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Religionism is a Betrayal of the Nation's Enlightenment Heritage

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:59 AM
Original message
Religionism is a Betrayal of the Nation's Enlightenment Heritage
It is now taken for granted that faith is essential to the public discourse in America, but Susan Jacoby argues, and I agree with her, that ignoring the nation's rational Enlightenment roots is profoundly damaging--even dangerous--to the nation's spiritual (if you will) health:


http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/susan_jacoby...


No Atheists (Still) Need Apply

In nearly every interview about my book, Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism,I am asked whether I am an atheist or an agnostic. The bias--a profoundly American bias--implicit in this question is that only an "unbeliever" would want to write a historical work about the secular influences on the founding and development of our nation.

This question reflects the 25-year ascendancy of right-wing religiosity, which has fostered a general ignorance about and lack of respect for the Enlightenment rationalist side of the nation's heritage.

...

When the influence of religion on politics is analyzed in the press, the dialogue usually ranges from religious conservatism to religious liberalism. No secularists or atheists need apply.

Much of what has gone disastrously wrong in American policy, especially foreign policy, in recent years can be attributed to a reliance on blind faith rather than evidence. When The Washington Post's Bob Woodward asked President Bush whether he had consulted his father before going to war in Iraq, Bush famously replied that he had consulted a "Higher Father."

Isn't it fascinating that the voice of God always sounds suspiciously like one's own voice? When politicians start citing God as the authority for whatever they want to do, they are usually promoting some policy that defies human reason....


<The entire (brief) blog entry is very much worth reading and thinking about.>
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you
Thank you for calling it "religionism." Reasonable people of faith have no more desire to let religionism rule this country than we non-believers do. In fact, the current crop of fundamentalists make religion a petty and ignorant thing. Separation of church and state benefits both.
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G_Leo_Criley Donating Member (553 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
2. k & r
Thanks.

:kick:

glc
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electropop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
3. For clues on how the Founders felt about religion, try this:
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 11:43 AM by electropop
Go to this searchable Constitution:
http://www.law.emory.edu/simplesearch/search.php3

Search for "creator or church or religion or religious or god or jesus or christ or pray or worship".

You will find exactly two hits,

In Amendment I
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

In Article VI, Clause 3:
"...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States"

In other words, the only mention of religion is to exclude it from the Government's jurisdiction.
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Polonius9 Donating Member (10 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I agree
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 01:05 PM by Polonius9
I agree. That many current leading "liberals"--Hillary C., for one-- routinely cozy up to religious leaders--whether Xtians, muslims, or jews--should alarm anyone who believes the Constitution and Bill of Rights are, like, rather important documents. And secularism doesn't necessarily imply sympathy with radical marxism, nor with the sort of social Darwinism of some libertarian rightists (i.e. scientologists, either implicit or explicit--and there are some around the Net---even on DU). In fact, a decent test of the authentic democrat is to ask him or her whether he or she marches into a church (temple, mosque) on Sunday morning along with his GOP'er neighbors. If he says yes (or one sees him or his phamily entering Jee-sussville), boot him out of the par-tay.
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
5. Is "religionism" actually a word?
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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Yes it is
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
6. Kick...
wish I'd seen this earlier so I could have been the 5th rec.

Thanks for posting.

Sid
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
7. As if godly people care about the Enlightenment.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
9. Hey Burtworm, thanks for posting. You know, on a forum frquented by Pagans/Witches
and lots of others who follow unconventional spiritual paths, we had a discussion of Athiesm vs. Theism.

It seems that those labels are actually quite misleading when it comes down to how many people actually approach their world and come to understand it.

It's so easy to throw mud at each other.

so much harder to find the common ground and go beyond labels.

An open mind and leaving room for doubt is always welcome. And that goes for everyone.
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Polonius9 Donating Member (10 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
10. Miss Jacoby
Edited on Mon Jan-01-07 01:37 PM by Polonius9
She correctly notes that religious zealots (including some on the "left") have managed to eliminate secularism from the political discussion: indeed, even mention secularism and some "liberals" think you are like to the right of Christopher Hitchens. And however trite the "Founding Fathers were skeptics/freethinkers" chat may be to some in Blogland, it's rather important, historically and politically: Jefferson hisself was willing to grant that even the anti-clerical Jacobins had a point or two.

Secularists should, however, be willing to take on Islamic and/or Jewish dogmatism as well as Xtian/Catholic, without necessarily taking sides with a pompous auto-didact such as Hitchens.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
11. I thought the OP said Regionalism.
Not to steal the thread, but certainly regionalism which bears a striking resemblance to tribalism is also a hazard.
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