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Thursday, October 6. 2011
I commented to Mrs. BD last night that one of the things I hate to hear people talk about is the usefulness of religion to society. I think O'Reilly was saying something like that on the tee vee in an interview with the atheism proselytizer Dawkins.
Today, I stumbled on this: What Happens when a Leftist Philosopher Discovers God?
I'm sorry, but religion is not about social good. It's about finding Truths in what our friend One Cosmos terms "the vertical dimension" of existence.
Such truths are not about utility.
Image is William Blake's Ancient of Days
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Every institution falls victim to the politicization of its structure. Survival of that institution relies on its ability to return to its roots and determine what makes it important and valuable.
Religion(s), in general, has been increasingly politicized. Justification for religion is frequently being sought by those who believe because of constant attacks by those who do not.
Proclaiming it a "social good" makes it justifiable to the Left. If it helps promote the Left's cause, it matters little if they believe religion is an "opiate of the masses." It will help them garner more supporters because they can equate their views with something that is palatable to those who are religious but susceptible.
Individualists who recognize the value of spirituality in life and the role of religion in defining oneself naturally understand the "social good" definition as a subset of what they already know - good behavior and solid set of beliefs and disciplines are their own reward. "Social Good" is just an additional benefit that comes along for the ride.
This doesn't help the politically motivated, they have to have a use for it.
Religion(s), in general, has been increasingly politicized.
Everything has gotten increasingly politicized! That's what happens when power is gobbled up by the government. If we were more free, there would be less influence of politics in our lives.
I think I agree with you there, mudbug in that I would like to see less government role in our lives....but I would also like to hear less talk about religion in politics. I can vote for an atheist or a religious person - I am not voting for them to dictate my beliefs but rather to carry out some proscribed role, whatever it be, mayor or president, or something in between. A person's religion or lack thereof may inform their view but I am more interested in the implications of their view than how they got there.
You'll never get religion out of politics. All you can do is have what we have - the limitations against government institutionalizing a particular religion.
As long as people have spiritual beliefs, there will be one or two (or more) who feel others must share their views.
I don't really mind hearing people share their religious views on the campaign trail. I think it humanizes politicians, to a small degree. What worries me is when I hear them only talking about what their religious beliefs are and how others need to be exposed to them constantly.
Yes, I would agree with that, Bulldog. I don't mind hearing religious views on occasion, but if that is their platform, that is another matter.
No, Tom F, you don't need to add another no now. Done.
No. Just a pro forma no you understand - I just can't let a yes pass without a no. It is the contrarian in me.
Ah nuts - now I gotta say something intelligent - ok, ok, semi-kinda-sorta intelligent. Sheesh - cut a guy some slack.
Religion has always been politicized. It's in the very nature and fabric of our society. (I would go so far as to say throughout history as well, but let's limit it) Religion was politicized by the The First Amendment's Establishment Clause when our country was founded.
Religion has always had a political competent to it. If you were a Roman Catholic in this country and had national political ambitions, being a Roman Catholic was the kiss of death. Statements from prominent Protestants during the 1960 candidacy of John F. Kennedy.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: ""Our American culture is at stake. I don't say it won't survive, but it won't be what it was."
Dr. L. Nelson Bell, father-in-law of Billy Graham: "Too many Protestants are soft on Catholicism. Pseudo tolerance is not tolerance at all but simply ignorance. If Jack Kennedy were to become President then Montana's Mike Mansfield would become Senate majority leader and Massachusetts' John W. Mc-Cormack would continue as House Democratic floor leader. Both are fine men, but both belong to a church with headquarters in Rome."
Dr. Harold J. Ockenga, Boston's Park Street Church: ""The antagonism of the Roman church to Communism is in part because of similar methods. Catholic politicians are captives of a system".
Citizens for Religious Freedom, an organization of 150 Protestant clergy and lay persons produced this statement about Catholic politicians:
"It is inconceivable that a Roman Catholic President would not be under extreme pressure by the hierarchy of his church to accede to its policies with respect to foreign relations, including representation to the Vatican ... Is it reasonable to assume that a Roman Catholic President would be able to withstand altogether the determined efforts of the hierarchy to gain further funds and favors for its schools and institutions, and otherwise breach the wall of separation of church and state? . . .
"In various areas where they predominate," said one fire-breathing passage, "Catholics have seized control of the public schools, staffed them with nun teachers wearing their church garb, and introduced the catechism and practices of their church. In Ohio today—a state with a Roman Catholic Governor—according to an attorney general's ruling, Roman Catholic nuns and sisters may be placed on the public payroll as schoolteachers."
Admittedly, there were Protestant leaders who strongly disagreed with this viewpoint as did several Jewish Rabbi's. But that was the prevailing view among most Protestants in this country at the time. (Still is in some places believe it or not.)
And we can discuss Italian, Irish and Asian immigrants who, if they have a religion, are more likely to be Roman Catholic than not. And they have to deal with not only ethnic prejudice but religious prejudice.
So when we discuss religion and politics, the so-called separation of church and state, our country, our citizens, our politicians and our religious leadership have been involved in politics up to the eyeballs since the founding of the country.
I wish I could write better and be more articulate - sorry if all that sounded confusing.
All this mirrors the intent of my original comment. Everything gets politicized. Politics, religion, corporations, small groups....everything. It's the nature of humans to politicize things.
And it's our nature to drag our religious beliefs into politics, because both are part of our personalities.
The question is how far are we willing to do both? Must the politicization of our lives be done to the point which we're unwilling to purchase art from those we disagree with (as one commenter mentioned a few days ago)?
Must our politics reach a point that we have to force others to share our religious viewpoint?
I had joined the Knights of Columbus at one point. I felt I needed to be more involved in community affairs and I was impressed with the apolitical nature of the organization (or at least the way they described it as apolitical). The longer I belonged, the more political it became. Eventually, I dropped out because I got tired of the politics. I agreed with their point of view, too. I just didn't think it was necessary for the politics to be part of the organization.
The same thing happened when I joined Greenpeace in the 80's. That lasted a much shorter period of time, though. About 6 weeks. They sold me on their apolitical nature, then when you show up to a few meetings want you to start joining political protests.
Well, I suppose it is just human nature. I was a member of our local volunteer fire department starting as a volunteer FF/EMT/Paramedic and ending up Assistant Chief before I retired from service after 25 years. The politics of a small volunteer fire department was incredible - people will take issue with almost anything and if the guy you didn't like took your side it was a enemy of my enemy is my friend thing. The maneuvering during elections was similar to a political campaign at any level. I never paid much attention as I was responsible for our SAR and EMS/Rescue Squads - nobody wanted that job so they pretty much left me alone. :>) The fire fighting side of things though - it's a damn wonder they ever got anything accomplished.
We attended our first HOA meeting a week ago - it was just like being back in the Fire Department. In fact, I told the General Manager, who was taking some heat about stuff in general, that no good deed goes unpunished. :>)
It is ingrained - nothing we can do about it.
By the way, I'm Catholic.
My niece is attending ASU and is taking a class in Political Science. She sent us a note telling about how offended she was in one class.
The professor spent an entire class telling the students that Catholics cannot be patriotic US citizens because they have to follow the Vatican first, so it's impossible to be Catholic and American.
My niece, who is not Catholic and may well be an atheist, was immediately offended and spent a good portion of the class arguing with the professor. She knew her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were all very patriotic and all Catholic.
It's an odd belief, thinking Catholics can't be patriotic and follow the Vatican first.
If I had a dime for every time I've heard that, I'd be worth about five dollars more than I am right now.
Seriously, that's the way of it. It happened during JFK's run for the White House. You would think that a genuine war hero who fought in the Pacific theater, lost a brother to war, etc would be cut some slack.
It is also what concerns me about Romeny - quite beyond his odd ball brand of Republicanism. Being a Mormon in this country is almost as bad as being a Roman Catholic.
I am a Roman Catholic and I'm also a MasonKnight - get it, MasonKnight? Down here, being a MasonKnight is a big no-no - there is a strict separation of the two. Up North, not so much. To tell the truth, I prefer Freemasonry to KoC so if I'm forced to make a choice, that's the direction I will go.
I'm not in KofC anymore. I doubt I'll join another club like that again.
I agree about Romney. I've known plenty of LDS people. Not sure why anyone thinks they are so different or weird.
Now FSM....that's a whole different bowl of pasta.
Religion is a broad term, so I'll be appropriately vague: Some religions possess social utility and some don't.
My religion offers social utility, but with a caveat: The greatest commandment is this, to love the Lord (I Am) your God with all your heart, mind and soul. It is God we worship, not the service we render to God. The second greatest commandment is to love one another, and this is a summary of the obligation of believers to minister to others in the name of God.
Me, I believe in KFC, but Col. Sanders...
Where's AVI? He should have intelligent and cogent comments.
Sam L., behold your prophet. Enjoy your chicken.
Again, the term religion in this context is so inclusive as to be meaningless. From the Social Gospel movement, which emphasized social justice and service in the name of God, to Marshall Applewhite's Heaven's Gate cult removing itself from society (and life), religion is wildly diverse in its applications. Though the thrust of a religion may be to worship a deity (or deities), its very service to its God(s) may be considered a social utility by dint of its benefits to society.
''Religion'' the word, is probably from the Latin word religare, which means “to tie, to bind.”
Blake's painting --interesting that the calipers are not ''on the square'' --and that the pyramids-of-Egypt angle points toward such a vulvinate sun. or maybe not.