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What roles can religion & spirituality play in current social movements ?

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This topic contains 56 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  TomOver 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #471509

    TomOver
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    JonMyers said:
    Twixlen, I would put myself in the camp of the world would probably be better off.

    Chris, I recognize that churches do charitable activities, which are of benefit to society. That said, many churches and religious groups also operate their charitable activities with strings attached. Mainly strings that push their agendas and provide a platform for proselytizing and indoctrination. You see the developing world often being exploited by churches in this way. I find it appalling. Particularly in areas of birth control and AIDs prevention where church’s agendas have harmed people and become a social and economic liability.

    Tom, personally, I simply find religion irrelevant to my life. The more others, particularly Christians in this country, proselytize and work their values into public policy, the more irrelevant it becomes for me. I resent it. These things are personal matters of self-realization, edification, and should not be rammed down people’s throats or the result of an agenda of indoctrination linked to public policies.

    To further elaborate on the point of public education and a Christian agenda, which is dumbing us down and impacting the quality of public education, check out the article below. This is the Texas board of education’s Christian agenda and meddling in the production and contents of textbooks, which impacts the nation.

    The cultural roots of the Texas showdown may be said to date to the late 1980s, when, in the wake of his failed presidential effort, the Rev. Pat Robertson founded the Christian Coalition partly on the logic that conservative Christians should focus their energies at the grass-roots level. One strategy was to put candidates forward for state and local school-board elections — Robertson’s protégé, Ralph Reed, once said, “I would rather have a thousand school-board members than one president and no school-board members” — and Texas was a beachhead. Since the election of two Christian conservatives in 2006, there are now seven on the Texas state board who are quite open about the fact that they vote in concert to advance a Christian agenda. “They do vote as a bloc,” Pat Hardy, a board member who considers herself a conservative Republican but who stands apart from the Christian faction, told me. “They work consciously to pull one more vote in with them on an issue so they’ll have a majority.”

    The Christian “truth” about America’s founding has long been taught in Christian schools, but not beyond. Recently, however — perhaps out of ire at what they see as an aggressive, secular, liberal agenda in Washington and perhaps also because they sense an opening in the battle, a sudden weakness in the lines of the secularists — some activists decided that the time was right to try to reshape the history that children in public schools study. Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, another Christian activist on the Texas board, put it, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

    How Christian Were the Founders?

    Also, Jon, I’m not dismissing the dangers of theocracy whether it’s Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu or in some other form. As I’ve said before, religion involves ideas of immutability and infallibility and, in some people’s minds, holds faith and loyalty above truth and individual conscience.

    Yet religion is for many people a framework for their conceptions of right and wrong, and is a powerful motivator for acting upon that.

    So, how do we move forward, in so far as we’re interested in channeling our species’ religious impulse toward beliefs that jibe with reason and science ?

    #471510
    Snarf
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    rus said:
    If only everyone was exactly like you.

    I wish I was Kbear919 so bad!

    #471511
    rus
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    TomOver said:
    Maybe this thread appeals to those interested in applying in our communities and the world concepts of justice, fairness, and compassion, but annoys those who are not.

    You mean the sojo thread, or this one?

    As to the sojo thread, think it illustrates the different views in the evangelical christian community. Not so much annoyed by “justice, fairness and compassion”, but perhaps having different definitions of such concepts.

    #471512

    JonMyers
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    TomOver said:Yet religion is for many people a framework for their conceptions of right and wrong, and is a powerful motivator for acting upon that.

    So, how do we move forward, in so far as we’re interested in channeling our species’ religious impulse toward beliefs that jibe with reason and science ?

    You could also substitute the words “black and white” for “right and wrong” and you could substitute the word “cage” for “framework”. Strict religious beliefs don’t allow for the grey.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “how we move forward”. Are you suggesting public policies? I suggest there is no point in moving forward in channeling religious impulses into beliefs that jibe with science. It’s up to the individual.

    #471513
    melikecheese
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    What roles? Hopefully none.

    #471514

    TomOver
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    rus said:
    You mean the sojo thread, or this one?

    As to the sojo thread, think it illustrates the different views in the evangelical christian community. Not so much annoyed by “justice, fairness and compassion”, but perhaps having different definitions of such concepts.

    Rus, I was referring to this CU thread. But as for the evangelical Christian community having different definitions of justice, fairness, and compassion, you raise a good point.

    For example, regarding conservative Christian opposition to a range of rights for queer folk, my guess is that the majority of people with those views don’t intend to be hateful. In their minds, they’re standing up for what they think is right.

    In terms of building alliances on a diversity of issues, it’s been useful for me to acknowledge that the conservative Christians who think being queer is a sin do not necessarily want to kill me or cause me to suffer. ( Of course, things can get ugly if that conservative Christian sentiment is used for political purposes, such as creating scapegoats for deflecting anger away from ruling elites.)

    On other issues with which people disagree with me, this idea can obviously be applied, whether it pertains to animal rights, tax policy, energy policy, organic farming, and so on.

    For example, my guess is that Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant doesn’t wake in the morning striving for more effective ways to harm humans, other animals, and the planet. The institutions within which he works and lives shape his values. It’s more useful to focus on changing those institutions than to focus on depicting him as a villain.

    #471515

    TomOver
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    I’ll be honest and state it more explicitly. My experience with Occupy has made this question about religion or spirituality more salient in my mind.

    The People’s mic may creep out some folk but it sent a chill up my spine the first time I witnessed it last month. Since then, I’ve been trying to untangle this vague sense that Occupy is more than meets the eye.

    Not to get carried away w/ delusions of grandeur, but if it’s not a matter religion or spirituality, per se, maybe it’s a matter of how social movements such as Occupy may be at least a small part of an epochal transition in human social organization–involving shifts away from hierarchy.

    I thought of this as I read the following passage in an article titled Civilization Shifting: a new leaderless era :

    “Autonomous, non-growth-generating social structures devoted to creating net restorative external effects may be one of the most substantial leaps in the development of human organization since the transition from hunter-gatherer groups into sedentary populations. Emerging networks and open-source movements may be among the most progressive leaps in this direction.”

    #471516
    rus
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    TomOver said:

    Not to get carried away w/ delusions of grandeur, but if it’s not a matter religion or spirituality, per se, maybe it’s a matter of how social movements such as Occupy may be at least a small part of an epochal transition in human social organization–involving shifts away from hierarchy.

    Emotional ( spiritual? ) reactions aside:

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

    #471517

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    rus said:
    Emotional ( spiritual? ) reactions aside:

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

    Rus, thanks for the link. Decentralization ought to interest progressives as well as conservatives in that both perspectives value people being able to play a role in decisions that affect our lives.

    #471518
    rus
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    TomOver said:
    Rus, thanks for the link. Decentralization ought to interest progressives as well as conservatives in that both perspectives value people being able to play a role in decisions that affect our lives.

    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/09/journal-notes-on-the-tea-partys-open-source-organization.html

    #471519

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    rus said:

    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/09/journal-notes-on-the-tea-partys-open-source-organization.html

    Interesting that John Robb quotes Dick Armey at the top of his article. Various folk at the Stop The Machine occupation in DC, such as Jim Hightower, Kevin Zeese, and David Swanson told me Armey and the Koch brothers co opted the Tea Party.

    One of the impressions I’m getting as I persist with getting more involved in activism is that the nominally progressive/left- of- center aspects of the mainstream media may have propagandized many mainstream progressives regarding the Tea Party, painting it with a broad brush as just a bunch of poorly informed White folk frazzled about having a Black president, and seeking to blame all of their problems on undocumented immigrants, instead of looking to corporate America and their enablers in government.

    I’ve been constantly on guard about the propaganda coming from the right leaning/conservative aspects of the mainstream media, but not so when it came to their counterparts on the nominal left such as MSNBC.

    The link to John Robb’s site includes comments about how Dems and Repubs are two branches of what is essentially a one party system that excludes so-called third parties–whether Libertarian or the Green Party.

    It may be worth exploring the question of whether mainstream media may have two branches of what is essentially the same corporate-big government propaganda machine.

    As I’ve said before, common ground between rank-and-file conservatives and rank-and-file progressives could be a force for constructive change.

    But the Devil is in the details. It’s complex. Just as right-leaning outlets such as Fox sympathized with the Tea Party, left leaning outlets sympathize with Occupy. But like Fox may have done thru Beck and other news personalities, liberal news outlets may facilitate the process of co opting Occupy.

    I will be honest. I’m not clear on these details. But I’ll post this anyway. I figure anyone who’s interested can do me the favor of correcting me on any aspect of what I say in this post. I’m throwing ideas out there while in a bit of a mental fog.

    #471520

    TomOver
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    Twixlen said:
    +1

    To that end, there was a great debate that touched on this – NPR has the full audio –

    Would The World Be Better Off Without Religion

    Guess Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens couldn’t make it or weren’t invited to NPR’s mini-panel.

    #471521

    TomOver
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    To clarify, the emphasis in this thread—for me at least—-is ‘spirituality.’ That word is used to denote a process by which a person derives a sense of purpose beyond short-term, mundane thinking. ‘Spirit’ here is used in the sense of, for example, “the spirit of the laws.” Its meaning pertains to one’s deepest sense of intention.

    For some, ‘spirituality’ requires a belief in deities and an after world. For others, it doesn’t. Though I myself am agnostic, increasingly I get the sense addressing our social and environmental challenges might require us to create new forms of ‘spirituality’—perhaps versions of it that blend better with scientific reasoning and other aspects of human rational faculties.

    #471522

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    upstairs said:
    “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion”. Quote by George Washington.

    “While we are under the tyranny of Priests, it will ever be their interest, to invalidate the law of nature and reason, in order to establish systems incompatible therewith” Quote by Ethan Allen, (leader of the famed “Green Mountain Boys Vermont Militia).

    “the grand object of all civil and religious tyrants…has been to suppress all the elevated operations of the mind, to kill the energy of thought, and through this channel to subjugate the whole earth for their own special emolument”.
    Quote by Elihu Palmer.

    “Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, anymore than our opinions of physics or geometry”. Quote by Thomas Jefferson.

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”
    Quote by Thomas Jefferson.

    “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists of holding humanity in contempt is like administrating medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals. And no man will envy these honors in which a savage only can be your rival and a bear your master”. Quote by Thomas Paine.

    Basically, the more you uncover, it becomes very clear that our country was not founded on Christianity. I am not a meme cast typed libertarian, just someone who started studying the constitution and the History of the United States so as to have a clear compass about where we have come from and where we are going.

    Edit. I stated “whatsoever”, which is ignorant to express. Secondly, I am not an anti Christian, I was reacting to another post expressing the origins of our country. Also, of course Martin Luther King Junior should have “meddled” in politics, as he did, more than meddle. I think that one’s personal spirituality makes up the foundation of one’s philosophy or system of behavior and thought.
    I suppose the term “spirituality” is highly subjective.

    Thanks for the quotes, though I don’t relate to the speciesist view Paine expressed in this case. But comparing, disfavorably, nonhuman animals to my favorite primate has been a common polemic practice.

    #471523

    TomOver
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    Maybe Love is the answer, not religion, per se.[/url]

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