BEEP! BEEP! IT'S ME.

"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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Location: Australia

I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.

"DIFFICILE EST SATURAM NON SCRIBERE"

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Help! We're Being Oppressed!

Image: - Rev. BigDumbChimp stole this from Evil Bender and I stole it from Rev. BigDumbChimp.

Christians are being oppressed in the US? Not likely. Christians, and other religious groups including Islam have been some of the biggest oppressors and persecutors throughout history. Of course, when they are not allowed to persecute everyone according to their religious desires, they insist that this is a form of persecution or oppression enacted against them!

Yes, I know that the Stalinist Empire and the Mao Tse Tung Empire were barbaric, cruel and bloodthirsty, but when you consider that virtually EVERY other skirmish known on the face of the planet has had a religious ideology going along for the ride, or as its primary agenda and focus, it makes religious ideology, the perpetrator of the majority of barbarism and inhumanity to mankind ever witnessed. Most wars, military adventures and colonialist ideologies have had at the basis of their endeavour, the belief and absolute faith that the inhumanity that they perpetrated upon other people was right and meet according to the will of their god or gods. The irony of war and conflict is that both sides have absolute faith that they are doing the will of their god or gods.

If you want to have a look at persecution and oppression and you are religious - here's a mirror, take a look.


"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999US physicist (1933 - )


All Religion Is Evil

(Warning: - Song contains Adult Content)

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Link

55 Comments:

Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I am afriad that I would include Maoism and Stalinism as religious ideologies. The difference between them and the Bible Bangers is that the gods of Stalinism and Maoism were living, incarnated gods, whereas the Ghod of the latter is an invisible one.

19/2/07 1:46 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE larry

Neither Mao nor Stalin were worshipped as gods. They were adored by the people who agreed with their political policies and hated by those who didn't.

They wanted total power according to their political dieologies, but to imagine that these political ideologies of totalitarianism were religions is a big stretch.

Unless, of course, you are someone who considers all aspects of human endeavour to be religions, including anthropology, science, mathematics, capitalism, democracy and communism.

I don't consider political ideologies to be religions. In the same way that I don't see that "atheism" is a religion. An atheist may or may not have a political ideology, but what they don't have is a religion.

Theists equivocate perpetually concerning what a religion is. I won't let them do it.

19/2/07 2:52 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Religions can be a form of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism, itself, is not a religion.

RELIGION:
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.


TOTALITARIAN:
1. of or pertaining to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.
2. exercising control over the freedom, will, or thought of others; authoritarian; autocratic.

A religion, may comply with the primary definition of totalitarianism. The definition of a totalitarian state may or may not include a worldview which includes a superhuman agency. In the case of Mao and Stalin, their totalitarian regimes rejected a worldview which included a superhuman agency.

Therefore their regimes were not religious.

19/2/07 3:12 pm  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

In my thought I make a clear separation between science and the irrational, thus only some beliefs or ideologies fall into the category I call “secular religion” . Secular religions are not theistic, but have all the trappings of religion 1. irrationalism 2. cult like 3. infallible leaders and doctrines 4. religion-like ceremonies or procedures 5. damnation or scape goating of of non-believers. Secular religions can be totalitarian or not, but all are authoritarian nonetheless. In places where theistic religion has declined, many of the underlying attitudes and feelings still remain. Many people do not make the transition to a rational world view. The vacuum left by the loss of theistic religion is filled by secular religion. Unscrupulous individuals often realize this and apply religious trappings to their doctrines or movements in order to attract such people.
Of course, you might wish instead to place both secular and theistic religion under the category of the irrational and that would be fine too.

20/2/07 4:08 am  
Anonymous say no to christ said...

Larry you make very good points, especially when you take a look at Stalins and Musilini's(sp?brain fart)religious up bringings. And People tend to forget that Mao believed he was a god incarnet, due to his old school buddhist upbringing.

20/2/07 6:14 am  
Anonymous Know the truth or fall for anything! said...

"If we ever forget we are One Nation Under God then we will be a Nation gone under" Ronald Reagan

20/2/07 9:38 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: larry

I would agree with this to a point. Except that I would call them secular ideologies and religious ideologies.

A secular ideology would not have at its core, as a prerequisite for decision making, the belief in a god or gods, whereas a religious ideology would and does.

I agree that all ideologies can be be followed "religiously" - that is that they can have some of the characteristics of a religion, without BEING a religion.

Example: I can garden religiously. That just means it is a hobby or past-time that I participate in often, maybe at a prescribed time, and maybe I have a certain pattern of gardening that I adher to, but this doesn't make gardening a religion unless I have at the centre of my gardening ideology, the faith in a god or gods.

So there is the figurative use of the word "religion"; when one gardens religiously. But it is not literally a religion.

20/2/07 10:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: say no to christ

Stalin was raised as a catholic, I think. I am not sure if Mao was raised as a buddhist or as a confucianist. It seems that his mother was a devout buddhist.

Both stalin and mao were adored by their followers in what would be described as having the hallmarks of cult worship. That is an ideology centred around the teachings of a charismatic leader.

Mao recognised that both he and Stalin were personality cult figures in this quote.

"There are two kinds of personality cults. One is a healthy personality cult, that is, to worship men like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Because they hold the truth in their hands. The other is a false personality cult, i.e. not analysed and blind worship." - Mao said this about cults at the 1958 Party congress in Chengdu.

Perhaps all religions are personality cults in some form or another, but are all personality cults religions? I am under the impression that to be a "religion", there needs to exist the concept of a supernatural element which is the guiding force of the ideology.

20/2/07 10:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: know the truth

Perhaps you have forgotten that the US wasn't one nation under gawd for a couple of hundred years. The "under gawd" thing is a recent invention.

20/2/07 10:03 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: know the truth

And I can't help but feeling that any nation which believes it is "under gawd" or "under allah's snackbar", believes that it has the supreme licence to do whatever it wants and that this is the will of its supernatural entity.

No questions asked. We are under gawd, it must be gawd's will. A very potentially dangerous situation if you ask me.

20/2/07 10:13 am  
Blogger L>T said...

I picked this off of the wikipedia site on Mao:

In October 1966, Mao's Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, which was known as the Little Red Bookwas published. Party members were encouraged to carry a copy with them and possession was almost mandatory as a criterion for membership. Over the years, Mao's image became displayed almost everywhere, present in homes, offices and shops. His quotations were typographically emphasised by putting them in boldface or red type in even the most obscure writings.
After the Cultural Revolution, there are some people who still worship Mao in family altars or even temples for Mao


It looks to me that Mao used peoples natural religious inclinations (I'm also thinking about the cult quotation, & the idea that Mao came across as a savior in a sense)to adhere them to him & his ideals. But I would tend to agree w/beep beep that the element of the supernatural was not there.
On the other hand religious devotion to a "person" has an element to it that religious devotion to gardening can never obtain.

20/2/07 2:44 pm  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

beepbeepitsme:

Have I said something to annoy heck out of you?

My last two posts to your site have apparently ended up in the bit bucket.

BTW -- I was largely echoing what Larry has said. Additionally, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Atheism touches upon the issue of whether communism and nazism qualify as religions: they do.

If you haven't yet read the book, you should. It is excellent.

20/2/07 2:56 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

hey skipper

I don't have comment moderation, so they should just go right through. I don't know why they haven't. I have a "more comments the merrier policy", so I hope no one else has been experiencing posting comments either.

Thank you for perservering when it comes to posting, I have no idea what the problem is. But don't think that I am deleting them, I like comments on my blog, even if they are comments I might not agree with.

20/2/07 3:21 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE skipper:
Though I agree that hero worship is probably part of most modern religions, and probably part of most political ideologies; unless the hero in question is purported to be supernatural, I don't consider the political ideology to be a religion.

I guess, for me, it comes down to how you define a religion. A crucial part of a religion as far as I can see, is the belief in a creator entity which is supernatural or incorporeal. So, though people may follow politics religiously, or adore Mao religiously, in my opinion that doesn't make maoism or politics a religion.

To do something religiously, is to do something obsessively, ritualisticly, in the hope that these habits will have an impact. So many human habits and actions can be performed religiously, but I don't think that this makes the actions a religion UNLESS it includes the concept of at least one supernatural creator entity.

The other problem I see is the potential to consider every area of study or human interest, a religion, regardless if it has a supernatural god belief attached to it.

I hear many theists respond in this way. That science is a religion, and evolution is a religion and biology is a religion. ( And so on...) To me this is just a tu quoque fallacy and we shouldn't encourage them in this mindset.

20/2/07 3:38 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE lt

I agree that many people, maybe most people want a hero to follow, or a leader. I suppose the distinction I make is that god believers follow a supernatural leader making them part of a religion.

People who are not god believers and who get into hero worship, follow a person, which doesn't make them part of a religion. It probably makes them part of a political ideology, but not part of a religious ideology.

Absolute faith and trust in the leader, whether the leader is supernatural or human, seems to be the problem.

20/2/07 3:46 pm  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Beep:

Though I agree that hero worship is probably part of most modern religions, and probably part of most political ideologies; unless the hero in question is purported to be supernatural, I don't consider the political ideology to be a religion.

This raises a very interesting question, Beep.

I've long considered the superhuman aspect optional when it comes to religion - thus I generally consider Confucianism and Taoism to be religions just because they seek to impose a particular set of morals.

Given that you place a bit of importance on the supernatural aspect, I take it that that means you probably wouldn't consider Confucianism and Taoism religions per se.

Would you consider Feng Shui, Acupuncture or Homeopathy to be religions?

I'm thinking that I might.

20/2/07 3:55 pm  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

beepbeep:

I guess, for me, it comes down to how you define a religion. A crucial part of a religion as far as I can see, is the belief in a creator entity which is supernatural or incorporeal.

That is why you should read Daniel Harbour's book. In it he classifies belief systems by pairs of characteristics: Spartan or Baroque, and Monarchic or Meritocratic.

Everything you consider a religion is Baroque and Monarchic. So are Communism and Nazism. In contrast, rational inquiry is Spartan and Meriticratic (as are, after a fashion, political ideologies: to the extent they must gain approval from voters, the can't stray too far, too long, from what at least plausibly works).

Cast in this way, the inclusion of some supernatural being suddenly doesn't amount to much; the characteristics of the underlying belief system are what is important.

Look at North Korea. Does communism suddenly become a religion if Kim il Sung becomes a god (as, in North Korea, he has done)?

That doesn't sound right; to an outside observer, the characteristics -- and claims -- of the underlying belief system are unchanged, despite the bouffant haired psychopath getting jumped up to godhood.

20/2/07 4:27 pm  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Also, this seems topical to your post:

Doggerel #22

20/2/07 4:27 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE skipper:

"Look at North Korea. Does communism suddenly become a religion if Kim il Sung becomes a god (as, in North Korea, he has done)?"

I would suggest that he has every chance of being raised to godhead status after he is dead, as this a common trend from hero worship to god status.

There is no christianity or christian religion without a dead christ (though christians may say he is always alive in the spirit), and there is no "Kim il Sungity" or Kim il Sung religion while he is alive either.

At such time of his death, he may, or may not, be considered a god. Afterall, people will just claim that his spirit is not dead and always with them. And they may offer prayers or devotionals to him in the hope that he can continue to guide them from "the spirit world." This is not unlike most religions today and very similar to the creation of many ancient religions.

This is why I think that religions require some sort of supernatural component to be considered a religion.

20/2/07 4:55 pm  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

Ahhh, a "follower" and "religion" what strange bedfellows!

Don't know how I never fell into either as my family tends to go both ways!

Hence, any arguments for either, leave me cold.

Finished the tag! ; )

20/2/07 9:09 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Re coffee:

Cool, thanks for participating and I am off to check the quotes.

RE skipper:

Another thing just crossed my mind. On the debate concerning ID. Most scientists do not accept it as science because it postulates "a creator" or an "intelligent designer" which is just semantics for postulating a god.

Most of us don't accept it as science because of this reason. Because although ID does use some scientific processes, it is not science because it postulates a god. It is not science because science cannot observe or measure the supernatural.

Because ID, in effect, postulates a god, it is theology, or a religious ideology. It has some of the attributes and characteristics of the scientific process, in the same way that political ideologies can have some of the characteristics and attributes of a religion, but this neither makes ID science, nor communism a religion.

20/2/07 9:44 pm  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

Beep: 2 things

1. Actually if you study the founding of america, it WAS to an amazing degree built upon the bible.

2. "And I can't help but feeling that any nation which believes it is "under gawd" or "under allah's snackbar", believes that it has the supreme licence to do whatever it wants and that this is the will of its supernatural entity.

No questions asked. We are under gawd, it must be gawd's will. A very potentially dangerous situation if you ask me."

I actually totally agree with you here, especially in the case of America. I personally believe it is the govenments job to protect the people, not promote religion and CERTIANLY not in other countries.

21/2/07 1:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beep beep fuck you

21/2/07 3:04 am  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

beepbeep:

would suggest that he has every chance of being raised to godhead status after he is dead, as this a common trend from hero worship to god status.

Too late. He is already there, despite not yet being dead. What's more, his father is very much a god.

That is why your distinction is without difference. The underlying claims of communism are unchanged, but by your reasoning, it is religion in North Korea, but a political ideology in Cuba.

Regarding ID: It is not scientific for one very specific reason, which has nothing to do with the invocation of some ultra powerful (and not necessarily supernatural) deity.

Science is a hypthetico-deductive process. To be considered science, a hypothesis must have deductive consequences. For evolution -- the hypothesis -- to be true, the Earth must be -- the deductive consequence -- very, very, old.

Evolution has many deductive consequences. ID doesn't have even one.

Until ID can come up with even one, it is not science.

21/2/07 4:18 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

UTM:
1. Actually if you study the founding of america, it WAS to an amazing degree built upon the bible.
Actually, I've studied the founding of the US, & it was, to an amazing degree, NOT built upon the bible.
I'm more than happy to give credit where credit's due, but y'all don't get to take credit for every damn thing under the sun. Sorry

21/2/07 8:01 am  
Anonymous say no to christ said...

Beep said: "Perhaps all religions are personality cults in some form or another, but are all personality cults religions? I am under the impression that to be a "religion", there needs to exist the concept of a supernatural element which is the guiding force of the ideology."
----

Hey Beep, I agree with you. I was just pointing out that Larry made a couple good points. While Mao and Stalin did not believe in a diety, it was their religious upbringings that influenced their politics. It is well known that Stalin was in bed with the Catholic church and that he used their tactics to brainwash his followers. All those barbaric secular rulers may have eliminated a diety, but still used religious tactics to control the masses. All of them had religious upbringings and like anyone raise with religion, had some sort of mental disorder cause by it. I firmly believe religion causes mental disorders and it takes years of educating and reconditioning to over come it. It has been 10 years for me and I still have more deprogramming to do, but I'm getting there.


Amy

21/2/07 9:16 am  
Anonymous say no to christ said...

Beep said: "Perhaps all religions are personality cults in some form or another, but are all personality cults religions? I am under the impression that to be a "religion", there needs to exist the concept of a supernatural element which is the guiding force of the ideology."
----

Hey Beep, I agree with you. I was just pointing out that Larry made a couple good points. While Mao and Stalin did not believe in a diety, it was their religious upbringings that influenced their politics. It is well known that Stalin was in bed with the Catholic church and that he used their tactics to brainwash his followers. All those barbaric secular rulers may have eliminated a diety, but still used religious tactics to control the masses. All of them had religious upbringings and like anyone raise with religion, had some sort of mental disorder cause by it. I firmly believe religion causes mental disorders and it takes years of educating and reconditioning to over come it. It has been 10 years for me and I still have more deprogramming to do, but I'm getting there.


Amy

21/2/07 9:17 am  
Anonymous say no to christ said...

Oops, sorry about that double post I had to try several times to get it through and when it did, it post twice.

21/2/07 9:19 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: skipper

I would agree that someone can be worshipped or adored as a god while they are living, (meaning "like a god"), but that this doesn't mean they are a god or that the people who adore him/her believe that the person in question has godlike abilities.

What would god abilities be?

"A deity or god is a postulated preternatural being, who is usually, but not always, of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deity

What does preternatural mean?

"The preternatural or praeternatural is that which appears outside or beyond (Latin praeter) the natural. While this may include what is more commonly called the supernatural, it may also simply indicate extremity - an ordinary phenomenon taken 'beyond' the natural."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preternatural

I suppose the question is: Do people consider Kin il Sung to be holy, divine and sacred?

Do they consider him to be any or all of these things?
1.the creator of the universe 2.omniscient
3.omnipotent
4.omnipresent
5.perfect goodness
6.and an eternal and necessary existence.

Do they consider him to be incorporeal, a personal being, a source of moral obligation, and the greatest conceivable existent?

I would doubt that in reality they do. But who knows, they might be crazy enough to think he has those attributes or characteristics.

I am not convinced that it is the best thing to do to broaden the definition of religion so that every group of human endeavour could be defined as a religion, or to broaden the definition of a god, so that it includes any type of person who is seen as a hero.

The other part of this difference of opinion may have a lot to do with cultural differences. I am not sure that many australians would seriously consider communism as a religion, or capitalism as a religion, or George Bush as a god except in a colloquial sense.

In other words, they wouldn't mean it literally, only in a figurative sense.

Though I will check out the book you mentioned and the said categories. It may be a better way of defining humans and human activity. I am open to it, just not yet convinced.

21/2/07 10:41 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE: say no to christ

I agree with you too. I think that larry has made good points. I will look into the book that hey skipper reccommended too.

Don't worry about double posts. Bogger sometimes has a brainfart, I think.

21/2/07 10:45 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE anonymous

Only in your dreams, dickhead.

21/2/07 10:46 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE dikki

Sorry, I didn't see your first post til now.

"I've long considered the superhuman aspect optional when it comes to religion - thus I generally consider Confucianism and Taoism to be religions just because they seek to impose a particular set of morals.

Given that you place a bit of importance on the supernatural aspect, I take it that that means you probably wouldn't consider Confucianism and Taoism religions per se. Would you consider Feng Shui, Acupuncture or Homeopathy to be religions?"

No, I wouldn't.

I don't consider any of those to be religions. In the same way that I don't see the works of Plato or Descartes as religions.

I consider them philosophies.

"Philosophy concerns itself with what is the best way to live (ethics), what sorts of things really exist and what are their true natures (metaphysics), what is to count as genuine knowledge (epistemology), and what are the correct principles of reasoning (logic)"

and specifically about eastern philosophies -

"The four most influential of these were Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism. Later on, during the Tang Dynasty, Buddhism from India also became a prominent philosophical and religious discipline. (It should be noted that Eastern thought, unlike Western philosophy, did not express a clear distinction between philosophy and religion.)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy

The last part is especially interesting, I think, if it is accurate. It not only suggests that eastern thought does not clearly differentiate between a religion and a philosophy, but that western thought does.

21/2/07 11:04 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE dikki

Which brings up an interesting point. Let's say I was a Confucionist and I considered this to be my religion. (I wouldn't, this is just for the sake of argument.)

According to the US constitution, I would be guarenteed a right to practise this religion of Confucionism but I wouldn't be a god believer.

Wouldn't I be considered an atheist even though I practised a religion and as such, the "under god" part of the pledge would not apply to me?

I also wouldn't be able in many states to be elected to public office aa an atheist, even though I professed a religion.

I think that in western thought that a god is a requirement for a religion. This may not apply in other cultures, but in the west, it seems to.

21/2/07 11:24 am  
Blogger Dikkii said...

Hi Beep:

I don't consider any of those to be religions. In the same way that I don't see the works of Plato or Descartes as religions.

Good answer, although I would consider that as a belief system based on a mystical supernatural force called "chi", I would have thought that feng shui and acupuncture would just about have to qualify.

That Wikipedia link is good too.

But this is what I found really interesting:

According to the US constitution, I would be guarenteed a right to practise this religion of Confucionism but I wouldn't be a god believer.

Wouldn't I be considered an atheist even though I practised a religion and as such, the "under god" part of the pledge would not apply to me?

I also wouldn't be able in many states to be elected to public office aa an atheist, even though I professed a religion.


If that's true, that would - if you classified Confucianism as a religion, which I'm not suggesting that you do - surely breach their First Amendment.

Very interesting, thank you Beep.

21/2/07 1:17 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE dikki

"although I would consider that as a belief system based on a mystical supernatural force called "chi", I would have thought that feng shui and acupuncture would just about have to qualify."

I agree. These 2 practices are debatable as to whether they are religions or not. One has to believe in the existence of a supernatural force called "chi" in order to practise either feng shui or acupuncture.

Then, I suppose it is questionable as to whether even if they are considered mysterious supernatural energies, whether this is the same as a god belief and whether it is "god belief" that is the prerequisite for a religion.

Perhaps the discussion concerning eastern philosphies and religion is primarily because unlike in Western philosophy, Eastern thinkers do not express a clear distinction between philosophy and religion.

I am as much a product of my time and culture as anyone else, I suppose. The western cuture I have grown up in has considered religions to include a god or gods. And the time period in which I grew up in, had quite clear distinctions concerning this. Catholicism, prebyterianism, anglicanism, protestantism, moromonism, hinduism etc etc, were all religions because they involved a belief in at least one supernatural entity, or at least one god.

And for those reasons, it is difficult for me to consider that something can be a religion unless it contains a belief in at least one supernatural entity or god.

21/2/07 1:52 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

beep beep fuck you
Oh, another visit from Christian youth, spreading the love.
How nice.

21/2/07 3:25 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA:

I am sure he meant it in a nice way. His next question might be "can I bring the little whips too?"

21/2/07 5:11 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
I am sure he meant it in a nice way.
Religion sure brings out the best in people, don't it?
His next question might be "can I bring the little whips too?"
Ooooohhhh, so you gots a groupie now?
Am I ever jealous! ;)

21/2/07 6:15 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE coffee:

"Ahhh, a "follower" and "religion" what strange bedfellows! Don't know how I never fell into either as my family tends to go both ways!"

Not many people, in my experience, in Australia talk about their religious beliefs outside perhaps of the church they attend.

We used to talk about religion and politics in my house when I was growing up, but I must admit, it was quite a liberal household when it came to religious beliefs.

Religious belief wasn't enforced, but the requirements to go to sunday school and to be confirmed etc were.

And certainly one's political opinions were not unduely influenced by one's religious beliefs. They seemed to be more separate somehow.

I can't imagine in my family someone saying "Behave yourself or you will go to hell", though I think that unfortunately that may have happened in many households.

We may have been encouraged to act in certain ways deemed appropriate, but the threat or fear of hell, wasn't one of the tools used.

More than likely, we would be reasoned with, and if we couldn't be reasoned with, the punishments were more likely to be deprivation of comic books, dessert or something like that.

Children learn to reason if they have parents who use reason. (And I am not professing to be an expert in reason by that comment.)

Encouraging children to reason actually effects the developing brain and its neural connections.

They lay down "more tracks" so to speak. I often wonder if we are depriving children and their developing brains the opportunity to do this, if we insist on dogma rather than reason.

21/2/07 6:34 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE Ka:

Nah, I don't get groupies, just fundies every now and then who get a bit pissy.

21/2/07 6:35 pm  
Blogger under_the_mercy said...

RE: Krystalline Apostate

I don't really know how to say this, but your statement could not be farther from the truth, no offence intended.

The american Revolution itself may not have been biblicaly right, but the colonists themselves were without a doubt deeply religious.

In fact, to even gain admittance to Yale and Harvard at that time, one had to be able to explain the Scriptures logically, translate from the Latin text, and give testimony of their spiritual life.

22/2/07 9:18 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

UTM:
I don't really know how to say this, but your statement could not be farther from the truth, no offence intended.
No offense taken. I run into this misconception all the time.
The american Revolution itself may not have been biblicaly right, but the colonists themselves were without a doubt deeply religious.
That's not even a point of contention.
In fact, to even gain admittance to Yale and Harvard at that time, one had to be able to explain the Scriptures logically, translate from the Latin text, and give testimony of their spiritual life.
I fail to see why those 2 universities would prove your point.
I refer you to article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli.
Also note distinct lack of mention in the 3 major docs, the DOI, BOR, & Constitution, of jay-sus, YHVH, or resurrection.
Also note the open-ended phrasing of the religious clause of the 1st amendment.
Also note the distinctly 'liberal' bent of most of the Founders.
Also note T Jefferson's critique of Fortescue, noting that the 10 C's were in no way a part of any legislature, seeing as the US is founded on English law in the 7th CE, long before xtianity took root in Britain.
That there was some influence, no doubt. But by no stretch of the imagination was it a primary influence. Tertiary is more likely.

22/2/07 10:46 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Thomas Jefferson, elaborated about the history of common law in his letter to Thomas Cooper on February 10, 1814:

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it."

22/2/07 6:22 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
That was the Fortescue criticism I was referring to.

23/2/07 4:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honk Honk, know your history. The pilgrims. I believe they came here to worship God!!!! 400 years ago. hello. Just because Eisenhower added the words to the pledge does not negate 300 years of history. Why are you such a "HATER"?

23/2/07 9:16 am  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

beebbeep:

Not to belabor a point, but I coincidentally came across this Wall Stree Journal column discussing the history book Sacred Causes.

Several quotes from the column:

In a 1937 speech, Winston Churchill described communism and Nazism as "non-God religions" that aimed to reignite old religious wars.

... Adolf Hitler emerged as a prophet of neo-paganism. Mr. Burleigh highlights the sheer weirdness of dropouts in Germany who seized upon social disruption to make their fortunes, playing to an apocalyptic mood and crying for a purifying upheaval. Once Hitler took power, the Nazi Party became a new civil religion.

Soviet leaders seized the property of the churches, including consecrated objects, and corrupted the church hierarchy by requiring political obeisance. With its Promethean faith in man's capacity for progress, the Communist Party made itself into a secular church, setting up its own "sacred" hierarchy and instituting its own rituals. Its opponents, though, were beyond redemption.

If it walks, talks, and kills like a religion, it is a religion.

God or no god.

23/2/07 11:15 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE skipper:

I don't mind being disagreed with. It is all interesting in my opinion.

But frankly, I wouldn't pay much heed to how a politician defined religion. As, I said previously, something can have religious-like characteristics or attributes, but that doesn't make it a religion. At least in my opinion it doesn't.

Churchill was using his opinion of what constituted a religion in order to garner public support and to further an agenda which did not include Nazi Germmany. Politicans specialize in rhetoric. It is most unlikely that a politician is going to have a formal discussion about what does or what does not constitute a religion.

The adoration of Hitler by the masses did have a religious-like quality, I have no doubt about it. As do some of present evangelical church services have some of the attributes of a Nuremberg Rally, even so, the Nuremberg Rally was not a religion, and the evangelical church services are not Nuremberg Rallies.

The Nazi's weren't a communist party. They were a fascist party. And it isn't true that they were atheists either.

"Fascism is a political ideology and mass movement that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and historical terms, above all other loyalties, and to create a mobilized national community. Many different characteristics are attributed to fascism by different scholars, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, authoritarianism, militarism, corporatism, totalitarianism, collectivism, anti-liberalism, and anti-communism."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

The Nazis, especially the brownshirts and the storm troopers, had a lovely old time enacting violence upon the communists in the streets of Berlin. The communists were one of the few opponents to the NSDAP.

What is evident in Nazi Germany is that there was no separation between church and state. The state dictated to a large extent, what the churches were allowed to do. Certainly any political opposition from the church was not tolerated. Interestingly enough, most of the churches did not rebel from the authority of the state, finding state recognition (under the protective wing of the state), as also their way to political power.

Some certainly did and Pastor Martin Niemöller is one of the most remembered.

23/2/07 11:57 am  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

anonymous:
Honk Honk, know your history. The pilgrims. I believe they came here to worship God!!!
They lived unmolested in Amsterdam for 12 years before they came here. They hardly 'founded' this country.
New Amsterdam was founded by the Dutch long before they arrived. Not to mention the Spaniards had colonized the West Coast.
Just because Eisenhower added the words to the pledge does not negate 300 years of history.
I'm an American, & I've studied the history. We were founded on secular (read: Enlightenment) values.
I'd say YOU'RE the 1 who doesn't know their history.
You only get credit for that which you'd done, not everything that happened on your watch.

23/2/07 12:43 pm  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

beepbeep:

I wouldn't pay much heed to how a politician defined religion.

You do realize that is an ad hominem, don't you? (No, I don't think you really intended it that way.)

It is worth remembering that Churchill also wrote A History of the English Speaking Peoples. He was more than just a political hack.

I believe you are missing the compelling parallels between communism, nazism, and monotheistic religions, instead focussing on a difference that, in the end, does not amount to a distinction:

-- a revealed text
-- rituals
-- establishing exclusionary moral communities
-- universalist moral claims (except for nazism, which had a racially limited exclusionary moral community, within which it made universalist claims)
-- sectarian conflict (Nazism didn't last long enough for this)
-- cult of personality

It is this last on which you focus on the difference, while not noting the absence of distinction, or the risk of fundamental self contradiction.

Presuming you don't think the divinity of Mohammed or Jesus objectively true, then they are both mere mortals jumped to godhood through a cult of personality.

Just so with Hitler, Stalin, Marx/Engles/Lenin, Mao, and the Kims. Perhaps you are not old enough to remember to cults of personality that surrounded (for the Kims, still surround) that were so fawning as to elevate -- or at least valiantly attempt -- their subjects to worship worthy status.

The reason I am rather pounding on about this is that religionists use Communism and Nazism as examples of atheism run amok.

They could not be more wrong. Atheism is the absence of a belief in a god or gods. Both Communism and Nazism entailed belief in neo-gods, and included every other trapping of supernatural religion. By making this claim, religionists demonstrate that they are not over familiar with religion as a phenomena, even more adrift from atheism as a concept, and completely immune to noting that the claims made by religions and the isms are true simply because the revealed text says so.

Your focussing on the supernatural comes at the expense of seeing these -isms defining their paternal authors as superhuman, a category just as fictional as claims to the divine.

24/2/07 1:52 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

Hey skipper - nicely said.
Never thought I'd say that to someone who actually used that as their moniker.
So it pretty much boils down to a cult of personality - regardless of supernatural or not.
PS - say hey to Gilligan for me, wouldja? ;)

24/2/07 3:07 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE : skipper

I don't mind you disagreeing with me, I kinda like it. Nothing like being disagreed with. ;)

Well, perhaps I have a cultural bias when it comes to Chruchill. He did, afterall, engineer and be responsible for the most crushing waste of life of Australian manhood in the Gallipoli Campaign in WW1, for which he lost his commission and post. In a certain amount of disgrace, I must say. And as my grandfather was part of that campaign, I can't say I am totally enamoured of Churchill's leadership skills.

Churchill was a member of the British elite, who played at tin soldiers, (literally), his huge collection of tin soldiers which he used to play war games was donated to one of the British Aristocratic Houses. (Can't remember which one.) And who treated those under his command with the same degree of foresight as he did his play equipment.

That he was eventually lucky enough for the Russians to beat the living crap out of the Nazis, and that the Russian winter favoured the Russian defensive position, doesn't seem to make the history books quite as often.

Speak to many a political pundit, and Churchill is worshipped and thought of as having godly status when to comes to political and military expertise, but thinking of Churchill as a god, doesn't make it so.

And I agree with you to a large extent that many political ideologies and their resultant exhibitions of hero worship, have much in common with a religion, or with religion's characteristics or attributes, but I baulk at calling them religions.

Any totalitarian regime has charcteristics of love of leader, love of ritual, and exhibitions of culture which are obsessive and compulsive, but are they religions as defined by the primary definition of a religion? I still don't think they are.

Under the definition of religion which you espouse, being an american might just be considered a religion as well. Is americanism or american hegemony a religion? I don't think so, though it has some of the characteristics of a religion. The more fervent the fan base, the more obvious this is. There are those, for example, who adore George Bush as the voice of god. There are those who believe in the concept of "manifest destiny" - that it is the american mission, as destined to them by god, to rule or have dominion over the planet. Large %s of americans are overtly religious and have combined the concepts of god and nation in a way that is at least similar to the mentality expressed by Hitler and Mussolini. Does this make Americanism a religion?

Once again, I don't think so.

It's this part of religion which I keep harkening back to. You place less importance on it than I do.

"Religion is often described as a communal system for the coherence of belief focusing on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion#Definition_of_religion

And from here.

"a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. (ESPECIALLY) when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion

To my thinking, a religion needs a god, a supernatural being, as part of its necessary components and a human, no matter how adored they may be, just isn't a god, or a supernatural being.

24/2/07 7:41 pm  
Blogger Krystalline Apostate said...

BBIM:
To my thinking, a religion needs a god, a supernatural being, as part of its necessary components and a human, no matter how adored they may be, just isn't a god, or a supernatural being.
That's true, but hey skipper's got a valid point: to some degree, they are ALL cults of personality. I think it's hard to find one that's not. There usually is someone at the center of it: Abraham in Judaism, Jesus in xtianity, Muhammed, etc.

25/2/07 7:27 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE KA:

I agree that skipper has made many valid points.

My concern is that when lossely speaking, every human activity, behaviour, action or belief is granted "religious status" - calling something a relgion ends up meaning nothing.

25/2/07 9:59 pm  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

beepbeep:

My concern is that when lossely speaking, every human activity, behaviour, action or belief is granted "religious status" - calling something a relgion ends up meaning nothing.

I am not speaking at all loosely. Rather, highlighted by the cult of personality in Korea that has clearly elevated the Kims to the realm of gods, you are focussing on just one aspect of religion, and it isn't the one that creates religious behavior.

It is as if you decided that all sports use balls. Well, it is certainly true that most of them do. But then you are left with the problem of, say, Formula 1, which is like a sport in all respects, except it doesn't use a ball.

That doesn't include a whole host of human activities, only those with sporting aspects, of which a ball is just one.

This is why I recommend the Harbour book so highly. All Baroque and Monarchic belief systems have very similar characteristics, and behave in similar ways. As it turns out, the instantiation of a supreme being is important only as a source of imprimatur, but unimportant as to how the belief system behaves.

I simply don't see how you can distinguish between Mao and The Little Red Book on one hand, and Jesus and The New Testament on the other.

Both were based upon convoluted assumptions, and were arguments solely from authority.

26/2/07 9:50 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE skipper:

I take note of what you have said, and I recognise the concept of infallible authority as being the prime mover in many dictatorial regimes. (Afterall, what is a religion if NOT a dictatorial regime.)

26/2/07 10:18 pm  

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