November 4, 2004
I want to say...and I know this might hurt some people I love, and offend many others, and I'm sorry for that, but this election has made me really, really despise, distrust, and fear organized religion in general. Well, mostly Fundamentalism, but I think the whole exercise is tarred in some ways. Especially because people I'm politically for have no choice but to kiss religion's butt left and right...I don't think any politican can make it without talking about faith in what ends up being the Abrahamaic God, because "doesn't believe in God" (put in terms like "doesn't share the faith that the rest of us do") is just a giant hammer for opponents to wield.
It really makes me want to start a big anti-fundamentalist "YOUR BELIEF IN GOD IS A GUESS" campaign, not that it would help matters anyway...hardly anyone changes their viewpoint thanks to a slogan. (But think about it..."faith" is all well and good, but think of all the other "faiths" your putting aside. Like the old Atheist saw about "so which god aren't you believing in?")
I guess the problem is Fundamentalism as a practice is more self-consistent than a more liberal religous viewpoint. Once you're convinced that your religion is correct, and you've taught yourself to ignore every other religous belief as misguided at best and evil at worst, which is actually a tremendous leap of faith that millions and millions of Christians and Moslems have no problem making, than of course you should act on those principles and work to enact them in your society, and not in a pansy-ass, liberal "can't we all get along" kind of way. I mean, you don't need commonsense and generally humanitarian principles to guide you when you have someone who is willing to give you a very specific and direct singular interpretation of how to to act on your holy book.
In a day where science has done so much for us, where a rational understanding of public health has expanded all of our lifespans and a skeptical, put-everything-to-the-test worldview has let us see the history of our species, planet...universe (and not in a dogmatic way!) people's willingness to accept a literal reading of the Bible kind of floors me. "God Said It..I Believe It...That Settles It" indeed.
I think people of faith are so defensive because of the promise of eternal life. The idea of getting into Heaven and not really having to face their own mortality is their Binky, their safety-blanket, and they'll put aside rational, skeptical thinking so that they can keep being convinced that they and their deceased loved ones will all meet up in Heaven. Fear of the reality of death gets people to shape their entire belief system around some thought like that. Sure, some people come to their faith throgh a thougtful, rationalist process, but I'd be willing to bet that's a minority compared to people who just believe like their parents and friends do.
It's easy to forget that Religion doesn't equal Fundamentalism. I was floored when I heard about some of the liberal Christianity in like, England...there are people there, clergy even, who accept things in the Bible as poetry and myth, but still find it a good general social and cultural construct to base their lives on.
I wish I had a better historical understanding of how religous zeal and fundamentalism waxes and wanes in a culture, because right now right here it's definately on the rise, and it's hard to remember there tends to be a cyclical nature to it, that many generations are less religous-oriented than the previous one, not more. As much as the fundamentalists are shaping the world into a big Christianity vs Islam clash, the world has been a fundamentalists vs. secularists struggle...and the latter group is losing, badly. Except maybe in Eurupe.
I welcome feedback on this, and I hope we can keep it friendly and respectful, despite my obvious emotional view of all this. How does your religous faith influence your politics? Why do you believe what you believe, and not something else? How do you feel about all the other people who have a strong faith in a competing belief system? If you feel that you're a moderate, how do you feel about people who have an extremist view within your system?
Proposed Redistricting of the Moment
|--via Bill the Splut, original here, I think by Dave Ruderman.|
Followup Thought of the Moment
There's something about the rise of puritanical thinking that makes me want to rejoice in all the things they wring their hands over...yay more smut on TV and in movies! Yay violent or sexually-suggestive video games! Yay for recreational drugs! Yay for cussing!
How many votes were discarded in Ohio? How many of those were cast by minorities? Why is it such a big secret?
Of course, it can never come up, because of the public and media backlash against any party who would want to investigate. Maybe it's just liberal wishful thinking. Maybe it's too sinister for words. If Nader really cared about our political system, he would be just the person to spearhead an overhaul of the voting technologies used all over this country.
Jeez. Thinking about it, will the need for anonymous voting always mean the system is subject to abuse?