American Exceptionalism, founding fathers, God, Islamophobia, Politics, racism, religion, right wing extremism
The atheists have a powerful argument when they suggest that millions have died in the name of religion. They are right. From the beginning, humans fought over land each claimed was theirs by right, given to them by God.
It’s never ended. Down through all these millenia. We have continued to fight over land and control of populations, all the while upholding our efforts as the “will of God.”
It continues today in a war being waged between Jews, Muslims and Christians. All claim they are doing God’s bidding.
There is always a good argument that mankind would have been better off not listening to the small voice within that urges us to believe that we are destined for more than just a brief sojourn upon this planet only to return to dust.
The truth is, all these wars instituted to protect, promote, or to destroy a religion, are done in the name of religion. There is no objective proof that any of this is called for by God. The deeper you look, the more you see human motivation driving the crusade to install “our” God.
Any fair reading of the Old Testament raises a very obvious question. Isn’t it awfully convenient that God has been on the “side” of the Israelites, thus allowing them to then justify their genocide of whole towns and settlements? How convenient to declare that God has said, “why this land I give to you, so go and subjugate all those who oppose you taking their land.”
Muslims feel utterly justified in controlling the Holy Land, as do Jews, as do Christians. Over time, each has held sway for a time, and been more than willing to kill to retain power. All in the name of God. All in the name of an interpretation, that just might be a bit self-serving.
Religion versus religion, and religion versus secularism erupts in mostly non-violent war in this country today. It has been growing steadily, or resurging I should say. We can be sure that the US expansion into the West and our suppression of indigenous people, either red or brown, was done in some sense in the name of God. We are the City upon the Hill, and as such, God’s new chosen.
This convenient “American Exceptionalism” poisoned with religious righteousness, has justified in the eyes of its perpetrators all kinds of injustice, from genocide to land grabbing, and slavery.
For periods of time, we placed religion in mostly its rightful place–as a facet of each person’s life as they chose or not. Government stayed out of faith, and faith stayed out of government. Religion was a good place to develop ethical, moral, and just responses to issues of the day. It was not the only place however. Government did it’s best to cull the best of the just response and act upon it for the greater good of all, and so that minorities were not walked upon.
I was thinking of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, whatever his personal beliefs about God were, certainly believed that it was a personal issue, not one for the public square. Washington was so loathe to be seen as promoting a particular tradition that he didn’t go to church at all as president.
What must they think of the goings on today? One can only imagine. I suspect they would see it for what it is, shameless religiosity to justify what people want to do anyway. A serious segment of the religion right who intone “marching in lockstep with Israel” do so only because they believe they are promoting their version of the end times. This of course is not lost on the Israelis, but they accept their friends where they can get them.
Herman, Step-‘n-fetch-it, Cain argues that in his uninformed mind, most Muslims are Sharia law followers, and as president he wouldn’t have time to ferret out the few who aren’t, so don’t blame him for not putting any Muslims in his prospective administration.
A segment of the religious right rejects Mitt Romney only because he is “not the right kind of Christian”. Warren Cole Smith, associate editor of the World, a right-wing magazine, argues:
Placing a Mormon in that pulpit would be a source of pride and a shot of adrenaline for the LDS church. It would serve to normalize the false teachings of Mormonism the world over. It would also provide an opening to Mormon missionaries around the world, who could start every conversation: “Let me tell you about the American president.” To elect a Mormon President is to advance the cause of the Mormon Church.
Non-Christians likely don’t care much about this point one way or the other. But for the Christian, this is a vital issue. One of the strongest warnings Jesus issues is to those who “lead little ones astray.” He said it would be better for that person if a millstone were put around his neck and he were cast into the sea. The validation of the false religion of Mormonism would almost certainly have the effect of leading many astray. Evangelical Christians should have no part of that effort.
This is no different from back in 1960 when a goodly sum of Protestants were pretty darn sure that electing a Catholic to the presidency would be tantamount to installing the pope in the White House, and for some, that was Satan himself.
The UCCB, the official spokesman for the American Catholic Church, has written a letter to Speaker John Boehner, basically condemning the Ryan plan and other GOP plans to gut Medicare as unfairly burdening the least able, while gifting the rich with more riches. Arguments go back and forth within the Catholic world as to whether or not voting for this person or that can be justified under definitions of intrinsic evil.
Exactly what Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers feared, has come to fruition. The public forum is now embroiled in an increasingly vitriolic war of words over whose interpretation of sacred scripture is controlling.
And underlying it all is the ugly raw truth. It still comes down to using God to justify why somebody’s vision of the world should be the one everyone else should be forced to live under. And it’s wrong, period.
End of rant.
back in 1960 when a goodly sum of Protestants were pretty darn sure that electing a Catholic to the presidency would be tantamount to installing the pope in the White House,
The difference is that today fundies of Smith’s stripe are the dominant element of the Republican base. They actually have the power to deny Romney the nomination on this basis. Or, if the party leadership puts its foot down and insists on a sane nominee (which at this point would be Romney or Huntsman, both of whom happen to be Mormons), they could back a third candidate, guarantee a massive election defeat, and ignite a civil war within the party.
Nailed that Infidel. Still, the Protestants kept the Kennedy Nixon race closer than it needed to be. I have been sayin’ for a good while that the problem the GOP has, is that it grabbed that tiger tail and now dare not let go. It will be their doom. We may be witnessing a really new split into a wacko ultra conservative party and a moderate GOP, both of which will be too small to do a thing. Real competition will not be a good thing vis a vis the Dems, who will abuse power as is always the case…sigh…Short term it will be a useful measure to push through a lot of good legistlation.
ah, not to be correcting and no disrespect….. but that really wasn’t a rant…. a heathen like me would just call it a dispassionate discussion of the truth.
good on you!!
Well Jimmy, I do think that religion is not always a good thing. God is a very good thing. They don’t always mesh. But religion has much good in it and gets unfairly tagged with a lot of very human action that is done under cover of God. It’s a bad mix. I don’t recall Jesus ever calling up the armed brigades.
Middle Seaman said:
Wars is just part of the “solutions” imposed on religions and humanity. Most religions support the dispossessed, the poor and the afflicted. They all strongly support justice, frugality and social justice.
Wars and killings are clearly contradictory to the main religions. Blaming religions is comfortable but is beside the point.
I agree. Mostly religions are not to blame. Its the folks who use them for justification for wars and aggression.
The line that most war has been religious in origin is a lie and does not stand up to even cursory inspection. The only religion that attaches conquest to god is Islam and that is because, in part, it was invented to bring the feuding Arabic tribes together. The Crusades were a reaction to Islamic aggression and although vicious the numbers killed were comparatively small. One of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan killed more people than died in the Crusades.
You would have to accept that the Holocaust was religiously motivated to give any credence to the atheists’ claim. And it wasn’t, it was racism pure and simple.
Nearly all wars have been the result of empire building and have been secular in nature. Even in antiquity this was the case. The Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans did not conquer other nations to impose their religion on them. The Hun and the Mongols were not religiously motivated (in fact, Mongol rule brought with it religious tolerance). Bonaparte, the Kaiser, Hitler, and all the other empire builders of the modern era didn’t appeal to religion to justify their invasions. Most warfare in the world nowadays is tribal in origin.
None of this excuses the bloodshed that religion has caused in the past and in the present. But if we are ever to rid the world of the obscenity of war we need to be honest about its causes. Getting rid of faith will not stop wars. Getting rid of greed, self interest and the craving for power will.
Thanks Madpriest for giving all this information. I hope I was not misunderstood here. I agree fully with you. Religion is USED by humans to justify what they wish to do anyway.
Paul Sunstone said:
Lately, the opinion has been growing on me, Sherry, that it’s not about theists and nontheists, but about authoritarians versus the rest of us. The theist/nontheist debates are increasingly important distractions from the real issue of the day — which, in a nutshell, seems to be that some folks actually want to enslave us, and they appear to be succeeding. In part, they are succeeding because they have us divided and pitted against each other. Thus, Nontheists who lash out at all theism, blaming theism itself for the world’s ills, are foolishly playing into the hands of the authoritarians. Just my 2 cents.
Agreed. I think much of the “religious right” is motivated to their interpretation of organized control of society not so much by the bible as they claim, but because that is what they actually want independent of the bible. They twist the bible to justify a world where they can control what people do and say, what they read and so forth, but most especially how they live. It’s darn convenient when you make it God’s will.
I think Paul’s claim that we’re seeing a struggle between authoritarians and non-authoritarians has merit. While the authoritarian Religious Right is worrisome, I would never lump other believers together with them. To the contrary, many progressive people of faith strongly disagree with the Religious Right.
The struggle, in other words, is not about believers versus nonbelievers, but about the far-right versus progressives and moderates.
I agree. Unfortunately, the right is all that is talked about as if they are religion. Some of that of course is the fault of the progressives who don’t parade faith around as much and thus aren’t really being a good alternative voice. People who think things of the religious nature are pretty much they way they should be in the public forum tend not to be motivated to respond to idiots. But of course, that is the wrong thing to do against a vocal and fairly dangerous group as the right CAN be.
Pat- Arkansas said:
An interesting post, Sherry, and interesting prior responses. It’s always a treat to visit here.
I always stir up something here don’t I? lol
I hope I was not misunderstood here
Not in the slightest. I was with you all the way. I was merely giving some examples to back up your diagnosis.
It’s a Flat-out Fallacy to believe the widelly touted Atheist Propaganda line that “religious wars’ killed millions since Christ. ———————————————————————————————————————————-Any check of real History reveals that Religion was USED by Violators of Religion Selfish for Power/wealth/control SECULAR Leaders: Isreal is The Most Pagan nation on earth, being a Jewish Culture, Not a Religious Nation; The Crusades were All Led in Fact by Lay Leaders, Initially Papally Authorized Crusades were to Recapture the Hioly Land; Hitler was a True Atheist, acting as if god, killing over 50,000 Lutheran and Catholic Clergy; The First World War was Between the 2 Equally Poperblock’s of Europe; The Civil War was about Power and Slavery between the South and North; Etc., Etc., Etc. ______________________________________________All wars Use some form of god as a Principal Motivator In War. ______________________________________________Great Paperback out a few years ago about How “Enemies” are Created in our School years: US AND THEM, by a Social Psychiligist. Awesome Reading, Mind Opening. ______________________________________________I have Religion-hating In-Laws who Use Exactly that False ‘religion-hating’, Afraid to hear Any Refutation facts of that blatant Falsehoods Intelligent Intellectuals, like my French Engineeer Brother-in-law.___________________________________________Pope John Paul II The Great, one of trhe 3 Greats of the 20th Century and Survivor of Nazi and Soviet Occupations, observed a few days before his Universally observed/mourned Death that “War is Never Justified”, Initially, as our Conquest of Iraq had Zero justifaction of those claimed. And the sinking of the Maine in Havanna Harbor was an Internally caused Accident which was used by Our Yellow Press to justify grabbing Spanish Occupied Nations.
Exactly my point Tony. Most of the time religion was used by people who had an agenda of their own to pursue. Doing it in the name of God was convenient to gather support.
Ahab, True, BUT: The Religious Right is the Opposite of Religious. They are Far out Radical Right Billionaires spokesman. The Only “Authporitarian” Religion is Catholic, and they are the Opposite of Religious Right, on All Policies, except Pro-Life, which the Radical Right is USINFG Only for Politics/Propaganda.