No need to apologize, SDF. While I always ejoy Lark's posts (and my best friends are from Ireland--one from Belfast, even!), I object to Judeo-Christianity being mixed in with socialism. In my opinion there should be no "Jesus would have been a socialist" talk because it confuses the issue. And I know what I'm talking about here. I'm a Woody Guthrie fan!
In anthropological terms, Christianity is a sky-god religion. The male God is up in the sky, having come down once to be offered as a blood sacrifice (blood sacrifices being very common in religions based on patriarchy). Some of its chief characteristics are a RELENTLESS MONOTHEISM (remember the "I am a jealous God" line from the Ten Commandments?) and its (near) complete dismissal of llife on earth in favor of rewards in heaven. Even a weekend environmentalist should reject Judeo-Christianity.
(By the way, Stu, don't trot out your "caretakers of the earth" verses from the Bible. Even you will have to admit that the OVERWHELMING EMPHASIS of the Bible is that the earth is a testing ground for the afterlife.)
: Garloo:: A world which you, in your infinite wisdom, have figured out to the letter, huh?.
Hank: Typical exaggeration tactic. Cheap.
: SDF: If I were to claim I knew everything, I'd be just another religious fanatic. Nope, my complaint is with those who claim to have figured things out to the letter while believing in stuff that has nothing to do with empirical reality. BTW, there are people who try to figure out the world by looking at the world -- they're called physicists, and one of their main tenets of belief is called "revision" -- all statements about the world are subject to revision when contrary evidence is found to be valid. People who are certain of ultimate truth, on the other hand, don't revise. This is a respectable aspect of Lark's rap -- he revises it now and then.
Garloo: : Additionally, where you get off telling someone from Northern Ireland that faith amounts to little more than an adolescent "struggling to make sense of the world" is beyond me. But then again, lots of things are,
: : and I'm left wondering if you have equal contempt for Deep Ecologists
: : for whom nature is very much a religion.
Hank: Yes, in Northern Ireland the stakes of religion are much higher, but it's really about CLASS, which then takes on religious dimensions. There's a similar situation in India with Hindus and Muslims. The problem is that it's hard to get people to think of themselves in terms of a class, but it's easy to get people to think in terms of religion. That's why, for example, Iranian revolution in the late 1970's was religious in character.
SDF: I can see some reasons for belonging to a religion, most of them having to do with participation in a religious or psychological community. Maybe one doesn't want to be ostracized, maybe one wants to "hang out" with people of a particular political stripe. Maybe one wants to believe in imaginary psychic forces in order to get one's brain in order. I can respect that, apologies and retractions to those who thought I didn't.
: Me? I think I'll believe in real stuff myself.
: McSpotlight: To be fair, SDF, there's a bit of a fuzzy line between what's real and what isn't; do justice or truth have any objective reality?
Hank: The image of Jesus comes up in political discussion a lot, Jesus being a metaphor for absolute love, non-violence, complete tolerance of others, etc. But we shouldn't forget that Jesus was at times VIOLENT (overturning the money-changers' table in the temple) and even RACIST, in a manner quite shocking to our 20th century live-and-let-live sensibilities. When, for example, in Matthew 15 a Gentile woman asked Jesus for help with her son, Jesus' first answer was rather gruff:
"It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs."
But she pleaded:
"Truth, Lord. Yet the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
And Jesus relented:
"Oh, woman, great is thy faith. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt."
And he sent her away, saying her son was healed. We are to assume, of course, that Jesus healed the son from a distance.
I'm not trying to knock Jesus down completely, just the residue of organized religion. However much I like the teachings of Jesus, he was just a man, and even Gospel accounts of him are inconsistent. Indeed, throughout history the image of Jesus took on different contours. In fact, our image of him as a perfect, all-loving being are a product of 19th liberalism.
If it's religion you want, that's fine, but leave it out of society. Be a sky-godder if you want, I don't care. Just don't force your views on anyone else. And if people need to look at every tree as a god so that we can stop the destruction of the planet, I say bring on the pantheism!