Emanations from Rev. Bob's rectory
- "Television knows no night. It is perpetual day. TV embodies our fear of the dark, of night, of the other side of things."~Jean Baudrillard 2012-09-07
- I <3 Barney! Barney Frank Likens Gay Republicans To Uncle Toms | TPM2012 - http://t.co/TfKAXPE6 2012-09-06
- "We should tackle reality in a slightly jokey way, otherwise we miss its point."~Lawrence Durrell via http://t.co/4nmlehHN 2012-09-06
- RIP Joe South- http://t.co/dTuemS72 - http://t.co/e5TQyfg4 2012-09-06
- I intend to vote in the way that is the most effective in bringing about the destruction of conservatism. Now explain to me why you won't. 2012-09-06
- Moms, want to know why your kids are hungry?'Epicenter of missile defense' growing on Redstone Arsenal - http://t.co/f3GQlpM7 2012-09-06
- A home run by a stunning lady - Transcript: Michelle Obama's Convention Speech : NPR - http://t.co/zI5Rocuj 2012-09-05
- A Buddhist walks up to a hot dog stand and says Make me one Chicago style, extra mustard. 2012-09-05
- "Romney calls immigrant children illegals. Obama calls them DREAMers. That tells me everything I need to know." -David Simas 2012-09-04
- People who say "on a daily basis" instead of "every day" must die. Where's my disemboweling kit? 2012-09-04
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Liberal religion keeps engaging with the world, our humanity, and our minds in surprising and insightful ways. For instance, this excerpt from a provocatively titled article in Religion Dispatches:
“Christianity is not supposed to make you secure. Christianity is supposed to give you the courage to walk into an insecure world knowing that you’re not alone and to embrace the radical insecurity. If you’ve got to spend your time proving that you’re better than someone else—males are better than females, whites are better than blacks, heterosexuals are better than homosexuals—you’re always building yourself up by pushing somebody else down. But, you shouldn’t need to build yourself up unless you’re radically insecure. Religion feeds into that radical insecurity with triumphalism—ours is the only religious route you can take to get to God. That’s a really strange idea.”~ John Shelby Spong
Lots of nonbelievers have concluded that conservative religion has nothing to offer and is not worth even responding to except in the framework of power and fighting for our equality (or maybe mockery).
Even if we’re among the people who’ve given up altogether on conservative religion, I think we should listen to the ideas of religious liberals. I think they are worth responding to.
When believers say atheism is “just another religion” are they saying atheism is a good basis for a life that’s intellectually rich, moral, and meaningful? Not a bit. They’re trying to put atheism down. They’re saying “you’re just as bad as we are.” That isn’t the kind of argument confident people make. It makes you wonder how trustworthy they think the religious way of knowing really is.
Greta Christina has an article about what a perfect world would look like.
Do atheists want to sit around bitching and moaning forever, throwing the occasional snark bomb at fundies, or do we want to accomplish something? Given that the current state of affairs, the Corporate States of Jesusland, is awful, what would a better country and world look like?
Greta has some pretty good answers.
Perfect world 1 is that religion simply fades away and disappears. Perfect world 2 is that religions and religious people become tolerant and learn to leave other people the hell alone. For some pretty good reasons, she thinks perfect world 2 is unlikely.
I was just reading a history of agnosticism by Bernard Lightman. I’m beginning to understand that liberal religion (a religion that doesn’t want to convert you or kill you) simply doesn’t hold up. Unless you reduce your favorite god to just one more creature in the world, then you can’t know anything about that god by observation and reason; and the god you get from pure reason is so abstract, it barely makes it all the way up to deism, much less theism . The best way, perhaps the only way to know anything about gods (unless you’re a Roman Catholic and are satisfied with Pius X’s encyclical which looks suspiciously like “because I said so”) is through revelation. Since revelation isn’t susceptible to reason, or it hasn’t been so far, revelation is either wholly true or wholly false. Fundamentalism, though I admire neither its exegetical methods nor its practice as a religion, has integrity in that one thing: revelation is either wholly true or wholly false. Cherry picking ends up with a bucket full of cherries, plums, peaches, and dog turds. What’s more, it’s never been done twice with the same results.
If you can show me a god that is susceptible to being known about in the ordinary way that’s an actual god or a god that can be known through pure reason that can actually do something and can exist outside the human mind or the “noumenal world,” (wherever the hell that is), I’ll be pleased to reconsider. But for now, put me down for “wholly false.” The disconnect between dealing with things in the real world and dealing with revealed things is just too jarring. Maybe trying to reconcile the two into one way of looking at the world is too hard.
So, just as Greta said, for different reasons, the halfway house of liberal religion is too hard to build. And as people read their “inerrant” bibles and conclude “this is stupid,” the easiest place to go — perhaps the only posssible place to go — is all the way out.