Friday, April 18, 2008

Torched


A Japanese temple has just joined Japan to the growing number of countries to see protests and conflict over the passing of the Olympic Torch relay.
I love this. I am very glad to see large number of people refuse to rubberstamp the Olympic Games when the Games' leadership is guilty of blindness, inconsistency, and stupidity by holding their games in China.
A few things about these protests are interesting.

-The biggest protests I've seen were in the UK and France, where secularism is looming large. Probably these protesters were largely left-leaning human-rights advocate types whose value structure is based on secular humanism.
As we've seen over and over and over again around here, an atheistic philosophy like sec humanism can't ground ANY moral judgment. These guys are just a group of like-minded people getting together to beg the question, and they can't tell you WHY oppressing the Dalai Lama and his compadres is bad. It just is, dang it. They have empathy for him, and OF COURSE that means that we all must believe that oppression is bad.

-Which leads them to protest b/c of the actions of an atheistic regime. Infighting in the opposition's camp is almost always fulfilling and fun to watch.

-Which of course leads one to the question - which atheist is right?
(Man, I'd love to see a debate between some leftist Western secular humanist [Peter Singer comes to mind] and a knowledgeable apparatchik from China. Won't happen - China wouldn't allow such exposure, but a guy can dream.)

-And how would we know?

-All I see from the media, US gov't people like Ted Kennedy, and protesters are cries for a cessation of the oppression of Tibet, the exiled Dalai Lama, and Falun Gong.
Are these people simply ignorant of the plight of Chinese Christians (of whom there are at least as many in China as Falun Gong practitioners)? Do they just not care?

-I hope the Christian churches will also join in these protests, and in a boycott of these Games, for precisely that reason. I have no idea if churches have been involved and even less confidence that the MSMedia would cover them if they were.

-Dear God, let China lose lots and lots of rubles on this 'investment'. Amen.

-Finally, I will allow my mind to speculate idly on what's next for China. By firsthand and other accts, I know that the ChiCom gov't has been reducing its oppressive activities toward Christians on the east coast of China, in the big cities, so that about 3 yrs ago one of my church elders was able to rent out a hotel conference auditorium in Beijing for a Christian marriage conference. Just right out in the open.
But one couldn't do that in central China - they would bust it up and send the Westerners home and then make life very difficult for any Chinese that dared try to attend.
Are the ChiComs just playing nice for the cameras? What will they do after the Olympics have moved on? Some Chinese I know say they'll get a lot worse, some are hopeful. Time will tell.

11 comments:

Rintintin said...

"The biggest protests I've seen were in the UK and France, where secularism is looming large. Probably these protesters were largely left-leaning human-rights advocate types whose value structure is based on secular humanism."

Unfortunately your whole post is invalidated by this statement - how do you know what their religious persuasions (or lack thereof) were before you determine their moral judgement as subjective/objective? Isn't France still considered a Catholic country even if they don't have a state religion - Wikipedia references a 2003 poll that said 51% described themselves as Christian.

Rhology said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

-You made no argument as to how this, even granted I'm wrong, invalidates my entire post.

-One of my degrees is in French.
I lived in France for a year. I speak French fluently, read Fr newspapers, watch Fr TV online, have read a fair amt of Fr literature, have talked to quite a few Fr people from many different French départements.

-Wow, you cited Wikipedia.

-By whom is France considered Catholic? "Most" of French people are Catholic, if by Catholic you mean baptised at birth, will respond to a self-identification poll as Catholic, and goes to Mass once a year or so.

-Roman Catholicism is a different religion than Christianity.

-How much time have YOU spent talking to French people and reading French publications?

Rintintin said...

What i should have said was the parts that somehow managed to squeeze yet another 'atheism and subjective morality' angle onto the post.

The reason being because you generalised the protesters without any real evidence as subscribing to a view of the world that in your opinion has only a subjective basis for moral judgment (worth bearing in mind that many atheists would say the same thing about yours given that we consider the relevant parts of the bible to simply be the moral preferences of a group of people being passed off as the word of a non-existent god).

I don't doubt you do know French etc, but a few anecdotes don't really mean much - I lived across the street from 2 churches in Scotland for about 15 years that seem to be full every Sunday, so on that basis I could simply assert that religion seems to be pretty popular in the UK.

Ok,granted Wiki is a lazy reference, but then it was linking to a legitimate poll.

as far as i can tell, all the practicing Catholics I know consider themselves Christians?

As it happens Ive been to a variety of places in France on about 6 or 7 separate occasions, my parents are friends with quite a few French families that we met in various holidays out there, my mother is reasonably fluent although I personally do not speak much French (I learned German instead).

Rintintin said...

"-One of my degrees is in French.
I lived in France for a year. I speak French fluently, read Fr newspapers, watch Fr TV online, have read a fair amt of Fr literature, have talked to quite a few Fr people from many different French départements."

my degree and PhD are both in biology, and I currently work as a researcher - this of course doesn't stop you from telling me I am completely wrong about a whole host of aspects of biology ;)

Rhology said...

this of course doesn't stop you from telling me I am completely wrong about a whole host of aspects of biology

Haha, touché! :-D

Rintintin said...

out of interest Rho, where did you live in France? I haven't been there in a few years now, but I liked Bordeaux a lot. Paris is a great place too, but I only went there for a day or so, will have to go longer if I get the chance in future. Did you get a chance to see many of the other neighbouring countries?

Rhology said...

Oh man, I loved France. Was there 99-2000.
My wife and I want to live there, be missionaries there. One day, perhaps, God willing.

We were doing a one year univ exchange in Clermont-Ferrand, right in the middle (weren't married then, just courting).
Spent about 9 days total in Paris, my favorite city on the planet.
Saw Lyon, great place.
Carcassonne, Mont St Michel, château country, Normandy, Bayeux, Chârtres, Nîmes, I got to see. Those were all really good.
Andorra was not so good but OK.
Spain (Cuenca, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla) was cool but I went during La Semana Santa - mala idea.
Spent 2 days in London and that was nice enough, but not enough time obviously. Shoot, 9 days in Paris isn't nearly enough time!
Got to go to Italy twice. Rome and Florence are awesome, Rome is better. Venice ain't bad but ain't Florence.
Cinque Terre is beautiful. Naples is dirty but Capri is beautiful and Pompeii is pretty cool.

That about sums it up. I spent 5 hrs in Bordeaux one morning in transit back from Spain to Clermont-Fd.

Rintintin said...

I like London a lot too - been there a few times, the only thing that puts me off moving there permanently is the expense. Good luck with your France plan, I have to say making the mover from Europe-->US has worked out pretty well for me, so hopefully it pans out the same for you too if you decide to go for it (in the opposite direction across the Atlantic obviously!).

Rhology said...

Oh, did you grow up in Europe? What country?

Rintintin said...

sorry forgot to reply to this earlier - yeah i grew up in Scotland, but moved to the US a couple of years back. Got at least until the end of the year over here when my contract runs out, not too sure what I'll do after that.