Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where The Problem Starts

If this is true Ms. Clinton, we are in for a long time of strife.  The problem starts with a belief in a god, which begets -

  • my god is better than your god

which begets -

  • you need my god in order to be happy

which begets -

  • you need my god in order to be saved

which begets -

  • I need you to need my god so I can be more comfortable

which begets -

  • I need you to need my god so I can be safe

which begets -

  • I need you to need my god... or I need you to be gone.


Wesley Ellis said...

As much as I love the Clinton quote, I think your argument here is dangerously close to a "slippery-slope" argument which, I'm sure we'd both agree, is a fallacy. I'm not quite so cynical about theism (obviously, I guess). It's not a belief in God which ultimately begets the kind of intolerance you're diagnosing, but a posture for belief which depends on objectivity and certainty... this posture is unhealthy, not only in religious and theistic circles (though they are the worst historic perpetrators) but among anyone with an overdeveloped sense of their own means of apprehension.

If you feel like it, you might be interested in reading Wolfhart Pannenberg’s article “Christianity in the West”

He says a lot of things that are pertinent to this discussion, among them is this,

“We do not possess the truth in the sense of owning it or having it at our service. It is precisely our commitment to the truth that is always beyond our secure apprehension that requires us to respect those who offer alternative accounts of the truth.... In other words, tolerance is not against the truth; it is the truth that makes tolerance imperative.”

I suggest that you can replace “truth” with “God” in this statement and you’ll find a theism not of violence but of peace.

Andrew said...

I don't think every belief in a god will go to that endpoint, but I think every person doing some kind of violence in the name of their god has gone through some form of that progression... either themselves, or passed down through their religion.

I also don't think that last one has to equate to violence. I am sure we both know religious people who are in relationship with pretty much no one outside their religious sect. Brian Mclaren referred to it in his interview on NPR the other day when he said of some religious people "There's something good and precious in their faith that they would never want to betray... but there's also something that they feel puts static into every relationship that is with people not in their community."

I do agree with you that this type of progression can occur on other matters besides simply the religious... I know people who cannot stand the presence of anyone with a political belief opposed to theirs. But there is something about religion, perhaps it is having so many points that must be taken on faith, that lends itself to more radical insistence on the group being of "one mind" on a given topic.

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