Thursday, June 16, 2005

Is Religion Responsible for Our Nation's Political Polarization?

    Okay, now before you say "of course it is,", let me explain a little. I'm not talking about the current problems of separation of church and state, abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage that are brought upon by religious activists. I'm talking about the fact that even passive religious views affect the country in the sense that they make believing whatever the fuck you want okay, regardless of what evidence there is to support it.

    Now generally I believe that if intelligent people are provided with the same information and try to minimize their personal bias, they can come to more or less an agreement after discussing an issue. But if you look at our country, we are more polarized politically than we probably have been since the Civil War. Why can't we discuss things rationally? Why can't Republicans and Democrats come together, have a good debate, and decide what's best for the country? Well, I would argue that religion is the primary obstacle in having a society where compromise and intellectual discourse takes place.

    Religion gives people an excuse for not having reasons for what they believe. The Republican or Democratic pundit can sit on their "debate" show and just ramble off the party position while demonizing his opponent. Rambling on about your dogma while you try to make out the person who disagrees with you as being evil...hmmm.....where have I seen this tactic before? Instead of using reason to find out the best solution for our country's problems, they can simply passionately defend the beliefs that they were raised with. Truth and evidence take a backseat. How can we expect them to use reason to form their beliefs when religion makes it perfectly okay, even honorable, to believe things purely on faith? What kind of an example is that?

    In a society where religion has a big effect it is difficult to have an intelligent debate with someone and come to a reasonable solution. For example, I often have discussions on various topics with my friends. We'll be moving along nicely for about 10-20 minutes. We'll see what each other believes and then we discuss things and try to come to a consensus. Sometimes though, my friend responds with "well, I see your point, but I see it more along this christian argument...". Well shit, I guess I get off the train here. The debate is over. I can't see his position because I refuse to take Jesus as my "savior" by faith, and he doesn't want to give up his afterlife.

     As nuclear weapons become easier to get, it is critical that we can discuss things rationally with the rest of mankind so that we can come to reasonable solutions that save us from going to war. But if so many people believe things with no justification, how could we ever come to agreement?

7 comments:

Angie said...

But if so many people believe things with no justification, how could we ever come to agreement?

You can't. And that is the problem. You cannot rationally reason with someone who choose blind faith over facts. It's impossible.

Joe Davis said...

As Sam Harris has stated, "God is a conversation stopper." You can't have a rational discussion with someone who immediately invokes an all powerful all knowing invisible entity.

Besides there are not 'debate' shows on television. Stick two people in front of a camara, ask them a set of questions (where everyone, including the audience, already knows what each person is going to say before they say it), and then limit each person to about 45 sec.............this simply is not a debate, but it has replaced what used to be news.............

Bubbi said...

Let me jump in here for a bit.
This country was founded on the freedom of religion or no religion.

Debate and compromise has been what runs this country.

"look at our country, we are more polarized politically than we probably have been since the Civil War."

I totally agree with you on this one but I do not agree that religion (which has been around since day one) is the reason that Democrats and Republicans can not seem to get it together.

"even passive religious views affect the country in the sense that they make believing whatever the fuck you want okay, regardless of what evidence there is to support it."

SO? This same can be said for the other side of this issue (for lack of a better term, I wll use freethinkers). The freethinking age also has an affect on the country. It brings with it an attempt to change long held standards. To me--this is fine but if your all for "live and let live", then why would those of faith be such an issue?

I would also ask for specific issues where you think that those of faith have hindered that which you speak of?

"Religion gives people an excuse for not having reasons for what they believe."

Now here you are wrong. I need know excuse and have good reasons for what I believe. You may not agree with them and that is fine.

Hummm Evidence and facts--this can be murky but I need from you a specific example before I can comment.

Again--thankyou, oh and I did make that post on my blog.

Aaron Kinney said...

bubbi said

Now here you are wrong. I need know excuse and have good reasons for what I believe. You may not agree with them and that is fine.


No, he is totally correct. By religions own admisson, faith is the key, and faith is defined as belief without evidence. Sam Harris discusses the problems with faith and religion at length in his book.

I would also ask for specific issues where you think that those of faith have hindered that which you speak of?


How about the dehumanizing and subjugating of homosexuals? How about the fight against the freedom of women for their right to control their bodies? How about the attempts to teach abstinence-only sex ed when there is overwhelming evidence that kids will still fuck and abstinence-only education increases pregnancy and STD infections? How about the funneling of money to religious schools thanks to vouchers? How about the religious discrimination going on at the Air Force academy? How about the "under God" phrase in the pledge? How about the fact that Bush got re-elected by milking the religious sheep in this country? How about the attempts by religious groups to secede from the Country in some backwater southern state? How about the fact that a non-Christian cannot possibly get a fair shot at public office? How about the fact that politicians think its okay to doubt the citizenship of atheists simply because they dont believe in God, and get applauded for it by the general public? How about Bush's attempts to stop stem cell research because he thinks its wrong to destroy life in order to save it, conveniently forgetting the fact that this exact destroy-to-save formula is the centerpiece of his fucking cultish superstition known as Christianity?

Bubbi, do you believe in God?

Bubbi said...

Aaron--yes I am.

Your list--is a list of social issues not exclusive to Christians.

Stem Cell research has yet to become the miracle cure you all have so much "faith" in.

Many have died so you may have your views and that right is also for all those you do not agree with.

Brandon said...

If you want to see how whacko the Christian Reich really is, and juist how religion divides us you should come to Wisconsin today, June 20, 2005. The Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas, led by the irreverend Fred Phelps has decided it would be a neat idea to protest the funeral of a 24-year-old Marine who died in Iraq. As oif this writing I only know that the protest was scheduled to take place at the cemetary. If it has actually done so as of this time I am not certain. But that aside, you really have to wonder what makes someone like this tick. This group really wants to impose itself on a grieving family at a military funeral.

The reason? Even though the young Marine in question was not gay, Phelps and his 100 strong congregation--many of which are related to him--believe that America has adopted a pro homosexual agenda and target funerals because they believe this is where they can best spread the message that people need to repent. That sounds "cute" but to demonstrate how fucked in the head they really are, they believe that 911, the Iraq War, and Columbine are punishments from God. Strange--I thought the Iraq War was our punishment for electing a president with a negative IQ but....

Well, I'd like to know just where this pro homosexual agenda has been. Is it the pro homosexual agenda that says gays can't have civil unions? The pro homosexual agenda which allows "Christian" broadcasting to rant and rave against gays and lesbians ona daily basis? Yeah. Right, Tell me another one.

I have a number of gay friends. One of whom, Daniel, was beaten up infront of his apartment building in 2003 by a bunch of Bible-thumping bullies who informed him that Jesus hates fags. I have another gay friend who was told that she could not sign up for military service because she is a lesbian. What homosexual agenda? Don't Ask Don't Tell is a fucking joke. It basically says that you can be denied equal treatment if you dare to tell the truth about yourself. And the funny part about it is that the religious reich maintains that societies are growing weak when the accept homosexuality. Well the Roman Empire didn't fall until after it had become a Christian entity. Indeed, one of the most effective fighitng forces within preChristian Rome was a group of gay men. The Spartans were anything but weak, but Classic Greek civilization was openly tolerant of homosexuality. And Athens, the same athens which created the first, viable democracy, had no problem with homosexuality either. The fact of the matter is that religious conservatives don't like to be told how hateful they are because they know in their black, empty hearts that they are hateful. The protest at the young Marine's funeral proved that much today. You really have to be a bully, a thug, and an outright MORON to show up at a burial with your half baked signs, chants, and imbecillic opinions. If there were a hell I am sure these dumb fucks would be the first ones to burn in it.

boywonder said...

Bubbi, have you been paying attention at all in the last ten years or so? Do you have an eight o'clock curfew? Watch any Fox news? Saying stemcell research hasn't produced (or won't produce) anything significant is very telling of your ideologies. You've already made my point for me. That point is that some people will believe the most ridiculous claims as long as they support their religious beliefs. You willingly ignore solid evidence if it compromises your beliefs. And don't try the "What evidence?" line with me either. I have neither the time nor the inclination to educate someone who does not want to learn. This is the biggest problem the world faces right now. Trying to talk rationally with people like you that refuse to see and understand reality. When we figure out this problem, religion is done. It is much easier to indoctrinate a fool with religion than it is to educate a fool with reason.