September 15, 2008

Hey, Big Guy! Yeah, You!

[ABOUT ANGLACHEL'S POST: This one. My post below is obviously a humorous one, not at all intended as a detailed argument of any kind. As I indicate, a very lengthy argument on many of religion's aspects -- epistemological, cultural, psychological, among others -- will be included in my new series. But I will note the following: as far as "faith" is concerned -- and let's first define it, as I request a definition of "God" and for the same reasons -- "faith" meaning a belief held in the absence of evidence or in contradiction to any or even all relevant available evidence, my rejection of "faith" is hardly "facile." It is absolute and unequivocal. I reject any belief offered without any evidence to support it, or contrary to all evidence available and relevant to the subject -- and so should you. If you don't, it means deuces wild for everyone, on every subject. That is all it can mean in epistemological terms.

But the significance of religion goes far beyond this. It is because it is so significant in so many areas of our lives, and it is because it reveals certain crucial dynamics of the demand for obedience and for the obeisance to authority that suffuses our culture in countless ways, that I will be addressing this subject in detail. For a preview of certain issues involved, you can consult the three essays listed below (the Mel Gibson article might be of special interest here, as well as the "Revisiting the Power of Narrative" piece, which deals with Sam Brownback's religious views and evolution).

As should be clear, I sometimes adopt a severely irreverent tone about religion because, in terms of specific religious beliefs, those beliefs amount to nothing more than the most primitive of superstitions. Obviously (I would hope), this is not to say that many religious people are not good, even remarkably good and sometimes deeply admirable people -- or that they are not intelligent, sometimes even brilliant, occasionally even geniuses. But I repeat that, with regard to specific religious beliefs as such, those beliefs cannot be treated seriously in any intellectual fashion. Their meanings and implications for other subjects, such as principles of morality or specific personal choices on issues of importance, are another subject entirely.

In any case, I hope at least some of this will become much clearer when I begin the new series. In the meantime, I've stirred up the dust a bit, and in my view, that is always an unqualifiedly good thing. Thanks to Anglachel for her comments, and for the various links. I look forward to reading them with interest, especially the Garry Wills article.

OUTRAGED EMAILS! Already! Mainly about the P.S., religion and, um, "God." Here are a few essays that provide some of the relevant background I'll be expanding on in the new series:

Mel Gibson, a Public Case Study in Obedience and Denial

A Government, a Commentariat, and a Blogosphere of Dunces: Revisiting the Power of Narrative

Blinded by the Story: Liberals and Progressives as Political Creationists

No time for more at the moment. I have to have dinner! After I say Grace. Of course. :>))]

Are "You" as sickened and disgusted by this as I am?
The Obama campaign is preparing rolling out a new line of “faith merchandise” – the latest move in an ambitious effort to win over religious voters.

“Check out the Believers for Barack, Pro-Family Pro-Obama, and Catholics for Obama buttons, bumper stickers and signs….” says Obama Deputy Director of Religious Affairs Paul Monteiro in an e-mail obtained by the Beliefnet Web site.

“Believers for Barack rally signs and bumper stickers, along with all Pro-Family Pro-Obama merchandise, are appropriate for people of all faith backgrounds. We'll soon be rolling out merchandise for other religious groups and denominations, but I wanted to get this out to you without delay,” he adds.


Beliefnet reported that "Clergy for Change" and "Pro-Israel Pro-Obama" merchandise will soon be offered.
Jesus Fucking Christ.

Sorry. That's the only comment that came to mind.

Actually, not sorry at all. Jesus H. Fucking Christ.

Forgot the "H." Sorry about that.

P.S. I thought this had to be a joke. Right? This couldn't be serious. So I followed this link. "God-o-Meter"? Are you kidding me? I looked at this link, too. And this one. Apparently not a joke.

Stupidest election ever in the stupidest damn country in the history of the multiverses.

Not so by the way, when I finally get started on my tribalism and contemporary politics series, installments four and five (in my current outline, subject to change) will deal with religion in general in considerable detail. Yes, some of it gets very complicated in terms of the cultural-social-psychological issues involved, and I'll be discussing a lot of that. But with regard to the basic beliefs -- in God, f'rinstance -- those of you who take that belief seriously really need to get over that. I mean, you really need to get over it.

Well, there will be much more to come on those subjects and many related ones. In the meantime, have I pissed off almost everybody? Excellent! And if you seriously believe in "God," tell me how you define "God." Go ahead. Let us in on it. I'll discuss that issue, among others, in the new series. If you have a definition that you think makes sense, stands up to analysis, and is actually a meaningful definition, please send it to me. It shall be nigh unto a miracle! I will be agog with wonder.

Absofuckinglutely agog. Okay, now I've pissed everybody off. I'll knock off for the moment. Hahaha.