Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Are all Germans responsible for the Holocaust?


One of the issues that still haunts many 60 years later, is to what extent were all Germans responsible for the Holocaust? Studies by Milgram and Zimbardo have given us some insight into the "Perils of Obedience" and the power of the situation, but how far do we go in absolving the majority of Germans for what went on under their noses, sometimes behind their backs, and mostly in their backyards? How much did they know? How much did they really want to know?And what did they do about it? How responsible are they individually and collectively for what happened?

We heard from a former Hitler Youth and member of the Nazi army that he knew very little about what was going on in the Concentration Camps, although he was very aware of the massacres that were occuring outside of the concentration camps on the battlefields.

This issue still haunts us because we may find ourselves in a similar situation. Of course, I'm not suggesting that the U.S., is engaging in a Holocaust -- don't get me wrong!-- but what do we as citizens of a democratic country do when we are aware of human rights abuses? How do we treat the "other"? How do we justify or excuse our collective actions or inactions? How individually responsible, for example, is Pr. Lynndie England who may face up to 10 years in prison for her involvement in torture in Abu Gharib? Zimbardo suggests that it is very easy to capitulate to the situation as the Stanford University Prison study documented. What will we do when it is all said and done? Reflect on rights and wrongs? Right wrongs? Or just say we really didn't know what was going on....

44 comments:

Anonymous said...
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rachw said...

What do we do? What do we as citizens do when our government refuses to acknowledge and accept reports on U.S. use of torture written by internationally recognized and acclaimed human rights organizations? What do we do as citizens to address the current hunger strike in Guatanamo Bay? What do we say in response to our own use of torture?

We look at it all academically. We reflect on rights and wrongs, we reflect on the triumph of "evil" when good people stand by and do nothing. We try to find responsibility....we try to place blame. We look to the past to prevent the present. We discuss issues and voice our concerns.

But we do all of this in class. We do all of this in a small class in a small room at a small college. And our voices never leave the room. Perhaps the excepton to that would be this blog.

But what happens when we leave the classroom? What happens when we go home for the day? What do any of us do to protect rights, to protect our freedoms? Do our voices carry outside of the classroom walls? Are they heard? More importantly, what do we do to make them heard?

We are aware, yes. But what is the purpose of awareness without action?

Kelly L. said...

Perhaps we aren't each starting protests in Washington voicing our concerns, but I don't think its fair to say that when we leave from class for the day, we stop thinking about what we have reflected on and discussed. There are many days outside at Jazzman's or on Hartman Green where I have heard students discussing racial and sexual discrimination among people right here at the college and worldwide. We may not be acting on a global scale, but we are doing what we can: acting to change things in our small college, small room and small class.

MadMax said...

To Kelly L and John K.

You talk about change and a world of love and how can we get there from here. I think if you search yourself you’ll find that you always had the answer. Click your heels 3 times and repeat, “there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” That’s right Dorothy; the answer has always been with you. It’s in the Bible. If you and all of mankind follow God’s law as written in the Bible hatred will disappear. Some of you have unbelievably denounced me as a hate monger. All because I have had the courage to write what I believe. Well I believe you to be weak fools because you have fallen into a demonic trap. You think that men lying with another man is perfectly ok and that inter racial marriage likewise acceptable. Both of these are clearly denounced in the Bible. Like I said if you want a more harmonious world where love prevails read and follow our father’s word. John K. if you want an organization to join that’s trying to make the world a better place check with your church. If you don’t have a church I’m sure that there is a listing of them in your local phone book.

Ashley I said...

Madmax, if everyone in the world was like you, the world would be an evil place full of hatred, racism and homophobia. Following your advice will not make hatred disappear, it will only set us, and our world back. The people who have written to you on this blog have not denounced you for having the courage to write what you believe, they have denounced you because of your ignorance. I think its about time for you to take your head out of your Bible. Its because of people like you that evil exists in our world today.

Kelly L. said...

Madmax,

Ashely I. couldn't have possibly put it better. I pity you for not having the ability to see how ignorant you are. In a world where people are finally beginning to accept differences and support equality, you and those like you who are racist and homophobic are the weaknesses in society that allow evil to continue to exist today.

MadMax said...

To Kelly L. and Ashley

I find it amusing that you put me down because I speak the word of God and have a focus What do you have? You offer no direction on how to make this world a better place. Only uninspiring words. Show me a plan of involvement, something that you and your unimaginative friends can relate to, agree on and get active with. I challenge you to find a way to make a positive impact on this world. Until then you really have nothing worth hearing to say.

Ashley I said...

Madmax, this world will be a better place when people like you learn to be more accepting of people and things that are different. However, I'm not holding my breath. Until then, my classmates and I can only do our best to show our support for the causes we believe in through efforts such as Holocaust Rememberance Week, Eyes Wide Open, and the day of silence for the LGBTA. It is through these actions that my peers and I are working to make a positive impact on this world and to reverse the damage caused by people like you.

Belma said...
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rachw said...

To KellyI
I don't know...it just seems to me that there is a disconnect between what we study and talk about in class (and to a degree outside of class) and how we act. I'm not saying that we don't think about what we talk about, I'm saying we don't act on what we talk about. And as much as I value the importance of dialogue on campus, talking about things with our friends and classmates can only get us so far.
In "Escape from Freedom" Fromm quotes John Dewey, "The serious threat to our democracy is not the existence of foreign totalitarian states. It is the existence within our own personal attitudes and within our own institutions of conditions..." I guess what I am trying to say is that if we do not actively exercise our freedom of speech, our freedom to participate in the way we our governed then we run the risk of losing those freedoms. People have dedicated their entire lives fighting for freedoms that we take for granted. If we do not actively fight to protect our freedoms, our rights--they can easily be taken away. And perhaps that is something we forget.
Yes, we have to start somewhere, and it is important to talk and discuss human rights issues within our own communities. But how far will our voices carry? If we do not voice our concerns, our thoughts, and our questions to the people who represent us in office, to the people who govern us--then who are we voicing them to?

If we as Americans do not take responsibility for our democracy, then who will?

zahra said...

this is something that has been bothering me for a while. i have been feeling rather confused, especially after listening to the guest speaker from the Nazi war. all along, i said to myself never to like anyone who commits crimes. this man was nice, and i liked him. - is it wrong for me to like someone who has killed severals in cold blood?

rachael h said...

madmax,
Maybe you can clear something up for me. I am confused as to where in the bible it says that it's ok to discriminate and hate groups of people.

zahra,
I think your confusion is natural. I believe that that is why the holocaust occured without many people noticing at first. I am naive and believe there is good in all and i would like to believe that he and others like him did not really know what was going on until too late.

MadMax said...

Rachael and Ashley:

I’m confused, how is it that by virtue of the fact that I disagree with the morality of certain individuals, i.e. homosexuals, transsexuals, cross dressers, interracial marriage and so on, that somehow I am a hate monger. I have asked this question before but no one it seems wants to respond to it. So I ask you again please explain this to me. Surely you don’t deny me the ability to disagree with someone’s morality!
Something else that I’m baffled by is that you actually believe that you are making the world a better place by attending functions like “Eyes Wide Open”. How have you in any way changed the world for the better by attending this event? Oh please….. gawking at a bunch of boots is not in any way pro active. If it were I would invite you to my home to stare into my closet and sing “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”. The only thing that is more hideous is the thought that somehow you are making a difference by participating in “A Day of Silence”. I’m sure that all gays and lesbians are thrilled that you kept you mouth shut all day in an effort to make a point.
I guess what I’m really saying is that you really do need to get a life and perhaps a plan. A plan that would require some real thought and possibly some commitment. Until then perhaps you should continue to practice your “Day of Silence”.

Kelly L. said...

Madmax,

I will tell you why you are a hate monger: You hate people such as homosexuals simply because they are different from you. You have no real reason to hate entire groups of people you have never met... you simply hate them because you do not understand them and are afraid. I ask you, what would you do if someday one of your children told you that he or she was a homosexual. Would you hate them?

As far as getting a life, it is you that needs to get your head out of the bible and see the world as it exists today. People are speaking out against racism and homophobia everywhere you go. Granted, attending Eyes Wide Open and supporting the Day of Silence may only be a small scale display of support, but it is something we can do to show those who are being persecuted that we care. At least we are doing something Madmax, we are forming our own opinions and expressing them as best we can. This may come as a shock to you, but not everyone relies on an ancient book to tell them how to think and act.

MadMax said...

Kelly L.

Who said I disagree therefore I hate?
Oh, now wait that’s not right, I’m pretty sure it goes like this, I think therefore I am. Obviously you do not think. There is no connection between distinction of beliefs and hate; likewise there is no connection between my religious values and hate. Unlike the average college student, who is only aware of the next and best keg party, I am aware of what is going on in the world. I realize that in order for our world to thrive we need to get involved. I’m not talking about pledging in some “Barbie Sorority” where you sponsor a Jump-a-thon once a year, although jump-a-thons has their benefits. I’m talking about volunteerism. Find a cause and get off your butts! You and friends should get organized and contribute your efforts to whatever diverse association you choose. You will benefit from your labors as well as society at large. Once again I challenge you to do something real, get involved.

Dr. D said...

To MadMax:
I really don't think that it is necessary to insult my students because you perceive them to be uninformed about what is going on in the world. Frankly, it seems that you are unaware of what is going on in the world. Not all students are in sororities or fraternities -- and not all sororities or fraternities just involve themselves with drinking beer. That of course is another issue. What I don't understand is how you cannot realize that your views are insulting and hurtful to those that you perceive to be less than human -- or in other words -- less than deserving of the same treatment as you would like for yourself.
It sounds like you have a high horse to fall off of.

MadMax said...

Dr. D.

I'm wondering why is it that you don't support student involvement in volunteerism? Could it be that your affraid that it might involve some additional work for you? I know that professors are not exactly know for their civic involvement. Or if you do support volunteerism why don't you discuss it on this blogg?

Dr. D said...

MadMax:
of course I support voluntarism. But that is not the end-all-be-all of human rights education. Civic engagement does not necessarily equal voluntarism. Should I be sending my students out to soup kitchens to dole out soup? What would that teach them with regard to human rights? That there are poor people in the world?
How about education + civic engagement. They need to know what is going on in the world first -- understand what human rights problems exist, then they can come up with strategies --i.e., like contacting their congressman/woman, yes, even becoming more involved with their church (if there church is inclusive of all). Maybe going into Peace Corps to dedicate their life to teaching others. They can run education campaigns for the general population, or have food drives etc.
Well, I'm glad to see that you have averted your attack away from my students onto me. As an academic, I'm used to people not realizing what we actually do. Maybe you should educate yourself about that, MadMax.

Belma said...

Madmax, you make some REALLY heavy generalizations about professors and volunteer work, and also their involvement in civic activities. Do you realize what kind of a generalization you are making my saying, "I know that professors are not exactly known for their civic involvement." What kind of professors have you met/had that this is how you feel? You should really do some research, because if you did, you would find out that there are PLENTY of professors out there who volunteer their time, and engage themselves in their communities through many different venues. A lot of professors perform volunteer work through travel as well, and this also helps them to hone their teaching skills, due to first hand knowledge, which results from the experiences that they undergo. I know plenty of professors who have been involved in protests, volunteer days, and other student/teacher volunteer activities as well, and there is NO way that you can blame someone of not encouraging volunteerism without having the facts to back up your statements. I guess in a way I feel bad for you, because you must have encountered some pretty poor teachers, if all that they taught you is to criticize others by making unsupported generalizations of your own, without any proof to back up your statements. Maybe you should volunteer more of your own time to learning about others and their experiences as opposed to sitting on your metaphorical philosophical throne, criticizing other people, without any basis for your accusations.

MadMax said...

Belma:

Is there a reason that you're trying to crawl up your professors butts?
Humor me, survey all your professors find out how involved they are in the community, non profit organizations and the like. Let me know what you come up with. It's been my experience that professors are so.......busy pounding their own chests that they have very little time for anything else.

L. Parker said...

Belma:

I feel the need to apologize to you for what MadMax has implied in his writing. What a terrible thing to say to you and your professors. That said I’ve been watching this dialog evolve for some time now. Often times I think MadMax to be boorish and downright rude. Other times I think that he has made a good point, especially about getting involved in our community. I suppose that is what this blogg is all about. Listening to others opinions and drawing from the good and disregarding the rest. I think that Dr. D. must be a fantastic professor for using this format for her classroom. Three cheers and a big way to go for Dr. D!! I wish I had a professor like you when I went to college.

Robyn Z said...

Madmax,
I just spent a good chunk of time reading through this dialogue. There is no question that I am offended by your opinions, but there is still the question as to why you have not backed up your information. Belma said you made some heavy generalizations, and I competely agree. You sit there and preach to all of us about becoming more involved and volunteering and creating a plan to make a difference in this world. But have you actually done any of that? What is your plan to make a difference? How are you invovled in your community? How and when have you volunteered? I think you need to answer your own demands before you start to critize others.

Kelly L. said...

To everyone:

Although I find MadMax extremely rude and ignorant on most topics, I do believe that he makes a good point about needing to get involved more in our communities. That said, MadMax, your generalizations and stereotypes simply do not stop, do they? You go from attacking homosexuals, to transsexuals, to soroities, to PhD's... and you are wrong about all of them. I believe that joining a group of outgoing, active students is an excellent way to make a difference in your community. Both sororities and fraternities on campus do volunteer work with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, park clean ups, Hurrican Katrina relief, America Reads, Make-a-Wish and numerous other organizations. Professors, like Belma said, are typically involved in at least one community volunteer organization. Perhaps you should do your research before making generalizations.... again.

Anonymous said...

WOW, Madmax, you are honestly one of the most ignorant people that I have ever heard of...do you realize how sad and pathetic it is that you made a statement that I am trying to crawl up the butts of my professors, solely because I KNOW that they do service in their communities? Once again, you made a generalization about a group of people for which you have no proof. I don't need to do a survey of my profeesors, this semester alone, I'll tell you about just a few of their extra-curricular accomplishments, and time volunteered ok? One of my professors helped stage an anti-war protest, while another traveled to Africa to work with people in various countries such as Uganda. My advisor (who has a doctorate and who is an accomplished professor) volunteered his time to helping form discussion groups at the Women's Center at my school, and he also took a large group of people on a walking tour of our college's town. We visited historical sites, and talked with some people who livein our community. So once again, Madmex, you have NO clue what you're talking about, so kindly do your research before you log onto this website and decide to subject people who take time to do their research before posting their ideas, because at this point, all you're spewing out are useless and unresearched accusations.

Belma said...

WOW, Madmax, you are honestly one of the most ignorant people that I have ever heard of...do you realize how sad and pathetic it is that you made a statement that I am trying to crawl up the butts of my professors, solely because I KNOW that they do service in their communities? Once again, you made a generalization about a group of people for which you have no proof. I don't need to do a survey of my profeesors, this semester alone, I'll tell you about just a few of their extra-curricular accomplishments, and time volunteered ok? One of my professors helped stage an anti-war protest, while another traveled to Africa to work with people in various countries such as Uganda. My advisor (who has a doctorate and who is an accomplished professor) volunteered his time to helping form discussion groups at the Women's Center at my school, and he also took a large group of people on a walking tour of our college's town. We visited historical sites, and talked with some people who livein our community. So once again, Madmex, you have NO clue what you're talking about, so kindly do your research before you log onto this website and decide to subject people who take time to do their research before posting their ideas, because at this point, all you're spewing out are useless and unresearched accusations.

Dr. D said...

Hi Folks!
I thought I'd send in my 2 cents on the dialogue that has preceeded.
MadMax has struck again -- a cord that is. Yes, he's boorish and rude as l.Parker (thanks for the vote of confidence by the way whoever you are)mentioned, but he made me think about what I really do. Do I just talk the talk but not walk the walk? How many of us do that? I'm sure that he is probably the least involved in his community, but that still doesn't take away from what he's saying (as much as I hate to admit it).
I won't list what I do -- because I don't think all that is necessary -- but I, like most of us, probably fall short of what I could do. It's kind of like what we talked about in class today. What can one individual do? Who should we help? How should we help? And why should we help?
It seems that MadMax only wants to help people like himself -- at least that's what he implies --but what about those that are different? Do they still deserve help? Do we only help those that we can relate to? And why do we help? Because it makes us feel good, or because we know that it's the right thing to do? What makes us as human beings reach out to people we don't know and help them, and not expect anything in return?

Matt Colip said...

Madmax and Others,

I'd like to know where you went to school, and exactly how you where raised. Then maybe I and the rest of us will understand a bit better where you're coming from. Each of us is in College to become educated, so that we may have a better understanding about the world for which we live, and hopefully contribute to it beyond our ability as an individual. I think the way you treat everyone else but people of your exact belief and moral code is grossly one-sided. You said that you have an understanding about the way the world works, you don't. Those of us who have been and lived around the world such as Belma and myself know that the world isn't this bubble, christian microcosm you think and want it to be. How dare you insult Belma and Dr. D the way you do. I know for a fact they know a lot more about the world than you ever will, trust me. Enough time wasted on you sir. On to more intellectual conversation.

Dr D.

I think that people vary dramatically with their individual reason for helping others. Some do it because, like you said, it makes them feel good. Others do it, as I'm sure Madmax would, to coerse people into their religous belief. Others do it out of care for their fellow man/women. This was something that I struggled with last summer in Africa. I realized that I spent thousands of dollars just to fly over there to leave only helping 523 people out of an infinite amount of people in need. I sat and thought alot about your exact question and met people there that were all "helping" for their own reasons. What I figured out is that most people, don't really care about their fellow man, they may care about their fellow citizen or ethnic brother, but not their fellow man. Help and care is almost always conditional to something, religion, ethnicity, nationality or class. It's a divided world for which we live in and until we as a world choose to let go of some of the divided traditions we've built up for ourselves out of greed and power then, I feel, "help and care" towards others will always be conditional to something. Thoughts anyone...?

don said...

Madmax,

I like you for many reasons. I like you for espousing your own views...though I may not necessarily agree with all of them. I like you for challenging us and getting underneath our skin (that's a compliment). Keep up the good work...it's one of the many reasons why I continue to read this blog. Hehehe

MadMax said...

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is MadMax and I’m a middle aged happily married man who happens to be a born again Christian with two children, both boys. I have a BS Degree in Education and teach in the public school system. My wife does not work outside of the home. This was a choice that both of us made in an effort for one of us to remain home with our boys. I have been very much involved with my community through volunteer efforts with; The American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Little League Baseball, Midget Football, and of course with my church. I have gone to many areas of our country to help rebuild homes and churches after natural disasters destroyed them. I have held the hands of frail elderly citizens while visiting them in the geriatric ward of local hospitals. I am so involved that sometimes I have no idea where I’m going to find the time.
I wanted to let you all know this so that we could cut through some of the crap that people have been shoveling. I think that it’s important that you know that I indeed do walk the walk when it comes to community involvement. I wish that this were true for the rest of you.
My religious values are fundamental. This is something that I am not uncomfortable with. I believe in the Ten Commandments in Adam and Eve and that woman came from man. I find homosexuality morally wrong and have gone so far as to donate money to Love in Action. This is an organization that helps gays and lesbians find their way back to Christ through intensive Christian counseling. So……………I hope that this information about me can clear the air so that some productive communications can ensue.

Noor M said...

Matt C:
You brought an important point about why people do service in thier communities. Often, it is to feel good about themselves, promote a certain ideology of help one of "their own." I spend one summer in Lancaster working at a Non-profit organisation and had the time to reflect to reflect on this issue and even made a short video about getting involved in the Lancaster Community. One of the observations I made was there are people who think of community service as something they "do" for people who are in some way less fortunate than them are. Then there are people who think of community service as an "experience" which teaches them more about their world and most importantly themselves (these are fewer in number). They come away from the experience feeling as enriched as the person who they helped. From what I gathered through my interviews, the second approach seemed more satisfying. One of my interviewees said: "Community serivce is a beautiful thing. It comes in many forms. Don't restrict yourself. It is also something that should come from within, you can't force someone do community service becuase that interaction is less than positive."
Just something I wanted to throw out there even though it doesn't refer to your thoughts about helping someone who you feel in some way is affiliated with you.

Kelly L. said...

I think that Noor and Matt colip make good points about how people help for many different reasons. I also think that it brings to mind another interesting question however: Giving that some people have "selfish" reasons for helping (to make themseleves feel good) and others have "selfless" reasons for helping (sincerely just to help others), is there a right reason and a wrong reason to help, or is the distinction obsolete simply because you are helping others? That is, could "selfish" help be considered a form of evil?

Belma said...

Madmax,
I'm glad that you took the time to introduce yourself to us. Some of your comments have been really interesting--albeit a bit controversial for some people in our class--however, they have nonetheless sparked discussions, and one really learns about opinions, ideas, and new views through discussion. If we all agreed on everything, we would never learn anything about anything, and this world would be a really, dull, boring place. So, I did want to thank you for introducing yourself, and telling us about your background. I respect that a lot.
That having been said, I did want to comment on the last paragraph of your last post, which was your decision to donate funds to the organization, "Love in Action." I never even knew that this organization existed, so this is proof that discussions really do teach us all, regardless of our political stances. However, I must strongly disagree with the stances of this organization (and your apparent approval and support of them). To imply that all gays have lost their way on the path to Christ is ludicrous, not to mention completely insane. I know plenty of gay people who are in fact Christian, and who are still extremely religious. They participate in church retreats, attend mass, and they are also extremely involved in church community service activities. I think that it is INSANE to imply that these people have lost their way to Christ simply because they are gay. I am not Christian myself, but I do have a lot of respect for people who are religious, and I believe that religion can be a very positive and good thing in a person's life. Faith, in general, is something that we all have, and some choose to express it through Christ, while others choose to do so in either way, so I'm not trying to make an argument for one particular religion or anything like that. However, the idea that a person has lost his way to Christ simply because he or she finds someone of their own sex attractive is assanine to me. I'm pretty sure that when Christ said that he loved all people, and when he sacrificed his life, he did not to do so only for the straight people. Who are you (or this organization you support) to say that these people have lost their way to Christ, and need counseling in order to find their way back? Do you realize how disturbing and archaic this way of thinking is? Do you understand what kind of dangerous implications you are making here? You are suggesting that these people's views are "lost" because of someone that they fall in love with. I'm pretty sure that one wouldn't say that you have lost your way to Christ because your wife is staying at home raising your kids, while you are in the workforce, and I'm not suggesting that, but I'm pretty sure that there are many people out there who would. I'm sorry, Madmax, but the mere fact that this organization chooses to exclude one group of people and say that they have lost their way to Christ simply because they are gay in itself is in itself the commitment of a moral sin. Who are you (or this organizaiton) to say that YOU in fact KNOW the way to Christ? According to you and this organization, finding one's way to Christ involves having one's rights taken away, and that to me is a really awful, and sickening thought. I am no expert in theology, but I do think that God never separated people according to their color, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and I'm pretty sure he didn't tell Adam that he could only have sex with other women. I read The Bible, and I don't remember reading a passage in which God told Adam that he couldn't have sex with other men, or in which he told Eve that she couldn't have sex with other women, so again, I am disgusted by this organization's sick cause. All that does matter is the love that a person feels for another person in his, or her heart, regarldess of who this love is directed at, and in the end, THAT is the love that matters to God, not the sick form of thinking that "Love in Action" promotes. "Love in Action?" What kind of a name is that anyway? It's more like "Sick Discrimination in Action." I have plenty of friends who are gay and are extremely religious, and in their minds (and in mine as well) YOU (and this organization) are the ones who have lost their way to Christ, God, and reason, and in my opinion YOU are the ones who need counseling.

Matt Colip said...

Kelly,

That's a good question. Is selfish help evil? After I read your posting, I sat and thought about my answer,it's difficult. I think that honest help is good no matter how it's given. "Honest" meaning unconditional. If a person wants to help someone else to make his or her self feel good, as long as they keep that thought to themself and motivate others to help in the same fashion, to me, it doesn't matter. I think that "conditional" help is "evil". If someone says, "I'll help you, but I want you to come here and listen to what I have to say or read this book first." such as what missionaries, from what I've seen, basically do, is wrong. Help should be given unconditionally. If a person helps to benefit his or her ego or self worth, as long as they don't flaunt that reason to others, I don't think its a problem. After all, we all feel good about ourselves after we help others in some related sense, we're human. With that said, I don't think there's a difference between selfish and selfless help, in terms of Kelly's definitions. I do think there's a difference between "selfless", "selfish" and, I guess "club related" help, as in "I won't help you unless you join my club", essentially missionary work. This is different from selfish help, it's neither help for yourself or help for others, it's help commanded by a superior, I guess "commanded help." This is ultimately bad because the care-giver isn't personally drawn to the help on any level, selfish or not. They are just helping to satisfy someone else of "higher rank", God, Pastor, or fellow club member etc. Any thoughts....


Madmax,

I'd like to thank you for your introduction. Although I disagree with your fundamentals, I commend your want to continue productive conversation. Thank you sir.

Robyn Z said...

matt-
I agree with what you had to say about selfish and selfless help. While selfless help seems to be truly good, because you are out there helping people to truly make a change, selfish help also is good. selfish help is good in the sense that at least the person is out there making a difference and helping out others in the community. i've done volunteer work before, and i wouldn't classify it as selfless, but at the same time i was happy doing it, and i felt good that i was making a difference in our local community.
commanded help, as you put it, is something i'm not sure that i approve of. it seems wrong to be willing to help someone, but only if that person is willing to buy into your beliefs. it doesn't really appear that the person is being helped. the person is superficially being helped, but at the same time is being dragged into some club or organization that may not be beneficial to that person. it's morally wrong to only be willing to help someone based on if they are in your club or not. whether, it's selfless or selfish help, there is no other need to be in a club to recieve the help.
maybe the question is whether help, selfless, selfish, or commanded, is still useful to this community and even to this world? while i don't approve of commanded help, i still question whether is it more important to help people, and perhaps force them to join some organization, then to just leave them for whatever the world may do to them.

Matt Colip said...

Robyn,

I think that what we've defined as "commanded help" is worse than letting the people be because "commanded help" basically exploits the person being helped by backing him or her into a corner between their poor situation, warranting the help in the first place, and the, in this case, mischievous care-giver. It uses the craving desire of the poor and less fortunate to benefit the quotas of the group sponsoring the "commanded help". I think this is flat out wrong and inconsiderate to the point that I think it's worse than leaving the people to someone else with a different help philosophy. What do you think?

MadMax said...

Belma

I apologize for not responding to your comments until now but I’ve been on a Christian retreat and I’ve not had the opportunity. I must say I felt somewhat insulted with your interpretation of Love in Action. Given that I felt compelled to explain the organization to you.
Love in Action is a movement that believes that individuals may choose to change their sexual orientation from homosexuality or bisexuality to heterosexuality, with the assistance of counseling, prayer, and support groups. It was founded in 1973 and seeks to align individual’s behavior with their faith. It is supposed that individuals have become more comfortable with homosexuality. Thereby giving gays and lesbians the false conviction that they are “normal” and that their homosexuality is ok with God. It is certainly not acceptable to the “Big Guy”, at least according to scripture.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with gays or lesbians however; I feel that the greatest gift that I can give as a Christian is eternal life. In order to do this I must help others follow the path of God. I don’t blame you Belma for your disorganized thoughts about gays and lesbians. I blame those in society who have twisted the reality of acceptability. Thankfully I think that we are headed back in the right direction. President Bush and his administration have been champions of this effort. If not for them and others like them gays might actually have the right to marriage. In closing I’d like to leave you with this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. – “Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to humble.”

Matt Colip said...

Madmax:

What I don't understand is what if someone who's gay doesn't believe in the "Big Guy"? Would you be able to accept them as being around you if they had no intention of changing their lifestyle for fear of eternal hell fire, or whatever you claim happens to them? If you personally don't have a problem with gays or lesbians you should be able to accept them after your "personal attempt at giving the ultimate gift" to them fails because of their potential difference in faith.

MadMax said...

Matt:

You are correct Matt. You don’t understand. Let me try to explain our obligations as Christians. It is the responsibility of all Christians to help all of humanity to find God and walk the path of God. It is through this walk that we find eternal salvation. When I cross the path of an unbeliever or someone who is engaging in actions that contradict the moral code that has been written for us in the Bible, then I must try to educate them as to their wrongdoings. They then have free will to choose the path they walk. I have no problems associating with sinners so long as I know that I have done all I could to fulfill my obligation as a Christian. You know the cliché, hate the sin but love the sinner. It would be wrong for me to walk away from a train crash where I knew people were dying and not do anything. Those who do not walk with God are dying. Unfortunately Matt that would include homosexuals.

Matt Colip said...

Madmax,

I know all about the "Christian obligation" to "educate" the sinners of the world, being from Texas, I was surrounded by them my entire life, never gave in though. I guess that means I'm either going to burn in eternal hell-fire or decompose like every other creature on the planet, depending on whether science or religion is ultimately proper.

Can we continue with the conversation about the different kinds of help and not battle about our diffences between personal beliefs. I think we all know where we stand and that's all we seem to talk about. It's getting monotonous.

Madmax. How would you respond to the ideas of "commanded", "selfish" and "selfless" help as discussed previously in the blog?

laura said...

I have been following this blog without feeling the need to comment, but after reading the recent postings and our class discussion, I was inspired to do a little research.

Matt has made a good point about moving on in the discussion because everyone seems to be so inflexible in their positions, but after reading about “Love in Action,” I just have a few more questions for MadMax. You state that your religious views are fundamental, and as a born again Christian you are just following the Bible's teachings against homosexuals, because they “contradict the moral code that has been written for us in the Bible.” And homosexuality is not “acceptable to the 'Big Guy,' at least according to scripture.”

However, a lot of things are unacceptable in the Bible. For example, in Mark 10:2-12, where Jesus states that divorce is not permitted under any circumstances. And of course, the eating of shellfish and hogs is an “abomination” (Leviticus 11). Or, my personal favorite, the forbidding of women from speaking in church (I Corinthians 14:34-35). These are just a few examples I found. So, my questions: Why the focus on homosexuality? Are you involved in any groups dedicated to the silencing of women in church? Are you trying to educate those that are divorced on their “wrongdoing?” Do you eat fish and pigs?

Basically, if you choose to literally interpret the Bible, why not the whole book instead of just selected sections?

Meghan said...

To MadMax:

I’ve been following your infuriating blogs for quite some time and have neglected to comment, until now. You claim that you are a born-again Christian, a true believer in fundamentalism, but I must say that I find you an embarrassment to the Christian faith. Christianity is about bringing those uninformed closer to God. By criticizing homosexuals for actions made privately in their own homes, you are pushing away those individuals that may in fact benefit from a relationship with God. As you have said once before, “hate the sin, love the sinner.”

There has been an accumulating amount of evidence, claiming that gays and lesbians actually carry a trait making them more susceptible to homosexual tendencies. This makes homosexuality a question of genetics. With the exception of these individuals, homosexuality revolves around the idea of choice. You have made a personal decision not to become gay, but to marry and have children; others have made their personal choice. You are entitled to your opinion of the disapproval of this type of lifestyle, but attempting to convert these people who have made the “wrong” choice, according to your beliefs, is disgusting. Giving them the “false notion of acceptance in God’s eyes” is wrong. The Bible may specifically state that homosexuality is an evil, but the fact of the matter is, that in many instances, the Bible is outdated. Welcome to the 21st Century, MadMax.

MadMax said...

OK let’s get down to the core of our disagreement!

"Does God hate fags?"

Answer: There is a "ministry" "church" in the United States that promotes the slogan "God hates fags!" This group pickets gay parades, gay bars, gay events, etc. This group has even picketed the funerals of gay people, shouting to the attendees that the gay person is now burning in Hell for being a "fag." On its website, this group has a counter which updates daily how long a certain gay person has supposedly been in Hell. Does God really hate "fags"?

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: arrogance, lying, murder, scheming, eagerness to do wrong, bearing false witness, and gossip or slander. Notice that homosexuality does not make this list. It would be more correct to promote phrases such as "God hates liars" and "God hates murderers." In fact, the Bible nowhere directly states that God hates homosexuals or homosexuality.

That does not mean that the Bible approves of homosexuality. The Bible consistently tells us that homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuality is described as an abomination. It teaches explicitly that homosexuality is a result of a continual rebellion against God. When a person continues in disbelief, the Bible tells us that God “gives them over,” God allows them to experience their sinful desires and the resulting consequences. Homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. Homosexuality is immoral and unnatural. It is a perversion of the "natural order" and more importantly, God's view of sex.

With all that said, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin that any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation.

Robyn Z said...

Madmax,
Just out of curiousity, can you provide the direct quotes from the Bible that support your point of view? Perhaps it is because I've never studies the Bible as in-depth as you have, or because I have never read the New Testament, but I do not recall ever seeing the Bible specifically saying that homosexuality is wrong. I would be interested to see which sections of the Bible that you are interperating, in order to better see where your argument is based.