Tag Archives: censorship

Another conversation ends in…censorship

Has this happened to you?

You’re in a dialogue with a believer of some stripe on their blog site. You feel you’ve made some excellent points against their arguments. You return to see their response and find that your reply has been deleted. No explanation given. It’s just…gone.

I’ve had this experience more times than I can count.  The latest example comes from the blog of Canon Press, a Christian “literature ministry”.  The topic which led me to comment was the boasting about the relative success of their book Is Christianity Good for the World? I started off with the reasonable observation that the goodness of something does not necessarily relate to its truthfulness.  A staff member, Frank, replied with what I considered a woolly-headed rationalization, namely,

We all live as if telling the truth is good, while telling a lie is bad. And if it’s right for us to live this way (which it is), then it make sense that seeking good is also seeking truth.

Huh?  I pointed out that telling a lie can be good, depending on the circumstances, which rendered his formulation invalid.  Unfortunately, Frank continued to dig himself into a hole with that comment that,

“Truth” is what God says, and everything that God does and says is good.

I’m sure you can predict my response.  If everything God does is good, and God killed children, logically, that makes killing children good.  I continued to press this point, as well as faulted Frank for his equivocation and logical fallacies.  Apparently this was too much for Frank, as he – or someone else at Canon Press – deleted my reply.

The really ironic thing is the statement made at the top of their blog,

sometimes it looks like our efforts only make unbelievers more stubborn in their resistance to the Gospel.

When your fatuous reasoning is exposed and you panic by erasing the evidence, is it any wonder why?

The Potemkin Olympics

In 1787, as the story goes, the minister in charge of the successful Russian campaign to conquer Crimea, Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin, erected fake villages to impress the visiting Empress Catherine II with the new conquests.  Thus a new expression entered the lexicon: Potemkin village.  It means to give a false veneer of progress or success in order to mask an undesirable reality.

Anyone who has followed China’s preparation for the 2008 Olympic games will immediately appreciate the parallels.  The Olympics are tremendously important to the country, in the eyes of its leadership. They are a chance to show the world how far it has advanced toward modernity.

To be sure, China has indeed made huge strides, but as story after story has amply documented, the underlying reality apparently is not quite up to the standard China’s leaders hope to convey.  And so, no effort has been spared in order to correct the “deficiency”.

The latest example to come to light is the performance of the little girl who sang “Ode to the Motherland” during the Opening Ceremony.  It turns out her voice was considered not suitable, in the minds of China’s supremely image-conscious leaders, and so another was subsituted in its place.  Only her face was fit, so she was required to lip-sync the performance.  It was “in the national interest,” rationalized a member of the Chinese ruling circle.

Small potatoes, you may think, but this is merely the latest string in a long pattern.  Just a few days ago, we learned that parts of the Opening Ceremony were actually computer generated.  China’s Potemkin efforts have not been restricted to simple enhancement.  Entire sections of Beijing have been walled-off as too unseemly for foreign eyes.  Information on the Internet considered unfriendly to the country has been blocked by the Great Firewall, even to visitors.  Even some Olympic athletes had their visas revoked for fear they would speak critically of the hosts.

And so it goes.  Our view of China during these Olympics has been carefully managed by its censors and propagandists.  The real China?  Who knows.  But a country which needs to manipulate its image more carefully than a Hollywood star is not a modern one.

I’m skipping these Potemkin Olympics.