesn't seem to have hurt his career much.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:31 AM on September 24, 2009


They're not stoners.

Dude, yes they were. The article in this post makes that abundantly clear about Beck:
"He was always smoking these really funky-smelling foreign cigarettes."
And Bush smoked doobies, dude, as he made abundantly clear by refusing to admit he'd smoked doobies.

I'm just saying that's it's sad that some people don't reach a higher state of consciousness when they have the chance.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:32 AM on September 24, 2009


Whoa, slow down. Don't call them stoners, because you give all of us real stoners a bad name. Stoners don't froth at the mouth and rant and incite violence. We reach for the Cheetos and then...what were we talking about again?
posted by jamstigator at 5:33 AM on September 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


They're not stoners.

Dude, yes they were. The article in this post makes that abundantly clear about Beck:
"He was always smoking these really funky-smelling foreign cigarettes."
And Bush smoked doobies, dude, as he made abundantly clear by refusing to admit he'd smoked doobies.


Those were just dioxin-laced Mexican donkey shit smokes. They only thought they were getting high. It was the placebo effect messing with their minds.
posted by metagnathous at 5:41 AM on September 24, 2009


Bokononist, many Christians do not consider Mormons Christian. Some even consider it a cult.

(As an atheist I'm, er, agnostic on the matter myself.)
posted by JoanArkham at 5:54 AM on September 24, 2009


I can't look at or listen to Glenn Beck for more than fifteen seconds without my head hurting, because he makes me want to call him and ask him what in the hell universe he lives in but then I remember that's just what he wants me to think and then he says something else and it... I just... I gotta go lie down.
posted by Scattercat at 5:59 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clearly, all talk radio must be destroyed.
posted by The Whelk at 6:01 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Happily I have managed to avoid hearing or reading a single word from Mr. Beck, or even seeing a picture of him. Because judging by these threads (and Palin threads) the IQ of anyone who pays any attention at all to such persons, pro or con, drops like a stone.

Anyone with a thought in their head would have to see that Beck's nothing but a BS monger, but the sad fact of the matter is that he does have a certain amount of influence, that a large media conglomerate does see fit to disseminate his pearls of wisdom and that a certain section of the populace takes him seriously.

That's an interesting idea to some of us, much as a tapeworm hanging halfway out of our nether regions would be interesting, but still. There's nothing particularly unintelligent about looking at the forces that are turning the United States into a joke. It's much like the old argument about whether Ann Coulter should be totally ignored or discussed. These people are symptoms of a sickness. Seen that way, ignoring them may not be the best idea.
posted by metagnathous at 6:02 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


but it seems like a lot of his followers would shun him if they found out he's not a Christian. Is that fact a tool that should be used, or is it wrong to fight hate with hate?
posted by explosion at 7:13 AM on September 24


What? Mormons are christians.

?
posted by Pastabagel at 6:04 AM on September 24, 2009


Glenn Beck isn't making America dumber. Glenn Beck just realized that there are a lot of dumb people in America who watch TV. He's a conspiracy theorist, comedian, charismatic preacher and political pundit all rolled into one steaming pile of balls. Of course he's successful. 90 years ago he would have been running a circus, 70 years ago he would have been a well-known evangelist, 50 years ago he would have been a Senator from Wisconsin and 20 years ago he would have been Art Bell.

This times a thousand. As the Buffalo Beast said about Sarah Palin, after 8 years of Bush over 46 percent of the country decided his problem was he wasn't stupid enough.

The one thing I'd point out though is the difference- huge difference- between things like a "news" channel and circuses. If you've ever seen video of a faith healer, you would understand when Beck is successful. There is a huge market for having someone charismatically agree with you on idea that don't require a lot of thought. It's easier to think Muslims are evil than analyze decades of geopolitical strategy just as it's easier to believe the power of Jesus will cure your cancer instead of wondering if maybe, just maybe, Ronald Reagan could have done more to regulate asbestos. Fox News has become incredibly successful because in contrast to news, it's made itself into an education channel for the large set of people in this country who don't actually want to learn anything. I'm honestly amazed Beck hasn't started passing a plate around at his rallies because he'd be able to build himself a church in the midwest before Christmas.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:08 AM on September 24, 2009 [25 favorites]


[do not do that "young girl" Glenn Beck stuff here, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:10 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wh-wh-wha? Mormons aren't Christians?

Many of his fans wouldn't even consider Roman Catholics Christians. You know, the single largest branch of Christianity, with more adherents than all other Christian sects combined. So, no, they probably don't think that Mormons are Christians.
posted by atrazine at 6:13 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


We're fucked.
posted by tommasz at 6:15 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


What? Mormons are christians.

A number of hardline Evangelical Christian denominations believe that Mormons are not Christian, actually. They also believe that Catholics are not Christians.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:15 AM on September 24, 2009


JoanArkham and atrazine have it. Hell, I've had arguments with Christians who claim that Catholics aren't Christians. I had another Christian tell me that Catholics don't even believe in God.
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:16 AM on September 24, 2009


HI EVERYBODY!
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:17 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Many of his fans wouldn't even consider Roman Catholics Christians. You know, the single largest branch of Christianity, with more adherents than all other Christian sects combined. So, no, they probably don't think that Mormons are Christians.

These distinctions tend to get put away pretty quickly once questions of political influence arise.
posted by metagnathous at 6:20 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


These distinctions tend to get put away pretty quickly once questions of political influence arise.

I'm not following, metagnathous -- what are you referring to?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:22 AM on September 24, 2009


Right wind Christians and right wing Catholics have managed to put aside their sectarianism many time in order to fight what they see as a common enemy, such as abortion. Heck, many right wing Christians are avid supporters of Israel, despite thinking that the Jews killed Jesus.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:25 AM on September 24, 2009


Glenn Beck crying is a joke, right?

RIGHT?!
posted by dearsina at 6:25 AM on September 24, 2009


Anybody who owns a handgun and identifies themself as a Christian as a pure unadulterated hypocrite. I mean, one of the core precepts of Jesus' teachings was: do no violence to another human being, ever, under any circumstances. If you have a handgun you are actively planning on the possibility of shooting someone, which is completely antithetical to what Jesus taught.

Most Christians (every one I have ever met in my 45 years on this planet, anyway) are the fake Christians. They SAY they're Christian, but do not practice what Jesus taught, which is absolute non-violence, and I mean absolute. Self-defense? That's a no-go. National military? Sorry. Defending a loved one with deadly force? Nope. That's why there are so few REAL Christians -- that's a tough row to hoe there, and in all likelihood those who practice what Jesus taught, and believe it, don't live long in this world, because they get killed by someone (one of the fake Christians, most likely).

I truly admire real Christians. Or I would if I ever met one.
posted by jamstigator at 6:27 AM on September 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Those of you who are baffled by the idea that Christians would consider Mormons to be non-Christian would do well to consider the fact that Mitt Romney didn't get creamed in the primaries over his ideology.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:27 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I mean, one of the core precepts of Jesus' teachings was: do no violence to another human being, ever, under any circumstances.

No no no see when Jesus said "Do not resist an evil man" what he ACTUALLY meant was "protect yourself and your family". When he said to give not only what is asked of you but also your coat as well, what he ACTUALLY meant was that you should shoot people who try to take things from you. When he said to turn the other cheek what he ACTUALLY meant was to waste anyone who you think threatens your physical body.

Also the Bible is inerrant in all things.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:30 AM on September 24, 2009 [15 favorites]


I'm not following, metagnathous -- what are you referring to?

I think that what he's trying to say is that from a political US/THEM mentality, in a pinch Mormons would be part of US, from a Christian point of view. Mostly because they hate gays and abortion and are all "family values" and so forth.
posted by hermitosis at 6:31 AM on September 24, 2009


Also Jesus smashed up some property in the temple because he found it offensive and I'm pretty sure "driving out" moneychangers doesn't mean "asked them quietly and politely to leave" so possibly Jesus was not entire consiste-
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:31 AM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Defining what is and isn't Christian is not where this post needs to go, Bokononist, but if you're looking for a place to put a stake in the dirt, you could define Christianity as that which adheres to the Nicene Creed. (Note: when they say catholic, they mean what it meant originally, not what it means today.

Some faiths reject the creed because it's not part of the bible itself (and who decided what was, and wasn't in the bible is an interesting subject too), not because they disagree with any portion of it. Others (which include the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses) disagree with some portion of it. And then there are the guys who were so eager to become martyrs, that they'd kidnap people and only agree to let them go if they'd kill them for being Christian. (And I so wish I could find the comic describing this phenomenon.)

Short answer - there are plenty of people whose view of faith is best summed up here.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:34 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR thanks for this: "Fox News has become incredibly successful because in contrast to news, it's made itself into an education channel for the large set of people in this country who don't actually want to learn anything. "
That sums it up really nicely and I want to steal that quote.
posted by pointystick at 6:37 AM on September 24, 2009 [14 favorites]


Wh-wh-wha? Mormons aren't Christians?

Without even delving into the "are/aren't Roman Catholics Christians?" debate, I confidently assert that Mormons are not Christians.

A long time ago, a tribe was wandering the desert, and entered into an exclusive covenant with Yahweh, and came to be known as the Jews. Their holy manuscript, the Torah, would later come to be known as the "Old Testament" as a man named Jesus of Nazareth came about and preached a new Covenant with God.

While Christians would be known as Jews for a while, their New Testament distinguished them from the Jews, and established them as a separate religion, rather than a sect. This pattern would be repeated about 600 years later as Muhammad would receive the Koran and establish Islam.

With all due respect to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, any major addition, revision, or "divine clarification" creates a new religion. Judaism is old religions plus the Ten Commandments and a covenant with Yahweh. Christianity is Judaism plus Jesus. Islam is Judaism and Christianity as revised and refined through the Koran. And thus it follows that as Mormonism is Christianity plus the Book of Mormon, it is inspired by, and related to, but distinct from Christianity.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by explosion at 6:38 AM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Christianity is Judaism plus Jesus.

Not really. Christianity appropriates a lot of Jewish scripture, and was heavily Jewish in the early days, but Christianity as it exists today is very different from Judaism.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:41 AM on September 24, 2009


Pope Guilty: "Also Jesus smashed up some property in the temple because he found it offensive and I'm pretty sure "driving out" moneychangers doesn't mean "asked them quietly and politely to leave" so possibly Jesus was not entire consiste-"

The story goes that an older lady - known in town for being unusually free-thinking - volunteered to teach Bible class. She read to the children the story where Jesus cursed a fig tree for no apparent reason and it died.

She asked the children if they understood why Jesus did that. They said no. Then she asked if they thought it was a nice thing to do. After some hesitation, they said that they didn't think so.

"Remember that," the lady told them. "You don't understand Jesus and He wasn't nice. Now let's play volleyball until it's time for lunch." (via)
posted by Joe Beese at 6:42 AM on September 24, 2009 [31 favorites]


Pope Guilty, that's my point. Being spun off of a religion, but changing it dramatically, makes it a different religion.

Mormons are very different from Christians, despite the loving and worshipping God and Jesus.
posted by explosion at 6:43 AM on September 24, 2009


Islam is Judaism and Christianity as revised and refined through the Koran.

If you're going to be tossing off silly arithmetic like that, especially as a wholly unnecessary derail (Mormons self-identify as Christians so all other arguments are fruitless academics), you're going to need to drill down a lot further into the details to avoid coming off like a complete ignoramus.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:44 AM on September 24, 2009


jamstigator: "Anybody who owns a handgun and identifies themself as a Christian as a pure unadulterated hypocrite."

fwiw I agree with you, however Jesus did fashion a whip out of corded leather to drive the money-changers out of the temple. It's fascinating and kind of weird that I should read your rant today - as this evening I'm going to a lecture in Hyde Park given by the fantastic Dr. Walter Wink. He has a ton of stuff to say about this - and I think you'd find his take on Jesus' non-violent tactics... interesting.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:45 AM on September 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Anybody who owns a handgun and identifies themself as a Christian as a pure unadulterated hypocrite. I mean, one of the core precepts of Jesus' teachings was: do no violence to another human being, ever, under any circumstances. If you have a handgun you are actively planning on the possibility of shooting someone, which is completely antithetical to what Jesus taught.

I use my .38 snubnose to hunt deer. Really, really slow, stupid deer.

Most Christians (every one I have ever met in my 45 years on this planet, anyway) are the fake Christians.

You apparently haven't met very many. There are a lot more Christians in this world than the violent ones.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:49 AM on September 24, 2009


Short answer - there are plenty of people whose view of faith is best summed up here.


Man, I so expected that link to be goatse.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:50 AM on September 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


When discussing Glenn Beck, I'm surprised the Howard Beale character from Network isn't brought up. Beck is clearly insane. He is being put on television because of the entertainment value of his insanity, because people will talk about his outrageousness. He "articulates the populist rage."

Some relevant quotes from Network.

Nelson Chaney (discussing whether to give a suicidal lunatic a show): All I know is that this violates every canon of respectable broadcasting.
Frank Hackett: We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.

Diana Christensen: Howard Beale is processed instant God.

Arthur Jensen (owner of the network): There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immense, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today!

Howard Beale: I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

Howard Beale: This is not a psychotic breakdown; it's a cleansing moment of clarity.

Howard Beale: Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business!

I know comparing Beck to Beale insults the memory of Howard Beale, but I'm drawing parallels, not suggesting they are exactly alike.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:50 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also Chuck Norris is my Christ, dude. And Yosemite Sam is my John the Baptist.

back OFF i say!
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:51 AM on September 24, 2009


Everyone's a hypocrite.
posted by smackfu at 6:51 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anybody who owns a handgun and identifies themself as a Christian as a pure unadulterated hypocrite.

Self-defense? That's a no-go.

Uhhh... You might want to brush up on the old Bible there chief.

Luke 22:38 KJV:

Then said he [Jesus] unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Most of the versions say pretty much the same thing: "Given clothing or a weapon, pick the weapon".

So Jesus told his disciples to get armed and some argue that it ventures close to advocating self defence (a sword being a near necessity to fend off wild animals and robbers while travelling).

National military? Sorry.

This depends on your version's context of Luke 3:14. KJV clearly states soldiers should "harm no man" while the NIV states nothing about harming another man, only extortion and false accusations.

One of the many ambiguities in the 20 odd english bible translations floating around.
posted by Talez at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2009


I'm not following, metagnathous -- what are you referring to?

I'm referring to the tendency of the more extreme fundamentalist christians to put aside their differences with people of other denominations just long enough to achieve certain political, social or biblical objectives. I grew up steeped in this stuff and have seen firsthand how alliances of convenience rise and fall in that culture. Make no mistake: Roman Catholics and Mormons are reviled by many fundamentalist christians. Not all of them of course - you really don't want to paint them all with the same wide brush so to speak, but the tendency is there.

The one example that comes to mind right now is the relationship between certain branches of fundamentalists here in the U.S. and Israel. I've heard some pretty heinous things said about Jews, about Catholics and (to a lesser degree) about Mormons, but alliances will form and fall away in the course of political passion. The same thing goes on within churches - factions break away due to doctrinal differences, leaving us with all these different denominations. They can get along with one another or with people of other faiths for a time, but they will splinter in the end.
posted by metagnathous at 6:54 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Everyone's a hypocrite.

Oh sure. And I suppose you really believe that?
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:54 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what I think lies behind the hatred?

That's right, a murderous desire. For love.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:06 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh sure. And I suppose you really believe that?

Maybe not everyone. Nuns and monks seem pretty good.
posted by smackfu at 7:07 AM on September 24, 2009


(Mormons self-identify as Christians so all other arguments are fruitless academics)

No, they aren't. Belief matters a great deal in Christian identity. Assertion and self-identification are not the sole required criteria for a person to be Christian. Since Mormon doctrine differs from the rest of Christianity in major ways, (they don't believe in the Trinity, for instance,) most other Christian faiths identify Mormons as either non-Christians or a cult.

Similarly, "Messianic Jews" also known as the "Jews for Jesus," claim to be Jewish, yet according to all other sects of Judaism they are not. Jews see them (rightfully, in my opinion,) as a Christian missionary organization.
posted by zarq at 7:07 AM on September 24, 2009


Everyone's a hypocrite.

Oh sure. And I suppose you really believe that?


Depends on how you define your terms. I consider myself a hypocrite much of the time because I don't always walk my talk. And you know why that is?

Because it fucking hurts.

It hurts physically, it hurts mentally, and it hurts emotionally. Desperation is the coin of the realm and none of us are acting completely rationally at any given time.

That or I'm totally full of crap. Then again those things are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Too much thinking. Beck is still forever caught in the amber of bullshit, however. It's the true believers that remain scary to me.
posted by metagnathous at 7:09 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


how any means is OK if it justifies "keeping us safe", and actually said that if the government deems his family to be at risk, he's in favor of their doing ANYTHING, Constitution be damned. His and his family's personal safety comes first. Exact words.

but if the government said that we needed universal healthcare to keep the country safe he wouldn't be in favor of it would he? The big mistake liberals make is actually listening to conservatives speak and attributing some kind of rational is behind their language. The Republicans are nothing more than a sports team they have been brainwashed to root for. There is no rational, no morals behind it. Whenever the left fixes their gaze and attention on some idiot like Glenn Beck the corporatists win - because that's the whole point behind the Becks, Limbaughs, Fox News' of the world is to distract the public while the real crimes take place behind the curtain. Take down Beck and there are 90 others replicant character assassins ready to take his place in a minute.
posted by any major dude at 7:17 AM on September 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


metagnathous: *whooosh*
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:18 AM on September 24, 2009


Now that we've had ourselves a Reformation, there's no single authority who can arbitrate who's a Christian and who isn't, so the issue of whether Mormons count as Christians is going to just keep spinning around and around. But I think explosion, even though painting with a pretty broad brush, is basically right. Once you add a new holy book, you've created a new religion, not just a differing sect of the original religion. The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price make Mormonism something distinct. Even though they also revere Jesus Christ, their understanding of who and what Jesus is puts them outside the lines of orthodox Christian belief.

Technical distinctions about whether they are an anomalous Christian sect or a separate religion aside, I think it's fair to say that most committed Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant, consider Mormonism something completely different. That caused Romney some difficulty in the campaign, which is why he gave a speech specifically designed to allay concerns about his faith.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:25 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


P.S. I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore.
posted by opsin at 7:26 AM on September 24, 2009


Baby_Balrog: "jamstigator:fwiw I agree with you, however Jesus did fashion a whip out of corded leather to drive the money-changers out of the temple. It's fascinating and kind of weird that I should read your rant today - as this evening I'm going to a lecture in Hyde Park given by the fantastic Dr. Walter Wink. He has a ton of stuff to say about this - and I think you'd find his take on Jesus' non-violent tactics... interesting."

I've been looking for that essay for *years*. Thanks!
posted by notsnot at 7:30 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


With all due respect to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, any major addition, revision, or "divine clarification" creates a new religion.

In your effort to oversimplify, you skipped an important step. First, sects (and eventually subsects,) are created. It's extremely rare that an offshoot sect will diverge so drastically to form its own distinct religion.

American Judaism has three major sects: Orthodox, Reform, Conservative. Each of those have additional subsects (such as Humanistic Reform, Reconstructionist Reform, Egalitarian Conservative, Modern Orthodox, etc.)

Christianity has several major sects, which can be broadly divided into Catholic and Protestant. Protestants have extensive subsects: Baptists, Episcopalian, Lutherans, etc.) Catholics have the Palmerians, Free Catholic Church and others, including the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Islam has the Shi'as, Sufis, Ahmadiyyas and Sunnis.

None of these sects are separate religions from their parent faiths.

Judaism is old religions plus the Ten Commandments and a covenant with Yahweh. Christianity is Judaism plus Jesus. Islam is Judaism and Christianity as revised and refined through the Koran.

This analysis is too simplistic to be accurate. As others have noted, modern Christianity bears little resemblance to Judaism. But Judaism and Islam disagree with the most basic, fundamental belief of Christianity: that Jesus was divine. The religions share history, but not much else.
posted by zarq at 7:32 AM on September 24, 2009


metagnathous: *whooosh*

Stomach problems are no fun at all.
posted by metagnathous at 7:35 AM on September 24, 2009


Nice Smiths reference.

I think there is something of a chicken and egg problem with Glenn Beck; yes, you have to have a certain unique mindset to, uh, appreciate/enjoy/follow that sort of thing, and but at some point pandering to that kind of crowd just creates more of that crowd. Beck is replaceable. If Limbaugh died tomorrow, the dittoheads (after a brief period of mourning) would just find someone else to sing to them sweet songs of outrage and paranoia. And because there are advertising dollars to be had wedging in blipverts in between the lies, provocations, and exaggerations, Beck (and I use Beck as a placeholder) will always have a show for that audience. This is also pleasing to the corporations who provide the advertising dollars, as they would much rather have Americans concerned with abortion than wondering why the average Joes and Janes are working harder than ever for ever-narrowing slices of the pie.

Also, I now have this weird vision of the mods singing as a group, "'Young girl,' not here at MeFi / posting links to that site is way outta line"
posted by adipocere at 7:37 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Once you add a new holy book, you've created a new religion, not just a differing sect of the original religion.

By this argument, Reform Jews and Orthodox Jews are two entirely different religions, as the former view the Mishnah as a helpful texts written by human beings while the latter view it as a holy text and the divinely-authored Word of G-d to be obeyed under all circumstances.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Heck, many right wing Christians are avid supporters of Israel, despite thinking that the Jews killed Jesus.

I wonder whether or not there's some retired Mossad officer somewhere unable to tell anyone about the awesome cultural-engineering coup he pulled off, turning a bunch of Protocols-peddling nativist anti-Semites into his country's most loyal and vociferous supporters, by funding the odd megachurch here, planting a guy on a talk radio station there, and gradually getting the message heard that the Israelis are the guys in the white hats in this movie.
posted by acb at 7:38 AM on September 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


Catholics have the Palmerians, Free Catholic Church and others, including the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches are a sect of the Catholics? I thought that the top level of the tree had Western and Eastern Christianity, with Western fissioning into Roman Catholicism and the Protestant churches at around the time of Luther.
posted by acb at 7:41 AM on September 24, 2009


I wonder whether or not there's some retired Mossad officer somewhere....

Shhhhhh.... we don't want them to catch on.
posted by zarq at 7:44 AM on September 24, 2009


Catholics have the Palmerians, Free Catholic Church and others, including the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Sorry, Eastern Orthodox predates the Roman Catholics.

Why the hell is this being discussed here? Can we go back to hating on the crazy guy?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:45 AM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Eastern Orthodox Churches are a sect of the Catholics? I thought that the top level of the tree had Western and Eastern Christianity, with Western fissioning into Roman Catholicism and the Protestant churches at around the time of Luther.

I'm Jewish, and this isn't my area of expertise. But I do know that the Eastern Orthodox Churches broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the 11th Century over the sacking of Constantinople, Filioque doctrine and the authority of the Pope. So, my impression has always been (and if i'm wrong, someone please correct me,) that the Eastern Orthodox Church is a break-away Catholic subsect. They retain many Catholic beliefs, traditions and rituals including the transubstantiation of the eucharist.
posted by zarq at 7:49 AM on September 24, 2009


I used to think that the best thing to do with this sobbing coward was to completely ignore him in the hopes that he would shrivel up and go away, but since his base continues to listen no matter what, I'd like to see it go the other way; I'd like to see the media stick this guy on a platform and scrutinizes his every move. Dig down into his past and make him answer for every single indiscretion, and criticize when he is the least bit evasive.

I just don't think that he is living a life that could stand up to the blowtorch levels of observation that we give to celebrities.
posted by quin at 7:51 AM on September 24, 2009


Why the hell is this being discussed here? Can we go back to hating on the crazy guy?

In the coming weeks, I'll be founding a religion based on Beck's ravings enlightened teachings and want to get my facts straight. ;)
posted by zarq at 7:52 AM on September 24, 2009


The Orthodox Church is about as different from the Catholic Church as you would expect after nearly a millenium of schism.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:52 AM on September 24, 2009


Percent who have not heard of Glenn Beck: 42% (via) (via)
posted by Joe Beese at 7:54 AM on September 24, 2009


When discussing Glenn Beck, I'm surprised the Howard Beale character from Network isn't brought up. Beck is clearly insane. He is being put on television because of the entertainment value of his insanity, because people will talk about his outrageousness. He "articulates the populist rage."

Paddy Chayevsky's script for "Network" describes Howard Beale this way: "everything an anchorman should be -- fifty-eight years old, silver-haired, magisterial, dignified to the point of divinity."

I submit that Glenn beck is none of the above.
posted by blucevalo at 7:55 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


billysumday: "Glenn Beck isn't making America dumber. Glenn Beck just realized that there are a lot of dumb people in America who watch TV. "

I think that in this statement lies the problem and part of the solution. I don't think that most of the people that watch Fox News are dumb in the sense that they have low IQs. There is something else in play. I hesitate to call it ignorance, it may be more akin to laziness of thought. For all the Fox baiting that is done on MeFi, I don't think that the right has a monopoly on this attitude. I think you could find a good amount of it in people who supported Obama.

I think that education is part of the answer, and I would say that rather then aiming at Beck we might be better served by trying to get people to think about how arguments are structured and how logical fallacies work. The problem is that teaching these skills takes time and it's easier to snipe at the target of the moment.
posted by jefeweiss at 7:59 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Eastern Orthodox predates the Roman Catholics.

Does it? Doesn't the Catholic Church believe that Peter is their founder?
posted by zarq at 7:59 AM on September 24, 2009


The division between East and West start pretty early, like the 6th Century. They officially split in the 11th century over theological and political issues. And it becomes pretty clear that it's not going to be resolved after the 4th Crusade.

To tie this in to Glenn Beck, there are a scary number of otherwise intelligent people at my church who listen to him.
posted by khaibit at 7:59 AM on September 24, 2009


Does it? Doesn't the Catholic Church believe that Peter is their founder?

Well, believing in founders is one thing, traceable institutional history is quite another.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 AM on September 24, 2009


Well, believing in founders is one thing, traceable institutional history is quite another.

Ah.
posted by zarq at 8:03 AM on September 24, 2009


The first time I saw Beck I thought, wow, the Americans are trailblazers. While many nations have quite rightly tried to integrate those who previously were ostracized, the disabled, the mentally challenged, etc. the Americans have tried their best not ostracize the absolutely insane. Programs like the Special Olympics, Accessibility and so forth have been truly wonderful and long overdue. My uncle has the intellect of about a five year old and in his childhood days and into adulthood he was placed in asylums that were outright terrifying according to my father. Now he's got a job, his own place, and with help, lives a far better life. I think it's fabulous. Those who were denied a lot before are no longer.

In the States, Fox News and related programs have done wonders for integrating the insane, cruel, and criminally selfish into society. Fox News is effectively a broadcast from an insane asylum. Watch it. It truly is. Years ago people this insane would have been ostracized now they have been given the opportunity to live full, rich lives, as they say. There would have been little if any opportunity for people incapable of basic journalism to become journalist. Statements that make absolutely no sense, that lack reason, and are often childish and mean are made openly. We get to see the world through the perspective of the insane whereas previously we would not have. Thanks America!
posted by juiceCake at 8:06 AM on September 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


> With all due respect to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, any major addition,
> revision, or "divine clarification" creates a new religion.
>
> In your effort to oversimplify, you skipped an important step. First, sects (and eventually
> subsects,) are created. It's extremely rare that an offshoot sect will diverge so drastically
> to form its own distinct religion.

Oh hey, lumpers vs. splitters! And they're wrangling over major world religions, not some late-precambrian thing that might or might not be a fish!
posted by jfuller at 8:12 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fuck the King Baby Power Hour. Glenn Beck's one creepy motherfucker. Like, bicycle-seat-sniffing creepy. He's a moron, a tool, a gadlfly. All the right-wing are trying to do is mark time until the 2010 elections. If they can keep the Dems from enacting any significant legislation, they'll ride back into Congress on the strength of the moron vote and assure yet more statsis. President Obama seems to be playing this not to lose, and I for one wish he'd start playing to win. Because people LIKE progressive policies, once they are promulgated. Any significant progressive legislative wins are another nail in the coffin for the GOP. They're stalling for time. They're abetted by shit like the King Baby Power Hour and the rest of Faux News. But they don't have the numbers. They are sliding into history's dustbin and scrabbling to take as many of us as possible with them. Beck is a blip. He'll be off the air in two years and turning tricks in bus station bathrooms to buy dope three years after that.

It's getting there from here that scares me.

I'm incoherent with rage, lack of caffeine, and sleeplessness. Probably shouldn't hit Post. Oh well.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:14 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wh-wh-wha? Mormons aren't Christians?

It seems like, from my perspective anyway, that there is a pretty big gap between what traditional Christians believe and what Mormons believe.

Many evangelical Christians don't consider it Christianity, but they say the same thing about Catholicism a lot of the time too, so that may not be the best guide.

here's the wikipedia article about what they believe. there is also Mormon Cosmology which is way more complex then the heaven/hell stuff in traditional Christianity. For example, there's a pre-life, in addition to the after life.
The earth's creation, according to Mormon scripture, was not ex nihilo, but organized from existing matter. The faith teaches that this earth is just one of many inhabited worlds, and that there are many governing heavenly bodies, including a planet or star Kolob which is said to be nearest the throne of God. According to some Mormon sources, God the Father himself was once like a human, and lived on an planet with his own higher god.
Also the debate about whether it's appropriately Christian to have an army or defend oneself seems a little ridiculous. While there are obviously Christians who practice non-violence, like Martin Luther King, there are obviously those who do not. Besides, the old testament is full of violence as a positive thing, including genocide. For example the story of Jericho which is frequently held up example of working together and obeying god, in fact Obama actually told (part of) the story during the campaign. It's where every one speaks with one voice and the walls fall down, etc. Anyway, after the walls fall they kill every single person (except their spy) and all the animals as well.
posted by delmoi at 8:28 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, lumpers vs. splitters!

Which brings us full circle back to politics.

Now I can bring up Robert Bellah, noted ex-communist and essayist on religious taxonomy and Civil Religion. See Prophetic Habits of a Sociologist's Heart.
posted by zarq at 8:31 AM on September 24, 2009


I know a few mormons who would be rather offended if you said they weren't christian.
posted by autodidact at 8:35 AM on September 24, 2009


Christians are avid supporters of Israel, despite thinking that the Jews killed Jesus.

Haven't read the Left-Behind books? Fundamentalist Christians support Israel because that will be the final battleground for Armageddon. Either the Jews convert or they die. All those Fundies running around the Holy Land don't have the best interests of the Israelies in their minds.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:36 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


They formed a splinter group and believe in Jesus as the son of God. These are the defining characteristics of Christianity.
posted by vbfg at 8:43 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


juiceCake: "In the States, Fox News and related programs have done wonders for integrating the insane, cruel, and criminally selfish into society. "

There are much better ways to integrate the insane, cruel and criminally selfish into society. Ways that don't lump these three discrete groups together. There are ways that recognize the insane as beneficial, kind, sensitive people in our society. That make examples out of the cruel, so that others may not be harmed by their doings. And ways that give space to the selfish so that they may throw their fits until they tire and desire smaller realms that include the cooperative company of others (especially others who don't have a dog in their race for world domination). Fox News doesn't do anything for these people.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:44 AM on September 24, 2009


The problem with ignorance in America isn't that it exists. Ignorance is everywhere. The problem with ignorance in America is that it's treasured. Ignorant people are more "authentic". Palin, Beck, Bush, etc. "S/he may not have book-learnin' but you can't deny they love America! That's good enough for me!"

This is the root problem in America. Not just education, but love of and respect for education.
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on September 24, 2009 [20 favorites]


Sorry, Eastern Orthodox predates the Roman Catholics.

Does it? Doesn't the Catholic Church believe that Peter is their founder?


Originally, all the patriarchs were on more-or-less equal footing. The Catholic Church didn't really split until the Roman Empire split. Once the Byzantine empire lost authority over the Italian peninsula, the Pope became the final authority over his domain, so the split became inevitable.

But I'd say that the Eastern Orthodox Church and Catholic Church were both formed at the split. It's hard to say the Eastern Orthodox Church existed without some other Church's existence which was neither Eastern nor Orthodox.
posted by empath at 8:48 AM on September 24, 2009


Christianity::Mormonism => M*A*S*H::Trapper John, M.D. Same character, very different show.
posted by Lazlo at 8:48 AM on September 24, 2009 [12 favorites]


They formed a splinter group and believe in Jesus as the son of God. These are the defining characteristics of Christianity.

You know there's an awful lot of Christians who would take issue with that idea, right?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:48 AM on September 24, 2009


Beck is not Howard Beale. For one thing, Beck is not crazy. He knows exactly what he's doing.

For another thing, Beck has no sincere convictions - political or otherwise. If his audience demanded Noam Chomsky, he'd give them Noam Chomsky.

If anyone, he's Morton Downey, Jr. - a practiced entertainer working a particular niche of louts.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:52 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It seems like, from my perspective anyway, that there is a pretty big gap between what traditional Christians believe and what Mormons believe.

Ecumenical dialogue among churches is limited to those "denominations" that accept Triune Baptism. By this rubric, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Mainline Protestant churches all consider one another another to be "Christians," but they do not necessarily consider one another to be "churches." This largely stems from a debate Augustine had with the Pelagians following the Donatist controversy about whether a person was baptised by the authority of the priest or by the authority of the baptism sacrament himself. Many theologians in those churches participating in ecumenical dialogue believe as did Augustine that Baptism--not the minister--is what initiates you into Christianity. As a result, the Roman Catholic church has long conceded that Protestants who received a Trinitarian Baptism were, in fact, Christians. But because they received no sacraments of reconciliation, they could anticipate an almost infinitely long time in Purgatory.

The rubric, then, seems to be Trinitarianism. For this reason, most of the above churches also accept Pentecostals and "free church" members as Christians. Mormons and Nestorians and so forth do not accept the Trinitarian doctrine, therefore do not administer Triune Baptistm formulas, and are therefore not considered Christians.

What it boils down to is this: If a Baptist wants to become an Episcopalian, he does not have to be rebaptised, but only "confirmed" into the church. If a Greek Orthodox wants to become a Methodist, its the same deal. But if a Mormon wants to become a Catholic, he will have to be rebaptised. He is not, therefore, a Christian.
posted by jefficator at 8:58 AM on September 24, 2009


I know a few mormons who would be rather offended if you said they weren't christian.

I think Mormons are 'Christian' by some definitions of the word 'Christian', and not by some other definitions.

It's an arguable point (as seen by the amount of argument about it in this thread).

Personally, I find the doctrinal and scriptural arguments that they're not Christian pretty compelling, and I think the nominal argument that they call themselves Christian to be pretty weak-sauce.

I think Mormons are about as Christian as Muslims are. Which is not denigrating them at all.
posted by empath at 9:01 AM on September 24, 2009


Also, MeFi has fallen into the classic right wing trap: Debating reality (in this, of which religion begat which). Reality is irrelevant to Beck's viewership. They don't give a good goddamn if Mormons are "really" Christians.

He's a middle-aged, short-haired white male without any crazy robes, turbans or scarves. That makes him 60% Christian right there. He loves America and hates commies. Up to 80% now. If he says he prays (I don't watch Beck, so I don't know if he says this or not) we're at 99%.

Tell someone he's Mormon and we're down to 0 because "mormons? ain't they those crazy harem guys that don't believe in Jaysus?"
posted by DU at 9:01 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


itself*
posted by jefficator at 9:01 AM on September 24, 2009


Actually, thinking about it a bit, a fairly objective criterion is whether they agree with the essentials of the Nicene Creed, no? Being raised Catholic (but now atheist), I'm not exactly sure how much protestant churches accept it, but my impression is that it's the baseline doctrine that all Christian churches including the Orthodox Church started with, no?
posted by empath at 9:06 AM on September 24, 2009


Evidence for the Mormons-are-not-Christians bucket: Their places of worship are typically surmounted by a golden bloke with a trumpet, not a cross.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:07 AM on September 24, 2009


I'm in all agreement with the Fuck Glenn Beck sentiment in this post, but even so, as someone who only knows the show by way of The Daily Show, I still highly recommend this collection of articles. Salon doesn't always get it right, but when they do, they do well, and this level of detail was very interesting, entertaining, and without meaning to, provides not just a history of one man but a history of a type of man in the United States.

I'm probably reading way too much into this, but somebody could make a really good bio pic that also says a lot about how a lot of straight white American men see the trajectory of their lives based on this story. (Somebody could also make a very horrible, very pretentious movie doing the same thing, so potential screenwriters, please take my advice with that particularly important grain of salt.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:08 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, thinking about it a bit, a fairly objective criterion is whether they agree with the essentials of the Nicene Creed

Ostensibly you're spot on. It gets a little fuzzy because theologians interact with the Creed variously. T.D. Jakes on one end, Jurgen Moltmann on another, and Hans Urs van Balthasar have all variously been called non-Christian because their theological systems belittle one or another point from the Creed. A professor of mine used to say you could tell the kind of Christian a man was by which heresy he was most prone to. Among Catholic, Orthodox, and mainline Protestants this is small problem; you deal with the propensity to heresy by paying lipservice to the Creed. I imagine few Pentecostals or other non-liturgical Christians would recongize the Creeds officially, however, despite being given credit for doing so by other churches.
posted by jefficator at 9:12 AM on September 24, 2009


Don't give a fig about Beck, but that was a really interesting look at the radio industry, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:22 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bud Morris is the mayor of crazytown!
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on September 24, 2009


This modern-day Coughlin makes me seriously consider limits on free speech. Like, you can say it, but you can't have it broadcast to millions kind of limits.
posted by Aquaman at 9:25 AM on September 24, 2009


There have always been people who consider themselves Christian, but do not accept that Christ is a god:
I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.--Thomas Jefferson
posted by No Robots at 9:26 AM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


All you arguing about who is and isn't a "Christian", just have a nice warm cup of STFU.

The only Christian who ever lived died 2,000 years ago. QED.
posted by Xoebe at 9:29 AM on September 24, 2009


I grew up in Arizona and listened to Bruce Kelly every morning as a kid, and I had forgotten about the hoopla of that prank about Kelly's wife's miscarriage until I read the second part of the Salon article. I've largely ignored Glenn Beck, but now that I realize Glenn Beck is that guy, man am I steamed.
posted by padraigin at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2009


There have always been people who consider themselves Christian, but do not accept that Christ is a god:

With all do respect, No Robots, many scholars of religion find that argument tenuous. This distinction has been teased out most clearly by the Jesus Seminar, which draws a stark contrast between "Jesus" and "Christ." "Christian" is, by definition, one who believes Jesus of Nazareth was was Christ.
posted by jefficator at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2009


Where does Glenn Beck stand on Papists and all manner of Papistry? They aren't to be trusted you know. They tried to blow up Parliament!
posted by well_balanced at 9:32 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the biggest problem is that people are talking as if there's a single, according-to-Hoyle definition of "Christian". It seems to me that there are many definitions of "Christian" and that while we can debate the pros and cons of a particular definition, and compare and contrast definitions, since "Christian" is a socially constructed concept, we're not going to make any progress in uncovering a universal truth here.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:35 AM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


There have always been people who consider themselves Christian, but do not accept that Christ is a god:

Upon further review, I retract my objection. A person can consider himself to be anything he wants. Whether others agree with his consideration is his own problem, not mine.
posted by jefficator at 9:37 AM on September 24, 2009


Beck's listeners are quite aware he's LDS. But as someone earlier pointed out when push comes to shove the LDS and say your typical Southern Baptist will work together on conservative issues. (See the Prop 8 campaign as a good example.) That said, I've said it once and I'll say it again, whatever he is politically and or religiously there is no higher compliment in radio then to have..
"It was impossible to talk to him about anything without reference to how to bring it into the show. I never once saw any evidence that he could turn it off. " said about you by your co-workers.
Here's I took away from the articles..-Beck Loves radio, he's creative, brilliant, and has mastered the medium in a way that would have most of us comparing him to Orson Wells if not for his politics and religion. Think of a craftsman who has mastered his trade. It's not about the politics it's about Beck mastering his craft.
How do you beat conservatives at talk radio?
This is just my humble opinion, but we progressives tend to see the medium,especially talk radio, as a way to either inform going far too often over the audiences head, or to simply respond to whatever the conservatives are saying. What if there was a liberal talker who was just out to entertain his/her audience while setting out to master at his/her craft that we call theater of the mind..we'd get This American life meets John Stuart meets Murrow.
There's the challenge.
posted by wyldeboi at 9:37 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think the biggest problem is that people are talking as if there's a single, according-to-Hoyle definition of "Christian".

Yep. Say I'm a Mormon (I'm not, actually) and also self-identify as a Christian. Then some dude draws a bunch of historical and doctrinal distinctions around "Christian" and tells me that no, I'm a Mormon but not a Christian. I tell him to go kindly eat horse puckey (strong words for a Mormon, mind you) and continue calling myself and my fellow Mormons Christians. The label has self-weight to it regardless of nitpicking theological line drawing.

You can make technical distinctions all you want, and that's nice, but when people self-identify you're not going to make any headway in saying that they're actually something else. It's all in your head, kid.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:40 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do you beat conservatives at talk radio?

The fascinating thing to me is the degree to which conservative talk radio thrives on the perception of being a medium for an isolated, endangered minority. Sean Hannity has been hosting a "Special Edition: Conservatism in Exile!!!" program since election night. The underlying assumption that is actively propagated is "No one understands you but us."

I find it fascinating that "Main-stream Media" has become such an entrenched idea that "MSM" is now a meme among conservatives.
posted by jefficator at 9:41 AM on September 24, 2009


I know this was addressed somewhat upthread, but I just wanted to toss in one of the Jesus quotes that sticks with me:

34) Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35) For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36) A man's enemies will be the members of his own household.
-Matthew 10:34-36 (New International Version)

Like all things it's subject to interpretation, but there ya go.
posted by Liver at 9:42 AM on September 24, 2009


What if there was a liberal talker who was just out to entertain his/her audience while setting out to master at his/her craft that we call theater of the mind

Mastered his craft? Check.
It's enormously entertaining so why does Le Show hide out for an hour on Sunday afternoons?
posted by well_balanced at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Right-Wing Radio Host Mark Levin Lashes Out At Glenn Beck: He’s ‘Mindless, ‘Incoherent,’ ‘Pathetic’.
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on September 24, 2009


wow, so Beck really is crazy. that explains him.

but as far as his followers, i think i've found no better illumination than this clip of Jon Haidt talking about the various foundations of morality and their relation to open-mindedness, tribe cohesion, and the evolution of human civilization. how do you tightly bind a large group of unrelated people together to work towards a common cause? Glenn Beck is doing exactly that, and achieving numbers that "rational" types can scarcely dream of...
posted by bilgepump at 9:57 AM on September 24, 2009


I'd agree Well_Balanced.
SO Why the one hour on Sunday Afternoons? Answer is found right here.."NPR Worldwide" Check out NPR's ratings versus your local talk radio stations. The average American doesn't do NPR at least not as loyaly as they do commercial talk. What we have to do is get shows like Le Show off of NPR and into mainstream syndication and on those local stations. Why do great shows like this always end up on NPR? Because it's a built in audaince..it's a wider canvas..more creative freedom etc etc.
posted by wyldeboi at 10:00 AM on September 24, 2009


The best parts of Le Show are those 20 second gaps of silence that he throws in there. Truly a master of radio. Oh wait. No, no those are just frustrating.
posted by billysumday at 10:01 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


No Robots: "I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other."

He must have been reading his own Bible.

Cuz the actual one has Jesus claiming it all over the place.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:01 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think Mormons are 'Christian' by some definitions of the word 'Christian', and not by some other definitions.

Yeah. When we're done debating this, can we talk about whether Dimetrodon was a mammal or a reptile?
posted by brundlefly at 10:02 AM on September 24, 2009


Oh and because NPR as a whole has done a crappy job of branding themselves as radio for average Americans. NPR tends to brand itself as a club..thus mainstream America thinks its elitist, and NPR listners tend to enjoy being part of the "club."
posted by wyldeboi at 10:03 AM on September 24, 2009


Wh-wh-wha? Mormons aren't Christians?

You can't really beat this analysis by Richard John Neuhaus:

"Mormonism claims that God is an exalted man, not different in kind as Creator is different in kind from creature. The Mormon claim is, "What God was, we are. What God is, we will become." Related to this is the teaching that the world was not created ex nihilo but organized into its present form, and that the trespass in the Garden of Eden, far from being the source of original sin, was a step toward becoming what God is. Further, Mormonism teaches that there is a plurality of gods. Mormons dislike the term "polytheism," preferring "henotheism," meaning that there is a head God who is worshiped as supreme. If Christian doctrine is summarized in, for instance, the Apostles’ Creed as understood by historic Christianity, official LDS teaching adds to the creed, deviates from it, or starkly opposes it almost article by article."

Many of his fans wouldn't even consider Roman Catholics Christians. You know, the single largest branch of Christianity, with more adherents than all other Christian sects combined. So, no, they probably don't think that Mormons are Christians.

That's a less common view than it used to be. But regardless, we're talking about a whole level of magnitude more difference between Mormons and Evangelicals than between Evangelicals and Catholics.

Anybody who owns a handgun and identifies themself as a Christian as a pure unadulterated hypocrite. I mean, one of the core precepts of Jesus' teachings was: do no violence to another human being, ever, under any circumstances..."

So how much of the Bible have you actually read? You seem to have missed Luke 22:36.
posted by Jahaza at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2009


You can make technical distinctions all you want, and that's nice, but when people self-identify you're not going to make any headway in saying that they're actually something else. It's all in your head, kid.

Headway with whom? The point behind labeling Mormons as non-Christians is not to convince the Mormons of the error of their beliefs, it's to prevent other Christians from viewing their beliefs as a valid alternative. From what I can tell, that effort's been at least somewhat effective.

In the example I raised upthread, I mentioned Jews for Jesus. Since the early 70's, The American Jewish communities have consistently and concertedly portrayed J4J as yet another Christian group who aggressively refuse to respect our religious beliefs, (just like the Mormons,) and try to co-opt our faith in the name of Christianity. The campaign's been quite successful at further marginalizing what was already a fringe group. In the late 80's, Israel declared Messianics their own religion and denied them the right of return.
posted by zarq at 10:07 AM on September 24, 2009


When I was a kid All in the Family was very popular show. Archie Bunker was someone to be laughed at because of the depth of his ignorance. I never imagined that he'd become a role model for some. Live and learn.

Norman Lear, the creator of All in the Family, has said that he thinks part of the success of that show was that some people identified with Bunker and others with Meathead, and that by writing both characters in earnest, the ratings were huge because the audience effectively grew by inclusion. A lesson in there, somewhere.
posted by jscott at 10:08 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Headway with whom? The point behind labeling Mormons as non-Christians is not to convince the Mormons of the error of their beliefs, it's to prevent other Christians from viewing their beliefs as a valid alternative.

That's not what's going on in this thread, unless I've totally misunderstood Metafilter. People are splitting hairs because they want to.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 AM on September 24, 2009


I wonder how Stephen Colbert's simultaneous popularity between liberals who love the satire and conservatives who can't see it relates to that, jscott.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:09 AM on September 24, 2009


That's not what's going on in this thread, unless I've totally misunderstood Metafilter. People are splitting hairs because they want to.

Yeah, I'm just talking about the category that I personally file them in. Which is Christian-ish, but not Christian. Not that it matters to Mormons. But I don't think that what people call themselves really matters. Like I said above, it just depends on how you define the word "Christian", which as we all know is a very slippery term to define.

The only way you can accept a self-labeling as the only valid definition is if you don't actually care what the word means.
posted by empath at 10:19 AM on September 24, 2009


The Eastern Orthodox Churches are a sect of the Catholics? I thought that the top level of the tree had Western and Eastern Christianity, with Western fissioning into Roman Catholicism and the Protestant churches at around the time of Luther.

That would be the cladistic taxonomy, yes. You could make an argument for a descriptive taxonomy that put the Orthodox and the RC together though.
posted by atrazine at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are some taxonomies here.
posted by empath at 10:26 AM on September 24, 2009


But I don't think that what people call themselves really matters.

The only way you can accept a self-labeling as the only valid definition is if you don't actually care what the word means.


One could very easily make an argument against using the term "African-American" unless one actually has parents that were born in Africa and emigrated to the USA. It's a losing argument even though you're technically accurate.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 AM on September 24, 2009


I'm with Joe Beese; Glenn Beck is Morton Downey Jr. without the unpleasant touch of Jewishness. Howard Beale without the Experienced Anchorman baggage. Totally WASP Good-Old-Boy who could be living in the next trailer, 'no better than us' so perfect to appeal to the Know-Nothings. He's sticking his tongue out at us from the cover of Time Magazine, and I get the joke.

If you, as BitterOldPunk does, believe that the Right is making a comeback with the help of Beck and his Foxy friends, check out this informative chart (yes, from Gawker, but still...). As the GOP shrinks, Fox News grows, and that is probably the true reason that Rupert Murdoch semi-endorsed Obama last year: his administration is good for Rupe's business.

The "Conventional Wisdom" of the Mainstream Media is totally misinterpreting the current political situation because they're trying to fit it into previous patterns like a square peg into a round hole. Because Obama is fighting for Health Care Reform, 2010 will be like 1994? WRONG. The opposition party will make a comeback in the off-year election? Not when its grass roots are shrinking, which the GOP IS, as Moderate/Conservatives are put off by the batshit craziness (and as long as the Demos continue to tolerate the Blue Dogs, the Mod/Cons have someplace to go). Obama's weakness on the Liberal side I credit/blame Bill Clinton's success in the '90s in making the Democrats more "business friendly" (and therefore more corporate-dependent). But the Republicans are not coming back. The success of a TV channel with 7-10 million viewers is relevant in the fragmented Media Landscape, but politically, with 150 million voters, doesn't matter.

The reason for the increased loudness and shrillness from the Republicans and their allies is BECAUSE they are getting weaker. They don't have the votes, they don't have the issues on their side, all they have is the attention. The greatest danger is the possibility of the escalating anger turning into violence, and I'll start really worrying about that when they find a dozen more Census workers lynched, or another Tim McVeigh figures out how to make a fertilizer bomb. And if the backlash against Operation Rescue for the murder of Dr. Tiller is any indication, when the Hard Right goes too far, the Soft Right will abandon them.

So Glenn Beck is a Media Sensation, NOT a Political Sensation. His 9/12 Saturday Special, live from the DC Rallies had double the viewership of Obama's live speech at the same time, BUT was still 30% less than an average weekday episode of his show. (Most People were watching College Football). And the actual physical attendance was a fraction of what they promised, so they blatantly lie to keep their people from losing hope.

And as his ratings climb while advertisers flee, FoxNews is showing no interest in putting him in a better time slot than 5PM (with a 2AM repeat). Greta Van Susteren and Shepherd Smith (Fox's token NOT-batshit-crazy) still get pieces of prime time and Glenn doesn't. He does make them money, indirectly: his ratings allow the "ROS" (Run-Of-Schedule) rates for the channel to go up, even when the advertiser specifies "don't run it during Glenn Beck". And Fox knows that an ever-increasing portion of GB's audience are people who Love to Hate Him or are just Laughing AT him.

So Glenn Beck is a Media Sensation, NOT a Political Sensation. Even the Health Care Debate will be decided NOT by the Town Halls during the recess (which was the Half-Time of the political process... all pep talks but no points scored) but by the battle of powerful interests (Insurance Companies still 'own' far too many 'semi-liberal' politicians; fortunately, the also-powerful Big Pharma is turning against them to save their own profits). He's no more important to the REAL political landscape than Fox's other superstar, Dr. House.
posted by wendell at 10:30 AM on September 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Jesus, will you people please take your "What Makes a Christian" round table over to Talk, or perhaps make a new FPP?

This is out of hand.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:53 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


If Le Show is truly the answer to right wing talk radio, we are all doomed. That show is deeply unlistenable. Even Harry Shearer sounds bored. I don't think I've ever made it past five minutes, and three of those minutes are usually silent.

When This American Life, on the other hand, tackles a political subject they cannot be beat. If only they would spin off a show that only did that, and skipped all the precious hipster anecdotes.
posted by rusty at 10:57 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The reason for the increased loudness and shrillness from the Republicans and their allies is BECAUSE they are getting weaker. They don't have the votes, they don't have the issues on their side, all they have is the attention.

While I really really hope this is true, part of me thinks that we get too comfortable believing this at our own peril.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:58 AM on September 24, 2009


One of the most fascinating things about that Salon series is that Wil Wheaton (via phone or prerecorded message) was part of a show that he did from the deck of an aircraft carrier near Houston. How times change, eh?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:03 AM on September 24, 2009


wendell, great post! I am not too worried about Beck right now, because.. I've watched his show and it's entertainment, first off, and second.. he isn't giving his viewers anything real coherent. Picking out lower-level staff and tangentially connected organizations and pretending they're central players in the administration. Drawing up conspiracy diagrams as if they tell you anything useful. Throwing in some crap about principles and values & then running a whole show playing off people's worst impulses, because that brings in ratings and money.

The Salon series is great work.. he's mostly a goofy radio DJ who is good at getting attention for attention's sake, just now working with a different set of parameters. Maybe he didn't go to the recent Tea Party extravaganza here in Washington because the organizers are realizing it might hurt them if Beck was out in front as the leader.

It is interesting that there were rumors Fox would rerun Beck at 11pm instead of the current 2am, but they denied it and said there were no plans to change things. I guess he has had absurdly high ratings but for a very short period of time, there's still no way to tell if people won't get bored within a year and his ratings will go back down. There are only so many tricks you can pull. Also, Smith is great, his show is often the only one on Fox that questions right wing talking points and doesn't spin stories to favor Republicans.
posted by citron at 11:05 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am relieved that I am not the only one who finds Le Show nearly completely useless. It may well take a turn for the awesome somewhere 'round the midway point, but I am not strong enough a man to last that long.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


[stop the "young girl" derails. not okay for MeFi, not ever. ]
posted by jessamyn at 11:10 AM on September 24, 2009


I think a lot of Fundamentalist and hardline Evangelical churches promote the "sect x isn't Christian" view because they want to create a sense of exclusivity. It has two benefits: it makes the believers feel like they're chosen and that they belong, and it also makes them feel like they're surrounded by non-believers who need to be converted. This makes it easier for them to ask others to join their church. Plus, there are countless other benefits to inciting a classic "us vs. them" fight.

On the plus side, they'd probably be giving atheists, Jews, and Muslims a harder time were it not for this manufactured exclusivity.

Disclosure: I'm a mainline liberal (ie pro-choice, pro-gay marriage) Presbyterian who believes God cares more about people's morality than choice or absence of worship. My Evangelical ex-girlfriend actually got confused and tried to "convert" me to "Christianity" when she found out that I liked Obama, believed in evolution, and was pro-choice, although her sample of what "real Christians" are is fairly small, since she converted recently in her teens at a far-right church. The best part: When I got her to give it a rest, she said, "It's okay, I have a lot of friends who aren't Christian." (my emphasis)
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:12 AM on September 24, 2009


I'm with Joe Beese; Glenn Beck is Morton Downey Jr. without the unpleasant touch of Jewishness.

Excuse me?? What are you trying to say, Wendell?
posted by zarq at 11:14 AM on September 24, 2009


Excuse me?? What are you trying to say, Wendell?

Without the unpleasant touch of Jewishness=more palatable to an audience who may be leery of the Chosen people, obviously.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:17 AM on September 24, 2009


Re: The frog boiling, I'm a bit surprised Glenn Beck felt it necessary to actually kill an animal to illustrate a metaphor that is very commonly used. I'm guessing it was probably just for getting attention (ie, he did it expecting people to complain), but it seems a bit unnecessarily sadistic to kill an animal for no real purpose. I'm an omnivore, and if I had the cash and special occasion to justify it, I would cook (and kill) my own lobsters at home, but that's for food. Animals die to create most of my meals. Glenn Beck killed an animal just to illustrate a metaphor almost everyone already knows.

What next, is he going to show that "there's more than one way to skin a cat" in order to show that the Republicans' medical malpractice caps would be just as effective, if not more so, than a real public option or single payer system?
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:17 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


without the unpleasant touch of Jewishness.

Seriously, better word choice would go a long way to making a difficult thread not turn into a terrible thread.
posted by jessamyn at 11:17 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok, so maybe Le Show isn't the second coming but I think there is something there so far as format goes with a mix of news items, music, humorous skits. It's light and doesn't make you think real hard whereas something like This American Life requires your attention and sensitivity. I'm sure MeFites will find this abhorrent but we already have sophisticated programs and the audience is small. Maybe there is room for something softer and more dumbed down. How much of Glenn Beck's audience is really going to listen to Radiolab if it were syndicated commercially?
posted by well_balanced at 11:23 AM on September 24, 2009


"without the unpleasant touch of Jewishness" was absolutely NOT intended to be MY opinion, but rather the opinion of the average Glenn Beck fan who would never have been a Morton Downey Jr. fan (or Robert Downey Jr, or Roma Downey Jr., whatever). I'm sorry if it was interpreted differently, but I didn't think it was all that badly worded. Probably just needed "quotes" around it.
posted by wendell at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2009


The best thing to do about Glenn Beck is to contact the corporations that advertise through his program and tell them you're boycotting them until they withdraw.

If Glenn Beck is not profitable to the network, he will be canned.

Use your consumer purchasing power to manipulate your media. It is one of your exceedingly few effective options.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:42 AM on September 24, 2009


Without the unpleasant touch of Jewishness=more palatable to an audience who may be leery of the Chosen people, obviously.

It wasn't obvious, which is why I asked. Also, I'm nearly positive that Sean Morton Downey, Jr. was Irish.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2009


I suspect this is more people parsing for maximum offense than any genuine misunderstanding.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The reason for the increased loudness and shrillness from the Republicans and their allies is BECAUSE they are getting weaker.

And because US minorities will be the majority by 2042 and the Republicans and their allies going to exploit racial tensions more and more as that date gets closer. I for one welcome a more diverse America, but some people think we'll be "a continent of slaves."

I'm a bit surprised Glenn Beck felt it necessary to actually kill an animal to illustrate a metaphor that is very commonly used

Particularly since the metaphor is a myth.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


...or maybe I'm wrong. Metafilter may actually be less dickish and passive offensive than I suspect it of being sometimes.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on September 24, 2009


...passive offensive, WTF?
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on September 24, 2009


You probably would think that, Artw. BTW, nice typo, pal.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:48 AM on September 24, 2009


"without the unpleasant touch of Jewishness" was absolutely NOT intended to be MY opinion, but rather the opinion of the average Glenn Beck fan who would never have been a Morton Downey Jr. fan (or Robert Downey Jr, or Roma Downey Jr., whatever). I'm sorry if it was interpreted differently, but I didn't think it was all that badly worded. Probably just needed "quotes" around it.

OK. Thank you. Quotes would have helped somewhat. The characterization just rubbed me the wrong way.
posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on September 24, 2009


I interpreted wendell's comment the way he intended it.

On preview: I think "passive offensive" is my new favorite thing.
posted by brundlefly at 11:49 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


mccarty.tim: Um, he didn't kill the frog.

well_balanced: This idea has been tried -- Air America attempted to do basically right-wing radio with a left-wing slant. And every left winger I know found it mostly annoying. Commercially it's still (afaik) on life support. The problem with the whole idea is that "light" and "doesn't make you think" is not what liberals are (to speak in broad generalities) looking for. Sure, I like to hear my biases confirmed sometimes, but much more than that I like to have them challenged, deepened, made more complex and subtle. Honestly what I like more than anything is to have my biases replaced by actual knowledge, which never fits precisely into the hole a simple bias leaves behind. The truth is never light and it always makes you think. The difference in political philosophy really does make for a difference in kind.

I would also argue that the idea that the left wing needs a version of right-wing radio is akin to white Americans of the 1940s bemoaning the lack of internment camps for anyone but the Japanese. Right wing talk radio is a self-imposed ghetto for the intellectually and culturally marginal. We have all the rest of the media that concerns itself primarily with reality instead of ideology. Don't look at the other side of the razor wire with envy, my friends -- the other side is the inside.
posted by rusty at 11:49 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Basically you want NPR with more Daily Show?
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2009


...contact the corporations that advertise through his program and tell them you're boycotting them until they withdraw.

As of September 14: Beck loses 50 percent of his advertising dollars.
posted by ericb at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2009


Basically you want NPR with more Daily Show?

All Things Considered seems considerably more snarky than it was a few years ago, and they use post punk acts like New Order for bumper music. They're looking out for the aging Gen Xers who would like to think that they are consuming actual news products.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:53 AM on September 24, 2009


I suspect this is more people parsing for maximum offense than any genuine misunderstanding.

No, I was genuinely surprised and more than a little offended.

I thought I was very restrained in the way I responded to him. I specifically asked for clarification and didn't attack.

I didn't interpret what Wendell said the way Alvy did, and yeah, it did seem pretty damned obvious to me that referring to anyone as unpleasantly Jewish -- especially if they aren't Jewish at all -- was offensive.

He explained. I understand what he meant. It's fine. But no, this wasn't a deliberate misunderstanding on my part.
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on September 24, 2009


i'd like to see glenn beck interview michael moore.

that would be an interesting conversation.
posted by empath at 12:12 PM on September 24, 2009


Maybe throw Mel Gibson and Ralph Nader in the mix.
posted by empath at 12:13 PM on September 24, 2009


I mean, one of the core precepts of Jesus' teachings was: do no violence to another human being, ever, under any circumstances.

Adding my voice to others who have pointed out that this is an overly simplistic reading of the gospels. Given the way people like to use Jesus to promote their own agenda, it's well worth paying close attention to what the gospels actually say.

"I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword."
Matthew 10:34
posted by Greenie at 12:14 PM on September 24, 2009


Given the way people like to use Jesus to promote their own agenda, it's well worth paying close attention to what the gospels actually say.

That is, how people in 4th-century Turkey were using Jesus to promote their own agenda.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:22 PM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


When Jesus said to turn the other cheek, he actually meant to hit back. When he said he came to bring a sword, he meant a literal sword.

Also the other way around
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:22 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


i'd like to see glenn beck interview michael moore.

Hm. I'd like to see them enter into a mutual suicide pact.
posted by Skot at 12:36 PM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


rusty,
I would argue that from the most part there isn't any such thing as "right wing radio"..there are right wing hosts that are profitable for the corporations they work for and are able to hold an audience. But in order to build the audiance you have to look at the individual hosts, their styles, their backgrounds, their techniques. Air America was a failure because investors expected there to suddenly be an audience when they threw the switch, rather then methodically and painstakingly building a need, shows and audience. In other words they threw a bunch of voices on the air to poke fun of the right and or attack and expected it to work. Beck, Limbaugh etc didn't suddenly have an audaince, they created their market and listenership over a series of many years. I'd also argue that progressive radio could be done in a entertaining way..you've just got to get the right talent who puts the medium first and not just be satisfied with having them on the air giving his/her opinions. They HAVE to be able to communicate their vision to middle America, which for the most part are the same ones who watch dancing with the stars as opposed to watching PBS. (So I wouldn't even market to you..because your not who I need to reach.) Ed Schultz comes close as far as commercial success BTW...but I think though misses a points on the entertainment factor.
posted by wyldeboi at 12:55 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Morton Downey Jr. was actually Irish Catholic.
posted by jonmc at 12:58 PM on September 24, 2009


Once and for all with the frogs
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on September 24, 2009


Glen Beck is a douche.
posted by Plug1 at 1:09 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know, jonmc and zarq, Downey's an Irish name, but his style was very "New York-ish" which too much of America equates with "Jewish-ish". So I'm regretting more and more the wording of the first sentence of my seven paragraph comment. But I remain steadfast on my major points.

If Glenn Beck is not profitable to the network, he will be canned.

He would not be the first TV phenomonenon to bring in the numbers but fail to bring in the bucks. CBS cancelled "Hee Haw" while it was still Top 10 in the ratings because it was "driving away quality advertisers". But Beck is indirectly bringing in bucks for the channel via higher R.O.S. ad rates, and if/when he becomes a revenue drag, Fox will still have to consider how important his 'core audience' is to them and how dumping him would alienate them. They'll need a heck of an excuse to dump him, but considering Beck is so obviously putting on an act, he might be willing to stage a total on-air flameout/breakdown for an adequate severence payoff. And that something to stay tuned for.
posted by wendell at 1:19 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah. When we're done debating this, can we talk about whether Dimetrodon was a mammal or a reptile?

Dimetrodon was more mammal than lizard? That blows my mind. Particularly the part that remembers pretending to shape-shift into one when I was in grade school. Good times.

In Carl Sagan's Contact, Ellie Arroway at one point claims to be a Christian on the basis that she believes in the ethical strength of Jesus' teachings as she understands them. That was an interesting concept for me to consider when I first encountered it, but I think it's an acceptable one if she considers herself an adherent. There's probably as many concepts of Christianity as there are concepts of Jesus. But I think the willingness to be a disciple of Christ -- to commit to discipline your choices and try to shape yourself to a Christ-centered code -- is really the heart of the matter. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." And is really what you need to do in order to know whatever it is God thinks it's important that you understand. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

And I'm not sure what the question of "What is a Christian?" is really good for. I suppose that out of real and perhaps even admirable committed reverence for what's seen as capital-T truth one might find competing conceptions threatening and work to define them as outside conventional theology. But it's really hard to stamp out an idea, and efforts like this have consequences. At best, they tend to lead to division, politics, and tribalism rather than anything resembling "the fruits of the spirit." At worst, you end up with war and/or a Taliban-like state to enforce your views. If you're trying to help out the cause of Christianity, I think it's better to emphasize common beliefs and trust that people acting in good faith can find their way around error and to the truth.
posted by weston at 2:36 PM on September 24, 2009


If Glenn Beck is not profitable to the network, he will be canned.

I thought/hoped this too- but if he's bringing in tons of viewers who can be persuaded to stick around for whatever bag of crazy is next in the schedule, then he's functioning as a sort of televisual loss leader.
posted by Monsters at 2:59 PM on September 24, 2009


: If Glenn Beck is not profitable to the network, he will be canned.

CNN kept Beck on, 3 times a day, 5 days a week, despite abysmal ratings from January 2006 until he left for Fox just before the election, riding a wave of anticipatory Obama-fear. Remember, MSNBC dropped Phil Donahue before the invasion because he was hurting their rightwing cred when he had twice Beck's numbers.

The political programming descisions made by major networks (especially, but not only after 9/11) were not about advertising dollars. There were about corporate image.

Why didn't CNN fire Glenn Beck years ago? | Media Matters for America
How low (in the ratings) can Glenn Beck go? | Media Matters for America
AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth: CNN hate-host Glenn Beck sees ratings plummet
posted by psyche7 at 3:20 PM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Catholics have the Palmerians, Free Catholic Church and others, including the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

That's an interesting view of the relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic churches. I suggest you try it with some actual Orthodox clerics and see how it goes.

Now that we've had ourselves a Reformation, there's no single authority who can arbitrate who's a Christian and who isn't, so the issue of whether Mormons count as Christians is going to just keep spinning around and around.

I'm pretty sure that actually happened about the same time the Arians and Orthodox fell out. If not then, the Copts and the heretics of the Roman church.

This modern-day Coughlin

An interesting and apt comparison. Let us hope it does not require another Holocaust for Americans to repudiate him.
posted by rodgerd at 3:27 PM on September 24, 2009


Oh, and as for the orignal connection that has the whole "What is a Christian?" thing brought up:

A lot of what Beck is doing makes more sense if you've read Cleon Skousen. Until you read this truth, you may not appreciate the level of infiltration of subversive communist socialism in our God-fearing Mormon culture.

There's definitely a leftover strain of McCarthy/Birch-ish conservative politics from the 50s and 60s still in Mormon culture (and if you want a fascinating overview of how Mormon culture got there, you may want to look at this Pew Forum conversation with historian Richard Bushman), and it may have reinforced Beck in some ways, but if he really only converted 10 years ago, this probably isn't where he got his shtick. The bio seems to reinforce this; his "politics," if you can call them that, were clearly running the direction he's got now going back a ways earlier.
posted by weston at 3:37 PM on September 24, 2009


The only Christian who ever lived died 2,000 years ago. QED.

Did the concept of Christianity as a religion even exist until a few hundred years after Jesus Christ's death? IIRC, JC and his followers self-identified as Jews and said nothing about founding a new religion.
posted by acb at 3:59 PM on September 24, 2009


Did the concept of Christianity as a religion even exist until a few hundred years after Jesus Christ's death? IIRC, JC and his followers self-identified as Jews and said nothing about founding a new religion.

Paul self-identified as a Christian and that was just a few decades later.

19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.


That's from Acts, which is dated anywhere between 60-150CE.

At least one epistle includes the term as well.
posted by empath at 4:18 PM on September 24, 2009


In the late 80's, Israel declared Messianics their own religion and denied them the right of return.

Even if they had recent Jewish ancestry? I thought that anyone with Jewish ancestry within N generations (i.e., anyone the Nazis would have exterminated) was eligible for Israeli citizenship, regardless of religious orientation.
posted by acb at 4:23 PM on September 24, 2009


In Carl Sagan's Contact, Ellie Arroway at one point claims to be a Christian on the basis that she believes in the ethical strength of Jesus' teachings as she understands them.

That's an interesting point, but so do Muslims.
posted by empath at 4:26 PM on September 24, 2009


CNN kept Beck on, 3 times a day, 5 days a week, despite abysmal ratings from January 2006 until he left for Fox just before the election, riding a wave of anticipatory Obama-fear.

Yes, but he had advertisers. So long as the network can bafflegab its advertisers into believing that their advertising dollar is money well spent, nothing can change. Profit is profit to the corporate media machine.

But when Glenn Beck's advertisers withdraw, the situation changes.

Dr. Laura Hateslinger was removed from the media because of a groundswell of boycotting that was organized via internet. She could still claim viewership but all her advertisers withdrew. And thus, she was axed.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:52 PM on September 24, 2009


Dr. Laura got canceled? This GMH.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:56 PM on September 24, 2009


Her TV show (syndicated, not on a pseudonews channel) was cancelled. It's ratings IIRC were survivable but not great, the boycott was a problem in some local markets but not others, and she, like Limbaugh, didn't like the lack of Total Control a TV show had over a Radio Show. She's still alive and well on Radio, in fact she was on top-rated KFI right after Rush until this month when she was lured to CBS-owned KFWB, changing format from News to Talk with her as the Biggest Attraction.
posted by wendell at 5:11 PM on September 24, 2009


she believes in the ethical strength of Jesus' teachings as she understands them.
That's an interesting point, but so do Muslims.


Yeah, and I can see why that wouldn't wash as capital-C Christianity with many people. In fact, I'll admit I actually have somewhat different formal definition than the one I gave above: I think of a Christian as someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus and in him as the redeemer, as well as someone who's committed to observing his teachings.

But if a Muslim or someone like Dr. Arroway said to me "I am also a Christian, I believe in Christ as a great teacher," I'd see it as a gesture of respect and emphasis of common ground rather than a threat to my conception or the true constitution of Christianity. In fact, I suspect most self identification is really about saying something more or less like that: this is how we are like you. This is what we have in common.
posted by weston at 6:17 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting point, but so do Muslims.

Muslims don't say "We are also Christians". Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet and that he foretold the coming of the Prophet Mohammed. Most Muslim scholars are of the opinion that only the very early Christians who knew Jesus in the flesh were actually "Christians" as such. Those that came later are idolaters and human worshipers. FYI. Muslims also think Beck is a lunatic kafir.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:47 PM on September 24, 2009


re Jews, Christians, Moslems and Mormons - this made me chuckle.
posted by vronsky at 6:58 PM on September 24, 2009


re Jews, Christians, Moslems and Mormons - this made me chuckle.

And it's also dead wrong. Muslims do believe Jesus was the Messiah (Masih), and that he will have his second coming (although the actual form that would take is debated). They just don't call him God.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:00 PM on September 24, 2009


Muslims don't say "We are also Christians"

That was kind of my point.
posted by empath at 7:07 PM on September 24, 2009


I-huh, cause I was walways told/taught thay the Muslim Mainline was that Jesus was a legit Prophet but not the Messiah.
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 PM on September 24, 2009


Cause I was always under the idea .... and granted, this could come from the big Medinia on 11th st that had a big sign listing the Prophets and Jesus was near the end, but of course, the true Prophet was Mohamed, who actually wrote the words of God, cause how else could a poor merchant describe such beauty, such wonder, such poetry? ...and that was the continuation of the Word Of God. And Islam and Christianity is just a slap fight over who gets to be Messiah while the mainline Jews say "uh, the Messiah hasn't, and may never, appear." I could very well, very obviously, be mistaken. And the Mormons are just the latest in "Oh no! Wait! I've got the real, true revelation and it's all secret underpants and not drinking."


In order for this to work to have to ignore GIGANTIC changes in history and popular thought. I understand that.
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 PM on September 24, 2009


Messiah just means 'anointed one' or 'savior', and there can be more than one.

The first messiah referred to in the bible was the Persian emperor, Cyrus.

The Quran refers to Jesus as the messiah:

(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah).
posted by empath at 7:26 PM on September 24, 2009


Muslims also think Beck is a lunatic kafir.

This is another thing Muslims and I appear to have in common.
posted by weston at 7:31 PM on September 24, 2009


Fox News doesn't do anything for these people.

I see we share the same sense of humour.

It wasn't obvious, which is why I asked.

Such things are obviously (or not) relative. It was obvious to me.
posted by juiceCake at 8:04 PM on September 24, 2009


@Joe Beese: That story just made my day. Thanks you.
posted by Djinh at 1:29 AM on September 25, 2009


20 years ago he would have been Art Bell.

Aww come on, Coast to Coast was so fun to listen to. The trick was the lean back, let the smooth voice wash over you, and not believe a frikking thing he said.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:32 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


SNL Mocks Glenn Beck For Conspiracy Theories, Lack Of Sanity (video).
posted by ericb at 9:53 AM on September 25, 2009


Christianity is Judaism plus Jesus.

Judaism has a long and rich history of evolution that, believe it or not, did not stop around 0 CE. A vast amount of Jewish theology developed in the past 2000 years, and it is still evolving. The two religions are far apart not only because of different beliefs concerning Jesus of Nazareth, but also real tangible differences in behaviors, customs, traditions, rules, spiritual teachings, morals, and ethics.

Just one example: Christianity has pretty consistently been down on mortal flesh. Intercourse was widely seen as a necessary evil, and self-mortification, although uncommon today, was a visible component of some Christian faiths. Conversely, Judaism has always had a fairly positive view towards sex; in fact, it is an obligation for the husband to satisfy his wife, and failure to do so is grounds for divorce. Self-flagellation and similar practices are roundly condemned by Jewish scholars and teachers.

Jews also have a strong tradition of arguing and questioning. Almost no Jewish groups would consider taking Torah literally, if only because it's tradition to read many, many layers into each portion. In Christianity, the key component is probably faith. In Judaism, it's probably ritual. You don't need to have faith in G!d in order to practice Judaism. There's no threat to the Jewish set of beliefs if you tell them that creation did not literallyl happen in 6 days. Of course it didn't, they'll tell you. Almost all Jews, even the most conservative ones, believe in evolution (or, if they do not, it is not because of their religion). But maybe the biggest difference is relayed in a fairly famous story from the Talmud (specifically, Baba Mezia 59b); the gist being:
Three Rabbis are discussing an issue (in this case, whether an oven can be kosher or not). One of them, Eliezer, is so convinced that he's right and the other two are wrong that he says, "Look, if I'm right, let the tree outside grow 10 feet." It does, but the other two Rabbis remain unconvinced. He says, "If I'm right, let the river outside flow backwards." It does, but still the other two Rabbis won't budge. Finally, he says, "Look, if I'm right, let G!d say I'm right." A big booming voice says, "Can't you tell that Eliezer is right here? He knows the laws backwards and forwards." To which the other two Rabbis respond: "Look, the laws come from the Torah, which was handed to us on Mt. Sinai. It's was in heaven, but now it's on earth. Now that it's on earth, it's up to us humans to decide what it means, and we're the majority opinion, so our decision stays." Later on, Elijah (who is always portrayed as the go-between from heaven to G!d in these sorts of stories) is hanging out with G!d and asks about this incident, to which G!d replies, laughing, "My own children have bested me!"
Now, can you imagine any context in which something like that would be part and parcel of Christian theology and practice? No way.

Judaism + Jesus, indeed.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:34 AM on September 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


I dunno. I'm a Jew who is just a Christian minus Jesus.

I'm also an American who is just an Englishman minus George II.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:59 AM on September 25, 2009


Valerie Jarrett Is Beck's Next Target.
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on September 25, 2009


Wouldn't an American be an Englishman minus George III?

(Sorry to split hairs, I actually found the Christian/Mormon definition discussion to be the most interesting part of this thread and was happily surprised to see that taking up a significant portion of 214 comments and not the vitriol I had braced myself for.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:56 PM on September 25, 2009


Christ was a Jew, his religion was and remained the Jewish; and if now we Jews protest – more thoroughly protestant than under you – against the entire Christianity, against the Augustinian-Thomist and against the Augustinian-Lutheran Christianity and against all and each type of Christianity, old and new? How, if we protest in the name of Christ, in the name of the real Christianity of Christ because this is the real Judaism? More powerful today is our protest than ever formerly. Today Judaism protests no longer without Christ, but rather Judaism with Christ; today Christianity protests against Christianity: our true Christianity, i.e. the real Judaism of us real Jews against your false Christianity. We come to the point of saying that we alone are Christians, as soon as we want – and come to it also through what we did not want and do not want: through our renunciation, through our passion story and via dolorosa! – We are Christians as soon as we give this doctrine of Jesus and the apostles its true Jewish interpretation and acknowledge its place.

--Constantin Brunner / "Rede der Juden: Wir wollen ihn zurück!" ["Speech of the Jews: We want him back!"]. In Der Judenhass und die Juden, p. 435 (my translation).
posted by No Robots at 2:28 PM on September 25, 2009


Just one example: Christianity has pretty consistently been down on mortal flesh.

This far too simplistic. I think it's true that Catholicism doesn't have as positive a view of the body as do some versions of Judaism. But view the body as evil rather than good was the root of a number of early (and late) Christian heresies.

Intercourse was widely seen as a necessary evil,

This was never the case. Having sex has been seen as a lesser good, but (rightly ordered) sex hasn't been seen as an evil and certainly not as a necessary evil, since the the fact that renunciation was preferable, rules out the idea that sex is necessary.

and self-mortification, although uncommon today, was a visible component of some Christian faiths.

Actually, it's still common today, fasting being a form of self-mortification and it's also practiced by Jews.

Conversely, Judaism has always had a fairly positive view towards sex; in fact, it is an obligation for the husband to satisfy his wife, and failure to do so is grounds for divorce.

"Conversely" goes too far. All other things held equal, Catholicism (and presumably at least some other Christian groups) sees a husband withholding sex from his wife to be sinful. Catholics of course believe marriage is indissoluble, so it's not grounds for divorce.

Self-flagellation and similar practices are roundly condemned by Jewish scholars and teachers.

What about Malkot?

Jews also have a strong tradition of arguing and questioning.

Yeah... no different than Christianity.

Almost no Jewish groups would consider taking Torah literally, if only because it's tradition to read many, many layers into each portion.

This is also true of Christianity. The different senses of scripture, etc. Even those Christians (a small and modern minority) who say they read the Bible literally, don't mean what you mean by the word, by and large.

In Christianity, the key component is probably faith. In Judaism, it's probably ritual.

Americans and Westerners generally (in our Protestant and rationalistic cultures) frequently think that. In Christian groups with Sacramental practices (Catholics, the Orthodox, some Anglicans), the story is much more complicated. This is historically and numerically the largest portion of Christian belief and practice.

You don't need to have faith in G!d in order to practice Judaism.

To a limited extent... and you don't under many definitions have to believe in God to be Jewish, but to practice Judaism, it's pretty clear that most religious Jews believe faith is necessary if not belief. See for instance some of the discussion here.

There's no threat to the Jewish set of beliefs if you tell them that creation did not literallyl happen in 6 days. Of course it didn't, they'll tell you.

Right... Catholics also don't have to believe in a Six Day creation.

Almost all Jews, even the most conservative ones, believe in evolution (or, if they do not, it is not because of their religion).

This is also not a good contrast with Christianity. Many Jews who do believe in evolution (like many Christians) hold a sort of middle view where evolution is the means God used to create the universe and so it's not clear (according to the view) that it's random in the sense many partisans would like. And there are enough Jews who don't believe in evolution (and related concepts) to cause problems for Rabbi Slifkin.

But maybe the biggest difference is relayed in a fairly famous story from the Talmud (specifically, Baba Mezia 59b); the gist being:
Three Rabbis are discussing an issue (in this case, whether an oven can be kosher or not). One of them, Eliezer, is so convinced that he's right and the other two are wrong that he says, "Look, if I'm right, let the tree outside grow 10 feet." It does, but the other two Rabbis remain unconvinced. He says, "If I'm right, let the river outside flow backwards." It does, but still the other two Rabbis won't budge. Finally, he says, "Look, if I'm right, let G!d say I'm right." A big booming voice says, "Can't you tell that Eliezer is right here? He knows the laws backwards and forwards." To which the other two Rabbis respond: "Look, the laws come from the Torah, which was handed to us on Mt. Sinai. It's was in heaven, but now it's on earth. Now that it's on earth, it's up to us humans to decide what it means, and we're the majority opinion, so our decision stays." Later on, Elijah (who is always portrayed as the go-between from heaven to G!d in these sorts of stories) is hanging out with G!d and asks about this incident, to which G!d replies, laughing, "My own children have bested me!"
Now, can you imagine any context in which something like that would be part and parcel of Christian theology and practice? No way.


Ummm... actually yes, I can imagine it. It's very similar to the idea of what Catholics call "private revelation":
There are two kinds of revelations: (1) universal revelations, which are contained in the Bible or in the depositum of Apostolic tradition transmitted by the Church. These ended with the preaching of the Apostles and must be believed by all; (2) particular or private revelations which are constantly occurring among Christians (see CONTEMPLATION). When the Church approves private revelations, she declares only that there is nothing in them contrary faith or good morals, and that they may be read without danger or even with profit; no obligation is thereby imposed on the faithful to believe them.
Catholics believe that God's public revelation ended with the death of the Apostles, not with Sinai, but they definitely believe that it ended and so did the obligation to believe further revelations.
posted by Jahaza at 6:43 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Sorry to split hairs, I actually found the Christian/Mormon definition discussion to be the most interesting part of this thread and was happily surprised to see that taking up a significant portion of 214 comments and not the vitriol I had braced myself for.)

I do feel bad about my part in contributing to the derail. But I found it fascinating....
posted by zarq at 5:26 PM on September 26, 2009


The lecture was quite nice.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:51 PM on September 27, 2009


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