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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: August 08, 2018 07:26PM

Each year, about 5,000 students (at multiple universities, including the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) are required to take an academic course: "Lifetime Fitness," which has become controversial because of the required textbook: "21st Century Fitness," authored by two BYU faculty members.

The book concentrates on "extreme emphasis on personal responsibility that pretty much explicitly blames people in poor health" for their diseases (including cancer, heart disease, etc.).

Even more controversial, the text explicitly blames Holocaust victims for what happened to them during the Holocaust, reinterpreting Holocaust survivor/Holocaust expert Viktor Frankl's published writings. These BYU faculty authors state that, despite Frankl's written words, what he actually MEANT to say was:

"The people in the camps who did not tap into the strength that comes from recognizing their intrinsic worth succumbed to the brutality to which they were subjected. They gave up or felt they were not deserving of being treated better."

[The Simon Wiesenthal Center has demanded that UNC, and presumably the other universities who use this book as a source, drop this textbook.]

https://apnews.com/a5ad201c346e4838b20dd514a1eed2d9?utm_medium=APSouthRegion&utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/08/2018 08:24PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: August 08, 2018 07:37PM

Unbelievable. Shame on them.

I wonder if anyone at BYU will have the spine to repudiate this book and the authors.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: August 08, 2018 07:54PM

Really outrageous statements from so called educated fools.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: August 08, 2018 07:56PM

Would these two hatemongers apply the same reasoning to the 210 "unworthy to survive" Mormon pioneers of the Martin Handcart Co?

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Posted by: Shinehah ( )
Date: August 08, 2018 08:13PM

I sincerely hope that no one in these authors families are ever the victim of a violent crime or serious illness. But if it were to happen would it be because the victim was weak?

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Posted by: chipace ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 01:02AM

I was hoping that karma would punish them, but I would rather have a terminal disease than work at BYU. They are suffering from terminal stupidity.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 02:06AM

So will they put an “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign over the door of the gym?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 02:13AM

If they understood what you are asking, they wouldn't have ended up in this foolish position in the first place.

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 03:03AM

What is the currently accepted scientific explanation for what befalls people in their lives (and of course the view of the universe in which we operate)? No responsibility? Limited responsibility? (comforting to the ego).

And about the universe, a metanarrative of "no metanarrative"? (ultimately uncomforting, as it suspects any Big Picture explanation as our own projection and settles on the modest individual "true for me" quest for meaning).

Any way, someone's toes are stepped on.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 03:40AM

So you believe the Jews who died in the Holocaust were responsible for their own suffering?

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 05:37AM

So that (playing the Hitler card) is what you read into my post?

Briefly, if you can, explain how you see that horrible, horrible occurrence.

If you give any nod to the notion of karma, even in a poetic justice case of some hypocrite being brought down, wouldn't it equally apply to all, in every situation? What if there is no "god" who deals out karma, but it is our own subconscious, perhaps aware of lifetimes of bad deeds?

If the perpetrators of the Holocaust were to be reborn (just bear with me if you don't believe in it), would you see their subsequent sufferings, even as "innocent children," as none of their responsibility? And if some henchmen died peacefully in old age, would you consider them winners for evading punishment?

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 06:23AM

Why would I "give a nod" to karma and reincarnation when there is no evidence for such?

The BYU authors argue that misfortunes are, in their and your words, the result of the sufferers' shortcomings. They make that point about (largely) genetic and/or random events like cancer and about the victims of the Holocaust. You intimate that the authors are correct in their description of causality.

I find that view evidentially meritricious, logically nonsensical, and morally repugnant in the sense that it obviates the responsibility for people to try to help others. Since the misfortune is God's will, or Karma, or the result of sins in past lives, it is justified and you are free to shirk the moral burden of caring, actively and even passively, for others. The Nazis, to use the example in the book and the article and the OP, were merely agents of karmic retribution and you are the agent of their rationalization.

It is rank panglossianism in this, the best of all possible worlds. It is a simple way to "comfort your ego," to free you of the onus of moral responsibility. It frees you from moral considerations, which is not a good place to be.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2018 06:25AM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 06:54AM

Regardless of responsibility, if we are aware of suffering it is OUR responsibility to help relieve it--or we are imprinting on ourselves as deserving the same negligence.

You seem to have a narrower and more stereotypical view of karma, applying (as I said) to some things but not others. Doesn't matter if you don't believe in it: your view of it is a caricature which makes it easy to indignantly dismiss it. By the way, if karma is essentially self-punishment, it is NOT the will of some "God."

I sense a lot of anger in your reply, which may make it hard to take a different look at the idea...

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 07:30AM

> Regardless of responsibility, if we are aware of
> suffering it is OUR responsibility to help relieve
> it.

That does not follow from your analysis. If karma operates mechanically, as you with your "meta-narrative" imply, there is no responsibility and in fact no ability to counteract its effects.

----------------


> You seem to have a narrower and more stereotypical
> view of karma, applying (as I said) to some things
> but not others.

My view of Karma is indeed the stereotypical view, since that is the definition of the concept. If you are invoking the term but mean something else, it is incumbent on you to explain what you mean and perhaps to choose some other term that does not come with an established definition.

Furthermore, if you have an idiosyncratic view of Karma, as you claim, perhaps you are the one who is guilty of embracing a "Big Picture explanation as [your] own projection" and settling "on the modest individual 'true for me' quest for meaning."

You are the one using terms idiosyncratically. I have no "meta-narrative."

--------------


> your view of it is a caricature
> which makes it easy to indignantly dismiss it.

My view of Karma is not a caricature; it is the dictionary definition. I do reject the concept tentatively, but only because it is as lacking in evidentiary foundation as the concept of God. But my rejection, pending the discovery of evidence, involves no indignation.

--------------


>By
> the way, if karma is essentially self-punishment,
> it is NOT the will of some "God."

I didn't say Karma is the will of "some 'God.'" Since I see no convincing evidence supporting either concept, I can hardly say they are identical.

--------------


> I sense a lot of anger in your reply, which may
> make it hard to take a different look at the
> idea...

Nope. No anger. I do find it morally objectionable to preach a mechanistic doctrine that blames the victim, as yours does, but I say that without indignation. There are lots of people who use "meta-narratives," whether God or Karma or fate, to vitiate one's own moral responsibility.

Such equivocation is unfortunate; it is amoral. But it is too commonplace to provoke either surprise or strong emotion.

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 07:59AM

You dream at night, I assume. Aren't you responsible for the content of your dreams, regardless of how otherwise this appears to the dream-figure 'you' in the dream? Within the dream, unless we are lucid or pellucid dreamers, everything appears to happen TO us, as if beyond our control. Are those contents just random, or are they idiosyncratic?

I am simply extending this to the waking-dream we call daily life, except I believe this is a collective dream and we individuals are sleeping (schizophrenically sleeping) parts of that collective entity.

Everything I "see" my brain creates, as it creates all perception, and ultimately I am responsible for those creations. If I see suffering, I am responsible for showing compassion; if I see joy, I should celebrate with the enjoyer instead of being envious and resentful. I am not functioning here yet, for the illusion of ego--which presumes separateness and uses all sensory input to 'confirm' that (though this evidence is that of perjured witnesses with bias-confirming motives)--is very, very strong, almost all-dominating. But then so it also appears in a night dream--unless we have those lucid moments where it dawns on us that, "hey, this is a dream, and I'm doing it all to myself."

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 12:52PM

Your entire epistemology rests on belief in a particular vision of life and the universe, one for which you can offer no evidence. Is there such a thing as karma? Is there such a thing as reincarnation?

If you can't offer evidence for your beliefs, you are doing precisely what you accuse everyone else of doing. In fact, you are the one who is "projecting" his own prejudices as a "Big Picture explanation" for life, the universe, and personal responsibility. It is you who are settling on a "true for me" cosmology and moral code.

I don't care about one's personal religion except when it leads to immoral results. In this case your beliefs led you to suggest that the victims of the Holocaust bore responsibility for their fates. I can condemn that result as easily when it arrives in pseudo-Buddhist clothes as when it appears in Mormon temple garb.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2018 01:14PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: Dorothy ( )
Date: August 10, 2018 12:15PM

RF, don't try to feed BS to Lot's Wife. She will put some salt on you, chew you up and spit you out.

Well done Lot's Wife!

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 09:31AM

Isn’t one’s “moral responsibility” socially driven? I mean, at the time of the MMM, the men doing the killing thought they were doing the morally responsible thing. That’s the price we pay for the way we educate children. Stan Milgram showed the results of that. It won’t always be this way, but that’s how it is now. A snapshot of humanity’s stream of consciousness. I think where you differ from Richard is in perspective. You are a product of yourself and your culture. But what can you do? Your very language, with it’s subject/object split, is the box you think in. You didn’t come out of the womb like that, but here you are, and not too shabby I might add. Karma is a concept taken from a culture with a very different language, so I usually go with Sadhguru’s explanation of karma, which I won’t get into here except to say that karmic cycles are an artifice created by us. The cycle never ends until we end it by choosing to let it go. Otherwise, it drives us.

As you’ve been culturally informed, you have one life to live. Richard may have been informed differently. Humans are not self correcting. They are only self compensating.

But back to the victim blaming, your apparent sore spot, maybe it’s because it’s so Mormon. It reminds you of the horrible ways they had your mind turned around. Although it seems Richard’s view offers a way out of the mentality of righteousness. That’s where someone else has to be wrong for you to be right. If the subject object split is only an illusion, that need goes away. But that might exacerbate the Mormon lack of boundaries, which would piss you off more.

I once thought that being active in a life-sucking cult was righteous. Sure, what’s next? Clubbing women to death? People and their ideas. I think 10% of Society is genuinely good ideas. The rest is mass hysteria.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 01:13PM

Babylon, my dear friend, I disagree with you on a couple of points.

First, unless one accepts the faith-based argument that observed reality is invalid, the subject/object distinction is empirically accurate. To put the point in your terms, the Fancher Party was existentially distinct from the Mormons who killed them. The Jews who died in gas chambers and ovens in Germany were not the same as the Nazis who slaughtered them. The subject/object distinction is real--as well as being the foundation of all ethical action.

Second, morality is more than just social. A religious person would argue that it is divine or at least transcendent. An atheist would contend, with considerable evidence from the animal world, that morality is in large part biological. Indeed, one of the great things about humans is that their brains often allow them, on moral grounds, to overrule their social programing.

There were people who defied the Nazis, also Nazis who rebelled against their party when the atrocities were revealed. There was Nephi Johnson who, according to Juanita Brooks's magnum opus, for decades after having participated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre awoke at night screaming in guilt and terror.

Morality is more than socialization. You see it in humans who rebel against evil; you see it in virtually all social animals and particularly among mammals. It takes a strange "religion" to deny the connections between individuals and assert that tragedies are solely the responsibility of those who suffer them.

Perhaps it is the deviations from John Donne's "ask not for whom the bell tolls" that are unnatural and deserving of especial scrutiny. For Donne's assertion of moral connection between individuals, his use of the subject/object dichotomy to assert a natural ethical obligation between people, is a lot more "natural" than the attempt to use that dichotomy to deny interpersonal moral responsibility.

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 06:39PM

The subject/object distinction is characteristic of the ego mode of consciousness. That it appears "empirically accurate" is testimony to our filtering and organization of experience to reflect that bias--and to protect our egoic identity. Your examples of the Fancher Party and the Jews & Nazis illustrate, to me at least, what happens when people accept that division--with its demonstration of "us" and "others" as 'natural.' (And since animals with their survival-at-the-expense-of-others/win-lose orientation appear to share it, that indicates "ego" is a deeper organizing principle applying not only to humans. Yes, don't expect dictionary compilers to have thought this out!)

So I would suggest that the subject-object distinction is the foundation of all UNethical action. It is the grid through which most throughout history have functioned and continue to function, but that pervasiveness doesn't necessarily make it "real." Just as an analogy (and not a claim of objectivism), the geocentric model of the universe was based on the current empirical ( = sense) evidence and persisted for who knows how long, though it was always an illusion. And how long before empiricism itself is challenged as a means of knowledge? Philosophers as far back as Plato as well as some contemporary physicists have done so. The empiricism you reference by "empirical" dates back only to the 17th and 18th century rise of experimental science and begs the question of how many "senses" we actually have, though perhaps latent. I suggest, as well, that it is currently the empiricism of the Blind Men and the Elephant.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 06:48PM

Richard Foxe Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I suggest,
> as well, that it is currently the empiricism of
> the Blind Men and the Elephant.

I'll buy that when there's empirical evidence to back it up...

<grin>

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 06:55PM

Nope, empiricism doesn't date to the 17th or 18th centuries. It is at least as old as Aristotle.

More to the point, why are you even engaging in this debate? If the subject/object distinction is illusory, as you state, then not only are the victims of Nazi atrocities identical to the Nazis themselves; so too am I identical with you. You are asserting the false subject/object distinction as the basis for one aspect of reality arguing with another.

That is where your logic of material illusion leads: the only reasonable course of action is to meditate yourself into nirvana which, as you know, means the extinction of the self. In community terms the perception of the illusion of independent existence, and then the embrace of the underlying reality, leaves no basis for moral or immoral action since all action is itself illusion.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2018 06:56PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 07:09PM

The perception of independent discrete existences may be unreal, but the minds that believe they are those existences ARE real, and so the bodhisattva enterprise of compassion. And the same with psychological compassion for all who exist under in-the-box illusions.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 07:51PM

Yes. But that is why adherents of Hinayana view Mahayana as inconsistent. The Bodhisattva are insisting on maintaining their discreet egos knowing that they are illusory.

With regard to our moral discussion--the original topic--the Bodhisattva represents a concession to the notion that evil exists and should be countervailed. So action regains its moral character, does it not?

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 08:08PM

If you mean that illusion and its whole phenomenal enactment is "evil" (as a contraction of consciousness), though unreal and dreamed up by ourselves, yes it must be compassionately countervailed. But I gather that can't be effectively done while rooted in the same illusion oneself (hence the post-enlightment bodhisattva vow). You relieve people's suffering within the dream while at the same time awakening them from the dream.

Within that dream, there are certainly those who are in ignorance fiercely and self-centeredly seeking to preserve their dream identities by exploiting others, extending power, or just driven by desires, and these are what we conventionally call evil. We deal with them at whatever level of consciousness we ourselves identify with, not being awake either.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 08:33PM

Yes, assuming that:

1) we have decided that reality is something incompatible with that which is empirically observable, and

2) we are viewing things from a Mahayana perspective and not a Hinayana vantage.


If we make those assumptions, it seems to me that the place where Mahayana, traditional Judeao-Christian-Islamic morality, and humanistic morality converge is on the notion that evil is the infliction of unnecessary suffering.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2018 08:33PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: August 10, 2018 02:03AM

I find it very interesting that we’re not animals. I mean we are, but we’re also something else. There’s speculation that the 24th chromosome is still here, but isn’t seen because it’s multidimensional. Somehow monkey made the jump. Humans are a step beyond animals in that way. They have a God gene in the real sense, not the cynical semantic game sense. Divinity is in our nature. So perhaps we have a responsibility that animals don’t have. Or maybe a drive to live up to our potential.

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Posted by: ApostNate ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 03:36AM

Along the lines of saying rape victims are somewhat at fault for not fighting the rapist to their death. I've had a few mormons tell me that. Insane.

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Posted by: midwestanon ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 10:20AM

That’s what I thought. And if someone is suffering, perhaps they do have the responsibility to alleviate their suffering, but as a part of the social contract and our own moral imperative don’t we have to help those that suffer? Especially those that survive things like concentration camps, where they are / were physically, emotionally, and mentally beaten down and subjugated. Trying to apply some kind of rationale that they are responsible for how they feel when they were subject to such horrendous treatment doesn’t seem consistent with what has happened to them. Someone can suffer to an extent that they have lost their sense of self and therefore lack the mental acuity to even take responsibility to pull themselves out of suffering. That’s what doctors, mental health professionals, and family and friends are sometimes for. Someone who is driven to suicidal ideation usually requires the intervention of others, at the very least, for a beginning step. It doesn’t seem fair or right to tell them that it is solely their responsibility to pull themselves out of their own pit of despair.

Is that what you would do for a loved one? You wouldn’t try to help?

To say that we are all ultimately responsible for our own fate maybe true, but this idea strikes me as it morally repugnant. If we have some kind of mission or purpose on earth, I believe it stems from the ways in which we help and love one another. Maybe that’s naïve or cheesy or whatever, but it’s what I believe.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2018 11:40AM by midwestanon.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 11:40AM

Tevai Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The book concentrates on "extreme emphasis on
> personal responsibility that pretty much
> explicitly blames people in poor health" for their
> diseases (including cancer, heart disease, etc.).

Sounds like they are speaking completely out of sync with Mormonism and its sugar addictions and disregard for its own word of wisdom.

Blaming poor health on people in poor situations is like blaming a person for being born.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 12:50PM

A segment of the morning show on KFI radio in Los Angeles covered this issue. I can't say that the mormon connection was mentioned, much less emphasized. I don't recall even hearing "BYU". But the two authors were castigated for being insensitive and profoundly out of touch. The Nazi connection got top billing because that's what interested ears want to hear about.

Sorry I didn't pay close attention. I listen to KFI for the laughs...

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Posted by: Aquarius123 ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 06:59PM

IMO the 2 BYU authors are certifiable douche bags. To me, it's quite obvious and not complicated at all. Sorry Dick Foxe is having such a problem with it. Peace out, y'all.

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 07:15PM

Don't snark around with monikers, please.

I haven't read the textbook and don't know about the authors. My original reply was just opening up the whole issue of our responsibility for experience, as a challenge to the prevailing feel-good-because-we-know-the-truth consensus in this thread.

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Posted by: Aquarius123 ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 07:22PM

I'm so glad you aren't snarky or anything like that. Thank you for the guidance.

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Posted by: Richard Foxe ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 07:25PM

Doesn't take much imagination to twist your moniker--try it!

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Posted by: midwestanon ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 10:07PM

I dunno Foxe, it seems like you are attempting to obfuscate the issues by engaging in quasi intellectual discussion of Buddhism, which seems rather arbitrary given the OP. I mean, you start out by playing a devil’s advocate, questioning aloud who is responsible for their own fate. When challenged you begin talking about Karma.

Little about what you say seems genuine and it seems this discussion was nothing more than a jumping off point to espouse your views on Buddhism and eastern thought.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: August 09, 2018 10:58PM

midwestanon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> Little about what you say seems genuine and it
> seems this discussion was nothing more than a
> jumping off point to espouse your views on
> Buddhism and eastern thought.


Maybe he is looking for some court-ordered espousal support?

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Posted by: Aquarius123 ( )
Date: August 10, 2018 06:53AM

FOFLMFAO!! "Espousal support!" Why not? Thanks, EOD!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/2018 06:53AM by Aquarius123.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: August 10, 2018 11:13AM

Estop it, Elder O'Dawg.

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Posted by: midwestanon ( )
Date: August 10, 2018 07:59AM

That is pretty good.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/2018 07:59AM by midwestanon.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: August 10, 2018 02:29PM

From what I remember reading, many of the victims of the concentration camps were killed right away. They were separated when they got off the train, with a number of them sent straight to the gas chambers. How could these poor people possibly "tap into the strength that comes from recognizing their intrinsic worth"? And who in their right mind would assume that they, themselves could have survived a death camp? That is presumptuous in the extreme.

I'm glad that the Simon Wiesenthal Center is speaking out against these outrageous assertions, and that "student critics" are doing the same. It is not enough for UNC to simply revise the book, as the school is allowed to do by contract. The book is the fruit of a poisoned tree.

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