Response to cbayer (Original post)
Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:05 AM
Joseph8th (228 posts)
62. Not synonymous ... but ...
... correlated, as was mentioned elsewhere in the thread above. What these studies of the relationships between intelligence (or degree of effort expended in thinking) and religion, between intelligence and politics, and between religion & politics, have shown is an interesting set of correlations. That's all. There is a correlation between lower IQ scores and the attractiveness of religion to offer simplistic answers to life's questions. Similarly, there is a correlation between low effort thinking and the simplistic solutions offered by U.S. conservatism. Lastly, there is a correlation between participation in organized religion and conservative politics.
In all of these cases, it's correlation, not causation: dummies are attracted to religion and conservative politics because both offer easy answers. Christian fundies (more likely to be church-going) are attracted to conservative politics because both embrace authoritarian organizational structure. Doesn't mean all Christians or conservatives are dumb, or that all Christians are authoritarians. It means there's a strong correlation between these attributes of individual beliefs, when viewed in aggregate.
From lurking DU, my impression is that we still have a ways to go before sparks stop flying between strong atheists and progressive Christians. There's not a lot of trust... yet... so I wonder if such a political coalition as described is possible at this time? Since we're being so honest, let's cut the Gordian knot. I see two obstacles to the admirable goal of coalition-building: (1) atheists, and (2) progressive Christians. I only sort of kid... Let's walk a mile in the sandals of each:
(1) On the atheist side (full disclosure, here): atheists do not welcome even Jesus OR his teachings (or Mo' or Buddha etc) into any non-theological debate. The minute that religious belief is inserted into a political debate (but not just politics) it is no longer the same debate. It derails the debate, taking the course of conversation out of the realm of the falsifiable and into that of the infinitely disputatious. This is incredibly frustrating for most atheists, and (here's the key bit) it doesn't matter if the Jesus inserted is the 'socialist' Jesus or 'Rambo' Jesus... I think this is the hardest thing for prog Xtians to understand: we atheists see the problem as the involvement of religion and politics -- any religion. It's not the SORT of Jesus -- it's the Jesus, itself. So atheists want prog-Xtians to confront the fundies in their churches, and get religion out of politics... including the religion of the prog-Xtians, themselves.
(2) On the prog Christian side (correct me if I'm off-base): prog-Xtians feel as if they are under attack from both the far right and the atheist left. They are denounced by the fundies and margalized in their own Churches (witness the liberal leaning of Catholic laity compared to the Bishops), and find themselves in the unenviable position of debating theology with wingnuts who think Jesus is coming back this year. Never mind debating the theology of, i.e., abortion or climate change!! Then, when they seek out folks with similar politics, they find themselves in the Big Tent, where any theology is unwelcome. Prog-Xtians feel marginalized religiously and politically, and when they try to un-marginalize themselves in either group, the pushback is instantaneous. 'Socialist Jesus' is evil to the fundies, and imaginary to the atheists. The end result is that prog-Xtians seeking to reclaim Christianity are fighting on two fronts: theological on the right flank and political on the left. So prog-Xtians want atheists to help them engage the right flank, while using the Big Tent as their HQ.
If I'm not mistaken, my little exercise has identified the biggest obstacle to such a coalition, summarized in the last sentence of each. Atheists don't ever want to hear about Jesus -- any Jesus at all -- in any public political (scientific, etc) debate. The biggest target of our ire in the U.S. is the RW fundies, but we would be equally put-out by, i.e., Native Americans opening an OWS General Assembly with a prayer. But prog-Xtians are believers, and take their faith seriously and personally, and while the biggest target of their ire is also the RW fundies, they would not be put-out by non-denominational, non-sectarian religious observance if it accommodated everyone equally. That's where we part ways: the Big Tent is a political tent, and to us atheists, there's no room and no time for religion, therein. Skip the opening moment of silence, please, and let's get down to business.
OK, I tried... no doubt I'm biased, so please correct my erroneous assumptions. That was all on the bummer side. On the groovy side, I think recent months have seen a marked increase in actual communication across the a/theological divide. I think change is in the air. If I were forced to guess why, I'd say that the aforementioned obstacle is less important than putting progressive Dems into office, as we near November. Will this translate into a softening of relations, after November? I hope so -- surely prolonged rational discourse is bound to increase mutual understanding and foster compassion. As for what that future coalition might look like? My hunch is that we'll just learn to be political, and we'll leave all the religious talk at home or in the church, where it belongs. Movement atheism is already political, out of the box, and desires nothing more than to just stop talking about god in public. I for one have zero problem working with Xtians, as long as they keep their beliefs to themselves. And I applaud Xtians who confront abusive leadership and beliefs in their own churches before they become public policy. What I do have a problem with is prog Xtians who would just substitute socialist Jesus for Rambo Jesus in the public sphere.
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Replies to this discussion thread
|Thats my opinion||Apr 2012||#45|
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Not synonymous ... but ...
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