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END OF WINTER CLOSE UP
Posted:Feb 19, 2020 8:20 pm
Last Updated:Feb 22, 2020 10:42 am
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RELIGION AND AMERICAN POLITICS
Posted:Feb 13, 2020 3:09 pm
Last Updated:Feb 18, 2020 10:09 am
688 Views


Nigel Barber/2012

Religion is important for American politics because religion is important for Americans. Yet, there are factors in American political life that amplify the role of religion in a way that is not seen in other developed countries.

For a developed country, the U.S. is extraordinarily high on religion. Thus 65 percent of Americans say that religion is important in their daily lives compared to just 17 percent of Swedes, 19 percent of Danes, and 24 percent of Japanese.

Why America is more religious than Europe

There are several likely reasons why Americans say that they are so much more religious than Europeans. One may be that they exaggerate their own religiosity in the same way that they claim about twice the attendance rates relative to people actually showing up in church.

There is also a large immigrant population, many of whom hail from countries that are poor and comparatively religious. Immigrant groups that happen to be linguistically isolated may remain quite religious even if the broader society becomes increasingly secular.

Life is more difficult in the U.S. than in Europe by several measures even though Europe is currently in an economic decline. Problems here range from health problems and lower life expectancy, to higher crime rates, and relative lack of involvement in the community. All of these problems are bound up with inequality - with a chasm between the living conditions of rich and poor. This gap has widened in recent decades and reveals holes in social safety nets relative to Europe.

So Americans feel far less secure economically, and in relation to their health and well-being than the overall wealth of the country in terms of GDP per capita would predict. This existential insecurity provides a fertile ground for religion.

Historians are fond of attributing American religiosity to historical factors such as the Puritan founders. Yet history counts for little in these matters given that virtually every country has a devout past — specifically the currently secular countries of Europe.

Why religion is emphasized in American politics

Religion influences American politics to a degree not seen in other developed countries. Despite the constitutional firewall between church and state, national politicians hardly ever give a major speech without invoking religion.

The president is forever asking God to bless America, sending his prayers to victims of disasters, hosting religious leaders, and extolling religious values. Such advocacy of religion is unheard of in Europe but that may be because the majority is no longer religious and because voting members of the native population (as distinct from immigrants) are not very devout.

In America, religion is much more a part of public life whatever the constitution says. There are various reasons for this. One is that evangelical Christians under the banner of the Moral Majority made a determined push to influence political leaders since the 1970s and to inject religion into political debates. This broad agenda animates contemporary right-wing media including talk radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and TV channels such as Fox News.

The religious propensities of immigrants mean that they are receptive to the conservative religious message and can be induced to vote across class lines. In doing so they support an agenda that favors the wealthy and makes them even poorer.

Given this threat from the religious right, Democrats feel pressure to emphasize their own religious credentials, or risk losing a chunk of the poorer immigrant population who make up their natural constituency.



So religion is embroiled in American political life and that magnifies the apparent significance of religion in people’s everyday lives. According to wits, U.S. conservatives went to war in Afghanistan to separate religion from politics abroad while striving to unite religion and politics at home.

American politicians talk a lot about religion. Yet, they have no more in common with theocrats like the Taliban than ordinary Americans have with the religious fervor of ordinary Afghanis.

Many poor people in America undermine their economic interests by voting for Republican politicians who are interested in further concentrating wealth in the hands of the affluent. They do so, in part, because the Republicans appeal to their religious propensity.

That religious propensity is strengthened by increasing insecurity in the lives of the poor because difficult living conditions are associated with increased religiosity. So the worse their living conditions become, the more likely they are to follow a self-defeating voting pattern. That seems like another great reason for really separating church and state.
11 Comments
BARR IS.......
Posted:Feb 12, 2020 9:02 pm
Last Updated:Feb 14, 2020 9:37 am
675 Views

5 Comments
SCIENCE ACCORDING TO MARBELLA......
Posted:Feb 12, 2020 2:46 pm
Last Updated:Feb 15, 2020 1:55 pm
718 Views
I've read many reports of how who are either home-schooled by Christian parents or Christian schools are deprived of a Science education.......but I didn't realize how bad it was until I read today's Marbella blog......Someone whose entire education's focus was apparently to come up with an allegory to fit any bible passage.....embarrassingly tortured allegory, but.......

Here's how Marbella explains colour-theory...
"In the seventeenth century, Sir Isaac Newton used a prism to study how light helps us see different colors. He found that when light passes through an object, the object appears to possess a specific color. While a single ice crystal looks translucent, snow is made up of many ice crystals smashed together. When light passes through all of the crystals, snow appears to be white".......

In the same blog she says that Jesus was "blameless" in God's eyes.....Well Duh, they are one being according to their book.....By the way, have you ever asked a fervent bible-believer how the "trinity" works?.......

10 Comments
THE REAL VICTIM...
Posted:Feb 1, 2020 11:19 am
Last Updated:Feb 5, 2020 2:08 pm
862 Views
5 Comments
THE POPE'S POEM
Posted:Jan 29, 2020 6:56 pm
Last Updated:Jan 30, 2020 4:39 pm
883 Views


At last, the long-awaited finale of the televised poem competition had arrived.

The pope, was a keen lyricist and writer of poems, had everyone’s surprise entered the competition. He immediately announced that he would be reciting poems about personal spiritual experiences. Despite this limitation, it turned out he was gifted with words and he had made it all the way the final. His opponent was the favorite win: a Harvard linguistics professor on the top of his career and with a mind as sharp as a knife’s edge.

The Harvard professor was up first. He was informed of the rules: " minutes come up with a poem, and it must involve Timbuktu." The clock started, and when the time was up the Harvard professor approached the microphone:
"On my way through desert sand
Met a lonely caravan
Men on camels, by
Destination: Timbuktu."

The crowd went wild. Commentators were lyrical. This was without a doubt the best poem of the competition. The Harvard professor had done it again! But as the crowd settled down their spirits sank. As far as anyone knew, the pope had never been to Timbuktu, which was soon confirmed by the TV commentator. How could the pope have a personal spiritual experience with such a word?!

The elderly pope was walked to the stage and informed of the rules: " minutes come up with a poem, and it must involve Timbuktu." The clock was started, but after a short thought the pope stopped it. Everybody in the competition had used all the provided time, and as the pope approached the microphone a sigh went through the audience. Was he withdrawing from the competition? Would it all end in anti-climax?

No, to everybody’s surprise the pope started to recite his poem based on personal spiritual experience:
"Me and Tim to Brisbane went
Met some ladies, cheap to rent.
They were and we were ,
So I bucked , and 'Tim-bucked-.'"
5 Comments
GOD IS NOT SPECIAL
Posted:Jan 28, 2020 2:36 pm
Last Updated:Feb 15, 2020 1:56 pm
1028 Views


I never assume religious people are unintelligent when I begin talking to them, they are often very intelligent, but I do expect them to use broken, fallacious and thoroughly debunked arguments. No one has ever disappointed me.

It’s not surprising. Extremely smart people have been struggling to find a valid argument for the existence of God for at least a couple of thousand years and all have failed.

So, smart or dim, religious people all give me bad arguments. The only difference is smart people are better at concealing the fallacies in their arguments. But they are still there.

If a God exists who loves us and will torture us forever if we don’t believe in him, you might think he should have made it a tad easier to be sure he exists. Hiding from those you love dearly is a strangely bizarre strategy, and one that looks sure to end in tears.

Humans have used immense intellectual resources in their quest for discovery. We have pinned down the size and age of the universe, understood the human genome, the nature of matter and other deep secrets. We have even solved Fermat’s last theorem! But we are not a jot closer to finding God.

A simple, and fully explanatory, reason we have failed to find God is that he is just like the Babylonian gods, the Egyptian gods, the Greek gods, the Roman gods, the Norse gods and hundreds of other gods.

We have failed to find God not because he is special, but because he is ordinary. Just like all those other gods.

We couldn’t find any of those either.

BY Bill Flavell
10 Comments
TALKING TO YOURSELF
Posted:Jan 27, 2020 1:43 pm
Last Updated:Feb 15, 2020 2:12 pm
1454 Views
Today on Marbella's blog, her tortured analogy
says that having a conversation with an imaginary entity is like having a conversation with an actual wise Human.........If you sat on a bench and talked to an invisible person, you would be considered insane......and rightfully so......and no, Marbella, teaching a to bypass his critical thinking is not in the same category as teaching him a game or what foods are healthy.

I wonder why this Marbella bot and her enabler feel the need to Evangelize on this site.....surely they can find a more appropriate venue to display their sanctimonious drivel.



36 Comments
POST-TRUTH IS PRE-FASCISM
Posted:Jan 17, 2020 4:24 pm
Last Updated:Jan 22, 2020 1:49 pm
1357 Views

From "The Origins of Totalitarianism" by Hannah Arendt 1958

Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion,facts depend entirely on the power of a man to fabricate it."

and..."The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between true and false (ie, the standards of thought) no longer exist.".......

"Trump's refusal to admit the truth of widely accepted fact erodes political discourse and is consistent with the practice of authoritarian leaders. The assertion of the power to dictate reality by ignoring inconvenient facts is destructive of democratic governance. False statements about politics and policy strike at the very heart of democracy. If there are no agreed-upon facts, then it becomes impossible for people to make judgments about the government or hold it accountable.".

From "On Tyranny", Timothy Snyder argued:...
"To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no can criticize power, because there is no basis on which do so........"..
10 Comments
SELF-EVIDENT HYPERBOLE
Posted:Jan 17, 2020 2:05 pm
Last Updated:Jan 26, 2020 10:31 pm
1449 Views
18 Comments

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