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Member since: Sat Nov 29, 2008, 02:55 PM
Number of posts: 17,671

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I haven't trashed anything yet.

Bootstrapping religion to get people to cooperate was merely expedient, but hardly necessary for cultural development. It worked, but it helped legitimize religion as a means of political action that ultimately divides loyalties along sectarian lines. We don't have to speculate at all about that. The evidence is all around us whether you care to admit it or not. If King, Graham, Fallwell, Schuler, and all the rest had proselytized in the name of nationalism rather than sectarian power the political left wouldn't have to compete for unity from the bulk of Americans among others that promise them "divine prosperity" and deliver their votes to those who pick their pockets. What King may or may not have done is, as I said, moot.

Religion started out with its snout in the trough two thousand years ago and it has its front feet in there now. Christianity has become so duplicitous and corrupt the triple rotation of emotional hot buttons of umbrage, denial, and selective tradition is taken as standard operating procedure. Christianity has so completely become a creature of capitalistic market exploitation it can't think outside the box of its own manipulative greed. When the market for one incarnation of Christ's word becomes stale there is always someone there to trot out some new, improved, pop, pomo one size fits all, malleable, tantalizingly ambiguous yet emotionally satisfying God of whatever you need right now. And the modus operandi is always the same: 1.) Trade on the good works of Christian tradition to create the illusion of legitimacy , 2.) Deny the concomitant failures of those same traditions by 3.) producing some new interpretation of scripture that tells people what they want to hear.

Here in the twenty first century any "spiritual leader", "theologian ", or "religious activist" whose activities occur anywhere but from behind a pulpit in front of real people is participating in market acquisition and political powerbroking right along with any other media enterprise. The means, methods, and objectives are the same. Religion in general and Christianity in particular have no claim to moral authority because they have had to use the negative societal forces they are supposed mitigate just to survive. Most use it to profit. Christianity offers no solutions for the moral dilemmas of our time, only a way to profit from them.

I might consider "joining hands" with Christianity when Christianity discovers the virtues of soap and water. Now you can consider it trashed.

There is nothing unique or special

about leveraging the emotional bonds people share to move them to collective action. The use of religion to help achieve that goal may or may not have necessary. We will never know. It was certainly expedient. And that expedience is part and parcel of the tendency to use people's feelings as an end rather than a means. Had king lived he might well have become as big a religious capitalist as any other. Again, we will never know.

What we do know is religion continues to attempt to insinuate itself between the citizenry and government. It does this by making fraudulent claims of moral superiority through the use of marketing techniques. Those techniques use fallacious logic like claiming necessity where none is proven to exist.

You cannot claim inevitability without sufficiency. If religion wasn't enough to secure civil rights for African Americans, there is no reason to believe it brought with it any moral authority to accomplish that goal. In fact, if King had used his considerable rhetorical skills to motivate people through patriotism rather than sectarianism the unfortunate influence of religion in government might not be such a problem today. As it stands now the memory of "Reverend King" is a useful tool for sectarian power brokers of every stripe. The objective is the same for every one of them: the insinuation of religious ideology between citizenry and government. It's the same old disaster capitalism that has made religious leaders rich and powerful for thousands of years.

Sectarianism, like capitalism, is inimical to democracy. Your pseudo generous offer to "join religion" in the cause of social reform is just another attempt to recast culture in sectarian terms. When you argue that religion is necessary for progress you're jest inviting those whose help you say you need to take a seat in the back of the bus.

"Progressive" is basically liberalism with an emphasis on economic progress.

Both words mean pretty much the same thing outside of some partisan knife fight. Both terms refer to accelerated cultural change which, under the circumstances, is a good thing.

In terms of progress toward the safe and equitable empowerment of people relating to technology that is ubiquitous and inevitable in our country, laws regarding ownership, carriage, and rules of engagement are progressive. They help us learn to deal with each other, even when some of us can't behave.

The guy that figured this out

has my respect:


No way I'm smart enough to figure that out. Anybody that smart gets my respect because I respect his intelligence.

This guy has my respect as well:

He cared so much for his faith he was willing to die for it. I have to respect him because I respect his feelings about what he believed.

I have no use whatsoever for a Segway, and I have no idea if that technology will be of any use to the human race in any meaningful way in the future. I have no use for Christianity either, and I have no idea if it will be of use to the human race in the future.

Ride all the Segways you want, just don't run over me with the goddamn thing.

I think thete is a difference

between invoking faith as a justification for belief and using one's beliefs as a justification for action. Believe in human sacrifice all you want, but don't hurt anybody.

I don't think religious moderates can do much in the way of reforming say, the way the Christian faith is currently practiced. They would have to use either business practices or governmental interference to achieve that goal and thus become what they are trying to reform. It could be that the "enabling" is only a question of degree. Moderate Christian denominations certainly enjoy the benefits of existence in a "Christian nation" that also happens to be the wealthiest and most powerful empire in history.

"God and country".

Republicans aren't just good at arguing from a religious perspective. They're also good at being patriotic. They're the ones waving flags and wearing tricorn hats.

That's the down side of enlightenment rationalism. Cold blooded systems development ignores the need for emotional unity. It makes liberals seem like arrogant, disconnected elitists. As close as we can get to that sort of unity is identity politics, which can be more exclusive than inclusive.

We don't need to argue from a religious perspective. That's what demonstrated the need for an enlightenment in the first place. But we need to be patriotic and celebrate Americans for Americans, no matter how wrong or obnoxious they are. Religious unity is inimical to national unity.

I didn't give you much to work with there. Sometimes I hate my phone.

When anyone hears the word "god" in the United States the term calls to mind christian iconography. Like the article says, 78% of Americans consider themselves Christian. It seems to me an exercise in futility to try to parse who the best/worst/true/fake/real/unreal Christians are. If you call yourself a Christian, that's what you are. The holy text is the same, the iconography is the same, the history is the same and the objectives of every interpretation of the Christian faith are the same. I consider it axiomatic that anybody, for all intents and purposes, who calls themselves a Christian wants to do what's right.

It doesn't matter how we worship or even if we worship at all. Ultimately, the practice of worship tends toward the same objective. I can't think of any religion that doesn't strive for infinity in one form or another. That search, when personified, seems to result in some sort of deity with infinite human characteristics. Christians have a deity that, "so loved the world he gave his only begotten son." That personification of infinite humanity was developed about two thousand years ago. For most of that time it was the only game in town. Even when people were being burned alive over doctrine, most weren't dying because they didn't believe in the Christian god. They just disagreed about conflicting conceptions of personified infinity.

There is no effective competition for the Christian faith in the United States today. Christianity owns the "god brand" hands down. Other attempts at faith don't have a chance against that monopoly. The whole "new age" thing is experimenting with a fascination with quantum mechanics but that's about as good as it gets. People need, more than anything else, people. A god that is the ultimate person is going to be a hard act to beat.

Most new religions are just offshoots of existing faiths. Maybe Christians will come up with a new personification of god, maybe they won't. A lot of factors will determine whether or not they will get that done. I suspect we are on the cusp of another axial age, but I could be wrong. Be that as it may, I don't have much confidence in the Christian faith at this point. I think it has been overwhelmed by the materialistic zeitgeist of the times. Christianity hitched its cart to consumerism a long time ago and I doubt if it will be able to reinvent itself before its mule dies. But we'll see.

This seems shorter than I expected it to be. Hope it makes sense. That half bottle of red wine will probably get my ass kicked in H&M, might as well make it a clean sweep.

Oh, here's that chai,

I guess I don't.

But then again, I don't care. When the election comes around, I don't even have to think about it - I'll vote "D". Is Obama good or not? I don't care, I'll vote "D". Is there an actual liberal in the Democratic party? I don't care, I'll vote "D". You know why? Not because the current crop of Democrats is worth a shit. Most aren't. Not because liberal ideology bears any faint resemblance to life in the real world. Not all of it does. Not because I feel the need to be surrounded by like minded people. I've done without them this long, no point wishing for a pony now.

It's because if we get Democrats into office we have a chance. We have a chance to make them do what we want them to do. We have a chance to be heard. We have a chance to go in the streets and raise hell until we get a fair shake from those fuckers that stole our money, because that's what it's going to take. If we let a Republican in there "free speech zones" will feel like a breath of fresh air. The patriot act will feel like a warm "blankie". The airport pat downs of today will feel like a massage. If we let a Republican in there we're fucked, and it may take an actual bloodbath to straighten it out.

There's a rebellion in the pipe. It's coming. Whether it's a rebellion in the voting booth or in the streets is still up for debate, but you can bet there's going to be some serious shit going down. We're long past worrying about whether or not we are being disrespected. That doesn't matter any more. There will be no social justice until there is economic justice. All the wrong people have all the money and all this wrangling around in the culture wars just makes them richer and saps us of the unity we need to get what they owe us. The more we fight about our feelings the more money they make.

I am not a closeted conservative/homophobe/racist/gunnut/mysognyist or any other unfortunate personality manifestation of the cultural wars. I am a human being who's not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions. Win, lose, or draw I can deal with the answers. If that puts me on the outs around here, fine. I am a citizen of the United States of America, and I believe in my fellow citizens, all of them, because without them we won't make it. I believe in them because I believe in people. I believe in people because I care about them. I care about them because it's the right thing to do.

End of rant. It's amazing what a bottle of red wine can do, huh?

A short observation...

If there is a social gathering and somebody uses an unacceptable term any number of things can happen. They can be told that term is unacceptable and asked not to use it. They can be enlightened as to the unfortunate nature of the term. They can even be told to shut up. But people aren't usually forcibly ejected from the premises because they used a bad word.

We will of course learn a lot about them because of their terminology, especially if it becomes obvious that they are malicious troublemakers. A boor is just a boor and ignoring them is the best way to handle them since starting a shouting match over what might be ignorant or callous behavior merely spreads anxiety and bad feelings throughout the rest of the party and makes it suck for everyone.

What do the terms

"people" and "corporation" mean today? Which should be empowered and which should have their power curtailed?

You can demand to have militias regulated all you want, but the people are guaranteed the right to bear arms. Period. So yes, they knew exactly What they were writing.

"...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".

But that, again, is beside the point. About half the voting population owns guns - you know, the "people". They are real. They aren't some ideology based on a construct derived from an esoteric understanding of eighteenth century social organization. When they read the constitution they will recognize the word "people" and understand it for what it is and how the phrase in which it is used applies to them. They don't care what you think. And if you're a politician or a political party that tries to sell them on any ideology ignores their humanity they will hand you a one way bus ticket to the political wilderness and tell you to go fuck yourself.

Bet on it.

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