The need to oppose “diversity, inclusion, and equity” 5

(This is in part a repeat of  a post we first published on September 3, 2011, under the title The need to knock Islam.) 

The greatness of the West began with doubting. The idea that every belief, every assumption, should be critically examined started the might of Europe. When those old Greek thinkers who founded our civilization learnt and taught that no one has a monopoly of truth or ever will have, they launched the intellectual adventure that has carried the human race – not without a long interval in the doldrums – literally to the skies.

Socrates taught the utility of suspicion. He is reputed to have said, “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.” He was not, however, the first to use doubt for discovery. Thales of Miletos, who was born 155 years before Socrates, dared to doubt that religion’s explanatory tales about how the world came to be as it is were to be trusted, and he began exploring natural phenomena in a way that we recognize as scientific. He is often called the Father of Science. With him and his contemporary, Anaximander, who argued with him by advancing alternative ideas, came the notion – for the first time as far as we know – that reason could fathom and describe how the universe worked.

Science is one of the main achievements of the West, but it is not the only product of constructive doubt that made for its greatness. Doubt as a habit of mind or tradition of thinking meant that new, foreign, even counter-intuitive ideas were not dismissed. Europe, before and after it stagnated in the doldrums of the long Catholic Christian night (and even to some extent during those dark centuries), was hospitable to ideas wherever they came from.

Totally opposed to this intellectual openness were the churches with their dogma. Those who claim that the achievements of our civilization are to be credited to Christianity (or in the currently fashionable and nonsensical phrase to “the Judeo-Christian tradition”) have a hard case to make. It was the rediscovery of the Greek legacy in the Renaissance in the teeth of Christian dogmatism, and the new freedom from religious persecution exploited by the philosophers of the Enlightenment that re-launched the West on its intellectual progress, to become the world’s nursery of innovation and its chief factory of ideas.

Our civilization cannot survive without this openness. Critical examination is the breath that keeps it alive. But it is in danger of suffocation. It is more threatened now than it has been for the last four hundred years by dogmatisms: the old religions still – especially Islam which absolutely forbids criticism – and ever more by Marxism, feminism, environmentalism (especially the myth of manmade global warming), critical race theory (CRT), and the orthodoxy of “diversity, inclusion, and equity”.  

The Founding Fathers of the United States perfectly understood the necessity for an open market of ideas. Every citizen of the republic, they laid down, must be free to declare his beliefs, to argue his case, to speak his mind, to examine ideas as publicly as he chose without fear of being silenced.

There are now two chief sources of doom to free speech:

One is Islam. Its ideas are the very opposite of those on which the USA was founded. It is an ideology of intolerance and cruelty. It forbids the free expression of thought. By its very nature, even if it were not now on a mission of world conquest (which it is), it is the enemy of the West. The best way to defeat it is by criticizing it, constantly and persistently, in speech and writing, on the big screen and the small screen, in schools and academies, in all the media of information and comment.

The second is the orthodoxy of the Left: all its beliefs, and very urgently, “diversity, inclusion, and equity”.  By “diversity” the dogmatists mean non-white supremacy. By “inclusion” they mean the exclusion of whites. By ‘equity” they mean forced uniformity: all equally indoctrinated, all equally compliant, all equally poor.  

The outcome will be an age of lethal conflict, because if defensive words are forbidden, the only other weapons are instruments of death.

How desires become ideologies – and a rumor became a religion 10

What explains the success of anti-white racism, a cult spreading rapidly throughout the Western world?

How could it happen when “the entire edifice of [anti-white] critical racialism sits on a foundation of fakery and fiction, storytelling, and superstition”?

Stanley K. Ridgley explains how:

If you’ve any interest at all in the current roiling contretemps over “critical race theory” then you’ve seen “The List”,  which is a compendium of 15 qualities that purportedly constitute “white supremacy culture”.

The List is ubiquitous, in workshops on campuses, in corporate diversity sessions, in secondary school programs, and in New York City education workshops for teachers. Versions of the List appear on government websites, on “anti-racist” nonprofit sites, and have made it onto the Race, Research, and Policy Portal of Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center.

Who generates this racialist material, where, and why? Is it the result of sophisticated theorizing? Did this “White Supremacy Culture” emerge in the findings of an extensive, multi-year social science study?

Of course, the most obvious question is: Where did this list originate?

As with all of critical racialist material, it’s traceable to the unsubstantiated opinions of a mere handful of critical racialists.

The author of the List is Tema Okun, a would-be academic. Okun has been trading in the lucrative racialist workshop industry since at least the mid-1990s when she was a disaffected corporate trainer.

But as for the List itself, where did Okun get it? What was the source Okun used for the List in the original article?

Let’s allow Okun to tell us in her own words, found on page 29 of her dissertation.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, I arrived home after a particularly frustrating consultation with an organization I was working with at the time.  In a flurry of exasperation, I sat down at my computer and typed, the words flowing of their own accord into a quick and dirty listing of some of the characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up in organizational behavior.  The paper I wrote in such a frenzy on that afternoon so many years ago lists 15 behaviors, all of them interconnected and mutually reinforcing—perfectionism, a sense of urgency, defensiveness and/or denial, quantity over quality, worship of the written word, the belief in one ‘right’ way, paternalism, either/or binary thinking, power hoarding, fear of open conflict, individualism, progress defined as more, the right to profit, objectivity, and the right to comfort.

Okun simply concocted the list.

She made it up, then put it into an article, then put it into a workbook, then used the workbook as part of her dissertation, then published her dissertation as a book with an obscure independent publisher, and she continues to promulgate this fraudulent List today with the help of hundreds of folks who, most likely, don’t know better and who repeat it in a way designed to legitimize it.

Are you surprised that a disaffected diversity hack scribbled the List in a fit of pique and then cobbled it into an article in 1999, which now appears nationwide in materials presented as fact to the nation’s schoolchildren, teachers, corporations, and college students?

This is how academic fakery enters the popular consciousness to become conventional wisdom. It becomes ritualized, repeated, and unquestioned until its origins become obscured.

Looking for historical precedence for it, Ridgley calls  it “medieval” thinking.

The technique is to simply fabricate something ideologically useful, to pass it off as fact, and then to circulate it with bluff and bluster. It demonstrates the power of medievalist thought, action, and repetition to achieve legitimacy as a ritualized “truth”. 

Only the word  “medievalist” needs to be removed and lo! there is a perfectly explanation of the origin and early spread of Christianity.

Fabrications can always be turned by such means into “truths” because a passionate campaign carried on by a persistent advocate will always persuade others to believe the fantasy if it appeals to their passions too. It was just so that the fakery, the fiction, the storytelling, the superstition concerning “Jesus Christ” were spread in the first instance by the faker, the fictionist, the storyteller St. Paul, wandering preacher and author of (some of) the Epistles, and his side-kick Dr. Luke, author of the Acts of the Apostles.  

Fakery such as the Okun list of “white supremacy culture” becomes part of what anthropologists call a myth-dream or collective story for an ideology.

Ridgley sees that “critical race theory” is a type of “cargo cult”.

The process is like that found in primitive magic-driven societies, which provide excellent examples of communities constructed around a core myth-dream, like the one we deal with here.

Let’s look at the similarities.

Take, for instance, the Pacific Island communities in Melanesia, where storytelling and myth-building are conventional ways of understanding the world. The core myth of a society is eventually ritualized, and it becomes a “historical truth” that is referenced but never challenged as the foundation of a growing corpus of stories and narratives.

The Melanesian cargo cult, for example, has been studied for decades. It’s grounded in magic thinking that exemplifies this process of developing the collective story. As time goes by, the ritualized “truth” enters into the stream of what is commonly believed.

Once a statement or proposition is given consent it becomes True, a part of truth, assuming an existence which is not necessarily contingent on explicit withdrawal of consent. For, having achieved objectivity or truth in a myth a statement may persist in the myth long after those who retail or who listen to the story say they discount its validity for the present. Then the statement becomes a historical truth. And, so it would seem, the longer a statement is contained in a myth as truth the longer it will persist. New truths, or rather, statements which are becoming truths, and which are expressed in the additions of individual storytellers, are extremely vulnerable to, and dependent upon, consent. But once the first tentative consent begins to harden into solid approval [it] becomes more and more secure, more and more independent of explicit consent or inarticulate dissent.

St. Paul was the Tema Okun of his day.

His theory that Jesus was God Incarnate started as just such a cult.

His “statement” – or rumor – became the largest religion in the world.

America’s state religion 1

Wokeism is fast becoming the American state religion.

Ben Weingarten identifies it as such, writing – surprisingly – at (woke) Newsweek:

Should it overtake our government, in making identity politics paramount it will unmake any semblance of a unifying American identity.

In so doing, it will serve as the ultimate tool of cynical, radically leftist power-grabbers, who will be dividing and conquering under the guise of a fraudulent virtue, justice and morality.

It is the religion of the party that is now in power. The government is woke. It is making identity politics paramount.

The Woke’s core views have been bubbling up from elite classrooms to the commanding heights of society for decades.

What is different is that now such views have been legitimated by the authorities and mainstreamed in our culture. If you dare to challenge them, you are liable to end up excommunicated from American life—canceled. After all, dissenting from the Woke orthodoxy makes you a racist.

Consider some of the signs that indicate the fast-accelerating ascent of Wokeism.

In New York City, at the same time Mayor Bill de Blasio was preventing Jews and Christians from freely exercising their religions—including peaceably assembling—he permitted adherents of Wokeism to assemble en masse in protesting, rioting and looting with impunity. The Woke enjoyed First Amendment rights foreclosed to the [other] faithful.

Mayor de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the relevant health authorities had argued the coronavirus-driven draconian shutdown of New York City, and the rest of the state, was necessary to save lives. If so, by permitting the Woke to flood the streets, were not New York officials conceding that public health was not really the number one priority? Were they not suggesting that they were willing to let people get sick and die because the right to practice Wokeism was absolute, sacrosanct and preeminent—this, incidentally, after instructing citizens to take to the streets in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year in February, coronavirus be damned, in context of a broader campaign against purported coronavirus-related anti-Chinese discrimination? Were they not affirming that Wokeism mattered more than the lives of the Woke—and everyone else?

Certainly, this view would seem to have been reinforced, as, in the face of the Woke, New York reduced police funding, and policing itself, which coincided with a dramatic rise in violent crime.

In St. Louis, menacing protesters by the dozens were able to threaten a couple, the McCloskeys, at their home, without consequence. The police did not rush to the McCloskeys’ aid. In fact, after the husband and wife were recorded brandishing firearms to deter those descending on their home, authorities left them not only defenseless, but threatened to disarm them and throw them in jail.

Did it not appear again as if privileging the Woke was now the highest responsibility of government, over and above protecting our natural rights, including those to life, liberty and property—all of which the Woke threatened?

The religion of Wokeism is the most extreme racist ideology since segregation.

While the “summer of love” may be over in Seattle, with CHOP/CHAZ—the ultimate symbol of government acquiescence to Wokeism—no more, its ideals persist. Seattle recently held a training session for white municipal employees—to be clear, a government training session for those of a specific race—called “Interrupted Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness.” Meanwhile, Washington’s state phase-in plan for public schools calls for giving priority to “students furthest from educational justice first,” specifically including “students of color”—that is, on the basis of race.

Tal Bachmann deplores it at Steynonline:

Wokism is now the official state religion of the United States of America.

By constitutional standards, this means something has gone wrong. The United States isn’t supposed to have a state religion. The First Amendment specifically prohibits the establishment of a state religion. Yet it now has one, and its name is Wokism.

Wokism is now celebrated or taught as Absolute Truth in every elementary school class, every middle and high school class, every university class, every corporate training session, every Capitol Hill political chamber, every Hollywood movie or cable show, every civic ceremony, every law, every political speech, every novel, every awards show, every sports league, every everything.

Government, its corporate allies, and cultural institutions all fund Wokism. They, along with their street troops, all demand Wokist belief and perfect compliance with Wokist commandments and rituals. They all punish those who question Wokist orthodoxy, often by completely ruining their lives. They fire dissenters, ban them from social media forever, initiate global social media pile-ons, and even threaten to kill them. Sometimes our officially Wokist government sends in goon squads to scare, or even arrest, those who dare criticize Wokism.

Wokism, the writer rightly says, is a “bellicose, uncompromising, ruthless, unself-critical, totalitarian movement“.

Does that remind you of anything else? If you say Islam, you win. The fact is that Wokism is now well on its way to becoming to American government and society what Islam is to Iranian government and society.

That this has happened means—can only mean—that something has gone terribly wrong in America (and the rest of the West). America’s original plan was to avoid funding and pushing any particular religious ideology or practice. It was to have full religious freedom. It was to keep government limited to solely protecting a few basic liberties. It was for Americans and their government to live and let live.

But things have changed. Why?

Maybe luxury spoiled us and made us fat and lazy and stupid. Maybe the Frankfurt School communists really did inject a lethal dose of philosophical poison into American thought. Maybe misguided government policies, and socially corrosive movements like sexual libertinism or feminism, really did start the implosion of the family unit.

Somehow or other, we’ve wound up in a total mess. And somehow or other, we need to find a way out of it. This is no way to live. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to live in a society run by frothing ideologues who have declared war on human biology, logic, and mathematics; on unborn children, confused adolescents, and the traditional familial arrangements which raise them; on Shakespeare and Homer; on fairness and decency; on reality itself—on survival itself. These people are all manic, obsessive-compulsive nation-destroyers, community-destroyers, culture-destroyers, family-destroyers, individual-destroyers, love-destroyers, beauty-destroyers, everything-destroyers.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at American Greatness:

If wokeness should continue and “win”, by now we all know where it will end up.

The woke Left seeks a top-down erasure of America.

The public is now increasingly bombarded by 360-degree, 24/7 wokeness in the fashion of the Maoist Red Guard gangs. There appears little refuge from it. Not in television commercials. Not from CEOs. Not from professional sports. Not from movies or television shows. Not from Wall Street, the internet, and social media. Not from the administrative state, and not from the military. Not from the K-12 teachers, much less the professors.

It is largely the well-off professionals, the “privileged” and the rich—CEOs, news anchors, actors, star athletes, college presidents, foundation heads, corporate board retired military brass, Wall Street grandees—who usually do the woke remonstrating (or fund it) to the supposedly non-privileged but guilty un-woke.

The most law-abiding of Americans now seem terrified of the law—the FBI of James Comey vintage, John Brennan’s legacy at the CIA, the same old IRS of Lois Lerner, the Justice Department once branded by Eric Holder, and the predictable court order of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Enlisted men fear their inquisitional officers.

Conservatives especially fear that the once-revered FBI can become analogous to the Stasi, the once indomitable CIA after 2015 began emulating the KGB, and the federal prosecutor has become a vindictive Inspector Javert. And just when you think they are crazier for such fears, another couple is rousted out of bed by agents for supposedly being at a riot they were not at.

The current madness is the stuff of history as we watch it predictably unfold. 

Roger L. Simon writes at the Epoch Times:

An iron-fisted, ideologically extreme minority has our country under its thumb—play along or face excommunication. This is stronger than anything in our history and almost identical to what we see and have seen in totalitarian countries.

All key aspects, most parts of them anyway, of our society “get it” … the media, the corporations, the government bureaucracy, the Democratic Party, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the military (yikes!), entertainment, the university system, the K-through-12 system, the medical community, the scientific community (incredibly), the religious, and on and on.

All, to one extent or another, believe in “woke” except—the people.

What the extremist ideology of “woke” actually provokes is talk of—and not just talk—secession and even civil war.

Few of us have heard anything like that in our lifetimes. But now it’s real. We have been driven apart as never before. We have been awakened indeed.

Anything can happen and some of us, who would never have considered anything like secession and civil war, suddenly do—highly disturbing to us as those thoughts may be.

How long will it be before “considering” comes to decision and “some of us”  – ideally most of us – act?

Religion and atheism argue in the labyrinth of good and evil 9

Dennis Prager is a brilliant advocate for conservatism. We agree with him on political issues.

But he is religious.

He writes, and we comment:

Conservatives often speak of Judeo-Christian values and how the current civil war in the United States and the rest of the West is essentially a battle between those values and the Left, which rejects Judeo-Christian values.

They are right.

But they rarely explain what Judeo-Christian values are. Yet, without an explanation, mentioning Judeo-Christian values is useless.

So, let me do that now.

First, a word about the term. Some Jews and Christians find the term confusing, if not objectionable, since Judaism and Christianity have different theologies. But no one speaks of Judeo-Christian theology, only of Judeo-Christian values.

Judeo-Christian values are essentially another term for biblical values. Judaism and Christianity are both based on the Old Testament—its God, its Ten Commandments, its admonition to love one’s neighbor as oneself, to love God, to lead a holy life, etc. Christians also believe in the New Testament, but only an opponent of Christianity would argue that the New Testament negates the values of the Old.

For our comment on all that, see our critical discussion of “Judeo-Christian values” here.

Here they are:

1) Objective moral standards come from God. As I have written and spoken about in a PragerU video and elsewhere, if there is no God who declares murder wrong, murder can be subjectively wrong but not objectively wrong. So, while there can certainly be nonbelievers who hold murder, stealing, and other actions wrong, without God, those are opinions, not moral facts. Without the God of the Bible, there are no moral facts.

No. People do not want to be hurt, robbed, or killed. For a society to make laws discouraging people from hurting robbing and killing is common sense, and such laws were made before any religion laid down moral rules as divine injunction

Besides which – and in answer to all following points – no god ever spoke to a human being. All religious moral laws are human-made. 

2) God judges our behavior, and we are therefore accountable to God for our behavior. Outside of a religious worldview, there is no higher being to whom we are morally accountable.

We need no “higher being” to judge us. We are responsible for what we do and bear the consequences of our behavior. As we say in our “Articles of Reason” (see under Pages in our margin), “justice may be elusive, but judgment is inescapable”.  

3) Just as morality derives from God, so do rights. All men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” declares the Declaration of Independence.

If your “rights” are violated, will “God” come to your aid? Rights are granted by man-made law, and justice must be sought in accordance with laws. 

4) The human being is uniquely precious. While the Bible repeatedly forbids cruel behavior to animals … only human beings are created in God’s image.

Presumably he means “God’s moral image”. In theJewish scriptures, God is vengeful and cruel to the innocent (“unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”), puts temptation in the way of his creatures and then punishes them for succumbing to it (Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), capricious (alternately making Pharaoh relent over the release of his Hebrew slaves and then “hardening his heart” again and keeping them, time after time), permits Satan to inflict terrible suffering on human beings to test their faithfulness to him (Job). And in history, the Jewish God allows millions of his “chosen people” to be tortured to death (the Holocaust).  And the Christian God, according to his scriptures, made humankind eternally indebted to him for sacrificing himself for them – for which at the same time, and as a double burden of guilt, they must be held to blame. So – no.  In both the Jewish and Christian bibles, the divinities set no model of good behavior.    

5) The world is based on a divine order, meaning divinely ordained distinctions. Among these divine distinctions are: God and man, man and woman, human and animal, good and evil, and nature and God.

Distinctions – as between man and woman – exist by nature. That God is distinct from nature is true enough. He exists only in human minds as a supernatural being. Humanity made God, not God humanity. There is no reason to believe that nature exists because a supernatural being made it. 

6) Human beings are not basically good. Therefore, the most important moral endeavor is making good people. Religious Jews and Christians understand that the greatest battle in life is with one’s nature. For the opponents of Judeo-Christian values, the greatest moral battle is not with one’s nature; it is with society (specifically, American society).

We agree that “human beings are not basically good”. But we say that self-interest requires their decent behavior and most people understand this. The law helps to make people good. It is fear of others and fear of the law that prompt restraint, not biblical values.  

7) Precisely because we are not basically good, we must not trust our hearts to lead us to proper behavior. The road to hell is paved with good hearts. Feelings make us human, but they cannot direct our lives. This alone divides the Bible-based from those on the left.

It is a false dichotomy, the religious on the one side, “the left” on the other. Millions of Leftists are religious Christians and Jews.   

8) All human beings are created in God’s image. Therefore, race is of no significance. We all emanate from Adam and Eve, whose race is never mentioned. That many religious people held racist views only testifies to the almost infinite ability of people to distort what is good.

This confirms that it is “God’s moral image” that is meant. The various races are characterized by physical differences.    

9) Fear God, not man. Fear of God is a foundation of morality. In the Book of Exodus, Egyptian midwives were ordered by the Pharaoh to kill all newborn Hebrew boys. They disobeyed the divine king of Egypt. Why? Because “the midwives feared God”.  In America today, more people fear the print, electronic and social media than fear God.

We advise a sensible fear of the media. And of kings and other tyrants.

10) Human beings have free will. In the secular world, there is no free will because all human behavior is attributed to genes and environment. Only a religious worldview, which posits the existence of a divine soul—something independent of genes and environment—allows for free will.

Whether we actually have free will or not, we have to live as if we have it, so to all intents and purposes, we have it. It has nothing to do with having “a divine soul”. 

11) Liberty. America was founded on the belief that God wants us to be free. On the Liberty Bell is inscribed just one thing (aside from the name of the company that manufactured the bell). It is a verse from the Bible: “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” The current assaults on personal liberty—unprecedented in American history—emanate from those who reject the Bible as their moral guide (including more than a few Jews and Christians who have joined the assault, having been indoctrinated with anti-religious views in high school and college).

We reiterate that millions of Leftists are religious. Belief in the supernatural does not logically bring liberty. Often quite the contrary (examples: the Inquisition’s Spain, Calvin’s Geneva).   

When Judeo-Christian principles are abandoned, evil eventually ensues.

In the name of the Hebrew god in ancient times, and in the name of Christianity for many hundreds of years,  great evil was done – mass slaughter, extreme cruelty, which surely are evils. 

One doesn’t have to be a believer to acknowledge this. Many secular conservatives recognize that the end of religion in the West leads to moral chaos—which is exactly what we are witnessing today and exactly what we witnessed in Europe last century. When Christianity died in Europe, we got Communism, fascism, and Nazism. What will we get in America if Christianity and Judeo-Christian values die.

Communism, fascism, Nazism are also religions, without gods or with them. (Many Nazis worshipped Nordic gods.) 

We are getting evil rule in America by many who say they are Christians. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi claim to be  “good Catholics”. 

Leftism is a child of Christianity. (See our articles here and here.) 

In conclusion: “Judeo-Christian values” or religious beliefs of any sort are not a cure for America’s calamity.  

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Judaism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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God and Covid-19 1

God, the three-in-one Lord and King of Christians, is becoming ever more unpopular in America.

Republicans of Earth most Americans have been, but at the same time Monarchists of the Universe. Now that is changing, at increasing speed.

America has continued to be God’s acreage for longer in post-Enlightenment times than any other Anglophone country. Now even here his sway is under threat.

Although there are religious optimists prophesying a church-going revival after the long period of social distancing during the Covid pandemic, others read statistics and reason that a further shrinking of God’s base is more probable.

David Gibson writes at Religion & Politics:

As a stir-crazy nation slowly emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, debates about what our “new normal” will be like are intensifying. Will the shock of the lockdown bring a transformative moment of social solidarity? Or tear us apart in tribal strife? …

The future of our national religious life is also the subject of growing speculation, with the sunny-side-up view arguing that we are primed for a new “Great Awakening” of the sort that have periodically transformed American culture. …

To many, the prospect of a resurgence in religious observance is an enticing vision, because faith communities can be anchors of social solidarity, which has been steadily eroding for decades.

The data and history tell a different story, however, and, much like the economic outlook, the forecast for religion looks more like recession than resurrection.

The percentage of Americans who say they belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque is down 20 points over the previous two decades, sitting at an all-time low of 50 percent as of 2018, according to Gallup. Actual church attendance is even lower, while Americans who profess no religious affiliation—the so-called nones—have become the single largest “denomination” in the U.S., according to Pew Research surveys, numbering more than both Catholics and evangelicals.

American Christianity has not been drastically harmful to the nation. (Nor has Covid-19.) But generally, religion has been a destructive force throughout recorded history.

The retirement of God and all gods from the human mind would be a huge benefit, but not enough.

We also urgently need to see a mass abandonment, everywhere in the world, of the godless religion variously named Leftism, Socialism, Communism, Social Democracy, Democratic Socialism, Progressivism, Marxism, Black Lives Matter, Intersectionality, the Great Reset …

Posted under Christianity, communism, Leftism, Marxism, Progressivism, Religion general, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 11, 2021

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Free thought as heresy again 9

The Left has captured the culture. That’s well known and oft repeated. Education is now religiously Leftist from kindergarten to doctorate. The entertainment industry – stage, film, television –  faithfully carries the sacred messages. The media, both “mainstream” and “social”, are packed with acolytes.

Not only the guardians of the culture have converted en masse to the Church of Marx. Big panjandrums of our capitalist economy are dropping their checks for hundred of millions of dollars into the collection boxes of the Left’s terrorist curates – buying time, they foolishly hope. That would be more surprising if we didn’t have Vladimir Lenin’s (possibly apocryphal but highly plausible) prophecy that “the capitalist will sell you the rope you’ll hang him with”.

And now it is all too horrifyingly possible that the Left will re-capture the legislative and executive branches of the US government. As for the judicial branch, seven of the Supreme Court  justices – all nine of whom were formerly Jewish or Catholic which was not harmful to determinations of law – are dancing arm-in-arm leftwards through a side door into the C. of M., where doctrinal orthodoxy is strictly enforced. Could SCOTUS become the tribunal of the next Inquisition?

A dark age lies ahead. But need we despair? There is consolation to be found in the records of the fast fading era of free thought (roughly 1700-2000), that will still be available to us in books.

Or will they?

Oh, oh! It seems that books by or about the great  – mostly white – scientists, inventors, discoverers, philosophers, visionaries, economists, historians, educators whose ideas debunk the doctrines of the C. of M., are to be removed from libraries, bookshops, even probably our private rooms, and destroyed. Blotted out of human memory. They will not be published  again; or if published by some rogue publisher, not advertised;  or if advertised by some mischance, not sold; or if sold on a black market market of color, confiscated and destroyed.

On the other hand, books supporting the doctrine of the C. of M. (chiefly concerning anti-racism and the evil of being White) will abound. Vast libraries will be built to contain them. There’ll be at least one in every hotel bedside drawer. There’ll be cutely illustrated versions of some on the shelves of kindergartens; thousands to be checked out by students in all grades or else; and subterranean university bookstores will be chockfull of them.

Bruce Bawer, observing the trend, writes at Front Page:

Of America’s most powerful and prominent cultural institutions, it’s quick work naming those that aren’t entirely left-wing satrapies. TV? Fox News, although things are looking less and less encouraging there. Colleges? Hillsdale, I guess, though how many Ivy League faculty members would ever admit to having heard of it? Newspapers? The New York Post (sometimes), Wall Street Journal (kind of)and perhaps one or two others from sea to shining sea. Silicon Valley? Nothing. Hollywood? ¡Nada! Big business? Hmm: what is there, nowadays, honestly, other than that My Pillow guy?

One field in which there’s at least a soupçon of ideological diversity is the book trade. Yes, staffers at the major publishing houses are overwhelmingly on the left. Ditto bookstore employees. Plus the people who give out the major book awards. Not to mention that the heftiest advances for political books go to Democrats. Since the turn of the century, the biggest nonfiction book deal, amounting to at least $65 million, was for Michelle Obama’s Becoming (2018) and for an as-yet-unpublished opus by Barack; second – raking in $15 million – was Bill Clinton’s My Life (2004); third – at $14 million – was Hillary’s Hard Choices (2014).

One more thing about the reflexive leftism of the book scene. Thanks to today’s lethal cancel culture, even classics are at risk. Recently, in an article for the School Library Journal headlined “Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with ‘Classic’ Books That Are Also Racist”, Marva Hinton identified both Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as racist. No, she didn’t just say that they contained racist language, which would have been fair enough; she asserted that these two books – both of them key texts in the history of the American struggle against racism – are in fact racist.

Hinton quoted Julia E. Torres, a Denver school librarian, as saying that when she’s consulted by teachers who want to assign Harper Lee’s novel to their student, she often suggests replacing it with Samira Ahmed’s dystopic novel Internment, “about a teen sent to a U.S. internment camp for Muslim American people”. Alternatively, Torres “suggests they teach To Kill a Mockingbird using excerpts or through a critical consciousness lens, which would include lessons on white saviorism and the weaponization of white women’s tears”. Check, please!

I’m not familiar with the novel Internment – just out in paperback from Little, Brown – but it’s part of a full-court press by the book business to normalize Islam and demonize “Islamophobia”.  Also in on this effort are the major pre-pub reviewing outlets, all of which gave Internment starred reviews that were short on praise for aesthetic values and long on PC drivel. (“Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America…” – Kirkus.  “A very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance…” – Booklist. “An unsettling and important book for our times.” – Publishers Weekly.)

In 2006 I published a highly critical book about Islam. Even then, it was savaged by bien pensant book-world types. But criticizing Islam has become so verboten on the left that I doubt any major publisher today would touch a book like While Europe Slept – even though the problems described therein have grown far, far worse.

Meanwhile, to peruse the latest catalogues from those same publishers is to discover a blizzard of dreary-sounding new or forthcoming novels that, judging from the plot summaries, are drenched in identity politics. (Two quick examples from Knopf, perhaps the most respected of literary publishers: Burning by Megha Majumdar, about an Indian girl who’s falsely accused of terrorism and turns for help to a trans woman; My Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir, a novel that takes on “the legacy of colonialism” and “the abuse of male power”. …

Amazon’s current list of top ten bestsellers includes several far-left books on racism: Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. You might think there’s a market for at least one book criticizing these authors’ views; but I’ve been assured by industry insiders that no major New York house would even consider publishing such a book.

Even in book publishing, then, the left is way ahead. But this isn’t good enough for Alex Shephard, a young staff writer at the New Republic, who in a recent article maintained that the book industry is “overdue” for a major “reckoning”. Here’s his article’s subhead (italics mine):

The industry is facing demands to live up to its stated values. That might mean ditching writers like Donald Trump Jr.

And later there’s this (italics again mine):

…these publishing houses are, like many corporations in the country, being asked by their employees and customers to live up to a set of values. And that would seem to be impossible while also publishing the likes of Tucker Carlson…

What does Shephard mean by “stated values”? Simple: left-wing ideological purity. In his view, conservative books are, with exceedingly few exceptions, “valueless”. (Shephard implies that “quality control” alone would eliminate most conservative titles.) Also by definition, they’re awash in “factual inaccuracies”. Because of course you can’t possibly mount a convincing non-leftist argument for anything without radically distorting the truth. (As Shephard puts it: “Being forced to tell the truth is not an existential issue for most of publishing; it is for conservative imprints.”)

Hence, if book publishers began to be serious about fact-checking, it would, argues Shephard, “make it impossible to publish a great many conservative books”. Indeed, even the “more ‘respectable’ side of conservative publishing”, as represented for Shephard by Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 bestseller Liberal Fascism (note, however, those scare quotes around the word respectable), would be challenged by a responsible fact-checking apparatus.

According to Shephard, another attribute of many conservative books is that their authors aren’t serious. He quotes Kimberly Burns, a book publicist: “I’m OK with books being published from different political viewpoints – in fact, it’s necessary for debate and being able to see a whole picture … The problem is when authors write things only to get themselves attention or to make news, instead of to enhance a dialogue…” Apparently this isn’t a problem with left-wing books.

Bottom line: Shephard really likes censorship of his ideological opponents. And he really admires his fellow “woke” types who put pressure on publishers to cancel books. He notes with obvious satisfaction that Henry Holt, the publishing house, “drew fire for its decision to continue publishing Bill O’Reilly after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him”. (There’s no indication that Shephard believes multiple accusations of sexual harassment should affect Bill Clinton’s publishing career.)

Shephard approvingly mentions Simon & Schuster’s 2016 decision to drop the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he identifies as “a troll known for shallow publicity stunts”. And he tells us that he’s spoken to employees at another publishing house, Hachette, who “expressed discomfort about the company’s conservative imprint, Center Street, which publishes Donald Trump Jr., among others”.

Boy, I’ll bet they did. Since Shephard’s article appeared, Hachette staffers – largely lower-level Gen-Z brats – have said that they won’t work on J.K. Rowling’s forthcoming book because she’s criticized transgender ideology. Hachette is the same house that, in response to workers outraged over unproven quarter-century-old sex-abuse allegations, canceled Woody Allen’s about-to-be-published memoirs in March. Allen was never charged with any crime, let alone found guilty of one; years later he was permitted to adopt two children. Yet thanks to those junior Jacobins – every one of whom should’ve been fired – Allen was unceremoniously cut adrift.

And Shephard fully approves. He actually calls Allen a “pariah”. The ease with which this smug punk swats away the legendary writer-director is chilling. No matter what you may think of Allen or his films, the whole ugly spectacle is just too reminiscent of the way things worked under Stalin and Mao. And it’s all too representative, alas, of the atrocious attitudes of the rising generation of lockstep cancel-culture creeps who, like it or not, are well on their way to becoming our nation’s official cultural gatekeepers.

“Of what use is religion?” 11

It is a tragedy that violent mobs are rampaging through the land laying waste our civilization as they go – and no one is stopping them: not the police, not the states governments, not the federal government – and most stunningly disappointing of all, not the president. Not yet, anyway.

President Trump, why are you are not acting to restore law and order?

At Townhall, the conservative online opinion journal, Derek Hunter writes:

There is a disturbing percentage of our fellow Americans doing whatever the hell they want to do with little or no concern for the law. And the law has little or no concern for itself, at least when it comes to those charged with enforcing it.

Across the country, charges are being dropped against rioters and looters. Why? Many of those people in position to prosecute the guilty have no interest in doing so. Hell, many of them ran on the idea of not prosecuting people. What kind of idiot would vote for a district attorney who promised to let people get away with more? Well, from San Francisco to St. Louis, they did just that.

With police ordered to stand down, or pulling back on their own, the mob has gone off the rails. Why shouldn’t you? If your store is raided, hope you have good insurance. If you’re randomly attacked, hope you fall safely. wouldn’t mind it so much if the piles of human garbage being given a pass stayed within the boundaries of the jurisdictions electing these morons to not enforce the law, but the idiots who do cast those ballots inevitably flee to sane areas, those not overrun by mutants like them, because who wants to live in a place where stealing anything valued at less than $1000 is no big deal?

While they flee what they made, they bring what made it with them – their vote. Spreading like a swarm of brain damaged locusts, they run to better areas, sane areas that enforce laws and soon are electing other morons to recreate what they just fled. An army of Ilhan Omars who fled a hell hole only to come to the United States and try to recreate that hell hole here.

Still more fellow travelers were actually lucky enough to have been born here and yet are so devoid of natural intelligence and critical thinking ability that they seek to destroy it too. Curiously, they also want open borders, which is like encouraging shipwreck victims to swim to their lifeboat, only to blow a hole in the side of it the moment new people get on board. I did mention they are insane, didn’t I?

Less sane are the rest of us, watching this happen and expecting Republicans to stand up to it. Who in Congress is drawing attention to this Democratic Party-embraced lawlessness? President Trump spent as much, if not more, time at his campaign rally Saturday reenacting a garbage story about how he’d walked down a ramp at the West Point commencement speech the previous week than warning the American people about what liberals are doing.

It’s so out of control that at this point you’d almost have to be an idiot to follow the law. … There are no consequences to disobeying the law. Want a new TV, just take it. See someone minding their own business while you’re in a bad mood? Beat the hell of out them. If you’re in a Democrat-controlled are, the police aren’t coming. Why in the world would cops stick their necks out when they’re what gets chopped first whenever Democrats need to save a buck or need a target to demonize in order to boost morale?

With police ordered to stand down, or pulling back on their own, the mob has gone off the rails. Why shouldn’t you? If your store is raided, hope you have good insurance. If you’re randomly attacked, hope you fall safely.

The mob is running the show, laws are for suckers. So why are the rest of us following them?

What are we paying taxes for? Democrats in these mob run areas are not only turning a blind eye to lawlessness, they’re cheering it along. But I bet they’d bring down every bit of the law on us if we didn’t pay property or income taxes. A tax protest would be beyond the pale, but break into a store, steal a TV bigger than your car, or pummel someone for not appreciating it with a brick and you’re a hero exercising your First Amendment rights. Don’t cut a check to Big Brother and you’ll find out just how tolerant the left is, even if you say you’re doing it in the name of “social justice”.

All this might not be a sign of “the end of the world”, but it’s the end of something. The people who produce are paying, the people who don’t are benefiting. The people paying the bills are trampled while the mob is cheered and protected. Democrats cheer, Republicans are either mumbling or silent. No country can survive long with circumstances like that. And no government – local, state, or federal – that allows it to continue deserves to.

Also at Townhall, Dennis Prager, a man of good sense who nevertheless believes in “God” asks now, in this crisis of insurrection, “Of what use is religion?”

America is being taken over by violent mobs; a vast amount of destruction and stealing has taken place (with little police intervention and the apathy of our political leaders). Why aren’t all clergy delivering thundering sermons about the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal”? Does it now come with an asterisk? …

And most ominous by far, for the first time in American history, free speech — the mother of all freedoms — is being widely suppressed, not by the government but by the press, the universities, the high schools, the elementary schools, all the giant internet media, Hollywood and virtually every major business in America. Christians and Jews place repentance at the center of their theologies, yet there is no place for repentance if you did or said one insensitive thing — real or alleged — even if it was 20 or more years ago. Yet all we get from American religious leaders on this matter is … silence.

The freest, least racist, most opportunity-providing country in history — “the last best hope of earth,” in Abraham Lincoln’s words — is smeared as “systemically racist”; all white people are declared “racist”; and the statues of the greatest Americans, including George Washington and even Abraham Lincoln, are toppled and/or defaced. And all we get from most American religious leaders is either agreement or silence.

It leads this religious American to ask the question the anti-religious ask: Of what use is religion?

Take the claim that being “colorblind” is racist.

If you are a religious Jew or Christian — let alone a rabbi, priest or minister — do you believe that? Do you believe that the human ideal is not to be colorblind? Do you believe that the ideal is to see every person, first and foremost, as a member of a race? Is that what you learned at seminary? Is that what you have taught from your pulpit all of your life? …

So, why the silence? Why aren’t all rabbis, priests and pastors telling their congregations and telling America — in tweets, on Facebook, in letters to the editor, on television and radio, in opinion pieces — that there is one race, the human race, and that the only antidote to racism is to deny that race determines our worth, not to affirm its significance?

Does an ideology that affirms the significance of race have an honorable pedigree? Has it ever led to anything good? Isn’t that exactly what Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan advocated?

So, how are we to explain this tragic failure of religious Jews and Christians — and their clergy — to speak up against looting (aka stealing) and for freedom, for America, for Western civilization and for being colorblind? …

What is now apparent is that most Jews and Christians fear the left, fear The New York Times, fear being shunned by “friends” on Facebook and mobbed on Twitter more than they fear God.

That’s what this moment comes down to. Jews and Christians who fail this test will not only lose their freedom, lose the great American hope for mankind and lose the West; they will have also lost their souls.

If the only consequence of this rise of lawlessness and destruction were to be the total disillusionment of Jews and Christians with their religion, their realization at last that neither Jehovah nor Jesus is going to do a thing about the wrecking of our civilization, we would not be unhappy. In fact, we would pause in our lament for the loss of our civilization to exult and jubilate!

But only for a moment. Because disillusionment with religion will not be all. Disillusionment with government by the people, with the rule of law, with the liberty that only the rule of law makes possible – for that, lamentation can not be loud and long enough. Though it will do nothing to save us.

Posted under Anarchy, Christianity, Judaism, Race, Religion general, revolution, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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Talking sense about racism and religion 0

Two brilliant writers, the philosopher Coleman Hughes and the linguist John McWhorter, discuss racism.

They touch on the idea that there is such a thing as “racism without racists” (c.55.00).

Inter alia (c.21.50), McWhorter says firmly: “I am not agnostic. I am an atheist.”

Posted under Atheism, Race, Religion general, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 18, 2020

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Meaning? 40

What meaning of “meaning” is our subject? Significance. Purpose. 

We took the following sentences from an article by Dennis Prager at Townhall, in which he laments that Americans seem to be more unhappy now than they used to be. He mentions various probable causes, then comes to his main point:

And now we come to the biggest problem of all: the lack of meaning.

Aside from food, the greatest human need is meaning.

Poor people who have meaning can be happy, but wealthy people who lack meaning cannot be.

Nothing has given Americans – or any other people, for that matter – as much meaning as religion. But since World War II, God and religion have been relegated to the dustbin of history.The result? More than a third of Americans born after 1980 affiliate with no religion. This is unprecedented in American history; until this generation, the vast majority of Americans have been religious.

Maybe, just maybe, the death of religion – the greatest provider of meaning, while certainly not the only – is the single biggest factor in the increasing sadness and loneliness among Americans (and so many others).

Dennis Prager believes that religion provides the individual with meaning to his life, and endows all human life with meaning.

What is that meaning?

*

What does Christian doctrine say it is?

This answer comes from CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry):

What Does the Bible say is the purpose of our lives?

According to the Bible, our purpose, the reason we are here, is for God’s glory.  In other words, our purpose is to praise God, worship him, to proclaim his greatness, and to accomplish his will.  This is what glorifies him.  Therefore, in this we find that God has given us a reason for our existence, a meaning for our existence.  We were created by him, according to his desire, and our lives are to be lived for him so that we might accomplish what he has for us to do. …

Even though things can go wrong in our lives, the ultimate reason we are here is to glorify God – even through the difficulties.  We do this by praising him and trusting him through difficult times.

So: “Our purpose is to praise God.” “The reason we are here is to glorify God.”

Was the universe made so that we self-conscious living beings on this planet will “glorify” the maker?

If such a purpose is supreme, the question arises, why was the maker so counterproductive as to make the viruses, and the adverse conditions of nature, and predators, and the propensities for things to fail, and all the adversities and hindrances that incapacitate us? Why provide a multitude of ways the purpose of all creation can be thwarted?

And again if such a purpose is supreme, why did he, the Purposer, bother to make billions of stars and planets with no living beings on them to do any glorifying whatsoever?

And does that purpose, that meaning, keep Christians happy?

*

What does Islam say?

From Arab news:

Islam is the response to humanity’s search for meaning. The purpose of creation for all men and women for all times has been one: To know and worship God.

Here again is the belief that the universe was made so that we on this planet can know and worship (praise, glorify) its maker.

On this Islam and Christianity agree.

And do they agree that believing it makes a lot of people happy? Are Muslims happy?

*

What does Judaism say?

We find its answer to “What is the meaning and purpose of human life and the existence of the universe?” is not much different from those of Christianity and Islam: glorify, know, worship. (Not surprisingly, as it inspired both the younger religions.) But its expression of the idea is less succinct, more recondite and perplexing, even vague – and as is common with vague ideas, long-winded.

This is from an article in Commentary by the highly respected authority Emil L. Fackenheim (April 1965):

In the eyes of Judaism, whatever meaning life acquires derives from this encounter: the Divine accepts and confirms the human in the moment of [their] meeting. But the meaning conferred upon human life by the Divine-human encounter cannot be understood in terms of some finite human purpose, supposedly more ultimate than the meeting itself. For what could be more ultimate than the Presence of God? The Presence of God, then, as Martin Buber puts it, is an “inexpressible confirmation of meaning. . . . The question of the meaning of life is no longer there. But were it there, it would not have to be answered.” …

So: Human beings – or at least the followers of Judaism – can and do “encounter” God. If a human being does “encounter” – or “meet” – God, his existence has meaning. And the whole of “creation” has meaning because some human beings “encounter” God? Wait, no. The encounter “confirms” meaning. And at the same time abolishes the need for knowing it.

But what meaning does it “confirm”?

In Judaism, however, this “inexpressible confirmation of meaning” does, after all, assume expression; and this is because the Divine-human meeting assumes structure and content. … through the way man is accepted and confirmed as a consequence of this meeting. In Judaism God accepts and confirms man by commanding him in his humanity; and the response called for is obedience to God—an obedience to be expressed in finite human form. …

So obey the God-given Law. That is the purpose of your life. Your own reward is here and now on this earth. 

… The God of Judaism is no Deistic First Cause which, having caused the world, goes into perpetual retirement. Neither is He a Law-giver who, having given laws, leaves man to respond in human solitariness. Along with the commandment, handed over for human action, goes the promise of Divine action. And because Divine action makes itself contingent upon human action, a relationship of mutuality is established. God gives to man a covenant—that is, a contract; He binds Himself by its terms and becomes a partner.

You fulfill your side of the covenant or contract, and God will fulfill his.

… God is long-suffering enough to put up with persistent human failures; and at length it becomes clear that the covenant can survive only if God’s patience is absolute. The covenant, to be sure, remains mutual; and Divine action remains part of this mutuality, as a response to human deeds. But Divine action also breaks through this limitation and maintains the covenant in unilateral love. …  Sin still causes God to punish Israel; but no conceivable sin on Israel’s part can cause Him to forsake her. Divine Love has made the covenant indestructible. …

Then what happened between 1942 and 1945? The all-powerful merciful god plainly did not act as an all-powerful merciful god could be expected to act when his human partner was in extreme need of powerful merciful intervention. Then how can any Jew go on believing in him, let alone worshiping him?

It is incomprehensible. Why didn’t the Holocaust convince the entire Jewish people that their god is either non-existent or evil? 

This month is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The leaders of many nations met in Jerusalem to show sympathy with the survivors of the Nazi genocide. In speech after speech by Christian and Jew, the blessing of “God” is asked for Israel. Why? Because continuing to believe he exists and is good and merciful makes for happiness, even as they stood inside a monument to the slaughtered six million? 

Emil Fackenheim states:    

A meaning at once manifest in history and yet indifferent to poverty, war, and tyranny is unthinkable to the Jewish mind.

So unthinkable that the “Jewish mind” can pretend it didn’t happen?

Apparently so. But why?

Because, you see, “His” divine ways are inscrutable:

But the Jewish search for meaning in history is bounded by a … limitation … Not only is the disclosure of meaning in history fragmentary; the meaning itself is fragmentary. Past and present point not only to a finite future but to one which is absolute and all-consummating as well. Not until an eschatological dimension, a messianic belief, comes into view is the Jewish understanding of meaning in history complete.

The Messiah will come, then all will become clear. It will be the end of history; the eschaton. The whole picture will be seen at last and it will be absolutely glorious.

That was as far as traditional Judaism looked: to the end of time.

Jews were … forced to go beyond acceptance of an undisclosed meaning in history. They had to question meaning in history itself, in the light of historical realities. This questioning, to be sure, did not result in wholesale skepticism, or a despair of meaning in history. But it did result in the belief that meaning has remained incomplete in past history, and must remain so in any future that does not differ qualitatively from the past.

In other words, yes, what has happened to the Jews, and to human beings generally, has largely been pretty bloody nasty, which is precisely why we can expect the future to be  superlatively delightful.

Or not. Maybe the whole picture, the glorious fulfillment, the purpose and meaning of earthly existence will come only in an afterlife. Beyond the Messiah, beyond the eschaton, beyond death –  so later Judaism allowed itself to consider – there may be another life:

The messianic future, while the earliest, is not the only eschatological expectation in Judaism. Beside and beyond it emerges the hope for a “world-to-come”—a hope which, although post-Biblical in origin, was always implicit in the Jewish belief that God gives meaning to individual lives wholly and in their own right. Whereas the Messianic future redeems an incomplete history, the world-to-come redeems the incomplete individual lives which exist in history.

By “incomplete lives” does he mean miserable lives? Lives in which believing does not make for happiness? Lives cut off by murder for religious reasons?

Despite the absence of the belief in life after death from the Hebrew Bible, Orthodox post-Biblical theology quite deliberately embraces it. For the Divine commandment has accepted the individual and therefore any Redemption would remain incomplete—as the Messianic end by itself does—if it did not give completion to the individual. But no more can the Messianic goal of a redeemed future be identified with an Eternity beyond all time. A primordial Divine commanding Love has endowed history with meaning, in that it calls for meaningful human action. The great Divine-human drama of history thus initiated cannot be retroactively destroyed by an end which makes this world merely a place in which to prepare for another, and in itself meaningless. Redemption must consummate both the history in which men work and wait, and the lives of the individuals who work and wait in it.

What is meant by “redemption”?  Some sort of compensation? Or merely “forgiveness” of “sins”?

The two aspects of the eschatological expectation, then, must remain mutually irreducible, even despite the conscious recognition that Eternity must surely supersede all future history. This can be so because the world-to-come remains radically unintelligible. The rabbinic sources confine themselves to saying that it will redeem the whole man whom the Divine commandment has accepted from the beginning—not an immortal soul only, but a resurrected psychosomatic totality.

That is a reference to the belief in bodily resurrection that was held by all but one faction of the Jews (the Sadducees, the party of the priests), when Judea was a province of Rome. The time of “Jesus” who, Christians believe, rose bodily to a physical heaven. To which also his virgin mother was heaved up bodily by angels.

They are well aware that this is past all understanding, and they view silence on the subject as a necessity imposed by the silence of the Bible itself.

They can’t say anything about it because they don’t know anything about it. Yet they know that it will be. They know there is an end, a purpose, a meaning. And that it is good. But not what it is. 

What does Hinduism say?

From the Ohio State University:

According to Hinduism, the meaning (purpose) of life is four-fold: to achieve Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

The first, Dharma, means to act virtuously and righteously. That is, it means to act morally and ethically throughout one’s life. However, dharma also has a secondary aspect; since Hindus believe that they are born in debt to the Gods and other human beings, dharma calls for Hindus to repay this debt. The five different debts are as follows: debt to the Gods for their blessings, debt to parents and teachers, debt to guests, debt to other human beings, and debt to all other living beings.

The second meaning of life according to Hinduism is Artha, which refers to the pursuit of wealth and prosperity in one’s life. Importantly, one must stay within the bounds of dharma while pursuing this wealth and prosperity (i.e. one must not step outside moral and ethical grounds in order to do so).

The third purpose of a Hindu’s life is to seek Kama. In simple terms, Kama can be defined as obtaining enjoyment from life.

So far, so good. Live well. Behave decently towards your fellow human beings. Strive for prosperity. All sound and sensible. All stands up to examination in the light of day.

But then the murkiness which characterizes religious belief closes in:

The fourth and final meaning of life according to Hinduism is Moksha, enlightenment. By far the most difficult meaning of life to achieve, Moksha may take an individual just one lifetime to accomplish (rarely) or it may take several. However, it is considered the most important meaning of life and offers such rewards as liberation from reincarnation, self-realization, enlightenment, or unity with God.

“Unity with God” is what it’s for, the reason we endure our sufferings through many lives. That’s how hard it is to achieve.

*

What does Buddhism say?

Buddhism denies that there is any permanent and absolute significance of life, and described life as unsatisfactory (s. dukkha) and void (s. sunyata). However, Buddha acknowledged that there is a relative significance of life, and it is through this relative and conditioned nature of life that we can achieve and realize the universal truth. According to the discourses of the Buddha, our lives, and the world, are nothing but phenomena that rise and fall. It is a process of forming and degenerating. There is nothing that is not subject to change or impermanence. Impermanence indicates that there is no eternal bliss, because even a joyous state will eventually cease and become suffering.

Individuals can, however, attain a state of bliss temporarily. It’s not a purpose, not a meaning, not a significance, but a release from suffering. And that’s a lot!

*

No, Mr. Prager. Religion does not provide anything close to a satisfactory meaning of the universe’s existence or purpose of human lives.  

There is no meaning to existence.

The significance, or value, of human life cannot be measured because human life itself is the measure. Trying to assess the value of life is like trying to assess the wetness of water.

As for happiness, we each find it, if we do, as we can.

A few things that help most of us:  Living in a free country. Doing work we like doing. Making money. (Never mind being called a gross materialist. Even if money can’t buy happiness, lack of it can’t buy anything.)  Having a family. Having friends. Learning and thinking. Pleasures of the appetites and senses. Achieving our self-chosen purposes.

But to live is to suffer. Even the most fortunate of human beings cannot escape pain, disappointment, failure, and loss. And suffering  has not and cannot conceivably have any meaning or purpose that makes it good (except, within civilized limits, as legally imposed punishment).

We concede that some find happiness, or consolation for unhappiness, in religion. But for countless millions religion has been and continues to be a source of fear, anguish, and death.

 

Jillian Becker   January 29, 2020

Posted under Articles, Philosophy, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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Europe reverts to darkness 7

It is reported that Renaud Camus, a French intellectual, has been given a 2-month suspended prison sentence for saying that mass immigration into Europe is akin to an “invasion”. The author of Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement)  was charged with the “thought crime of public incitement to hate or violence on the basis of origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.”

Origin, ethnicity, nationality, and race are not matters of choice. One is born into them. But a religion is a set of ideas. You can believe the ideas or not, propound them or not. It is entirely a matter of choice. And they must be critically examined as necessarily as any other ideas – or, considering how lethal they have been throughout recorded history, even more so.

Belief in any one religion is in itself a tacit criticism of all other religions. They all contradict each other. No two are compatible. (If anyone says they are all true, ask him why in that case he believes the one he does.)

Religions are dogmatic untruths. All of them. They cannot be anything else. “A set of dogmatic untruths” is a precise and accurate definition of a religion. It is vital that their untruths be exposed as such. They absolutely must be criticized.

The French authorities and all the others that do the same thing are acting like the Inquisition. They and all the feminists and other Leftists who now run Europe are undoing the Enlightenment. They have reverted to mental darkness. The revival of critical examination was not just an aspect of the Enlightenment, it was the sun itself.

“Religion” has been officially exempted from criticism all over western Europe because, and only because, Islam has invaded Europe.

Islam has not just invaded Europe – Islam has conquered Europe. 

Posted under Europe, France, Islam, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 23, 2020

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