A belated welcome to Siggy and Mama readers! Please take a look around--were talking about impolite topics these days: sex, politics and religion. Oh, and racism, too. Why not? I'm quite sure, there's enough to offend everyone.
Maxed Out Mama goes off today on a righteous rant. Her post is excellent and deserves a careful, thoughtful reading.
Before I reference my favorite passages from her post, I would like to note something. Within America, we face a question whose answer determines our future. We know what the future looks like should we continue on our current path--we have had the benefit of watching Europe morph into a multi-cultural morass. Their society is defined by conflict, nihilism, and a pervasive sense of helplessness. Meanwhile, an undercurrent of intolerance, hate and revenge brews.
The question: Are we a God-fearing country or are we a Secular country?
Which is it? The first dictates certain actions. The second does, as well. You see, for those who are areligious or anti-religious, their moral compass is quite lax (not all, mind you, but the minorities matter as much as the majorities according to their dogma). Their religion is their personal comfort. This belief leads to certain conclusions.
While our Judeo-Christian society tolerates those who fall outside the Judeo-Christian belief system--sinners who have yet to reform is the hopeful ideal, the Secular system is quite intolerant of those who do not tolerate everything they believe is tolerable. And what's tolerable is quite dependent on the individual. So we end up in inane places where bestiality is hotly debated as an individual right.
And why shouldn't bestiality or euthanasia or necrophilia or pedophilia or polygamy or abortion or adultery or thievery or extortion be allowed? The fittest will survive. The rest will shrink and die. If a Jeff Skilling can manage to snooker thousands of people, shame on them for being stupid.
Nearly every law on America's books ties back to the Magna Carta and ultimately, the Bible. One could argue that the rational results of these laws is a society filled with knowledge, reason, abundance and every good thing imaginable. Perhaps that's why so many Americans dig their heels in when it comes to changing to allow every perverted (who gets to define that word?) thing become not just tolerated but endorsed legally.
Mama says it better:
Why? SC&A answers the question:Secularism is really state-sponsored Narcissim. It is a religion. It is a belief system. There is dogma. And it is being foisted on Americans. The hope is that America will trade their Judeo-Christian roots for the fleeting feel-good forbidden fruit of Secular selfishness.
Non believers would argue that belief in God is a kind of crutch- and it is in that argument that we can see that they do not understand the meaning of ‘faith in God.’ In fact, real faith is assuming a burden, obligations that would otherwise be ignored. The Jewish notion is particularly illustrative- it is one of assuming ‘the yoke of Heaven.’
With real faith there is no respite from those obligations. In fact, the obligations and ‘ascent’ are unrelenting. There is a never ending field that must be plowed so that who follow the believer will find spiritual nourishment and meaning. There are no vacations from the obligations believers assume.
Exactly. This is the philosophy, the essential stance, that the NY Times finds so dangerous. It concentrates on destroying this idea, which their philosophy finds terrifying. They do not fear the bombers and the destroyers - they fear us. They fear those who believe that there is an absolute, external reality which has the right to make individual claims upon us which will mandate self-sacrifice. Traditional atheism in the American culture has denied the existence of a God, but not has not denied the existence of an external reality or the concept that recognizing an external reality imposes obligations on us individually.
The new philosophy of "secularism" has come to adopt the idea that reality, if it is uncomfortable, can be changed. Of course, it cannot. And of course, reality will often be very, very uncomfortable. Yet it will continue to exist, and the sum of our individual inabilities or abilities to recognize reality and to respond to it well ultimately governs the life and success of all cultures. This new secularism is also at war with traditional American atheism.
SC&A's post merits reading and rereading, but for now I want to cite a comment in response to the post from one Ryotto:
Life is not meaningless to the secular tribe. In fact, life on this earth is what matters most.
Unlike the religious tribe, who will mindlessly vote for anyone who wears his religion on his sleeve, no matter how disastrous his policies are, the members of the secular tribe are concerned about what kind of place we will leave to future generations. Will we leave them an overpopulated, polluted Earth which is dominated by the greed of big business and has little regard for the individual, or will we leave them an Earth which is better than the one we were given?
For some secularists, Ryotto's point is true. These are the traditional atheists who do recognize duty toward others. But it is obvious that Ryotto doesn't recognize this duty, because the first duty of all those who do believe in external reality is to recognize that reality as well as they can. When Ryotto must continue on to describe the "religious tribe" this way...
To the religious tribe, it really doesn’t matter, as long as they can spend eternity floating around in some kind of imagined paradise.
... it becomes obvious that Ryotto has a problem with reality. It takes a stunning amount of willful blindness not to realize that the commands of faith are almost purely directed toward our obligations toward other human beings, and not to recognize the historical role that these commands have played in the life of our nation. Abolition, emancipation of women, child-labor laws, the progressive era fighting for just compensation for working-class men and women - all of these movements were initiated by religious people. The churches and synagogues spawned the hospitals, nursing homes and charities then, and they still do now.
When you must resort to lies to make your point, you have no point. Just as every atheist is not trying to avoid reality, it is fact that most religious people are responding to the reality that they see and experience, and that the Ten Commandments still have place in the life of this country because they still accurately tell us something about the results of our actions over time.
Does lying, stealing or cheating work? Does abusing or ignoring your parents work? Properly understood, "sin" in the Judeo-Christian tradition means denying reality with your actions, a.k.a. doing things that seem wonderful right now, but do not work out over the long term. Isn't "...punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me" an apt description of what we are seeing in our society from those who have romped off on the path of self-fulfillment while ignoring their responsibilities to others? Change "God" to "the real world", and can any atheist not at war with reality deny that these rules are still basic requirements for a workable society?
It is also a fact that the US press is dominated by an elite that has little contact with reality and wishes to preserve that circumstance, and that it represents the true life of the American people not at all. It is a froth destined to be swept away by the currents of history and reality. I will not mourn its passing.
Shrinkwrapped wrote in a puzzled fashion last year that he could not understand why he found many religiously-oriented bloggers more thoughtful and reality-oriented than the secularists. In "Talking 'bout My Generation" he takes another look at what the denial of personal responsibility has wrought:
Children who are raised to believe the sun rises and sets for them are loathe to risk their own comfort for anything that does not directly threaten them. After all, since the ascendancy of the left among the Western elites, the idea that there could exist anything more important than the attainment of one's personal happiness (usually confused with the pursuit of pleasure and material accumulation) has been accepted as the only sine qua non for a just society. The heightened Narcissism of my generation is the substrate upon which so many of our troubles rest, which is why I write about it so often.
America will choose and her choice will determine her survival.
Update: My, my, my. This topic is not only on my mind today. Everyone is talking about God--even Psychiatrists. Please go read this post by Sigmund, Carl and Alfred. I'd like to note that he is in my Blog Roll and if you haven't been hitting the links recently, you're missing out. This is just one example.