Skip to main content

Lately the political world seems relatively dormant, so the atheism/religion wars broke out here.  Mostly it seems the atheism/Christian wars, perhaps because Christianity in all its forms is the dominant religion in the US, or because of the right wing fundamentalist Christian alliance with the Republican party.  This diary addresses those issues only peripherely, if at all, but it does address tolerance and religion.

For those who don't know, Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his work in opposition to apartheid in South Africa.  He is an Anglican Bishop, a Christian.  He also led the Truth and Reconciliation Committee after the abolition of apartheid. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings.  Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.

He wrote a book recently: 'God Is Not A Christian: And Other Provocations.'.

Here's Amazon's description of the book:

In this essential collection of Desmond Tutu’s most historic and controversial speeches and writings, we witness his unique career of provoking the powerful and confronting the world in order to protect the oppressed, the poor, and other victims of injustice.

Renowned first for his courageous opposition to apartheid in South Africa, he and his ministry soon took on international dimensions. Rooted in his faith and in the values embodied in the African spirit of ubuntu, Tutu’s uncompromising vision of a shared humanity has compelled him to speak out, even in the face of violent opposition and virulent criticism, against political injustice and oppression, religious fundamentalism, and the persecution of minorities.

Arranged by theme and introduced with insight and historical context by Tutu’s biographer, John Allen, this collection takes readers from the violent apartheid clashes in South Africa to the healing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee; from Trafalgar Square after the fall of the Berlin Wall to a national broadcast commemorating the legacy of Nelson Mandela; from Ireland’s Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin to a basketball stadium in Luanda, Angola. Whether exploring democracy in Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, black theology, the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church, or the plight of Palestinians, Tutu’s message of truth is clear and his voice unflinching.

HuffPo excerpted part of his new book.

I want to bring two points from that excerpt:

My first point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong. The chances are very great that if you were born in Pakistan you are a Muslim, or a Hindu if you happened to be born in India, or a Shintoist if it is Japan, and a Christian if you were born in Italy. I don't know what significant fact can be drawn from this -- perhaps that we should not succumb too easily to the temptation to exclusiveness and dogmatic claims to a monopoly of the truth of our particular faith. You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.

snip

We should in humility and joyfulness acknowledge that the supernatural and divine reality we all worship in some form or other transcends all our particular categories of thought and imagining, and that because the divine -- however named, however apprehended or conceived -- is infinite and we are forever finite, we shall never comprehend the divine completely. So we should seek to share all insights we can and be ready to learn, for instance, from the techniques of the spiritual life that are available in religions other than our own. It is interesting that most religions have a transcendent reference point, a mysterium tremendum, that comes to be known by deigning to reveal itself, himself, herself, to humanity; that the transcendent reality is compassionate and concerned; that human beings are creatures of this supreme, supra mundane reality in some way, with a high destiny that hopes for an everlasting life lived in close association with the divine, either as absorbed without distinction between creature and creator, between the divine and human, or in a wonderful intimacy which still retains the distinctions between these two orders of reality.

For me, Bishop Tutu represents some of the best thought and action from the Christian faith tradition.  His beliefs and life do not mean Christianity is the only "true" religion or that there is a God.  But he and his beliefs are deserving of respect.

In the shadow of class war fought between Democrats and Republicans, coalitions are essential.  That requries respect of differences between people.  

Individuals find a panopoly of beliefs and non-beliefs on the Big Questions in life.

If they are fighting for the people against exploitation by a privileged class, then they are allies, regardless of whether I choose their particular answers on other questions.

Originally posted to TomP on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks, A Perfect Conversation, Spiritual Organization of Unapologetic Liberals at Daily Kos, and Street Prophets .

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  A bold statement that should be clarified... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atdnext, TomP, BlueJessamine
    His beliefs and life do not mean Chritianity is the only "true" religion or that there is a God.

    It comes of as a little confusing at first glance

    Is this meaning that his beliefs to not mean there is a God because he believes it?

    It's bash a Christian Day here at the Daily Kos. Write a diary about how much you don't like Christianity and we'll put you on the rec list.

    by mim5677 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:02:04 AM PDT

  •  this diary comes at an odd juncture (12+ / 0-)

    for me as there have recently been a couple of documentaries making the rounds, one examining the conservatism of the African Catholic Church and the other on the rabid anti-homosexuality stance of the Nigerian Anglican church under Archbishop Akinola. Bishop Tutu to me seems to embody what the original message of Christianity was while Akinola seems to more reflect what it has become

  •  Tutu is really universal (10+ / 0-)

    All we really ought to do is consider how limited the human sensory array is in comparison to the totality of everything that could possibly be going on.  

    It is really pretty foolish to think we can gain an exclusive sense of the truth, let alone that we should have any sort of authority to force our perspective on others.

    That is the folly of the human ego without an educated sense of proportion.

    I hope that Tutu's book becomes widespread.  We need more truly wise people adding to the larger discussion.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:08:46 AM PDT

  •  somewhat off topic (10+ / 0-)

    TomP: I'd like to ask you--and others--to stop linking to the Huffington Post. There is a strike-boycott by two unions trying to seek a fair deal from the corp entity running the place. People are being asked not to post there and not to link there. There have to be plenty of alternatives to linking since it's an aggregation site.

    Thanks.

    Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

    Visit Working Life.

    by Tasini on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:12:15 AM PDT

  •  I don't worship any divinity (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueJessamine, TomP, janmtairy, BYw

    or acknowledge any reality to such concepts. But at least he recognizes that one's starter faith is often simply a result of where one was born, although he doesn't admit it's due to childhood indoctrination. That's an idea I have seen from Richard Dawkins before. So, an interesting admission, to the extent that it goes.

    I'm finding a lot of things funny lately. But I don't think they are. -- Ripley

    by tytalus on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:15:19 AM PDT

  •  I heard an incredible (13+ / 0-)

    interview of Tutu with Krista Tippet from NPR a couple of months ago.  Tutu is not only a joyous human being, he is utterly inclusive.  He is also a bit of a flirt which was truly cute.  Tippet brought him dried apricots, which she learned he craves.  His response to her was adorable.

    I truly love this man for so many reasons.

    Thanks for the diary and the heads up about the book.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:16:48 AM PDT

  •  This is why I love Desmond Tutu. (6+ / 0-)
    We should in humility and joyfulness acknowledge that the supernatural and divine reality we all worship in some form or other transcends all our particular categories of thought and imagining, and that because the divine -- however named, however apprehended or conceived -- is infinite and we are forever finite, we shall never comprehend the divine completely.

    If our political "leaders" better understood this, we probably wouldn't be in multiple wars and mistreating so many of our own people today.

  •  Marx was not communist and Jefferson was not a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackNGreen

    democrat...true, these statements are almost a truism.

    if you think about it, you are not YOU. Your soul/mind is an emerging phenomena, meaning it does not exist as such but manifest itself to give meaning to order.

    so sure "God is a fag". he is also a beggar, a leper, god is a Palestinian kid with a rock in his hand, God is and old Jewish grandma about to be gassed by a young German boy...who incidentally is also god. humanity

  •  Bishop Tutu is one of my personal heroes. (8+ / 0-)

    I was fortunate enough to hear him speak once, on All Saints Day in 2005 at All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena.

    One of the things that strikes me most about him is his joyfulness... for someone who's seen and experienced as much of humanity's complete shittiness as he has, I very rarely see a picture of him without a smile on his face—if not a roaring belly-laugh.

    If I wasn't already a believer in God, I'm tempted to think that his joyfulness would make me at least want to believe in some kind of higher power or order—because I think I'd want to believe in any force that could make someone who has experienced and seen so much pain and suffering inflicted on people by other people, still find so much joy in life and so much hope in humanity.

  •  I wish more people really knew who Tutu is (15+ / 0-)

    I get the overwhelming impression, from various times that his name has come up on progressive discussion boards, that very, very few people understand who Bishop Tutu is, and what he accomplished in South Africa during the apartheid era.  

    I've even read "true progressives" dismiss him as a nice grandfatherly man who spoke out against apartheid, but not much more.

    Bishop Tutu is the Martin Luther King of South Africa in many ways -- although the vast majority of Americans have no idea who MLK was either, so that's not really clarifying things.  Whenever I read the phrase that MLK "marched" I want to cringe.

    Bishop Tutu was the Anglican Bishop of South Africa during the late apartheid era.  More importantly, he was the head of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), which became one of the most important legal anti-apartheid organizations in the country.  

    Like MLK in this country, Bishop Tutu's main role was not that he was a great speaker, or that he "marched" against injustice (whatever "march" means).

    No, Bishop Tutu's main role was that he was a staggeringly effective organizer.

    The SACC raised millions of dollars from within and from outside South Africa.  With this money, Tutu organized various programs to combat apartheid with a very long term, strategic focus.  Many of the programs were educational, and involved training the people who would run the country after the end of apartheid, because the government had essentially destroyed the educational system.

    On a more political level, the SACC created the "Justice and Reconciliation Network," a network of local activists, lawyers, paralegals, church workers, and scholars spread across the entire country.  One of their tactics was helping poor black communities form committees to resist forced removals, especially in the rural areas.  These committees would then obtain the services of the lawyers and paralegals of the JRN.  They also worked with an organization of progressive white women, called Black Sash, who were especially dedicated to preventing forced removals.  They filed an endless stream of lawsuits.  Because apartheid was weirdly legalistic, this work had an enormous effect on the government's ability to carry out forced removals.  Bishop Tutu is probably more responsible than any other South African for preventing forced removals, which in turn called into question the viability of the entire project of apartheid of creating separate black and white areas, and hence homelands and bantustaans.

    Bishop Tutu was not just a grandfatherly guy who spoke out and marched.  He was an organizer.  He was enough of a threat that the South African security forces planted a massive bomb in his offices in an attempt to either kill him or intimidate him.  

    Of course it didn't.

    Bishop Tutu may look like a kindly old man, but he has the physical courage of a soldier, and the tactical brilliance of a union organizer.

  •  Awesome quote! (4+ / 0-)
    You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.

    The next time I see a Christian bashing Islam, I'm going to use this quote.

    Great diary! T&R'd

  •  Holy men/women may be useful, (0+ / 0-)

    wise and good, but they are never holy and always men/women, nothing more.

    There are no true men/women of god unless these men/women of god can demonstrate that there is a god in the first place. IMO none has.

    God is the problem, not the solution.

    by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:34:22 AM PDT

    •  Of course. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HamdenRice, DvCM, Wee Mama

      The entire world should be subject to your Western modernist understanding of rationality and your Western modernist standards of proof. We all know that Western modernist epistemology is the only true way of knowing things, and anyone who suggests that peoples elsewhere in the world might have different and equally valid ways of knowing things is quite simply wrong unless he or she can prove it according to the standards of Western modernist rationality.

      •  Here is what we know (0+ / 0-)

        the more superstition the less reason.

        The application of reasonable ideas and reasonable methods to a problem is more effective than the application of religious ideas and religious methods.

        We have two solid centuries of experience on this point.

        God is the problem, not the solution.

        by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:52:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And yet, here is an example.... (6+ / 0-)

          ...of someone who is rooted in his own deeply-held religious values, who made use of his ethos as a spiritual leader as well as a religious organizer to play an instrumental role in healing the wounds of a nation, and whose joy and personality, which are also deeply rooted in his spirituality, are an inspiration to many people.

          The experiences and life of Desmond Tutu—and the many, many people whose lives he has touched and healed precisely because of his spiritual power, which consist not only of the people of South Africa (white and black) but also of many others around the world—would seem to suggest that the application of religious ideas and religious methods has been extraordinarily effective for him and for the cause of justice.

          Further, your subtle and implicit denigration of all who do not approach the world through the lens of Western modernist rationality is more than a little chauvinist and imperialist. How is telling all the world's peoples that they need to drop their "superstitions" and live their lives according to the tenets of Western modernist rationality any different from the oppressive Christian missionaries who tell all the world's peoples that they need to drop their "superstitions" and live their lives according to the tenets of their sect of Christianity?

          I don't want to get into any more here in what is a joyful diary about a great spiritual leader, but I will leave the discussion with this suggestion: Anyone who would honestly tell Desmond Tutu, a champion of the oppressed and a builder of justice and peace, that he is ignorant and inferior to those who have accepted "reason" for building his life and work on his faith, should probably reconsider the stridence of their stance.

          •  Ayn Rand worshipped (5+ / 0-)

            her version of "reason" and denigrated Christian morality.

            Neither athiesm nor Christianity automatically leads to a progressive outcome.  Nonetheless, it is hard to reconcile Jesus' sermon on the mount with a cult of selfishness.

            CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

            by TomP on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:08:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "Great spiritual leader" (0+ / 0-)

            Bull shit.

            You need a "great spirit" before you have a "great spiritual leader" and no one has demonstrated that there is any kind of a "great spirit."

            Whatever Desmond Tutu has done that is worthy of praise must be balanced against the fact that religion generally displaces reason. Unfortunately Tutu promotes religion.

            Now if Desmond Tutu were to announce to the world that this "God thing" was all a grand joke and humanity should get about its business without imploring the aid a divinity, then I would agree that he was a great "Spiritual leader."

            God is the problem, not the solution.

            by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:20:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You fetishize something (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mallyroyal, Darmok, DvCM, terabthia2

              you call "reason."  Interesting cult belief.  Is it formal logic you deify?  

              Frankly, the ethos of your comments is anger and superiority, arrogance.  

              Your comments give "reason" a bad name.  That's a  shame, because evidence and logic are useful.

              CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

              by TomP on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:54:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let's see (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                supercereal

                Religion = belief, superstition, tradition, holy books, myths
                Reason = understanding, science, learning, knowledge, technology

                Would you explain the advances of knowledge and technology which have resulted in numerous "blessings" to humanity and tell me which of those advances was due to religion and not reason.

                God is the problem, not the solution.

                by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:04:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sammy, sweety... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TomP, DvCM, terabthia2

                  That is for you to disprove since you're the one proclaiming that religion hasn't contributed to anything.

                  You're not more smarter, more enlightened, or more reasonable because you choose not to believe in a god.  And to assume that religion had nothing to do with what you think reason is just shows your ignorance in all things.

                  "Jesus, does President Obama start anything on time anymore? It's like being in a club and waiting for Lauryn Hill show to being."- The Rude Pundit live-whiskey blogging Obama's Big Damn Middle East Policy

                  by lcj98 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:17:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Those who criticize religion are immoral (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    supercereal

                    right.

                    If you attack religion there is something wrong with you, right?

                    If you want to tell me my attacks against religion are unfounded then go for it.

                    If you want to tell me I am wrong to attack religion then all I say is that I don't think so.

                    I guess I wouldn't be any smarter if I "chose to believe" that pi is approximately 3.14 but all the evidence suggests as much.

                    I am more progressive and I serve progressive causes more by advocating for reason against religion. At least Thomas Paine thought so, and I agree with him.

                    God is the problem, not the solution.

                    by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:35:22 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No... (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      HamdenRice, TomP, DvCM, terabthia2

                      if you attack religion for no real reason other than "you're stupid because you believe in a god", then something is wrong with you.  Because it's you that has the problem with religion, not the people who follows a religion...

                      Cupcake, I don't give a damn what you choose to or not to believe, that your business.  However, if you go around and stay stupid shit like "religion retards the mind", people will come up and slap you down.  And your brand of "progressiveness" is being a bigoted, arrogant, ignorant ass, which I'm glad I zero interest in.  

                      "Jesus, does President Obama start anything on time anymore? It's like being in a club and waiting for Lauryn Hill show to being."- The Rude Pundit live-whiskey blogging Obama's Big Damn Middle East Policy

                      by lcj98 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:08:57 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  No the burden of proof is on you (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    supercereal

                    because you makes assertions contrary to natural law.

                    If you wish to assert that a deity is doing anything that is relevant to humanity then you are obligated to say exactly what that action or actions were/was and how it can be verified. Otherwise your claim is irrational.

                    God is the problem, not the solution.

                    by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:00:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Life is more than (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  husl piper 11, DvCM

                  material objects.

                  You fail to see the poetry of life.  Humans may well create religions, but I'm okay with that.

                  Have fun in your debate.  The funny thing is I do not believe in a deity who intervenes in history, but I find many people who do to have more heart and mind than what you offer.

                  You attack all religions and spritual beliefs, but offer little to attract others.

                  One can live a very moral and fulfilling life without a belief in a deity.   Pinker and Dawkins see beauty in the universe and explanation of much in evolution.

                  Others, however, find meaning in belief systems that may or may not have deities.

                  Ego and compassion seem to conflict.

                  I was an atheist from age 12 on.  Now I;'m a Christian/Buddhist/ atheist/agnostic, depending on how I feel that day.  

                  Certainly many of the philosophic arguments for the existence of God are unconvincing. (Anslem, Aquinas, etc.)  But that's not the whole story.  William James had intersting things to say on the Varieties of Religious Experience and on The Will to Believe.   And tehre are many other outlooks also.

                  I'm fine with you believing what you do.  Why can you not accept that others may have their own beliefs?  

                  In any event, regardless of differences, I hoep you vote for Democrats.

                   

                  CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

                  by TomP on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:22:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  you come to the same conclusion about (SOME) (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TomP, DvCM

                atheists I do.  

                "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

                by mallyroyal on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:11:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  That's right... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TomP, DvCM

              Reason is wholly exclusive to non-religious thinkers.  Religion never had anything to do with social justice, science, math and philosophy.

              "Jesus, does President Obama start anything on time anymore? It's like being in a club and waiting for Lauryn Hill show to being."- The Rude Pundit live-whiskey blogging Obama's Big Damn Middle East Policy

              by lcj98 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:02:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Correct. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                supercereal

                Yeah. Believing in angels, demons, heaven, hell, holy men, holy books and all of that shit tended to retard minds. Go figure.

                Religion tended to deify the status quo in terms of wealth and political powers. The Levelers and enlightened thinkers tended to be heretics.

                Men Women of science tend to be menwomen of reason, not religion and the trend has growing stronger.

                Given that public defiance of the Church meant death you can not claim the heritage of faith as the heritage of science.

                If the church had not held men of learning in terror then you might make a case for the contribution of religion to science. But the bulk of evidence supports the conclusion that the church of old suppressed reason and science as much of the religious in our time do as well.

                God is the problem, not the solution.

                by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:13:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  List of people who might disagree with you (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TomP, mallyroyal, DvCM, terabthia2

                  Thomas Jefferson
                  Fredrick Douglass
                  Ghandi
                  Sir Issac Newton
                  Albert Einstein
                  Galileo
                  Harriett Tubman
                  Abraham Lincoln
                  Prince Consort Albert
                  Copernicus
                  Socrates
                  Plato
                  Descarte
                  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
                  Malcolm X
                  Michaelanglo

                  Tell which one of these people had a their minds retarded because of religion.

                  "Jesus, does President Obama start anything on time anymore? It's like being in a club and waiting for Lauryn Hill show to being."- The Rude Pundit live-whiskey blogging Obama's Big Damn Middle East Policy

                  by lcj98 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:40:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Are you kidding? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TomP

                    Jefferson, Einstein, Lincoln, Socrates, and Plato we in no sense thiests or Christian. Jefferson extolled reason to the same degree I do. Jefferson gave our country the first secular university. If Jefferson valued faith then why would he want to exclude the Church from higher education.

                    Douglass defined Christianity contrary to the Bible and as such asserted reason over religion. As a slave Douglass had no power to resist his religious indoctrination.

                    Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Michaelangelo lived in an age of extreme oppression so we no way of knowing what they truly believed much less what they would have believed if they were free to believe according to a free conscious.

                    Galileo and Copernicus made their contributions in spite of the Church not because of the Church and religion. For every man like Galileo there were hundreds or thousands of other churchmen who condemned them and their work. Those men who counter science and reason were organized, funded and empowered by the Church and religion.

                    Ghandi, Tubman, Malcolm X were indeed religious people who did good things. I never said religious people couldn't do good things. I said religion retards reason. You have not presented any evidence that it doesn't.

                    For every clergy man that you can name that has advanced society and I could name a hundred or perhaps a thousand that has pulled it back. Pat Roberson has had as much more influence on our time as Malcolm X did on his and there are legions of Pat Robertsons and relatively few Malcolm X's

                    Paine
                    Darwin
                    Hawkins
                    Dawkins
                    Harris

                    and other pioneers of science tend to be none believers. As none believers tend to make up a relatively small portion of the general population and the majority of the scientific community that suggests that disbelief is as asset to reason.

                    My list is longer than your list, if I took the time to make one and reason has only had a century or two.

                    Again tell me what advance came about because of religion and revelation in the last 200 years.

                    God is the problem, not the solution.

                    by Sam Wise Gingy on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:55:19 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Fair comment. (0+ / 0-)

                      Interesting discussion.  Take care.

                      Both of us likely would havve been burn at the stake years ago.  :-)

                      CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

                      by TomP on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 07:16:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Hoo Boy! Here We F$@%^#g Go Again! (0+ / 0-)

              This is a dairy about the life and philosophy of a very estimable person, and someone wants to crank the discussion around to minimize his contributions because of his religious beliefs and argue that all religions are false, idiotic, illogical, useless, offensive to the world, the bane of his/her existence (pick any three.)  Is this going to develop into a permanent DK meme?  The quotes the diarist used reflect Bishop Tutu's personal beliefs and are, at the least, pretty inoffensive.

              The greatest attributes of Bishop Tutu are his courage and his humanity -- his courage in the face of apartheid and his humanity in his inclusiveness, humility, and compassion.  To the degree that he inspires that in others, he is a great leader spiritual or otherwise.  If you want to convince the DK readership at large all religions are false, idiotic, illogical, useless, offensive to the world, the bane of your existence (pick any three,) consolidate your philosophy, summon up your arguments, and write a diary.

              "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

              by midnight lurker on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:40:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Excellent reply! nt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TomP, misfit2btied
    •  Ah, but then... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, DvCM, Into The Woods

      hard proof of the unknowable is always, if I may say, tricky.  I myself (western judeo-christrian upbringing bias)cannot profess a belief in a god.  But I can't say lack of proof equals no god.  The possibility of god is fascinating.  Sometimes I envy people their faith, but I'm not in their pack.  And I can live with that just fine.

      Yeah, I know.  "Fencesitter--!"

      •  Good comment. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        effervescent, DvCM

        CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

        by TomP on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:24:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Noseless One who drives me into such (0+ / 0-)

        depths of despair that my only refuge is to call out to a God in whom I do not believe.  

        Somewhere Jack London wrote something like that.

        I read it a long time ago, and have been looking for it ever since.

        We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

        by Into The Woods on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:08:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary, Tom. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Darmok, effervescent

    I'd love to see some of these folks on here tell Desmond Tutu what an idiot he is for believing in his God.

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:12:12 AM PDT

  •  A saint among us (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, effervescent, DvCM

    And by "saint," I simply mean someone who has managed to achieve the kind of humility and respect for others for which we should all aspire - and that's not even touching his accomplishments as an agent for change.  We (collectively) don't remotely recognize this man for his life's work.

    And, for having picked such a fantastic quote to illustrate that, this diary is most enthusiastically tipped and rec'd.  

  •  Good diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    No God isn't Christian anymore than Jesus was the first Catholic.
    I do like the non-attachment idea of Buddhism.  
    To be disciplined in any one school of thought contradicts this, no?

    that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong.

    also true when we are children, but we also have the choice when we are older if we open ourselves to it.

    We don't need birthday tributes to remind us of Reagan's legacy - the homeless do it every day. Andy Borowitz twitter:

    by effervescent on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:41:25 AM PDT

  •  OK, let me get this straight~ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

        The point of this diary is to present the new Tutu book titled, "God Is Not a Christian" .  Two excerpts from the book - which address tolerance, respect and inclusiveness - are offered.  The diarist clarifies that the discussion he is introducing is, "...respect of differences between people" in general, and the thoughts and actions of Desmond Tutu in that regard, specifically.
         Do I have this right?  Did I miss a reference to the validity of spirituality as a side issue?  I don't think so.  
         Wonderful diaries like this would be less likely to get sidetracked if no one ever responded to a comment that is off topic and pejorative.  Although I heartily agree with the responses and understand the urge to try to straighten out the interloper, I have never seen this accomplish anything but to create a platform for the troll as a reward.  The thing about 'taking offence' is that it is a choice.
    I'd like to be around when this young troll finds himself in a figurative foxhole someday...

    Too soon old, too late smart.....

    by DvCM on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:18:10 PM PDT

  •  Tutu's description of the spirit of Nazi-ism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    from God Has A Plan For You is something I've always wanted to go back and excerpt because it would be so useful in many discussions.

    He talked about the fundamental values at its core concerning a disdain for weakness and worship of power and how it is those values, those principles we should always be on the watch for because they had manifested themselves differently before Nazi Germany and will certainly attempt to manifest themselves again in different ways in the future.

    Thanks for the diary. Will have to get this at some point.  

    We'd rather dream the American Dream than fight to live it or to give it to our kids. What a shame. What an awful, awful shame.

    by Into The Woods on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:05:43 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Darmok

    I apologize for the length. I've been meaning to write something like that which follows since I saw a diary earlier this week on the rec list and a few other that I think can only be described as Christian punching.

    I am a so-called hard Atheist.  I enjoy discussing atheism and religion here, and have even written one diary on it.  I am also drawn to the Atheist/Christian dialog, and even the battles.  

    But I am also a Democrat.  Or rather, as far as my participation in this community, I am much more a Democrat.

    As far as this sight is concerned, you know, electing more and better Dems, the issues I may have with religion in general and Christianity in particular, are inconsequential.  I have NEVER once Christian diarist or even poster here push his or her faith on me or anyone else.  The "worst" thing I have experienced is on poster asking Jesus to forgive me for what I assume that poster considered blasphemy.

    Hardly something to write home about.

    Said another way, dedicated liberal/progressive Dems, be we Christian or not, DOMINATE this site.  We all want social and economic justice, good policy, good government and we all want to push back the strangle that Right Wing America has on our political system.

    We all want our country back. That is why I come here.  That is why  I think the majority of us all come here.  

    Simply put, we are on the same team.

    I am saddened that while the Republicans in Congress are running a high-stakes who-blinks-first charade with the Administration,  we squabble about religion. While the Republicans  hold the debt ceiling as hostage, we bicker and do nothing. While the Republicans pull a retread of their infamous shut-down-the-govt balls to wall idiocy they tried with Clinton back in the day, only this time it REALLY MATTERS if we default on our loans, we have diarists whine about Christians and others rec it up.  

    And if that were not bad enough, we have a dedicated Democrat hurling insults and abuse at a Christian for, well, being a Christian.  

    Like I said, I am a so-called hard Atheist.  Like I said, I like to engage a bit in the atheist/Christian battles.  

    But, as an Atheist, I think the personal attacks are more not only bad manners; I don't like them 'cause they make me look bad.  So cut the shit, my fellow atheists.

    And, much more importantly, as a liberal Democrat, cut the shit period.  These silly, superstitious, deluded, etc et bla bla bla, Christians are your fellow Dems!  They are not "they"

    "They" are "us."  Team Democrat.

    So, enough already.

  •  Desmond Tutu (0+ / 0-)

    is a wonderful human being.

    The fact that he's also a Bishop does not add anything to this fact.

    I have no qualms whatsoever about pointing out that religion makes no sense, that is is completely unnecessary for many of the the things that it claims to be neceesary for (nobody needs to be "saved" from an imaginary hell, dammit), and that there is an annoying tendency for many of its followers to engage in a dance of trying to redefine the religion so it doesn't have to include its worst examples.

    I have no qualms whatsoever about being very open about the fact that I consider the use of faith to come to conclusions to be a detrimental thing, overall.

    So it's only fair that when someone like Tutu comes along that I acknowledge the greatness of the man.  I disagree very much with Christianity, but that's not the entirety of who Tutu is.  Its just one small piece of the description of who he is.  Its the one small niggling island of disagreement in an otherwise large sea of praise I have for him.  And kudos to the Anglican church he's part of for being one of the least dogmatic and most human-centered variants of Christianity in the world.  I still have problems with it (especially it's archbishop Rowan Willams and his opposition to having one-law-for-all in the UK), but Tutu is one of its most respectable representatives.

    The world would be a far better place with more Tutu's and less Ratzinger's in it.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site