Thursday, April 16, 2009

Marxism and Religion in America

Written by Josh Lucker
Friday, 10 April 2009

A recent survey shows that the United States may be becoming both less religious generally and less Christian specifically. This may come as a shock to some, as over the past decade, the Religious Right has for many people come to represent the public face of the country. This has been spurred on and encouraged by the cries coming from many liberals over the past few years of an impending “theocracy.” However, the facts on the ground are quite different, as the American Religious Identification Survey, performed by Trinity College in Hartford, CT, recently proved.



The study finds that the percentage of Americans who self-describe themselves as “Christian” has fallen by over 10 percent over the past 18 years, from 86 percent to 75 percent. Even more surprising is that “the fallen” are not making their way to other religions, but rather, are almost all entering the ranks of the “non-religious,” a category which has doubled since 1990 to 15 percent. Over 25 percent of participants said that they do not even expect a religious funeral. As ABC News points out, “Americans with no religious preference are now larger than all other major religious groups except Catholics and Baptists.” In fact, the trend toward non-religiosity is the only national trend found in the survey.

Over recent decades, the ideology of capitalist society, i.e. its morality, culture, etc., have been thrown into crisis. The old ideas, a key linchpin of the system, no longer carry the weight they once did. However, this crisis of ideas is merely a reflection or by product of a corresponding crisis of the capitalist system itself, which finds itself at an impasse.

The period of decline of socio-economic systems, such as the Roman Empire, saw their own “crises of morality,” their own “crises of faith,” and their own “apocalyptic yearnings” (the rise of Christianity itself being a prime example).

In fact, apocalyptic visions of the “end of the world” are merely the spiritual reflections of social systems which have outlived their historical usefulness. They reflect the semi-conscious realization of “prophets” that the world as it exists, or rather social relations as they exist, cannot continue as they have in the past. We have seen no shortage of these harbingers of doom in recent years, typified by the popularity of the Left Behind book series.

However, despite the attention given to the “non-religious” findings of the survey, another finding shows that the trend is not one-sided and linear, but rather, complex and contradictory. While the “non-religious” have increased and the mainstream Christian denominations have decreased, evangelical or “born-again” Christians have also increased.

This expresses a trend which we, as Marxists, would expect, but which the mainstream media seems completely unable to explain. The reason is that the crisis of the capitalist system finds expression in a crisis of ideas, a polarization both to the right and to the left, not simply a progressive, linear rejection of religion.

As the crisis continues, this will intensify further. Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, is somewhat correct, albeit one-sided, when he tells CNN that, “As the economy goes downward, I think people are going to be driven to religion.” Many others will turn away from religion altogether, but the crisis will continue to push a certain layer into the arms of the fundamentalists, further exacerbating the polarization.

Marxism as a philosophy is atheistic, but our ideas in relation to religion are far more complex than the caricature of “Godless communists” usually portrayed in the media. If people know anything about Marx’s ideas on religion, chances are they know that he said that religion was “the opium of the masses.” He did in fact say this, but what he actually meant goes far beyond an isolated quote.

The quote is from Marx’s Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, written in 1844. In it, he takes up the German critics of religion, a trend led by Ludwig Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer and others, who focused their attacks, not on existing social relations, but on religion itself.

He points out that: “Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again… This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world… The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion… Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people…

“The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”



As Marx explains, the 19th Century German critics of religion had the whole thing turned upside-down. Religion is merely the reflection of suffering in this world, inequality in this world, injustice in this world. So long as these conditions exist, religion cannot simply be “abolished,” because it has a material base. It is, as he put it, the “sigh of the oppressed creature.”

Today there are many people, such as the so-called “New Atheists” or “antitheists,” who continue on the path of the German critics. Representatives of this trend include Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. While the popularity of this trend, particularly among the youth, can be seen as a generally positive development, as it is “in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo,” it does not and cannot offer a solution to the “real suffering” of millions of people living under capitalism.

In other words, religion cannot simply be abolished or criticized out of existence. As Marxists, we believe that if you eliminate the conditions of misery that most of humanity lives under, that is, if we create conditions for “real happiness,” then over time, the need for “illusory happiness” will disappear on its own. If you do not agree, that is perfectly fine with us. In the future we can debate all we want about life after death, but in the meantime, we should work together to create the conditions for a life before death.

Mikhail Bakunin, a 19th Century Russian anarchist, proposed a Program of the International Alliance of Socialist Democracy, which included as its first point: “The Alliance declares itself atheist; it wants abolition of cults, substitution of science for faith and human justice for divine justice.” In the margins of his copy of this document, Marx wrote: “As if one could declare by royal decree the abolition of faith!” This shows that those who believe that Marxism argues for a restriction of religious rights are misinformed.

Quite the opposite. We believe that there should be, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, a “wall of separation between church and state.” But we also believe that religion is a personal matter, between each person and his or her own conscience, not something to be banned or encouraged by the government.

In the struggle for a better world, we have far more in common, in terms of our goals and class outlook, with a liberation theologist in Latin America or a religious working class family in Ohio, than we do with some of the leaders of the “New Atheists,” such as Christopher Hitchens, a vocal supporter of the Iraq War.

RENEGADE EYE

86 comments:

The View from Steeltown said...

One of the most lucid commentary I have read on this issue in quite a while. I could not have said it better.

The Pagan Temple said...

It would be a strain to find something to disagree with here. Good article, although I think the author fails to recognize the potential for abuse of religious freedom from the left, which surely exists hand-in-hand with the potential for such abuses from the right. The only difference in the two is in their apparent manifestations, which would seem to be polar opposites, but are actually pretty much cut from the same cloth.

But that pretty much goes with my feeling that political parties, certainly the two major ones in America, are basically two sides of the same coin in a good many ways.

I should also point out that such religious movements as the Moral Majority in America answered a legitimate call from religious Americans to involve themselves in the political process. Previously, such people felt themselves shut out of the process as a group, shunned by the media, and pretty much treated as society's crazy uncle, better kept locked up in the attic.

In a strange kind of way, they had as much in common in this regard with blacks, women, gays, and other minorities, as they seem to have in opposition to them in many other ways.

When they came onto the scene, it was with devastating results to the left in America. They weren't so easy to ignore then, so therefore they had to be dealt with in some way or another, and as a result they became victims of a kind of demonization that would have been met with howls of protests, riots, and boycotts were any other interest group subjected to the same thing.

Like any other movement, however, the religious right is an evolving one. They are not the all-powerful (seemingly) monolithic voting bloc that they once were. A good many evangelical Christians, for example, have environmental concerns that are far more in line with the politics of the left, if slightly more moderate (ie, sensible).

Yet, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Their major influence over the course of the last two election cycles has resulted in a painful debacle for the Republican Party. They are as much responsible for those defeats as Democratic supporters and activists are in a more positive sense for the Democratic Party.

Finally, there is a factor in religion that has been in embryo throughout much of human history, certainly over the course of the last two millenia, but one which was awakened and nourished by the American Revolution, which is fitting, in that this embryonic aspect fits well with the American capitalist system. I am talking here about the competitive nature of religion, which for the first time in two thousand years found full expression in the United States.

Here, at least, religion has adopted and evolved in the struggle to win hearts and minds, and it will be a vital factor in America for some time to come, possible for centuries to come. Probably forever.

It's impossible to view religious growth or decline with a linear view to the future, as these things just come and go. No amount of social engineering is going to eradicate them, however benevolently or well-meaning the tactic or ideal behind it.

Religion in some form or another will be with us always, "even unto the end of the world."

FJ said...

As Marxists, we believe that if you eliminate the conditions of misery that most of humanity lives under, that is, if we create conditions for “real happiness,” then over time, the need for “illusory happiness” will disappear on its own. And the US Declaration of Independence states that certain rights are "inalienable" amongst them, "...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," in establishing the world's premier capitalist state.

So what, then, is "happiness"?

Herbert Marcuse quoted Freud in stating that "happiness was no cultural value". The founders obviously believed it to be a built-in "animal" value [One who's complete "liberation" precludes the establishment of cultures and/or civilizations (Eros and Civilization)].

So if you want to "eliminate the conditions of misery that most of humanity lives under" so that "we create conditions for 'real happiness,' then over time, the need for 'illusory happiness' will disappear on its own," what does this mean?

That's what the counter-culture was ALL about during the 60's. Only you and they would appear to have NO IDEA what 'real happiness' is for 'man the animal'.

It's my belief that it's mostly the exercise of power and will to power. Not simply the "Eros" that Marcuse fantasized about liberating. But also "Thanatos" (death instinct)... the will to take pleasure in the torture and death of others (as represented by Roman funerary games).

So perhaps those religious weren't all that far off in their apocalytic visions of four horsemen.

And so human ignorance lead to Ixion's wheel completing YET ANOTHER completely senseless revolution...

Ducky's here said...

On the topic of capitalism and religion I think "There Will Be Blood" offers a cogent thesis.

Pay attention to the character of Eli. Capitalism destroys him like it destroys everything else. There is no moral relationship anywhere in this film.

"I am finished". Pretty to think so.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Heh.

75% is still far too much for a developed nation and still gives America it's unique political feel, for example, the chances of an atheist being the next President is slim, unlike the UK where religion matters little.

The Pagan Temple said...

It should also be pointed out that a significant percentage of those Americans who self-identify as Christians are not exactly what you would consider religious, or even regular church-goers. Many of them weren't even raised in a church or religion. They have just been raised in an atmosphere where religious expression is pervasive and even encouraged.

Some of the best religious discussions, and outright arguments, are to be heard not in churches as such, but in downtown bars during happy hour, on up until closing time.

It goes without saying almost that a large percentage of Americans who call themselves Christian, even those who self-identify with one or another denomination, know very little about the Bible, outside of a few handy catch-phrases, such as the Golden Rule. Find somebody who actually lives by such maxims and you might have found a genuinely religious person. Otherwise such expressions are not to be taken too seriously.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Still, the US is the most openly religious developed nation in the world, more Americans than not believe that Christ will come back and Christianity influences policy across a broad range of issues.

Until the US can have an openly atheist President (as it kinda has in the past), can we safely say it has shook off it's religious obsession.

Ducky's here said...

...the chances of an atheist being the next President is slim, unlike the UK where religion matters little.

---------------------

The chances of a professed atheist are slim indeed. You have to make the right noises but to think that Johnson, Kennedy, Nixon, St. Ronnie Raygun, Clinton led any kind of an active church life is pretty amusing.
Carter, yes. Chucklenuts also in a very perverse fashion.

FJ said...

Nixon was a Quaker, ducky. He even had Kissinger down on his knees praying with him...

So stop trying to revise history, duckmeister. It's unseemly.

The Pagan Temple said...

I think the point is that they all, to one degree or another, felt obliged to express some religious affiliation, not that they were actually sincere in their stated so-called beliefs. The only thing amusing about it is that so large a portion of the American people by and large are fucking stupid enough to fall for it when they do, what ones actually give a damn. Frankly, I think Carter was the biggest fucking hypocrite of the bunch.

I think that under the right circumstances an atheist could be elected, depending on what's going on at the time, and whether the candidate made it clear he intended to protect religious liberties. If he or she had a history of doing so, so much the better. Frankly, I think it would be refreshing to see somebody who was openly atheist running unapologetically. It would certainly not influence me to vote against him, it would all come down to policy matters with me, and I suspect with most Americans.

FJ said...

The only thing amusing about it is that so large a portion of the American people by and large are fucking stupid enough to fall for it when they do, what ones actually give a damn.Fall for it? Hypocrites, Pagan? Don't be so F'g sure of yourself. People like myself can believe in a Creator and not be atheists. The chasm between atheist and Deist is just as vast as that between atheist and Christian.

And I'm sure that the vast majority of those presidents were NOT hypocrites. They understood their self-limitations enough to be "agnostic" at worst.

If you don't believe, that's your prerogative. But to label believers as "stupid" is pure hubris.

The Pagan Temple said...

You misread the post FJ. I was talking about people being stupid enough to fall for political candidates religious claims, when its obviously a political ploy, even among those candidates who might be sincere. The fact that it is a political ploy minimizes what actual religious leanings they might legitimately hold. I'm from the old school "don't let the left hand know what the right one is doing" school of thought. Outer displays of religion, especially among politicians, strikes me as Pharisaical, self-serving hypocrisy.

FJ said...

Indeed I did misread you post but 90% of what I said still stands.

You blame Americans for being "stupid" for trusting other Americans statements on the subject of faith? That's NOT being stupid. That's being human. I may think that Ren and Ducky and Daniel are "gullible" for believing in the tenets of Marxism or Socialism, but I sure don't think they're stupid for putting their faith in the possibility that there may possibly be "better systems of human government" than the one that is currently veering violently off course.

So perhaps you'd care to elaborate on just what "an obvious political ploy" vis a vis religion looks like? I, for one, don't doubt Jimmy Carter's religious convictions or sincerity one bit. Have you an example you can cite?

And as much as I may disapprove of the current president's religious affiliations and recent appointments vis a vis "faith based initiatives," I can still respect an agnostic who would defer to the sensibilities of the faithful (ie - Michelle Obama and daughters) even if he derives unwarranted personal political benefits from the act.

FJ said...

Like it or not, politicians are the ultimate actors and role models. And a politicians who refuses to "play the religious part" needs a swift kick in the ass along with a good talking to. If you won't play the role, you don't deserve the part. Modern sensibilities regarding the ethics of "authenticity" be damned!

ravin said...

been long day...i will not get started on this subject today

ravin ;))

FJ said...

btw - Back on the subject of Marx, what is missing from Marx's critique are the built in psychological/ mental aspects of religion exposited by transcendentalists like Emerson (Address to the Harvard Divinity School), pragmatists like William James (On the Varieties of Religious Experiences), psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud (The Future of an Illusion/Moses & Monotheism/Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego) and later on the philosophers and critical theorists of the Frankfurt School (Marcuse and the Neo-Freudians) and recent Neurologists and Psychologists like Rhawn Joseph (Transmitter to God) and Churchland (Neurophilosophy).

Religion is "built in" to the way the human brain processes information. It will "always" be with us. The "machine" doesn't work without "some form" of it, even "atheism" as there will always be a system that seeks to mentally resolve the similarities and differences between "one and many", the "whole and its parts" and "how do I relate to the group" (Ego vs SuperEgo)/ where do I fit into the "vast universal scheme of things".

Nevin said...

Renegade: An excellent article! Actually, it corresponds with my latest post. Or should I say, It is a cleaver counter argument to my criticism of religion or religious people! I will put a link to this post... :)

FJ said...

btw - Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance does an excellent job of tying the "unalienable" rights of man vis a vis "freedom of conscience" to not only his religious convictions, but ALL those principles, (religious or NOT) by which he makes judgements and acts.

The Pagan Temple said...

FJ-

I just think it's stupid to take a politicians religious expressions at face value, that's all.

As far as politicians being actors and role models, you are very correct about that. That's unfortunately the point. They are actors first and foremost, and anybody that chooses one of them as a role model does so at his own peril, every bit as such as someone who looks up to a typical Hollywood actor as a role model.

When politicians get back to being what they are supposed to be-public servants to the people who sent them to office-then maybe I can view them again as worthwhile role models. I might even be able to tentatively accept the sincerity of their expressed religious views.

Until such time, sorry, it's just a lot of bullshit to me.

FJ said...

Until the day comes along when a leader exhibit's those traits that YOU admire... then you will succumb to the "cult" of the leader just like every other "good" group member.

Do you deny group dynamics and behaviors, Pagan? People have an innate NEED to know their place in the social pecking order, to follow and obey political leaders who typically fill the psychological role of the primordial father. Humans are horde animals. They are "hypnotized" by their "more powerful" leaders. The leader's will overides and surplants the individual's ego... people imprint on him and would do things they'd never ordinarily do of their own volition. They idolize their leaders, the females swoon over the thought of being sexually dominated by them. The cult of Obama is just as powerful as the cults of Reagan, Stalin or Hitler.

FJ said...

People are not "stupid"... and to follow one's natural instincts is not "stupid". Part of being human is to occasionally set aside all "rationality" and connect with your more ancient emotions and instincts (limbic system or reptilian brain), to be torn between the "reason" which resides in the neo-cortex that says "he's just acting" and limbic emotions that screams, "it feels soooo right."

Plato them the the "silver/brass" chords which were offset by a "golden" chord of "divine reason"

FJ said...

People "imprint" on their leaders, just like a baby stork imprints on a freakin puppet or airplane that teaches it how to migrate...

FJ said...

You may consider that ignoring "reason" (the divine chord) in favour of instinct is "stupid", but "reason" has only "evolutionarily" existed in humans since relatively recently (homo sapiens sapiens). What is truly "illusory" in man is his use of "reason" (which is largely a process by which events are "falsified"). Instincts are what have enabled man to survive for millions of years. So when Marx speaks of eliminating the ilusory so as to bring about human happiness... he's expressing a desire to regress to "animal type".

The Pagan Temple said...

Those are good points, and maybe stupid isn't the best choice of words. But at the same time, the notion that we can recognize this aspect of humanity means that we have the capacity to rise above it, if we but will.

No, I would never succumb to the cult of the leader. I've already done that, and I know where it leads to. My desire would be to dissuade others from repeating my folly. The traits I admire in a leader are the kinds of traits that would lead a leader to seek sound advice and counsel, and respect the limitations as well as the powers and prerogatives of their office, and who have a steadfast devotion to the constitution as written.

Those qualities are rare, especially the latter two.

Desert Mystery said...

Great post! I couldnt agree more...Religion is indeed the opium of the people

Lucky Scadanavians, I hear religous attendance and active belief is down to single digits. Something for the rest of the world to strive for.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Ducky's Here:

Sorry, I don't buy that, these men had religion, you have to go a long way back to the likes of Lincoln and Washington and Jefferson to find men who gave mere lip service to religion.

Pagan:

Your assertion doesn't tarry with the fact that America is incredibly religious, the chances that these men had serious religious convictions are higher than in other developed world leaders because that is one of America's unique factors.

And whether or not they actually had strong belief is irrelevent, the issue is that the US electorate demands that belief. No one can say whether or not their beliefs were performed or not.

As for atheist being elected in the US, I seriously doubt it, not when the exceptionally high level of religious feeling affects decision making to such a degree.

I think if you live in it, it is hard to take a step back and see how exceptional it is in the developed world.

Also, you get the political system you deserve, so regarding politicians being public servents again, well, what they are now is a creation of the world we've built, we cannot onyl change the politicians but the rules of the game they play.

FJ:

"Indeed I did misread you post but 90% of what I said still stands."

That is so typical of you, he he.

And to be clear, I don't believe in the tenets of Marxism or Socialism, just so you're clear on that one.

Are you religious FJ? It seems you are but if so, what faith do you follow?

As for religion being "built in", Richard Dawkins has a lovely take on why the flaw of religion is still utilised by humans even though it has so few benefits, have a read of his stuff FJ, I doubt it'll change your mind but it may broaden your thoughts on the matter.

And don't make the classic error of trying to paint atheism as a religion, you either don't know what ateism is or religion.

Also, I think many of the human matters you take as read are ones that humanity can progress out of, such as "People have an innate NEED to know their place in the social pecking order, to follow and obey political leaders who typically fill the psychological role of the primordial father."

This hypothosis is not true for everyone and for every culture but in those where it has a fragment of truth, it is a feature that should be aimed at for eradication, for the advancement of humanity.

"Humans are horde animals." Not in the modern age so much, individual has become king, no doubt to the loss of humanity, we have (very generally speaking) lost our sense of togetherness as a species.

I also think using Obama in the same turn of phrase as Reagan (whose cult deveoped after his Presidency, his popluarity whilst in charge was average), Stalin or Hitler.

I love how it takes you 11 comments to say what most say in 1.

Renegade Eye said...

Steeltown: I agree.

Desert Mystery: Putting class ahead of religion, is important particularly in Pakistan. Nationalism is also destructive.

Nevin: Your post compliments mine.

Pagan: I think it's good that the post had little to disagree with.

I always thought the religious right was overrated as a political force. Splits are common in any group that goes from small to big. Actually a split can be a rebirth over time.

I agree with you in general, that most expressed faith is not religious fanaticism.

FJ: I find some humor in the Marcuse paragraph. He has been discredited for so long. Funny how you quote the 'New Left" writing.

en Marx speaks of eliminating the ilusory so as to bring about human happiness... he's expressing a desire to regress to "animal type".I think the opposite.

The idea that religion is wired into the brain is fascinating, but hard to prove.

Ducky: I didn't love the Blood movie, except for the acting. I agree.

Nixon was a Quaker.

Daniel H-G: I think militant secularism, for the most part doesn't lead anywhere. Objective conditions can change populations, when they are in motion.

The Pagan Temple said...

I believe religion is an adaptation. The best explanation I've ever read for how it evolved is in a book called "The Naked Ape". Don't recall the author's name, but it strikes me as the more likely scenario, or awful close to what probably happened.

As for religion in America, I will agree insofar as outer expressions of religious belief, but in general, the main impact of religious influence is how it has affected American values and how we express those values.

But hell, you can probably say the same thing for Europe, and probably most other places in the developed world and beyond. Europeans strike me as people who have largely tried to remove themselves from the influence of religion due to the negative influences of religion in their history, which is certainly understandable, but on the other hand, there have been positive influences of organized religion that have found expression in such things as for example concerns for social justice.

I am not saying you have to be religious, or influenced by religion, to believe in such things as that, but it has been a factor, and probably the major factor at that. People just tend to focus on the negative aspects of religion when they decry it.

As far as American leaders being more religious than others, again, it would appear that way on the surface, and in some cases this is probably a valid view, but even in those cases where it is true, there is something to be said for my view that it is a political ploy. Bear in mind, the most successful con artists usually do so well precisely because they start to believe their own bullshit, which is in a great many cases what actually brings them down.

I was always of the belief that George W. Bush had a messiah complex. I still believe that. He was a lot like Wilson in that regard. Not too awful long ago, I used to compare him to Caligula. He even made the remark once that he believed God was telling him, or influencing him, to do something. That's pretty scary when you stop to think about it. You don't have to be affiliated with one political view or another to find reason for concern in something like that.

But Bush is in my opinion the exception, not the rule, when it comes to the religious faith of American politicians. Most of them, in my opinion, spend about as much time praying and asking for divine guidance as I've spend time in bed having sex with the world's top models.

Here's a clue-they don't do it at all. Well, hate to say it, but that's what makes a religious person. It takes more than going to church and saying "God bless America" at the end of a teleprompter speech. A religious person actually lives it day in and day out, and privately seeks religious guidance, through prayer and counsel through religious figures (without making a big show of it).

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

In summary then, religion is a massive part of American culture and life and one of the factors that makes it exceptional.

The Pagan Temple said...

It's an important part of our history, culture, and life, but I wouldn't call it a "massive" part, at least not anymore. It was always of more regional importance than nationally, and still is.

It is also one of the factors that make us unique, insofar as our traditional approach to separation of church and state and guaranteed religious freedoms, but what makes us "exceptional" in my opinion is our Constitution, which has no equal anywhere on earth. The Bill of Rights is what sets it apart.

Why? Because you don't have to view it from an ideological perspective to appreciate it, in fact its better if you don't.

Taken all together, it's basically an agreement, a compromise of sorts, that states simply that the federal government will not intrude on certain aspects of life in the various states, and in return the states will agree to unite under a common economic and trade policy, with a common currency, in addition to a united foreign policy.

What problems we have had over the years is caused more often than not from getting away from the original spirit and intent of the constitution and especially Bill of Rights. Religion plays a small role in it, yes, but once you get past the First Amendment, that's pretty much it for the religious influence, and even that takes in far more than religious issues, it also deals with Freedom of Speech and the Press, Association, etc.

FJ said...

Pagan,

Those qualities are rare, especially the latter twoAmen brother!
---

Daniel,

And don't make the classic error of trying to paint atheism as a religion, you either don't know what ateism is or religion.LOL! Having just cited a rather large body of works that I have read on the subject, I find it hilarious that you insist on making such idiotic comments. I'll just take it that you're unfamiliar with the etymology of the word and the "broader context" in which the word 'religion' can be applied.

from Wiki: The English word religion has been in use since the 13th century, loaned from Anglo-French religiun (11th century), ultimately from the Latin religio, "reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety, the res divinae".[5]

The ultimate origins of Latin religio are obscure. It is usually accepted to derive from ligare "bind, connect"; probably from a prefixed re-ligare, i.e. re (again) + ligare or "to reconnect." This interpretation is favoured by modern scholars such as Tom Harpur and Joseph Campbell, but was made prominent by St. Augustine, following the interpretation of Lactantius. Another possibility is derivation from a reduplicated *le-ligare. A historical interpretation due to Cicero on the other hand connects lego "read", i.e. re (again) + lego in the sense of "choose", "go over again" or "consider carefully".[6] It may also be from Latin religiō, religiōn-, perhaps from religāre, to tie fast.
As Madison intimated in his Memorial and Remonstrance, a man's religion consists of the entire constellation of ideas which tie him to the universe and guide his subsequent actions (or inactions) and NOT merely one's belief in in a "deity". If you want to know a man's "true" religion, I suggest that you stop listening to his words, and start reading his actions.

Acta non Verba, y'all.

Are you religious FJ? It seems you are but if so, what faith do you follow? Again, in the "narrowest" sense of the term, I do "choose" to believe in a "Creator". That is the extent of my "religiosity" in the "narrowest" sense of the term that you seem to prefer. After all, Plato proved in his "Parmenides" dialectic that, "If One is not, then nothing is."

And if I were to ever fail in maintaining this belief, I would cease to exist. As Nietzsche so aptly noted in his unfinished "Will to Power":

488 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Psychological derivation of our belief in reason.--The concept "reality", "being", is taken from our feeling of the "subject".

"The subject": interpreted from within ourselves, so that the ego counts as a substance, as the cause of all deeds, as a doer.

The logical-metaphysical postulates, the belief in substance, accident, attribute, etc., derive their convincing force from our habit of regarding all our deeds as consequences of our will--so that the ego, as substance, does not vanish in the multiplicity of change.

--But there is no such thing as will.--
---

This hypothosis is not true for everyone and for every culture but in those where it has a fragment of truth, it is a feature that should be aimed at for eradication, for the advancement of humanity.Au contraire. It is true for all "civilized" peoples, as "cultures" are merely an intermediate pyscho-social stage on the road to "civilization" that allow people "self -governing" (aka- virtuous/ wise/ temperate/ courageous/ just). To eliminate the sublimated restrictions opposing "instinctual" behaviors represents a man's desire to "regress" to animal type RATHER than "virtuously" surpass himself. In other words, it's what renders us "human" and NOT beasts. ;-)
---

Humans are horde animals." Not in the modern age so much, individual has become king, no doubt to the loss of humanity, we have (very generally speaking) lost our sense of togetherness as a species.And so the cry goes out for "socialism" (restablish the horde).... it's hardwired into out brains, I know. Try and "surpass" your animal self for a change, though, Euripidean Pentheus".

Meanwhile I'll join Cadmus (as Tireseas) in lifting the thyrsus, donning my fawn skins and joining the revel rout.
---

The idea that religion is wired into the brain is fascinating, but hard to prove.Like most Freudian pyscho-analytic theory, currently impossible to prove. But then, so are MOST things we also currently take for granted.

Ducky's here said...

That's being human. I may think that Ren and Ducky and Daniel are "gullible" for believing in the tenets of Marxism or Socialism, but I sure don't think they're stupid for putting their faith in the possibility that there may possibly be "better systems of human government" than the one that is currently veering violently off course.

------------------------------

Yes FJ, and a start towards a more rational discussion would be a general right wing admission, as you seem to have done, that we have moved too far right and have to start moving back left to see what we can come up with.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: I think because humans are aware of their mortality, that burdon makes religion for some a necessesity. I think the God Part ideas are interesting, but hard to prove.

I agree with you about the role of religion.

Daniel H-G: This is subjective, but from my church/synagogue experience, it's a geriatric practice.

I think as far as it's worth, the seperation of church and state ala Jefferson was at one time unique.

Ducky: The right has gone into a small group mentality mode. This economic crisis is to them, what the fall of Stalinism was to Eastern Europe.

It will take a few years for the impact of this crisis to express itself. A recession causes timidity. The Great Depression started 1929, and the great strikewave; Minneapolis, San Francisco, Toledo etc. started about 1934.

There is no dialog within the right now. They believe they were too compromised by McCain.

If the right has a future, it would be with someone as blogger as Truth-Pain.

FJ: Like it or not, politicians are the ultimate actors and role models. And a politicians who refuses to "play the religious part" needs a swift kick in the ass along with a good talking to. If you won't play the role, you don't deserve the part. Modern sensibilities regarding the ethics of "authenticity" be damned!LOL, quite clever.

Part of being human is to occasionally set aside all "rationality" and connect with your more ancient emotions and instincts (limbic system or reptilian brain), to be torn between the "reason" which resides in the neo-cortex that says "he's just acting" and limbic emotions that screams, "it feels soooo right."There is a need to connect to the soul of the souless, as Marx said the opiate of the masses.

FJ said...

There is a need to connect to the soul of the souless, as Marx said the opiate of the masses. The problem you 'moderns' have, Ren, is that the Division of Labor "separates the head from the hands" (rendering it soul-less) and "science" is the ultimate "soul -emptier". As Emerson observed in his "The Conduct of Life" essay on 'Beauty,' "We should go to the ornithologist with a new feeling, if he could teach us what the social birds say, when they sit in the autumn council, talking together in the trees. The want of sympathy makes his record a dull dictionary. His result is a dead bird. The bird is not in its ounces and inches, but in its relations to Nature; and the skin or skeleton you show me, is no more a heron, than a heap of ashes or a bottle of gases into which his body has been reduced, is Dante or Washington. The naturalist is led from the road by the whole distance of his fancied advance. The boy had juster views when he gazed at the shells on the beach, or the flowers in the meadow, unable to call them by their names, than the man in the pride of his nomenclature. Astrology interested us, for it tied man to the system. Instead of an isolated beggar, the farthest star felt him, and he felt the star. However rash and however falsified by pretenders and traders in it, the hint was true and divine, the soul's avowal of its large relations, and, that climate, century, remote natures, as well as near, are part of its biography. Chemistry takes to pieces, but it does not construct. Alchemy which sought to transmute one element into another, to prolong life, to arm with power, — that was in the right direction. All our science lacks a human side. The tenant is more than the house. Bugs and stamens and spores, on which we lavish so many years, are not finalities, and man, when his powers unfold in order, will take Nature along with him, and emit light into all her recesses. The human heart concerns us more than the poring into microscopes, and is larger than can be measured by the pompous figures of the astronomer."You want soul... you're 'moderns' are NOT gonna find it scientifically. The first thing that happens is that the "soul" gets dialectically divided OUT of the subject of study. The day the university opens a department dedicated to the 'scientific' exploration of "love" is the day mankind takes a great leap forward.

Brother Tim said...

Good post, Ren. As a TRUE Christian, I am not in the least surprised by the poll numbers. 95% of self-described Christians are , in fact, pseudo-christians. It just sounds good to them to make that proclamation. It's analogous to health-conscienceness. Diets and health-based foods are a mega-billion dollar industry, yet we remain a nation of fat people.

True Christians adhere to New Testament teachings. A true Christian could never accept things like war, capital punishment, corruption, and disregarding the needs of the poor and down-trodden. Christianity is more interested in increasing it's numbers, and thus it's coffers and powers, than it is in adhering to it's basic tenets.

This is the reason Christianity world-wide, is declining; while the Islamic faith is growing fast. Muslims don't patronize by saying, 'We're all sinners, we're only human, don't worry about it'.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Pagan:

In summary then, religion is a massive part of American culture and life and one of the factors that makes it exceptional.

FJ:

As I said, you don't know what religion or atheism is clearly, broader context for you means strectching the meaning of words to fit your personal views.

"And if I were to ever fail in maintaining this belief, I would cease to exist."

No you wouldn't and a provable experiment, go for it, you'll still be here, although perhaps less pompous.

Brother Tim: True Christians seem quote alarming.

The Pagan Temple said...

Wow! No offense, Tim, but you're a true LIBERAL Christian. There's not a damn thing wrong with that either, as far as it goes, but don't try to pretend that Christians by definition have to agree with you on war and capitol punishment, or even social policy, because they just don't. Frankly, I would feel far more at home in a Southern Baptist Church than I would an Anglican, if I were a Christian.

Take social policy. It's one thing for the government to provide a safety net in the way of welfare, or Medicaid, or other such things, and I have no problem with it, but the main complaint all conservatives (not just the Christian ones) have with such programs isn't that we don't want to help the poor and downtrodden, its just that those kinds of programs tend to grow and encourage generational dependency.

At the same time, I for one would never dream of ending such programs, hell, I might need them myself some day. But they need to be kept in check and reined in from time to time, to say nothing of the fact that people that do use these programs need to be helped to get off those programs and live independently of them, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

And you say what you call "pseudo-Christians" believe in war like they're just itching for a fight anyplace they can find it. Err, no they don't, they just want to maintain a strong defense and use it when necessary. Sorry, but despite the many stupid, boneheaded mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan, if we hadn't acted as we did we would be viewed as the chumps of the world. Had we just sat back and engaged in a soul-searching discussion as to how and why 9/11 happened, tried to feel the other sides pain, reached out in friendship and humility, and otherwise did nothing in the way of payback, we probably would have been attacked at least five or six more times between then and now.

Then the next thing you know people would get so disgusted they would have ended up electing some REALLY far-right winger that would have made George W. Bush look like Gandhi, and somebody's ass would probably end up being nuked.

The death-penalty comment is almost not worthy of reply. If you think its more merciful to put a human being in a ten-by-twelve foot cell for the rest of his or her natural life than it is to put even a hard-core multiple murderer or child rapist out of their misery, then you might possibly-just might, mind you-be a much more vengeful, cold-hearted person than you think you are.

I'll say one thing for you Christians, all of you, the liberals and conservative sides. You all damn sure seem to like to look at things as though it's all black and white. What's fucked up about that is that both of you recognize that tendency in the other side, but not in yourselves.

I'm afraid if there really is a hell you're both going to split it wide open, just for different reasons. Get with the program, kiddo. You haven't got any patent on holiness. Sanctimoniousness, maybe. Frankly, I think you can find more actual sincere Christians at the neighborhood bar during Happy Hour than you'll ever find in any church.

FJ said...

No you wouldn't and a provable experiment, go for it, you'll still be here, although perhaps less pompous.Now THAT "less pompous" person would no longer BE me, would it Danny? It would BE a "changed or "altered" ME. As William Jefferson Clinton once so "lawyerly" remarked, "...that would depend upon what the meaning of the word IS, is."

Ontology is the study of "Being". Try cracking a book before shooting off your smart-assed mouth about things you don't understand next time.

As you can see, Ren, you moderns have absolutely NO conception of soul. Danny proves it each and every time he opens his know-it-all mouth.

FJ said...

"Ideas" cannot be stripped away from Theseus' ship like planks of wood and replaced for it to still REMAIN or BE "Theseus' ship".

FJ said...

The ship becomes Delta Theseus' or Theseus AFTER defeating the Crommyonian Sow's ship.

You need to account for Panta Rei (aka - changes/deterioriation over time) for as Plato's Parmenides Dialectic has proven absolute 1 cannot equal 1 or it would BE-come "two".

nanc said...

o.t. - ren - very bad news for saberi.

Brother Tim said...

Pagan--
Wow! No offense, Tim, but you're a true LIBERAL Christian. Thanks, no offense taken! Jesus was a liberal, and a socialist to boot. There's not a damn thing wrong with that either, as far as it goes, but don't try to pretend that Christians by definition have to agree with you on war and capitol punishment, or even social policy, because they just don't. Then you have a skewed definition of Christian. Break it down by syllable to understand it better. Frankly, I would feel far more at home in a Southern Baptist Church than I would an Anglican, if I were a Christian. Frankly, I don't feel comfortable in either of them.Take social policy. It's one thing for the government to provide a safety net in the way of welfare, or Medicaid, or other such things, and I have no problem with it, but the main complaint all conservatives (not just the Christian ones) have with such programs isn't that we don't want to help the poor and downtrodden, its just that those kinds of programs tend to grow and encourage generational dependency. No, the problem conservatives (regardless of stripe) have is, they expect bare-foot people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Most conservatives' views are driven by their own avarice.At the same time, I for one would never dream of ending such programs, hell, I might need them myself some day. But they need to be kept in check to be used only by the conservatives themselves and reined in from time to time when non-conservatives use them, to say nothing of the fact that people that do use these programs need to be helped to get off those programs and live independently of them, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER POSSIBLE. THAT I can agree with. And you say what you call "pseudo-Christians" believe in war like they're just itching for a fight anyplace they can find it. Err, no they don't, Err, yes they do they just want to maintain a strong defense and use it when necessary. A strong defense is used for protecting one's own castle's walls, not traveling half way around the world to attack smaller, weaker nations that pose no credible threat to them. Sorry, but despite the many stupid, boneheaded mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan, if we hadn't acted as we did we would be viewed as the chumps of the world. That's an unprovable assumption. Had we just sat back and engaged in a soul-searching discussion as to how and why 9/11 happened we may have been surprised to discover it was an inside-job, rather than buying the 'official' explanation faster than a gaggle of geese jumping on a bunch of June Bugs, tried to feel the other sides pain, reached out in friendship and humility That's a bad thing?, and otherwise did nothing in the way of payback Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord. I will repay. I will recompense., we probably would have been attacked at least five or six more times between then and now. Now THAT is definately speculation.Then the next thing you know people would get so disgusted they would have ended up electing some REALLY far-right winger that would have made George W. Bush look like Gandhi, and somebody's ass would probably end up being nuked. More unfounded and unprovable opinion. Nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence. That's the real reason we worry about Iran's nuclear program. We (the Israelis and us) would no longer be able to bully them around. There are literally hundreds of loose nukes floating around the old USSR unaccounted for. Where's all the hyperbole about them?The death-penalty comment is almost not worthy of reply. If you think its more merciful to put a human being in a ten-by-twelve foot cell for the rest of his or her natural life than it is to put even a hard-core multiple murderer or child rapist out of their misery, then you might possibly-just might, mind you-be a much more vengeful, cold-hearted person than you think you are. Or my faith in a Higher Power may well make me a more rational thinker. It is not for me decide who lives and who dies. This authority rests with the Creator. My faith requires that I believe, and trust, in His omnipotence. If God decides someone should die, He does not need the help of mortal men to accomplish the task. There are those that have massive coronaries, and are dead before they hit the ground. The commission He has assigned to us is: Love thy neighbour as thyself.I'll say one thing for you Christians, all of you, the liberals and conservative sides. You all damn sure seem to like to look at things as though it's all black and white and then there are some pagans that insist everything is in shades of gray, with no true black and white. What's fucked up about that is that both of you recognize that tendency in the other side, but not in yourselves. And you are different in what respect?I'm afraid if there really is a hell you're both going to split it wide open, just for different reasons. If you are right and I am wrong, what have I lost? I have found inner joy, and peace with my fellow-man. But if I am right and you are wrong, what have you lost? Get with the program, kiddo. I'm already enrolled in the program; you're the one that needs to register. You haven't got any patent on holiness. Once again, I'm in agreement. The Creator is the patent-holder on that. Sanctimoniousness, maybe. Or maybe not. I have no fear of being judged. Frankly, I think you can find more actual sincere Christians at the neighborhood bar during Happy Hour than you'll ever find in any church. I'll have to take your word on that, as I haven't been in a bar in about 20 years, things may have changed. However, I can say with a certainty, that wasn't true back in the days that I did frequent them.Peace and Grace

The Pagan Temple said...

Brother Tim-

There is no way in hell you're a Truther, right? If you believe that shit, I'm probably wasting my time talking to you about anything else, because you're probably beyond reason. If you really do believe that shit, I'm begging you, get help before its too late. The government does good to deliver the mail on time. They can't mess up in even small ways without somebody somewhere being all up in their shit about it, and rightly so. Get a grip on reality, it can actually be fun, even exciting. More importantly, its the only things that's, well, real.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: I don't at all think 9/11 was an inside job. I'm with you on that issue. I deal with several people, left and right who I disagree with. I match their tone.

I was at a public meeting, where I in effect callled my opposition names. I lost the vote. Your tone won't help you or your opposition understand your point.

Tim is a liberal Christian. You freaked out about it. Nanc is a conservative Christian, you never had a fit over it.

Tim: I disagree with you on 9/11. I recommend David Corn's writing in CounterPunch.

Nanc: Delara Darabi is facing execution today in Iran.

FJ: Love is being studied all the time.

Science doesn't deal with the soul. That doesn't make it a soul emptier or soulful. Science and soul are apples and oranges. Not hostile but not related.

You are correct that religion and science is a mind/body question. Religion can't exist independent of thought.

Brother Tim said...

Pagan--
I take by your use of the word 'Truther' to mean 'Conspiracy-Nut'. I'm not that at all. I do seek the truth however, is that wrong in your eyes?

Even if that were true, is being a conspiracy-nut any worse than blindly accepting what your government tells you as the gospel truth? To believe our government is incapable of commiting atrocities, or false-flag attacks, is ludicrous, absurd, and down-right farcical. History is chock-full of examples.

Ren--
I'm somewhat neutral on the 9-11 issue. The 9-11 remark was only used as a supposition. What I do know, is that the 9-11 Commission and all Government explanations of the incident, do not hold water.

If there's one thing I've learned in my 60 years of living, it's, our Government, for one reason or another, is NOT an honest entity.

I read most of Corn's work, and as with all writers, sometimes I agree with him, and sometimes I don't.

Congratulations on creating such a thought-provoking thread.

FJ said...

FJ: Love is being studied all the time....in porno film houses all across America and Europe.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

I didn't freak out over Tim being a liberal Christian, I was just pointing out that he doesn't have the right to insist that Christians who do not agree with him are not "real" Christians. Such a statement is the height of hubris.

Brother Tim-

Let me make this as absolutely plain as I know how to make it. I do not like, nor do I trust, the American government.

I would have absolutely no problem whatsoever believing that a good many people in government are capable of atrocities equal to or greater than 9/11. But the evidence is just not there for this. Believe me, if they were involved at any substantial or even minor level, it would have been discovered pretty quickly. Look at all the instances where the CIA and other government agencies have left their fingerprints on all kinds of perverse actions, such as assasinations of foreign leaders, spying on civil rights leaders, trying to subvert organizations, etc.

Some Truthers even go to the extent where they insinuate the media is complicit in helping the government cover up. Anybody that can believe shit like that is certifiably bat-shit crazy.

I might be mistaken about you. You might not be as crazy as a fucking shit-house rat. If I am wrong, I humbly apologize.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy. They make good stories to tell around the campfire, but for the most part, they are as based on reality as your average ghost story. In order to be believed, a conspiracy theory must make some degree of sense, and this nonsense just does not.

I want to make a few corrections in my previous post. One, I meant to say Episcopal, not Anglican, when I said I would feel more comfortable in a Southern Baptist Church, and on retrospect, I have to take that back. I have been to an Episcopal Church, and they seem to be fine people. I can get along with both equally well as long as political beliefs aren't brought into the equation.

I was also wrong to say conservative and liberal Christians would split hell wide open for different reasons. After I thought about it, you proved me wrong. They would split hell wide open for the exact same reason, the insistence that their way is the "only way". I don't have a problem with them believing that in a religious sense. Where I have a problem with it is when they start applying it to the material realm, especially politics and social policy.

That brings me to my next point. This is a secular country, and we are not now, nor have we ever been, ruled by the Bible or the words of Jesus Christ. The Bible and Christianity has certainly been an influence, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, but in the end, the people rule, and all people are not Christians, or even religious. They have a say as well, and the same guaranteed rights and freedoms.

So your insistence that in some situations we should just sit back and wait until God decides to kill our enemies with a heart attack almost makes the Truthers look sane by comparison, which is something I never thought I'd ever say.

Finally, on your little dig about pagans looking at all things in shades of gray, that's not always the case in all matters, but there's something to be said for it when it is appropriate to look for shades of gray. The point isn't making excuses for evil. Gray is composed of black and white, and the trick to it is learning how to tell the difference and accurately identify the sources and influences.

tony said...

My God Is In Heaven,Not In America...........

sonia said...

As Marxists, we believe that if you eliminate the conditions of misery...

That's a bit like saying, "as pedophiles, we believe that if you eliminate sex with children..."

Marxism = misery

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

FJ:

Quality not quantity old dear!

You're not making any sense. Oh and as for love being studied meaning to you the sex film industry once again reflects the odd personal views you have on sexual expression.

Pagan:

Brother Tim is an alarming religious gentleman, nearly as verbose as FJ...bu tnot quite, not yet anyway. Let's hoping he's not.

The Pagan Temple said...

Alarming indeed. Brother Tim is proof that religious fanaticism can pervade all political ideologies, liberal every bit as much as conservative. Actually, conservatives seem to be a little more sensible when it comes to material matters. I doubt you'll ever hear a conservative Christian express the view that we should wait for God to smite an enemy. We would be waiting a good while in most cases, I fear.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: daniel got you on that porno remark.

Tony: No problem here. That's the point of the post.

Daniel H-G: Brother Tim never brought up religion before on this blog. This post happen to be about religion.

You don't get rid of religion, you get rid of the cause.

Pagan: Atheist Karl Rove held back science, by hypocritically using religion to hold back stem cell research. How oppurtunist is it, that conservative religious people marched to the orders of an atheist.

Brother Tim: My problem is that I do trust it. Obama doesn't lie that he'll take down the auto workers union etc.

Sonia: Marxism equals getting rid of the cause of unhappiness.

Barbara D. said...

Sonia, in Canada, Marxists and people influenced by his writings have been responsible for eliminating more suffering than any other group. Who do you think organized the unions, the co-operatives, gave us universal health care, fought for freedom of speech. Which group stood up for the rights of women, fought racism. etc.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

To be precise, he held back federal funding for stem cell research, which was a political ploy aimed at massing conservative support behind Bush. You have to remember, at that particular time, conservative Christian support for Bush was still somewhat tentative.

At the same time, the barring of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research was not an across-the-board ban on all research. It could always be conducted, but it had to be dependent on private funds, or individual state funds, which was also beyond the reach of the federal government.

By the way, do you realize how comedic it sounds when you make statements such as Marxism getting rid of the cause of unhappiness? No political or economic system is going to do that, even under the best possible scenarios.

Not even Jesus Christ, whom I have of late been informed may well have been the V. I. Lenin of the first century AD, ever intimated that human unhappiness could be eradicated in this world. In fact, he reminded his comrades that his workers paradise was not of this world, while promising at the last judgment one hell of a gulag to the unsaved.

Of course all of this is second-hand information as set down by his Galilean Soviet, but I guess we can take their word for it.

Larry Gambone said...

Sonia, in Canada, Marxists and people influenced by his writings have been responsible for eliminating more suffering than any other group. Who do you think organized the unions, the co-operatives, gave us universal health care, fought for freedom of speech. Which group stood up for the rights of women, fought racism. etc.

(There was an error in attributing this comment to another person. A problem when you are involved in several blogs)

Renegade Eye said...

Larry G: I agree.

Pagan: You've read the Marx quote, and I'm sure you get what he means.

You can't live in this world, taking every word to its absolute limit.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

"You can't live in this world, taking every word to its absolute limit."

Ren, that should be put in the comment box on this blog as a reminder to people who leave comments.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

No, I was not aware that was a Marx quote, but since it is, that explains the hyperbole. Nobody that made a statement like that in the modern era would be taken seriously. It's one thing to make statements such as improving standards of living and creating a more just world, and quite another to imply that unhappiness and suffering can be eradicated.

FJ said...

Ren,

Really? Do you REALLY believe in mind body dualities? Because if you do, all those non-scientists you claim are measuring "love" have better come up with something better than strokes and inches captured on 8mm film.

At least the scientist invented "waves" and "gravitrons" to quantify and measure their imaginary physical force aka-warped space-time.

Those love experts must be light years behind in measuring the effluence of their lovetrons...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

FJ, you are sex obsessed my good man!

Be open to new ideas old bean, even if Nietzsche didn't think of it first.

FJ said...

Sorry Danny, you still don't "get it" do you?

Let's recap. Ren stated:

FJ: Love is being studied all the time.

Science doesn't deal with the soul. That doesn't make it a soul emptier or soulful. Science and soul are apples and oranges. Not hostile but not related.

You are correct that religion and science is a mind/body question. Religion can't exist independent of thought.
Ren has stated that religion cannot exist independent of thought... deep, huh!

Evidently science can exist idependent of thought? NOTHING can "exist" independent of thought. That's ontology 101.

And science strips "mind" out of everything it studies, and dumps everything non-physical over the transom into the "humanities" class or the "metaphysics" class.

So, how would a "scientist" study love? In all it's "physical" manifestations, of course. Strokes and inches. Now they add neural imaging and chemistry.

Of course, the study of the "soul" gets thrown over the transom into the "metaphysics" class... only "materialists" like Marx don't believe in metaphysics. Oooops. That's why Marx and the scientists are stuck watching 8mm porn. They can only treat the "parts" because they ignore "the whole".

As Plato once stated in his "Charmides"...

But I controlled myself, and when he asked me if I knew the cure of the headache, I answered, but with an effort, that I did know.

And what is it? he said.

I replied that it was a kind of leaf, which required to be accompanied by a charm, and if a person would repeat the charm at the same time that he used the cure, he would be made whole; but that without the charm the leaf would be of no avail.

Then I will write out the charm from your dictation, he said.

With my consent? I said, or without my consent?

With your consent, Socrates, he said, laughing.

Very good, I said; and are you quite sure that you know my name?

I ought to know you, he replied, for there is a great deal said about you among my companions; and I remember when I was a child seeing you in company with my cousin Critias.

I am glad to find that you remember me, I said; for I shall now be more at home with you and shall be better able to explain the nature of the charm, about which I felt a difficulty before. For the charm will do more, Charmides, than only cure the headache. I dare say that you have heard eminent physicians say to a patient who comes to them with bad eyes, that they cannot cure his eyes by themselves, but that if his eyes are to be cured, his head must be treated; and then again they say that to think of curing the head alone, and not the rest of the body also, is the height of folly. And arguing in this way they apply their methods to the whole body, and try to treat and heal the whole and the part together. Did you ever observe that this is what they say?
G-d forbid anyone should attempt to cure the body w/charms alone. It would take a Freudian nutjob... something entirely unscientific.

FJ said...

I think Ren's Marxism is suffering from some kind of reverse placebo effect.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

FJ:

Ren already thought I was on the mark.

No amount of block quoting can stop that.

The Pagan Temple said...

Love is based on some aspect of need or desire, that's why in those cases where the need is fully satisfied, the love gradually fades over time. As long as the love is needed to answer to some need, however vague or even unrecognized, it will grow or perhaps age, much like a fine wine. There's nothing wrong with that, unless the need is based on some urge to dominate or abuse. It's still love, just not the kind that is considered healthy, or socially acceptable.

There, I've just conducted your "study". Now you can pay me.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Fake money do you?

FJ said...

FJ:

Ren already thought I was on the mark.

No amount of block quoting can stop that.
That's only because he didn't see the inherent flaw in his own argument. You're like two blind bats complimenting the others' vision.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: The context Marx of what Marx said, was in a debate with someone who was for abolishing religion.

Larry G: I agree.

FJ: Marx didn't ignore the whole person. Again his statement was in a polemic against someone who was for abolishing religion. That by itself acknowledges some need for a spiritual.

You did jump from love to porn as equals, and Daniel got you.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

HIGH FIVE!

sonia said...

Barbara D.,

Sonia, in Canada, Marxists and people influenced by his writings have been responsible for eliminating more suffering than any other group. Who do you think organized the unions, the co-operatives, gave us universal health care, fought for freedom of speech. Which group stood up for the rights of women, fought racism. etc.

I am sorry. Naively, I though that "Marxism" refered to Karl Marx, not Tommy Douglas and Pierre Elliot Trudeau. My mistake. You see, where I come from, Marxists were sending people to the gulags, rather than fighting for freedom of speech, standing up for the rights of women, and fighting racism...

Next time, to avoid confusion, you should refer to those Kanuk "Marxists" simply as "Canadians", to distinguish them from genuine Marxists like Stalin or Pol Pot...

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: You know better.

sonia said...

Ren,

You know better.

But you apparently don't. In 1951, while in France, Pol Pot joined an organization called "Cercle Marxiste"...

Tommy Douglas, on the other hand, was never a member of any organizations with "marxist" in the title...

FJ said...

You did jump from love to porn as equals, and Daniel got you.So did Plato in "Symposium." What's your point? Don't tell me, Marx never did a love dialectic... surprise, surprise. Yeah, Marx is REAL "spiritual". LOL!

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The point is, on this one, you're wrong.

FJ said...

The point is on the top of your head.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

No it's not.

You know what the point is.

Cool.

FJ said...

No, I know where the point is. It's on top of your head.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

No it's not.

You know what the point is.

Cool.

FJ said...

Yes it is.

You know you've got a pointy head.

Cool!

You going to ruin this thread with your last wordism, too?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Are you really going to do this with this thread and the other one?

You do know that I'll email Ren to close them as happened last time?

So top the sillyness now and move on.

So it goes.

FJ said...

Blah, blah, blah...

Last word Danny ruins another thread.

Anonymous said...

The pair of you need to grow up, too many threads have ended like this and they had led to them having to be closed, which seems foolish.

Keep it off this blog please and email one another if you must.

FJ said...

You heard him, "last word, you're wrong" Danny. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Heh.

I love how the anon asks for the end to this and you just put a comment on the end, you are the last wordist here, you can't hack it if the anon is the last one or me.

You are the one with the issue, your last comment served no purpose, aside to have the last word. If you'd just have left it with the anon but you couldn't could you?

Ren and I agreed that on the issue regarding your take on analysis of love, you were wrong and we agreed.

You took that hard and have been trying to have the last word since then.

Calm down, or I shall get this one closed as well.

FJ said...

You blew your cover Danny. You're anon. Last word, Danny. That's who you should post as from now on.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

FJ:

You'll be glad that this is my last comment in this thread, because I am the better man, I do not want to this to be 300+ nonsense which forces Ren to close the thread to comments.

To be clear, you have a serious problem FJ, you can't not have the last word, in every thread you contribute to you have to take the last word, even when long ago you have lost the argument.

Sometimes, amusingly, you have 3 last words, talking, as you always have, to yourself.

I hope having the last word here brings you some sense of fufillment in your life, no doubt, sadly, it will but while you protest to much that the last wordism is my problem it will be you that will desperately have it.

You never accept when you're wrong FJ, you presume you are always right, no matter what is presented, you are dead-set, closed minded and you know that will stunt your growth and clearly has already. Hence the urge you have to have the last word, as if that makes up for it.

I know that your need to have the last word will be the most fitting comment on your contribution to this blog and to blogging in general.

Pointless, empty postuting by a fragile and depserate soul.

Thankfully, I will never read it.

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