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August 31, 2010

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Arguably Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are different sects of the same religion, i.e. all worship the God of Abraham. Maybe that's what he's getting at.

You're on fire. Great posts this week.

isn't he harkening back to the founding era where religious pluralism was a major issue in how we'd constitute ourselves as a nation? the distrust and abject hostility between different christian sects in the past is difficult to understand today and part of our founding philosphy arose to accomodate a bunch of different sects without allowing one to predominate

i think they just always assumed freedom of religion would always apply just to diff types of christianity, not the hale bopp cult and islam

Bahá'í is somewhat similar. I suspect that it's more popular in the U.S. among liberals than conservatives, partially because the only Bahá'ís I've come across have been liberals living in Madison, WI.

It's universalist in that it grants a degree of validity to all previous religions, but it does have its own tenents, the chief among them being monotheism. This makes sense, since I'm pretty sure that it finds it's roots in Twelver (Shi'a) Islam.

Yes, very nice work this week. I can barely keep up.

I also agree at the end of the day so much of people's political posturing is status striving and display of status markers, especially since loose lending and cheap Chinese imports trickled down conspicuous consumption to the point it was really tough to tell the rich from the drowning in debt. The only reliable markers left are the color of your skin and the way you vote.

I wish he had said "slavery was the worst thing to happen to this country". That would have worked both ways - the shallow could see it as the appropriate expression of white guilt (especially on 'i have a dream' day), and the wise could see it as stating the truth of the anti-civilizational impact NAMs have had (because without slavery most wouldn't have had the wherewithal to make it here, excepting the Mexicans of course).

Why not no god? Also, there is a Buddhist center in Cambridge near Harvard, and UU is also popular in many parts of Massachusetts.

"I think they just always assumed freedom of religion would always apply just to diff types of Christianity, not the hale bopp cult and Islam"

Because true religious "freedom" is a choice between the Episcopalian, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. George Washington may have been reared and baptized as an Anglican, but his belief system was Deism. Jefferson has stated that it does him no injury if his neighbor has no gods or twenty.

It's actually the First Universality Synagogue of the Muslim Christ. Look it up.

Correction--that should be "First Universalist Church of the Muslim Christ."

"Glenn Beck also believes that God takes sides, and that America is His chosen nation. "

I cringe at this type of all inclusive rhetoric (it's almost akin to moral relativism), but the sentiment above makes it significantly better than Unitarian universalism.

"i think they just always assumed freedom of religion would always apply just to diff types of christianity, not the hale bopp cult and islam"

Good point - this isn't stressed enough, especially in our increasingly multicultural society. Just like the Constitution has nothing to say on net neutrality, it also has no insights or prescriptions on Islam or other wholly foreign doctrines.

"i think they just always assumed freedom of religion would always apply just to diff types of christianity, not the hale bopp cult and islam"

I don't know if they assumed that; I think they would have had real doubts of the nation surviving with a large Muslim (or Catholic?) population. But I don't think they would have wanted to sacrifice liberty for the sake of an embittered union where one side sought to suppress the other. I think they were aware that liberty would be limited by the prejudice of the people as much as by a centralized, unlimited power.

A few states in the early years still had established churches (or religious communities), so it was not certain what freedom of religion and toleration would really be in practice, but the prejudice against persecution was more dominant.

Indeed, it is obvious that the USA will collapse in to anarchy and we will have an entire nation that looks like "Escape from New York" as the percentage of the population with a low IQ grows too large.

There is almost no serious scholar I know of that denies that dysgenic breeding is setting the USA up for inevitable collapse

But Beck doesn't feel comfortable with this subject.

Of course Beck would never admit publicly that certain races have much lower IQ than other races. The interesting question is, would he even admit it to himself, in his own mind?

I mean, every single person on this blog knows that if the USA allows 100 million Koreans and Chinese to move to the USA the average IQ of the USA will go way up. Every single person on this blog knows that if the USA allows 100 million Guatemalans to move to the USA that the average IQ of the USA will go way down and the country will collapse. But does Beck really admit this to himself

"the distrust and abject hostility between different christian sects in the past is difficult to understand today"

It shouldn't be. The distrust and hostility between SWPLs and proles is, in essence, a conflict between religious sects.

"I think they would have had real doubts of the nation surviving with a large Muslim (or Catholic?) population. But I don't think they would have wanted to sacrifice liberty for the sake of an embittered union where one side sought to suppress the other."

I think they didn't at all foresee mass immigration of non-white Christians or the equality of blacks. They simply didn't believe this would happen so they never considered how their formulation of government would handle it. Perhaps they considered Catholics, but the difference is minimal compared to non-white, non-Christians.

Totally off topic:
VERY weird story involving a lawyer and a judge, sex, race, bondage and porn. You couldn't make this stuff up.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/08/31/judge-manitoba-douglas.html

"They simply didn't believe this would happen so they never considered how their formulation of government would handle it"

I think you are probably right. Keep in mind that during the colonial era, European populations were growing at a good clip; there were comparatively few third world people in the world; and third world populations were not exploding as they are now.

What would Martin Luther think of these twerps?

Finally, unfounded sense of superiority is from certain religion. As Rushton studies indicate, sense of superiority is inversely related to IQ. More you feel better about yourself, more likely you are dumb.

"I think you are probably right. Keep in mind that during the colonial era, European populations were growing at a good clip; there were comparatively few third world people in the world; and third world populations were not exploding as they are now."

Norman Borlaug's actions have exacerbated the exponential growth rate of the developing world.

"Perhaps they considered Catholics, but the difference is minimal compared to non-white, non-Christians."

Patrick Henry was a founding father and a Catholic.

"There is almost no serious scholar I know of that denies that dysgenic breeding is setting the USA up for inevitable collapse"

Perhaps the average IQ could be raised in the same manner designer babies are made? If high IQ genes could be spliced into unborn babies then it should assuage the dysgenic trend. The UN should consider a worldwide one-child policy, and incentives to only have one child. Lowered taxes and college admission for a person's child at free UN built colleges in their respective countries should help. Also, the parents could also attend.

"What would Martin Luther think of these twerps?"

Martin Luther has stated that faith and reason are enemies. He also supported suppressing the peasants' revolt. He also held some bizarre ideas, such as celibacy being "invented" by the devil, and that his flatulence repelled Satan. It is amazing how such a puerile mind could influence many major Christian sects.

"What would Martin Luther think of these twerps?"

Martin Luther stated that faith and reason are mutual enemies. He also supported suppressing the peasants' revolt. He also had some puerile beliefs, such as celibacy being invented by the devil. Martin Luther also believed that his flatulence repelled Satan. It is remarkable how such a puerile mind influenced major Christian denominations. Furthermore, Martin Luther was a notorious anti-Semite, and has published anti-Semitic propaganda and literature.

-What would Martin Luther think of these twerps?-

He'd think they are great. Lots of white women and no plagiarism!

Alert:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38949288/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/

There will be additional attacks of this nature. Please be careful.

beck is a mormon. joseph smith came out of a partly universalist milieu, and mormonism still has that to some extent (google mormon levels of heaven and ideas about the afterlife and posthumous baptism). additionally, technically mormons are henotheists, not monotheists. their own theology makes them non-christians in the eyes of other non-christians (they reject the trinity, believe that male mormons can become gods, and that e.t.'s may have their own gods, that god has a physical body and a wife, etc.).

*Unitarian universalism doesn’t make people feel good about themselves because it tells people that a Buddhist in China is just as good as you or I. How is that supposed to raise my self-esteem?*

As a liberal Catholic, myself esteem isn't raised by proclaiming that my religion is superior to other faiths, but simply going to Church and doing good works is what does so. For me religion's job isn't to make me feel better than others, but simply to be means of worshiping a higher being that I believe to exist while satiating my own personal guilt.

Beck is a Mormon who became born again according to the principles in the Bible, John 3:3-7. I was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ until I became born again and could no longer believe in the principles that the church espoused. Many of the beliefs are the same as the Mormon church.

Although Beck mentions that he is a Mormon, I don't believe he is a "practicing" Mormon.

I don't like a lot of what Glenn Beck says and does, and I find him to be puerile. The fact that Fox News is popular is a symptom of lowest common denominator egalitarianism. I blame the banal commercially promoted pseudo-"culture" in America that creates the demand for such "news". The intransigence of the followers of such "culture" to believe that their culture is just as valid as the intelligent, subtle, and introspection eliciting cultures is insulting.

Many will state, in their own ways, that all music, culture, and art is created equal, everything is subjective, and merely a matter of tastes. If one likes that which is banal, vulgar, and portrays negative values, then the person is most likely to be vulgar, banal, and have negative values themselves.

http://www.nomuzak.co.uk/dumbing_down.html

The above link illustrates the problems increasing lowest common denominator egalitarianism.



"Glenn Beck is preaching some non-existent religion which I would call nondenominational monotheism."


Also known as American Civil Religion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_civil_religion

It is what America has used in the past to combat social pathologies like illegitimacy, etc.

Speaking of illegitimacy, according to the US census, for every 1000 hispanic women 97 illegitimate hispanic kids are born. That beats blacks who only manage to produce 72 illegitimate kids for every 1000 women. Whites only managed 28 bastards per 1000 women.

This kind of social disease is what civil religion for the masses is supposed to suppress.

Atheism/liberalism for the masses is not cool. It is stupid.

Illegitimacy rates citation:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr50/nvsr50_05.pdf

page 9, top of second column.

Unitarian Universalists don't have any agreed upon theology. But they do get holier than thou about their political correctness. They never shut up about gay marriage, abortion, global warming, etc.

"In contrast, Unitarian universalism doesn’t make people feel good about themselves because it tells people that a Buddhist in China is just as good as you or I. How is that supposed to raise my self-esteem? "

It's not. But it's not meant to lower it either.

Buddhism by the way, like Jainism, is essentially moral atheism - it doesn't address the issue of a God or a Supreme being, but rather Liberation from samsara, the cycle of birth and death.

A Buddhist in China is essentially as good or as bad as you are, depending on what type of individuals you and she are.

As far as the Bahai, if an official anti-homosexuality stance is "liberal" then I guess they would be "liberal".

The Bahai are allowed to vote, but not to promote any party.

Be Blessed.

OneSTDV gets exactly right that Glenn Beck is really surrendering to Leftist framing.
http://onestdv.blogspot.com/2010/09/glenn-beck-and-tacit-surrender-to-left.html

One really has to think one's way out of the Left's framing.

dale says:

isn't he harkening back to the founding era where religious pluralism was a major issue in how we'd constitute ourselves as a nation? the distrust and abject hostility between different christian sects in the past is difficult to understand today and part of our founding philosphy arose to accomodate a bunch of different sects without allowing one to predominate

I'd like to know the extent to which the Founding Fathers were motivated by the need to maintain peace between many splinters of Protestantism versus really believing in religious freedom.

I do not see how religious freedom can practically apply to a religion for which religious freedom is anathema.

God, as sharp and informed as HS and the commentators on this site are, I would ask that people read up more about Buddhism if you're going to make sweeping generalities about it.

> Buddhism by the way, like Jainism,
> is essentially moral atheism

The relationship of the various schools of Buddhism to some sort of overbeing is complex, but sorry it is simply inaccurate to call Buddhist "atheist". While it's true that the historical Buddha allegedly refused to talk about such matters, there are plenty of lineages in Buddhism that are pretty clearly theistic. Overall, given the way the religion has played out over the millenia, "agnostic" is more like it.

Beck is a Mormon. the behavior you describe is pretty standard ecumenicalism (albeit more Abrahamic than Christian), not some new creation.

"The fact that Fox News is popular is a symptom of lowest common denominator egalitarianism"

Well, except that Fox News viewers are the wealthiest and best educated of any cable channel demographic except Bloomberg.

Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, not a Christain. The Founding Fathers specifically mention Islam, as well as Hinduism and other religions in the Virgian Act for Religious Freedom:

''Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.''

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

More quotes from Jefferson regarding Christianity and religion here;

http://www.nobeliefs.com/jefferson.htm

Ian, that Buddhism is perfectly compatible with Atheism as we know it in the West speaks to it's superiority, not inferiority. Indeed, even world-reknowned Atheist Sam Harris embraces and practices some form of Buddhist Meditation.

That being said, there is a long history of what I would call "religious Atheism" in South Asia, the land of Buddhism's origin as well as the 6 philosophical schools of Hinduism, all of which pre-date Buddhism and from which Buddhism draws it's entire philosophy.

There is a difference between the approach to Eastern Atheism and Western Atheism - Buddhism is compatible with both, but when I say "Atheism" it does not have the negative connotations that most Theists in the West would attribute to the word. I am thinking of a South Asian type of Atheism which is based on certain schools of Eastern Existential Philosophy.

I'd be interested in any studies done on the IQs of persons who embrace and convert to Buddhism. My hunch is that they are high.

I agree that Buddhism can be practices completely in an atheistic manner. But to say that Buddhism *is compatible with* atheism is different than saying Buddhism *is* atheistic.

Evidence that it is not:

* Traditional Theravada Buddhism incorporated the Hindu pantheon (Brahma, Vishnu, etc) into its cosmology and its scriptures. You even find statues and devotions to these Indian Divine Beings in Japan, Vietnam, and other Mahayana Buddhist scenes. Of course, the beings are seen not as Aristotelian "prime movers", but as merely karmic beings subject to the same forces of dukkha/suffering, anicha/impermanance, and anata/interconnectedness as humans and other limited beings. But, in each individual kalpa (world cycle), the Indian Gods are seen as acting as the, well, Gods of that universe.

* Every once in a while, Ishwara (the Vedic/Hindu equivalent to God the Father/Yaw_h/Allah) sneaks his way into Buddhist scriptures.

* Practically, Siddhartha Gautama Shakayumni serves as a God-like figure for many Buddhists (in today's rural Thailand, for example). In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, the celestial Bodhisattvas (Avalokiteshavara/Chenrezig/Kwan Yin/Kanon, Manjushri, Jizu, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bodhisattvas) as well as the mythical Buddhas of future and past epochs (Maitreya, etc) are God-like figures as well.

* Jodo Shin (the most popular sect of Buddhism in Japan) is strikingly similar to Christianity. Instead of devoting oneself to Jesus in hopes to get to Heaven, however, it's Amida Buddha and his Pure Buddha Realm.

In sum: there is a big difference between the philosophical Buddhism that Western intellectuals (like Sam Harris, and, to be honest, me) have extracted from Asia, and the religious Buddhism that is actually practiced in neighborhood temples and at home altars in the old countries.

Ian, I am aware that "deities" (demigods or superhumans) have their place in many forms of Buddhism, however, if you could please cite for me the sacred Buddhist texts that contain the concept of Ishwar. Thankyou.

Regarding Bahai. Like most Religions, there seems to be a different demographic in the West that practices compared to the demographic in and from the land of it's origin - Iran.

You see this in Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoga, Islam etc. The Western demograhic tends to be "alternative" and left/liberal leaning, while the indigenous people from the Eastern lands these religions originated in tend to be conservative, orthodox, even fundamentalist.

Bahai, like Islam and Christianity, is a proseltyzing religion. Ironically, despite having many Muslim acquaintances, friends and co-workers, I've never had the hard-sell pushed on me like I have from Bahais and Born Again Christians.

Bahais, while giving lip service to the validity of all world religions, are of the opinion that their's is to be the last religion and the one that "unifies" all of the others. The logic is - if Bahai is indeed the unification of all world religions, then why not leave your religion and convert to Bahai?

I've had to make it very clear to Bahais and Born Again Christians that while I respect their right to worship in any manner they choose, I am perfectly satisfied with my religion of choice, and have ZERO interest in their's.

"Bahais, while giving lip service to the validity of all world religions, are of the opinion that their's is to be the last religion and the one that "unifies" all of the others. The logic is - if Bahai is indeed the unification of all world religions, then why not leave your religion and convert to Bahai?"

Such a philosophy is incompatible with monotheism, since there are religions that believe in many different gods. Also, religions have a tendency to contradict each other (and even themselves), so how would these differences be reconciled?

You can ask a Bahai.

I'm sure he or she will be more than happy to engage you.

They also have a plan for a BNWO, Bahai New World Order.

The world language will most likely be Esperanto.

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