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View Diary: When a Lone Wolf Assassin is Not Nuts or Alone (117 comments)

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  •  Thanks. (15+ / 0-)

    That means a lot to me.

    Being a Kossack is hard sometimes, because I'm really sensitive and respectful of some of the legitimate concerns of Christian conservatives.

    When you go to church every Sunday, fear "the world" and its sinful ways, tune in to exclusively Christian radio, Christian TV, Christian books, and you don't get exposed to a broader viewpoint, you end up with some very misguided, naive, extreme views.

    I'd say the same goes for any isolated religious group - Wiccan, pagan, Buddhist, atheist, Hindu, Muslim, you name it.  That's not to say it's wrong or bad to have deeply held religious beliefs.  What's wrong, or dangerous, in my opinion, is to try to impose your religiously-held beliefs on others when we live in a political environment founded on religious tolerance and non-establishment.

    Learning to be agnostic - to have faith, not blind certainty or naive arrogant rigid beliefs - is a key to functioning in the public sphere.  What I mean is that we have to be willing to admit that we don't know - that we're not sure what others think, how others live, etc.

    Kinda comes back to Lakoff's point about empathy - the idea that despite our differences, we're all still Americans and we should be able to find ways to come together to serve the common good.

    Full Disclosure: I am not Ben Leming. But I think he's pretty cool.

    by Benintn on Sat May 29, 2010 at 09:47:00 AM PDT

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    •  Sorry, i have to ask, (3+ / 0-)

      what wiccans, pagans, buddhists, etc are isolated from the real world that they can't figure out what is propoganda and what's the truth?

      "Looks like we got ourselves a reader" - Bill Hicks

      by blueoregon on Sat May 29, 2010 at 10:32:07 AM PDT

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      •  Here's an example for you. (10+ / 0-)

        My daughter just got back from Sri Lanka.  She made a good friend there, a young Buddhist girl.  This girl's relationship to her buddhism was primarily a superstitious one, involving spending sums she could not afford to bring offerings to the temple.  The whole thing there is better described as a racket than a spiritual quest.  No one meditates--they think meditation is a specialized activity only appropriate for the priests who intercede between themselves and Lord Buddha.

        All humans are subject to the same tendencies, no matter their professed religion.  No category of humans is exempt from this universal truth.

        If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. -Eisenhower

        by geomoo on Sat May 29, 2010 at 11:00:57 AM PDT

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      •  You need to ask this? (0+ / 0-)

        I would say that any number of people - of any faith - are capable of becoming insulated and isolated.

        Can't say as that I can point you to some particular person that we both know and say, "See?  This person proves my point."

        Full Disclosure: I am not Ben Leming. But I think he's pretty cool.

        by Benintn on Sun May 30, 2010 at 06:38:48 PM PDT

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    •  Learning to be agnostic - (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alizard, Pandoras Box, LynneK, Oh Mary Oh

      Eventually what I decided, apart from it's none of my business worrying about what other people think until they become dangerous (a low bar, I'll admit), is that what I didn't like about agnosticism and even atheism is, both still require thinking about "God" - or not "god". I don't spend much time thinking about zombies or minotaurs either.

      So I guess that's why I've decided that I'm really an existentialist. Which is sort of saying "not only don't I know about God, I'm not interested enough in the answer to ponder the question".

      But I do worry about the intentions of some of those around me, y'know, the ones who hear voices....

      Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

      by blindcynic on Sat May 29, 2010 at 12:05:52 PM PDT

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      •  Yer just pissed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pandoras Box

        cuz the voices aren't talking to you....

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Sat May 29, 2010 at 05:23:56 PM PDT

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      •  Good comment, blindcynic - (0+ / 0-)

        I am also an existential person, and being open to new information and committed within relativism makes life much richer for me.

        Full Disclosure: I am not Ben Leming. But I think he's pretty cool.

        by Benintn on Sun May 30, 2010 at 06:39:55 PM PDT

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        •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

          I'm interested in the Physics of the universe, but not because I wonder "why I'm here' - what a self-centered question! Do ants wonder why they exist? I see deer outside my window every morning, and I don't think they wonder much either. They eat. They Breed. Works for me (OK, they don't listen to the blues, but that's why they're a lower order mammal).

          Our curse is our self-awareness.

          Mark Twain: "Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to."

          The idea of "god created in man's image" or "man created in God's image" is so narcissistic. What would happen to religion if it turned out that there was a god, and it was the Alien from "Alien" ?

          The concept of the universe "caring" what we think is crazy, but organized religion exploits it  - and that was brought home to me once, years ago, when I found out that the meaning of "catholic" is "universal" - the "universal church" - to "pontificate". Infallibility!. "We have the Word!'. My recovering Catholic wife agrees wholeheartedly. But I Digress...

          So daily I think of my mantra - "the universe doesn't care who I am, what I do, and if it did it wouldn't make any difference anyway". While that sounds fatalist, it is the way to be free. of Dogma, for starters. Dogma is a box, out of which you have to think (props to Winston Churchill)

          "Existence precedes Essence" (JP Sartre). We are what we make of ourselves. Any other explanation is just an excuse, or solipsism. And maybe even sophistry.

          BTW, my screen name is taken from Ambrose Bierce - (paraphrasing slightly)

          "Cynic - one who sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. hence the custom among the scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision..."

          Of course it is my, uh, conceit, is that I am actually  seeing things as they are. But hey, reality is for people who can't take drugs....

          Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

          by blindcynic on Sun May 30, 2010 at 08:23:59 PM PDT

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    •  Good point, Benintn, but.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, alizard, Oh Mary Oh

      while you say (quite correctly, IMHO):

      What's wrong, or dangerous, in my opinion, is to try to impose your religiously-held beliefs on others when we live in a political environment founded on religious tolerance and non-establishment.

      One runs into three major roadblocks in trying to promote this view into the "political environment":

      1. A political fact of life in this country is that there is a large, coherent and well-financed bloc of voters absolutely convinced that said "religiously-held beliefs" are founded on being on the right side of an absolutist Good Vs. Evil divide. And thus, when applied to things like laws, say, become not merely "political" issues, to be debated, discussed and subject to democratic strictures, but "moral" ones - no room for questioning permitted.

      2)This same bloc is more than likely (at least from what I have seen of their published statements) to interpret those principles of "religious tolerance and non-establishment" to be, at best, misinterpreted (when they don't suit their "moral" framework) - or, otherwise, a huge mistake on the part of the Founders, whom radical Christianists still persist in trying to re-make in their image, retroactively.

      1. The existence of an alternative media that religious obsessives can wallow in their lives long, and never hear anything that might contradict their blinkered and parochial worldview.  

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