Tag Archives: religion

David Voas and a Nearsighted View of Religion

Spoken like someone who has never taken the time to understand the role of religion in not only human history and progress, but it’s particular importance in the Western Tradition. David Voas, in his talk, demonstrates how no amount of education can guard against vanity, conceit and susceptibility to fashionable intellectual bigotries. The only insurance against these character traps is a healthy sense of dignity–not a proud display of arrogance. And while the popular opinion of religions demise is often seen in the relative infallibility of science and an over-inflated measure of the mental totem–raised at the end of a staff and shaken, voodoo-like, rattling infertile seeds within a gourd–“reason”.

In fact, it seems much more certain that the way to a popular audience–as where the American Civil War and WWII as subject matter for the past 50 years seem to insure a great sale of books–is to offer up the old arguments against religion only with greater certainty, wider venue or the trappings of scholastic credibility which, huckster-like, make the arguments seem more compelling than the arguments in themselves prove to be.

Further, David Voas’ reasoning exhibits exactly the kind of pitfall a lack of faith and religious perspective are precisely a bane against. He looks at immediate trends like a hiker walking through impenetrable fog who hasn’t hit a tree yet so decides he must not still be in a forested wilderness.

What David fails to acknowledge is the reason for religions success, rise and evolution alongside, or rather, in relationship with western society. At every turn in the road where a crisis loomed or was wreaking havoc upon the stability and forward progress of society, religion has stepped onto the front stage of the play with a perspective or innovation which served to carry us forward past the given obstacle. And this is because, counter to the mis-representative bigotries of the challengers of religion, religion is a mental perspective guided by values, selflessness and an awareness of a greater community which reaches not only into the jutted towers of higher education, but right down to where the hands of the lowliest workers meet and toil in the earth and firmament.

When the formula and equation of the Ancient Roman society had reached it’s logical conclusion… when it had outlasted it’s viability… It was Christianity and it’s sense of self and capacity for sacrifice and contribution which carried the society into its next epoch. When the Balkans with it’s warlike princes and micro-states could not justify a Byzantine garrison for its lack of societal wealth and production and yet could deliver veteran armies gathered snowball like out of its cauldron of vanity and warlike strife… it was the system of bishoprics which extended in proto-federal governance as ambassadors of an Empire whose interests were served by peace. And in the decline of populations where a rotting peace, internecine war–where bodies rotted on battlefields too numerous to bury much less shrift giving rise to population explosions of rodents fed upon rotting human flesh, and those diseases which fed upon that flesh–produced an outbreak of disease which wiped out great proportions of the society… it was a resurgence in religious directive, the monastic movement which went out into the wilds of Europe carving out civilization from sheer wilderness with corporate activity which developed new innovations in manufacture of all sorts. And when it was that old enemy of civilization, the worship of power into those seats of power man create, it was a diaspora of religious authority which cleansed the way for old and new religious authorities to take the reigns and lead the societies into a new age of theological discourse and intellectual refinement… with its adherents armed with invigorated enthusiasm for the toil to seek out God’s vision for the sake of man’s dignity.

No other venue susses out or engages in the dialogue for the sake of human dignity like theology and religion… Not accountancy, not law, not business, not athleticism, not aestheticism, and certainly not science. Right now we face a crisis of drug addiction, alcoholism, materialism, warfare, avarice, vanity and power… These are symptoms of meaninglessness. It is the science of human dignity, religion and a meaningful life which can only provide the context and perspective necessary to keep us from sliding forever into more and more debased patterns of slavery and servitude to sensationalism, vanity and power. This is what David Voas doesn’t understand about the Western Tradition. But maybe all he really wants is to fill his classrooms and sell a few books.




Interpretation of American Globalism

An Interpretation of American Globalism

This brings to mind the old social studies lesson about African tribalism… How the most an extended tribe based upon a familial kind of interconnection–that is, relationships knitted together based upon direct recognition of one another–could only extend to about 500. This is the maximum, so the theory goes, that individuals could be acquainted with one another in any kind of direct recognition of one another ;beyond that, there would be strain put on ones ability to feel kinship with all the members of the tribe and you get internal discord.

This is one of the breakdowns in human cultural evolution of extended civilization which religion directly addresses. Religion provides the foundation for recognizable kinship and a basis for understanding which extends beyond a single persons ability to actually know and recognize members of a community beyond this direct acquaintance number of 500 people.

This is also why, religions, to remain pertinent to their mission, must incorporate an inherent regard for members of different faith groups on the terms of those differing faith groups. There are, as with most legitimate doctrinal religious mores, other reasons for the same established value or values–in which the observance of one aspect creates the danger of diminishing the importance of other aspects, which is why to speak of such things in brevity is dangerous and why such issues require a more meditative (or prayer-like) approach. Such issues require a next-step brand of cognitive awareness; rather than a bullet-point explication a more topographical understanding–the kind of cognitive apprehension which would explain the incites of say a Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi or Dr Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Without this cultural innovation, or evolutionary stage, and something we see almost trapped in amber in the rendering of US bases across the world, we revert to more archaic forms of societal order. In a word, militarism. That is, the presence or threat of power to keep order. A strategy for societal order which inevitably means slavery.

Whenever you have the amassing of power with its attendant hierarchical structure… you will always have those within that hierarchical order who abuse their position, leveraging their place and title to amass personal power–or more likely, having amassed personal power, leveraged this to seize their position thus setting the tone of their conduct a priori. Suppressing the rights of those beneath them in that hierarchy to steal what would be their just due–the use of threat in this relationship renders this the accomplishment of slavery.

Unfortunately, the alternative without another organizational doctrine, results in a chaos and strife which reduces the societies ability to support the population numbers we now enjoy… In other words, a correction results in whatever form–war, famine, disease–to bring the populations back down to a manageable number; determined by whatever organizational structure is put in place to take up the job of societal management, or governance. The simpler the system, the greater the misery, strife and diminution of population and control over ones own fate–the greater the debasement of humanity. This system of order, because it does not obtain by slow negotiation of the various representatives of the various communities, WILL result in that system of organizational structure being one of devolved cultural resource. That is, a more ancient pattern; which means, based upon power; a greater consolidation, and more oppressive kind, of authority.

This is why revolutions are a failure from the get-go and evolution is the preferred route to change. Anything else… ensures the debasement of culture, ensures slavery…

Hands all over / Soundgarden

Don’t touch me
Hands all over the eastern border
You know what I think we’re falling
From composure
Hands all over western culture
Ruffling feathers and turning eagles into vultures
Into vultures

Got my arms around baby brother
Put your hands away
Your gonna kill your mother, gonna kill your mother
Kill your mother
And I love her, yeah
I love her

Hands all over the coastal waters
The crew men thank her
Then lay down their oily blanket
Hands all over the inland forest
In a striking motion trees fall down like dying soldiers
Yeah like dying soldiers

Got my arms around baby brother
Put your hands away
Your gonna kill your mother, gonna kill your mother
Kill your mother
And I love her, yeah
I love her
I love her

Hands all over the peasants daughter
She’s our bride she’ll never make it out alive
Hands all over words I utter
Change them into things you want to
Like balls of clay
Put your hands away

Yeah, put your hands away
Put your hands away
Gonna kill your mother
Gonna kill your mother
Gonna kill your mother
And I love her
I love her
I love her
I love her
And she loves me, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Written by Christopher J. Cornell, Kim A. Thayil • Copyright © BMG Rights Management

A Response to: Tommy Robinson “Making Perfect Sense”

EDL… pronounced: addle. I really don’t understand why this is posted by Atheism is Unstoppable. Childish handle. What is interesting about this EDL is that it harkens back to a time when Medieval Europe required Christianity as a common protocol to manage our understanding of the world around us and the responsibilities we have to one another. However, this was at a time when we lived a life much less certain of survival, requiring a much greater adherence to expectation for the sake of the community as a whole. The Albigensians challenged this agreed upon context and so put at risk the whole of their society.

Today, we can easily provide enough resources to ensure the survival of unprecedented populations. Our greatest challenges are our greed, provincialism and capacity for contempt–the last of which you seem to have spent some time cultivating. To expect each person to accept what one person sees as reasonable, is, well, unreasonable. Hence, human culture, still requires a protocol for developing a sense of dignity–which counters the development of a capacity for contempt, and arrogance. This protocol, we refer to as religion. We have many of them, each one fails and succeeds in it’s own manner. Each one ensures the continuance of a community of human beings at least for another generation. Each one is subject to reinterpretation as these communities change, grow and mature.

If you want to see what can happen when a whole set of societal conditions is suddenly asserted upon a community from outside that community, or from an over-empowered minority… Soviet and post-Soviet Russia and post-MacArthur Japan provide telling examples.

Your argument here is largely condescending mannerism, rather than insight or reasoning. What you don’t understand is that by providing a front YOU INCITE like response. You say that the ideas these young men put forward are a non-starter, but these are YOUNG men with very little actual power beyond their own opinion. Have you spoken with many young men?! Hell, many men at all?! The veneer of civilization is very thin and supported by very few minds–most people have their heads so securely stowed up their own ass as to be ineffectual.

And you atheists are too proud of your “intellect” to allow any kind of real appreciation for what is going on in the minds of the people around you. What you really fear… well, I am reminded of the “perfect anarchist”, from Conrad’s, The Secret Agent… He is a fanatic, carrying around an indiarubber ball in the left pocket of his trousers which he grasps lightly at the sight of the onrushing crowd–the trigger for a vial of nitroglycerin ample enough to clear the street. And the unthinking animal crowd is the bane of his existence, the thing he most fears. In this is revealed the true sharer of his deepest sympathies… the Crowns of Europe. Just as you Atheists would supplant God’s vision with your own–as rough hewn, borrowed and bastardized as it may be.

You Atheists concoct an absurd notion of what God is, and then pat yourselves on the back for dismissing him as absurd in the very next breath. You naturally assume that tens of thousands of years of religious evolution is simple idiocy even as you fall under the spell of your own vanity as you do it. Then, you hoist your atheism high as a banner, challenging all and sunder to argue you out of your rationalized existence in the same simple terms you have used to define existence. You chant, “Science!” as verbal totem to relinquish yourselves from any obligation to make sense of the world around you. And in so doing you submit yourselves to precisely the kind of mystical, totemic faith you convince yourselves Christians are guilty of. And it is all so that you can languish in self-absorption and denial of your responsibilities to anything beyond paying the rent. Childish.

post script… And as for [Islamic view of women’s role in society]… I suppose all women should be issued a pole upon which to dance and learn her role appropriately?!