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View Diary: The 105th Archbishop of Canterbury to Be Enthroned Today (39 comments)

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  •  I agree that the church is often dragged (9+ / 0-)

    kicking and screaming into "basic human morality". Even in the progressive Episcopal Church there are still pockets of people who are still upset about the ordination of women (settled since the 70's) and the introduction of the 1979 prayerbook and yes, still some people who are kicking and screaming.

    I can appreciate your dislike of religious pomp. There are plenty of Christians who do not like it. However, your argument would be much stronger if you made it without insulting 80 million people and, by extension, me personally. Your obvious anger and your argument are two different things. It's easier to engage with argument than anger, in my opinion. I do appreciate your taking the time to read and comment in the diary though.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 07:12:40 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  In my view, religious opinions/ideas or (0+ / 0-)

      statements/institutions are no different than political ones.  They should be open to scrutiny and the application of reason and challenge. And even sometimes ridicule if they fly in the face of reality. So if you or 80 million people feel insulted by these types of comments, then maybe a reassessment of putting them out publicly is called for.

      Religion and religious institutions and many of their main actors have over years and years have wrapped themselves in layers of protection against having their claims about reality and how the universe works challenged. They have done it through mythology creation, declaring "truths" without evidence, bottomless piles of scripture and theology and "divine laws" and giant institutions and most of all overt violence against anyone who dared question them.  The Anglican Church is afforded the "protection" of the Queen and the favor of her power.  That in and of itself within a representative democracy is a corruption.

      You bet I'm angry. Anyone who has taken the time and thought to finally free their heads of religion and takes a good hard look at what it has done and continues to do in the world has no other choice but to feel angry.  It's like living in the scene in the Matrix when Neo wakes up and sees that he and all of humanity have been hooked up to a manipulative dream world.

      Now I don't go to Anglican/Episcopalian websites and vent on them, but in a public website like this, when religion is reported on or written about, I do use my freedom to comment.

      Actually if I was really insulting you personally, I would say something about your personal beliefs. I didn't do that. I criticized the system and the institution that you endorse. I hope you see the difference.

      •  The problem is the broad brush. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, SchuyH
        Anyone who has taken the time and thought to finally free their heads of religion and takes a good hard look at what it has done and continues to do in the world has no other choice but to feel angry.
        If you would just add the modifier "bad" in front of "religion" in your sentence, I think you'd find a lot more people agreeing with you—including me. But suggesting that the minds of the irreligious are inherently more free than the imprisoned minds of the religious (rather than, as I tend to think, their having merely chosen a different warden) is a bridge too far.

        It is unquestionably the case that religious people and organizations have been a crucial part of some of the most terrible things ever done by humanity—but it is just as unquestionably the case that religious people and organizations have been a crucial part of some of the most wonderful things ever done by humanity, including the people who rose up and stopped the ones who were doing the terrible things.

        There is nothing inherent or exclusive to religion about "mythology creation, declaring 'truths' without evidence, bottomless piles of scripture and theology and 'divine laws' and giant institutions and most of all overt violence against anyone who dared question them." If you strip out the supernatural language in that sentence and replace it with non-religious statements about the natural order of the universe, the very same statement could just as easily apply to old-school Marxism or Ayn Rand's Objectivism, or to a lesser extent virtually any political ideology taken to its extreme.

        What is the orthodox Adam Smith adherent's limitless belief in "the invisible hand of the market" but a "divine law," a "'truth' without evidence," a secular form of dogma—and what is Wall Street but a giant institution that doesn't shy away from overt violence against all who question the dogma of Smith, Milton Friedman, or the central-bank poobahs?

        It is bad religion, not all religion, that is the problem—and more broadly, it is bad ideology that is the problem, regardless of whether it couches its abusiveness in the trappings of the supernatural or in an appeal to a non-supernatural yet eternal and inherent state of the "natural world."

        When you look at it that way, then you leave the door open for good religion and good ideology to be part of the solution—and you avoid alienating millions of potential allies to boot. Sounds like a good idea, no?

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 10:09:56 AM PDT

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        •  The writer of this diary no doubt would (0+ / 0-)

          say that the Anglican church in England is "good religion".  I would disagree. So putting the caveat of "bad" in front of religion is pretty meaningless because the parameters around such a definition are open to a huge amount of variation.  I could put all religions in the bad category because they all present stories to children as having really happened, when they either have not or have no evidence to back them up. It is in some ways a brainwashing. We all know brainwashing is bad, ergo, all religions are bad.  It takes too long to sort all that out, good and bad camps of religion. I can work with and agree with and set goals with all kinds of religious people, and I do. But I think in general and certainly with lots of evidence behind the statement, that religion is not a good thing overall for the world or for humanity.

          Short answer to your final question... no.

          •  Again with the blanket statements. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SchuyH
            The writer of this diary no doubt would say that the Anglican church in England is "good religion".  I would disagree. So putting the caveat of "bad" in front of religion is pretty meaningless because the parameters around such a definition are open to a huge amount of variation.
            Except that making a blanket statement about religion, as you did, is just as arbitrary and just as subjective a statement as deciding what constitutes "good" and "bad" religion.

            In fact, in some ways, your statement is worse, as your blanket statement suggests that all people who continue to be religious, no matter how committed they are to the cause of justice, are in some way guilty of aiding and abetting those who would use religion to harm others simply because they continue to remain religious instead of leaving behind religion.

            Distinguishing between "bad" and "good" religion leaves open the space for the liberatory potential of religion to be a positive influence on society; suggesting that the abusive characteristics of some religious belief-systems are inherent to the whole excludes that possibility and casts millions of justice-committed religious people as accessories to the crimes of those who have used religion for injustice.

            I could put all religions in the bad category because they all present stories to children as having really happened, when they either have not or have no evidence to back them up.
            They all do? There is not one religion that doesn't make claims about its truth-value in a logical positivist sense?

            Further, again, how do you approach the number of things taught to our own children as "having really happened" with no evidence, that have absolutely nothing to do with religion as you define it (i.e., pertaining to the supernatural)? Are those just as damaging, just as brainwashing, just as abusive?

            Again, you paint with too broad a brush.

            It is in some ways a brainwashing. We all know brainwashing is bad, ergo, all religions are bad.
            Your logic is missing a few crucial steps.

            The first is, of course, that you need to provide evidence for your claim about "all religions," as I stated above. You provide absolutely no evidence, when you make a blanket statement about "all religions" that requires not only a working and accepted definition of what religion is, but also evidence demonstrating that each and every sect of each and every religion that falls under an agreed-upon definition of the term engages in the behaviors you indicate above. Thus far, you are presenting a claim not in evidence—which is odd given that you lambaste the religious for doing the same thing.

            Second, you need to demonstrate that it is somehow possible not to be "brainwashed," that we are all not somehow or another taking at least some aspects of our world and our lives on faith. That is the very crux of your argument, that somehow those who are irreligious (such as yourself) are mentally superior to the religious due to their having freed their minds of the "brainwashing" of religion.

            Again, as I indicate above, I don't think that's the case. I think that there is no such thing as the mind that is not "imprisoned" by a worldview and a cultural system that takes certain claims not in evidence as assumptions and givens about the world—and that in rejecting religion, you were not freed from the prison, but just switched cells to one with a different warden.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:52:51 AM PDT

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            •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

              "In fact, in some ways, your statement is worse, as your blanket statement suggests that all people who continue to be religious, no matter how committed they are to the cause of justice, are in some way guilty of aiding and abetting those who would use religion to harm others simply because they continue to remain religious instead of leaving behind religion."

              The basic problem is the texts. As long as "good" religious people (again a definition is not clear) hold the same biblical or koranical texts as having some "divine " source and some status as being any kind of moral guide as the "bad" religious people do, then they are joined at the hip with them.
              The reason there are good/bad Christians is because the texts support both.   The only way for a "good" religious person to free themselve from ties with or responsibilities for the "bad" Christians is to disavow the texts. They won't do that. Thus the Janus face of Christianity and religion continues.

              If I am guilty of "blanket statements", you are guilty of "blanket apologetics".

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