May 19, 2006

"The thing about the left is that they want everybody to feel good."

Said the Rev. Tony Campolo, the liberal Baptist minister (who was once an advisor to President Clinton). Commenting on the Spiritual Activism Conference, he was trying to explain why the religionists on his side aren't as effective as the religionists of the right. "We didn't get on the same page with everyone, and it is about getting on the same page."

You see, the left values pluralism, and this virtue of theirs is what holds them back:
Turnout at the Spiritual Activism Conference is high, but if the gathering is any indication, the biggest barrier for liberals may be their regard for pluralism: for letting people say what they want, how they want to, and for trying to include everyone's priorities, rather than choosing two or three issues that could inspire a movement.
Well, the liberal attitude about religion probably ought to lead you to want to keep religion out of politics, but, as the participants at the conference realize, if you do that, you sacrifice some clout at election time. The other side is using religion, so we're fools if we don't do it too. But liberals tend to notice and be offended by the use of religion for political purposes, so there really is a double bind here.
[Rabbi Michael Lerner of the magazine Tikkun] called on the activists at All Souls Church to define progressive faith, rather than have politicians do it. He said research begun years ago showed that Americans were experiencing a deep spiritual crisis but that only conservative Christians had responded to it, with an agenda that he said "backs the ethos of selfishness and materialism in our society."

"They get away with this because the left isn't even in the relevant ballpark," Rabbi Lerner said. When people on the left "hear talk of a spiritual crisis, they think it's some kind of New Age flakery or a code word for homophobia, sexism and racism," he said.

He urged participants to offer a real alternative to the ideas that many conservative Christian groups promulgate. But identifying those alternatives proved to be the hard part for many at the conference.

Mr. Campolo, the Baptist minister, explained to the participants in a seminar that many people on Capitol Hill were religious, and that to reach them and to establish authority, liberals should rely on the Bible.

"You have no right to be a spiritual leader if you haven't read Scripture," he told the group. "People in Congress respect the Book, even if they don't know what it says. If we don't recognize this, we don't know squat."

A young man with long hair and a tunic challenged Mr. Campolo.

"I thought this was a spiritual progressives' conference," he said. "I don't want to play the game of 'the Bible says this or that,' or that we get validation from something other than ourselves. We should be speaking from our hearts."
This really is a difficult problem for liberals, but it is also a problem for conservatives. I think the key is to respect religion, but not to use it directly in politics. Religion can help individuals and religious groups identify values that motivate them to work in the political sphere, but their political goals should then be framed in a way that will not require them to rely on religious belief to persuade the rest of us to vote with them. I wish both liberals and conservatives would try to do that. I'm severely put off by the grasping after political power that comes in the form of religion.

49 comments:

Dave said...

Ann, I'm with you on this.

I hate the politicization of religion. Every additional instance of its politicization makes me ever more averse to religion and its adherents.

Simon said...

"I thought this was a spiritual progressives' conference," he said. "I don't want to play the game of 'the Bible says this or that,' or that we get validation from something other than ourselves. We should be speaking from our hearts."

I hesitate to say it, since presumably Christians don't need advice from non-Christians about how to be a Christian, but this just seems so totally wrongheaded. Christianity is not some touchy-feely "speak from your heart" new age mysticism, it's a religion. That religion involves accepting some commands. Religion shouldn't just be a spiritual ratification of your own proclivities; from time to time, religion is going to be tough. It's going to challenge you. I think the Minister is much more on the right track; you start with the belief of Jesus' divinity, and from there, to scripture. As I had understood it, Christianity isn't about speaking from your heart, it's about remaking your heart into something that as closely resembles Jesus' heart as is possible.

Senescent Wasp said...

Render unto
Caesar....

Simon said...

Dave said...
"I hate the politicization of religion."

See, this is something that people on the left keep repeating, and with all due respect, I just think it's asinine. Politics rests on morality, and you cannot - cannot - have strong religious beliefs without those beliefs affecting your sense of morality. Even if your political beliefs are basically just untempered pragmatism, a belife in doing what's fair, there is no single, platonic concept of "fair" - there are many different conceptions of "fairness" in any given circumstance, and which you choose is based again on your own sense of moality. To think otherwise is just absurd; if you are a Christian, and a member of the Senate, and you believe that when the bible says "thou shalt not kill", you are obligated to vote for a bill abolishing the death penalty, or to have some coherent explanation why not, even if only for your own private gratification.

As John Kotter has written:
"People change what they do less because they are given an analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truththat influences their feelings . . . [I]f you want to motivate people to alter the way they do things, you can't just rely on numbers, charts and reports to convince them that change is necessary. You have to speak to their emotions."

AJ Lynch said...

Simon is correct.

Religion by definition refers to a set of beliefs. The libs have no tolerance for defined beliefs or values unless they are "left" undefined. They tend to sneer at religions. So they can wring their hands all they want but it ain't gonna work.

Sean E said...

"...only conservative Christians had responded to it, with an agenda that he said 'backs the ethos of selfishness and materialism in our society.'"

Yeah, 'cuz conservative Christians are all about materialism. You drive a Yugo? You are so going to Hell.

Scott W. Somerville said...

Ann, I'm one of your serious fans. I'm also an Evangelical, Harvard Law grad, and conservative civil libertarian. Jesus said, "Don't cast your pearls before swine," but I'm going to toss out some personal "pearls" here because I believe you're the kind of person who will actually pay attention.

Picture, for a moment, an honest-to-goodness "saint," who had been forever altered by a Higher Power. Take, for example, Mary Magdalene, former prostitute, whose life was turned upside down by her encounter with Jesus of Nazareth.

Now drop her into 21st century America, with all its challenges and opportunities. Would her new life affect the way she votes, or who she supports?

The feminists tell us "the personal is political." There is nothing more profoundly personal than a genuine spiritual experience.

The problem, as I see it, is not with deeply religious individuals, but with politicians who have a vested interest in exploiting religious sentiments.

Elizabeth said...

I'd like to talk about this but I'm too busy preparing for the tsunami Rev. Pat says is coming.

Too Many Jims said...

"Mary Magdalene, former prostitute"?

Huh? Where's the Bible say that?

JohnF said...

This is an area where it is important to draw very careful distinctions.

A devotion to religious principles is a perfectly sound basis for making political judgments, as is a devotion to, say, making money, making the world green, favoring the right to choose for women, etc., etc. We should not criticize religious zealots for voting their conscience any more than we criticise anyone else for voting his.

Now advance to the next square. What do we say to the person elected to office who holds such views? Of course, the Constitution intrudes here with the Establishment Clause, but short of the office holder violating that provision, how much can his religious views influence his governmental conduct? We don't have a problem with other strongly held belief sets (women's rights, climate issues, etc.) influencing that behavior (I'm not saying we can't disagree on a given policy on the merits, but only that we can't reasonably object to the propriety of the office holder advocating his position).

Many people who disagree on the merits with some religion-based proposition argue the much stronger--and, I think, erroneous--position that the advocate should not be permitted to make his argument, that somehow the ORIGIN of his belief should influence whether he is permitted to advance it. I don't think that is right.

Plainly, these are difficult issues--made no less difficult by the fact that there is a lot to recommend in various religious dogmata, and by the history of politics in this country which was never very far from those principles.

Alexandra1966 said...

Religious people certainly have the right to participate in the debate of public issues. Further, I believe it can be a very good thing when religious people become involved in public issues (the archetypal example is Martin Luther King, Jr. and the black church's involvement in the civil rights struggle).

But it also seems to me that, for a variety of reasons, it is best for religious people to think about these issues and speak about them in ways that are not strictly religious.

Further, I think more religious people need to speak out in support of the non-establishment principle, not only because it is the right thing to do (in my opinion), and because it helps immensely when religious people are among the first to defend the notion that the government shouldn't promote any faith, but also because this defense sends an important signal to others who care about these issues but would otherwise be suspicious of religious involvement in policy and politics.

Simon, I find myself in agreement with some of what you say. I believe in my religious tradition, not some least-common-denominator religion. I don't have to embrace some least-common-denominator religion to work with others on issues, and I don't want to try. I say let's defend religious freedom for everyone (religious and non-religious) and work with anyone (religious and non-religious) on policy or legal issues where we can find agreement. If we can do that, that is quite enough.

Dave said...

Simon: Why would you think I'm a person on the left?

Nothing in my comment says anything about my place on the political spectrum.

Ann Althouse said...

Scott: Are you trying to disagree with me? Because that sounds the same as the last paragraph of my post.

Too Many Jims said...

I hate the religionization of politics. I hate McCain having to bend his knee to Falwell or Guliani having to kiss Ralph Reed/Pat Roberston's ring -- oops, I mean butt.

It was much easier for Republicans to form a "right of center" coalition when they were not in power. For example, libertarians, small government types and "social conservatives" could all get together and agree that the Department of Education should be done away with when the libs were in charge and pushing an "I'm o.k. you're o.k." agenda. However, how easy will it be to keep that coalition together when the "conservative" administration pours more money in the department's coffers to fund private schools, (some) home-schooling measures and a "I'm o.k. you're going to hell" agenda?

Pogo said...

I would suggest that the religionists on the left aren't as effective as those of the right precisely becasue of the influence of Marx. Socialism, whether the globalist type of Stalin, or the softer UK type of the 60s, or India in the 80s, is atheistic in its Marxist roots. "Opiate of the people" and all that.

As a result it is inherently unable to countenance religion in its midst. It barely tolerates those more primitive paganists, i.e. the modern earth-worshippers. Institutional religions are its antithesis, requiring obeisance to a dogma other than socialism.

Therefore, it cannot permit religion to hold sway. Instead, the patronizing nod given to non-atheists is one might give to children still believing in Santa Claus. The left's only concern here is how to use religion politically. Whatever the hell it is, just use it for the benefit of the party.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that one reason that you can't exclude religion from politics is that our religion is a significant part of who we are.

But I see the left here being stuck between competing theories or theologies. There is a much more progressive theology - and it is not surpising that the clergy of the more traditional Protestant denominations (plus, I think a lot of lower level Catholic clergy) are fairly liberal. And I think a lot come to it from a sympathetic point of view - that our mission should be to help those less fortunate than us. That is something few of us can disagree with.

As to the commandment not to kill (or murder), I would think that the Iraq war might be attacked from this point of view, as elective (which I diagree with, but that is not relevant here). This would also seem to translate into opposition to the death penalty (but the, of course, you have to address abortion).

But I think that one reason that this doesn't resonate with the masses is that it gets mixed in with the other messages on the left, for example, that all sets of values are equivalent. And, I think that the more religious one is, often the less that one believes this. After all, if it doesn't matter what you believe, then why are you spending so much time and energy believing it and practicing your religion? Because it does matter.

yetanotherjohn said...

"I think the key is to respect religion, but not to use it directly in politics. Religion can help individuals and religious groups identify values that motivate them to work in the political sphere, but their political goals should then be framed in a way that will not require them to rely on religious belief to persuade the rest of us to vote with them."

So Ann has spoken and found wanting any who would use the religeous beliefs in establishing a political position unless they first re-cast those beliefs in a form acceptable to her.

Don't you think this is just a little bit arrogant.

How about "environmental fetishist must recast their positions in non-environmental terms before they can participate in political debate"

or "Those who highly value national security must be sure and re-cast any position into non-security terms before discussing them"

maybe even "Law professors who are so threatened by other people having positions that they don't agree with the starting bases should re-cast there arguments in Christian terms before presenting them to their class."

It is one thing to say that you find arguments that are cast in religeous terms unpersuasive, or to acknowledge a bias against Christians that makes it hard to get past the language and look at the sense behind the argument. It is quite another thing to say that they should give up there first amendment rights before engaging in political discussion

Bruce Hayden said...

I will admit being the type of conservative who isn't totally comfortable with the Religious Right. Not that I disagree with them strongly theologicially (though I do disagree somewhat), but rather, that, to me, religion is fairly personal, and shouting it out bothers me.

I don't disagree with trying to proselytizing, but rather, that those shouting their religion the loudest seem often to have clay feet. It is this sanctimony that bother me the most.

I think sanctimony bothers a lot of people. Yes, much of what is said by the Religious Right is not that, but enough is that it turns off a lot of people.

Note that I, and a lot of others I think, get turned off by sanctimony and hypocracy on both sides of the divide. The left is, if anything, even worse here, than the right.

Palladian said...

"I think sanctimony bothers a lot of people.

I think this is a very American characteristic. As you mention I don't think sanctimony is the sole province of religious conservatives either. In fact, it's always been one of the things that most turned me off about the left and "progressivism", the idea that everything in politics and life is a grave moral imperative. I don't want to "think globally and act locally" when I'm ordering a burrito.

I dislike emotionalism and appeals to emotion in politics. All politicals of all stripes play these games, but it's especially bad when religion is thrown into the mix. I used to go to a very liberal Christian church, but eventually it seemed that the religious component was merely a justification for the liberal, social justice component of the group. This is how I feel about religion and politics as it is discussed in this article, and as it is played out among some conservatives as well. It seems to be used as a cynical tool, a way to make your policy beliefs unquestionable by connecting them to the absolutism of a deity's commandments rather than to reason.

Also, avoid people with long hair dressed in tunics unless you're at a Renaissance festival, which is a place you also might want to avoid.

David said...

John is correct -

Mary Ann Glendon said (wrote) it well in discussing the same issue

"That’s what citizens do in a democracy—we propose, we give reasons, we vote. It’s a very strange doctrine that would silence only religiously grounded moral viewpoints"

If you don't like what I say or how I vote, choose differently. Criticise me. But don't tell me I do not have a right to those things I do in the political system.

David said...

Jim said...
"Mary Magdalene, former prostitute"?

Huh? Where's the Bible say that?


That would be nowhere.

David said...

Tony Campolo - a "liberal" baptist minister?

Depends on how you define liberal. Compared to your average Unitarian Universalist, he is anything but. Compared to your average uber IFB sockpuppet, liberal. But that is definately a description which really says nothing about TC.

Jonathan said...

I don't see why anyone's motives should be an issue. What matters is the positions people take and the arguments that they use to support those positions. The objection of many self-described liberals to political participation by people with religious motives often seems like a tactic designed to keep people they disagree with out of the debate.

What strikes me most about this kind of religion-and-politics discussion is that it reveals that some left-of-center Americans are simply unable to deal with religion as a serious factor in human behavior. If these people misread the behavior of their fellow Americans who are religious Christians, how can they even begin to understand what's going on with radical Islam? The very notion of a dichotomy between "church and state" is a western and Christian notion that has no parallel in Islam. We waste time and energy debating our fellow citizens' right to participate in politics. Meanwhile there are literally barbarians at the gate who would impose a real and very oppressive theocracy if they got the chance.

Henry said...

To indulge in broad generalities, based on personal observation, I would say the religious right is made up of people who primarily define themselves by their religion while those on the religious left first define themselves by their politics.

Because the religious right come to politics from religion their religiosity is easy to stereotype and decry.

Because the religious left come to religion from politics, they fail to appall or inspire.

If the only religion you allow to convert you is one that reflects your political beliefs, you don't have much of a religion, in my opinion. That may be why I'm an agnostic.

Travis Wheatley said...

Couple of points:

1) Simon said:

See, this is something that people on the left keep repeating, and with all due respect, I just think it's asinine. Politics rests on morality, and you cannot - cannot - have strong religious beliefs without those beliefs affecting your sense of morality.

I don't really mean to pick on Simon, but this is an example of two things that bother me a lot. First, the idea that politics should have anything to do with morality. Second, the way you state it makes it seem like it is so self-evident that anyone who disagrees with you is obviously wrong.

I don't think politics should have anything to do with morality. I don't have space to present my fully fleshed set of principles for law making, but the most important is protecting the freedom of individuals to make decisions, balanced against the needs of the community as a whole. I recognize that this is a very general statement, but I think it is totally at odds with the idea of politics being based on morality. Now, there will be some influence of morals and moral principles on law making. Still, if the best reason a lawmaker can come up with for outlawing some behavior is that it is immoral, or for imposing another behavior is that it is the moral thing to do, then it is almost certain that it is a stupid law.

Does everyone feel this way? No, clearly I'm more libertarian than many (probably most) people. But I don't think it's a completely ridiculous sentiment.

2) If you are a (insert religion here) lawmaker and you cannot vote for X even though you know your constituents overwhelmingly support it, in most cases I think you have no business running for office. (I'm willing to make exceptions for some circumstances, most notably if you made your beliefs clear during the campaign and still were elected)

3) Scott Sommerville - I wonder if we have similar views. I grew up evangelical (but later converted to catholicism) I'm probably quite a bit more liberal than you, but mostly libertarian. Whenever I have an argument with my (still evangelival) dad about morality and politics, the point I make is that God wants you to choose not to do "wrong" things, rather than avoid doing them because you are worried about the government punishing you. Is that similar to your views?

Chrees said...

"But liberals tend to notice and be offended by the use of religion for political purposes."

They do tend to find their way to the pulpits just before elections, however.

Although I guess that isn't using religion, it's pandering to it.

Sean said...

What's interesting to me is that there is a substantial correlation between what are called liberal (i.e., not strongly orthodox or supernaturalist) and liberal (i.e., leftist) political beliefs, and similarly on the conservative side. (Thus the liberal religious groups are meeting in a Unitarian church.) Yet there isn't, to me, any logically necessary correlation between religious and political views of this nature, and there are certainly individual exceptions. So why is there such a strong overall correlation?

Brendan said...

"The thing about the left is that they want everybody to feel good."

Close. They want to feel good about themselves, no matter how many are trampled or dismissed.

Steve Sailer explores this meme further:

In my experience, the liberal whites who run the media don't actually care much about blacks or other minorities. Nor are they consumed by White Guilt.

They're not blaming themselves, you'll notice, just other white people, ones they already despise. What they truly care about is claiming social superiority over other whites by demonstrating their exquisite racial sensitivity.

The typical white intellectual considers himself superior to ordinary white people for two contradictory reasons:

1) He constantly proclaims belief in human equality, but they don't;

2) He has a high IQ, but they don't.

AJ Lynch said...

Brendan:
That was an absolutely excellent dissection of whites who dominate MSM and other elitist white libs.

Their common trait is a superior attitude that can not believe how dumb, racist whatever others are.

Bissage said...

What Brendan said!

Yet again.

Wow!

Too Many Jims said...

"The typical white intellectual considers himself superior to ordinary white people for two contradictory reasons:

1) He constantly proclaims belief in human equality, but they don't;

2) He has a high IQ, but they don't."

But do they use better english grammar than that comment?

dick said...

Jim,

Why are you so afraid of McCain and Giuliani and the right wing religion and not afraid of Jesse and Al Sharpton and all the rest of the black churches who get so involved in politics? Seems as if the LLL is far more involved in the religious groups than the right is. You have the LLL ministers bringing the candidates right up to the pulpit on Sundays to preach their sermons (which surprise surprise consist of their political stances) and yet you scream bloody murder when Giuliani or McCain give the commencement address at a conservative university. Makes no sense.

dick said...

JIm,

Does their better grammar make the comment any less true?

Simon said...

Travis,
"I don't think politics should have anything to do with morality. I don't have space to present my fully fleshed set of principles for law making, but the most important is protecting the freedom of individuals to make decisions, balanced against the needs of the community as a whole"

And what is it that leads you to the conclusion that "protecting the freedom of individuals to make decisions, balanced against the needs of the community as a whole" are the most important principles of governance?

I don't think that your general statement of principles is totally at odds with the idea of politics being based on morality, I think it confirms it. I have serious doubts that you can answer my question above without eventually drilling down to what you presumably think is bedrock: fairness. And I have already addressed the relationship of fairness to morality.

I don't have to make it "seem' self-evident: it IS self-evident - to anyone who, frankly, isn't entirely deluding themselves - that you can't separate politics from morality.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Elizabeth said: "I'd like to talk about this but I'm too busy preparing for the tsunami Rev. Pat says is coming."

See, this is the problem with the left.

Non-hipsters who don't think they are smarter than they are - that is, most Americans - don't see religion as a joke, a scam, a power-play. They are not necessarily religious, but they feel, deep in their hearts, that there something more to this mortal coil. Often faith has saved their lives. Certainly it informs how they view the Universe.

Elizabeth's seemingly gut reaction is typical of the left: Pat Robertson is a fool, therefore God sucks.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Jim,

Brendon said a bold thing. He said this:

"The typical white intellectual considers himself superior to ordinary white people for two contradictory reasons:

1) He constantly proclaims belief in human equality, but they don't;

2) He has a high IQ, but they don't."

This is bold. Destroy it, agree with it, whatever. Your response:

"But do they use better english grammar than that comment?"

Not good.

Johnny Nucleo said...

For the record, Steve Sailer is nuts.

Too Many Jims said...

Johnny Nucleo,

I disagree with what Brendan said but his use of rhetoric makes it difficult to "destroy" because he doesn't use "facts".

How can I demonstrate that a liberal intellectual actually "belives in human equality"? I can't!

How can I demonstrate that a liberal intellectual thinks that he has a high IQ and that he does? (Noam Chomsky would be an interesting case because he might deny that he has a high IQ but I suspect that he in fact has a high IQ if he would let it be measured.)

So I can't "destroy" his rhetoric so I criticized his grammar (which is kind of comical in light of my own use of grammar on this site).

I suppose what I should have done was to make "bold" statements about "conservative intellectuals."

So here goes:

Conservative intellectuals say they believe in freedom but really believe slavery is acceptable.

Conservative intllectuals say they believe in protecting children but, in fact, they believe that pedophilia is acceptable.

dick said...

The difference is that Brendan's statements were true and yours were not. Another win for Brendan.

Too Many Jims said...

"The difference is that Brendan's statements were true and yours were not. Another win for Brendan."

Let me say, I think my statements and Brendan's are equally true. You certainy can't "prove" the falsity of my statements.

Elizabeth said...

Elizabeth's seemingly gut reaction is typical of the left: Pat Robertson is a fool, therefore God sucks.

Johnny, Pat Robertson is an idiot; is that point even in dispute? However, you have no clue as to my religious beliefs, because they are not expressed in my comment.

I am, however, very concerned by your comment linking making fun of Pat Robertson with making fun of God.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Elizabeth,

You're baiting me. But I'll take the bait!

Of course Pat Robertson is an idiot. But every time religion comes up, liberals say, like it's some kind of meaningful argument, "Pat Robertson is an idiot!" or "Crusades!" or "Inquisition!"

Your point is clear: Because there are religious wackos, religion is wacko.

If I misread you, please correct me. Do you think religion has any value, or do you think it is inherently foolish and destructive? (By "religion" I mean belief in God, gods, or the transcendent.) If you think it is foolish and destructive, that's fine. You'll keep losing elections.

(Also I'd love for you to name one successful society in history that was atheistic, agnostic, or not based on an idea of transcendent truth. If you're thinking of naming post-modern Europe or Japan, be careful. The jury is still out.)

As far as your religious beliefs go, I think I do have a clue. You were raised in a Christian or Jewish enviroment. Sometime in late adolescence or early adulthood you lost your faith, if you ever had it. When you went to college you learned about the history of religions and religious faith, learned about Marx, learned about science, and came to the conclusion that religion is hogwash. You are an atheist or an agnostic, but you do have spiritual tendencies. You think Eastern religions are cooler, less bad, than Western religions. You hate the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Again, if I'm wrong, please correct me.

Elizabeth said...

Johnny, you are wrong.

First: "Your point is clear: Because there are religious wackos, religion is wacko." How do you plan to demonstrate that I've made such a point. It's illogical. Why would religion be whacko because some public religious figures are whacko? Nonsense. You're simply projecting your own stereotypes here.

Second, you get one thing right in your biography of me. I went to college. That's it. Sure, I studied history, including of religions. Very little Marx; I've never read Das Kaptital, for instance. I'm not a Marxist. If you've actually studies Eastern religions you could not come to the conclusion that they're any less problematic than Western ones. And if you've studies religion of any type, you'd be able to make the distinction between criticizing a religious figure and criticizing a deity, or the concept of religion.

You'd do well to figure that out. Calling Robertson a gassy asshat says nothing, nothing whatsoever, about religion.

Elizabeth said...

"studies" should be "studied"--my d key is sticking.

Johnny Nucleo said...

So you went to college, but everything else I said was wrong. Fair enough. Let me try to sort this out.

You are not a Marxist. You do not think religion is inherently foolish and destuctive, though you do think it is "problematic". You were not raised in a Christian or Jewish enviroment, nor did you lose your faith. You are not an atheist or an agnostic, but you do not have spiritual tendencies.

Elizabeth, are you a Scientologist?

Elizabeth said...

Johnny, are you kidding? You're making all sorts of assumptions about my religious faith, which is not your business, based on my calling Robertson an idiot. You built up some ridiculous biography out of your fevered imagination about liberals, and I'm telling you, you're offbase. That's it. I won't explain, defend, or make a testimony to you about my religion. I will assert that jumping from "Pat Robertson is a jerk" to "God is a jerk" is illogical. Your interpretation wouldn't be any more or less logical if I were Jewish, Christian or Scientologist.

Simon said...

" I studied history, including of religions. Very little Marx; I've never read Das Kaptital, for instance. I'm not a Marxist."

I would be willing to bet that MOST people who are Marxists (or adherents of any other Marx-derived left wing philosophy) have never read Das Kapital either. And if they have then they certainly haven't compared it to The Wealth of Nations, because if they had, of course, they wouldn't be Marxists.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Elizabeth,

Yes, I am kidding. Duh.

I couldn't care less what you do or do not believe. I am accusing you of being disingenious about what you do or do not believe and how you came to believe or not believe what you do or do not believe.

You don't like talking religion? You think it's too personal? Don't do stupid drive-bys on religion-themed threads.

And you know - yes you do - that my description of the journey from faith to non-faith is typical of many intellectuals in the post-modern West.

And another thing. You keep saying, "That's not logical." Again, duh. Rightly or wrongly, I was attibuting the non-logic to you. My very point was that the reasoning was not logical.

Why do those on the left get so defensive when when someone says the left doesn't think much of religion? This is an axiom of modern politics. Read the comments at Huffpo anytime religion comes up. Nowhere on the Internet will you find such bile and hatred.

Elizabeth said...

Johnny: "Rightly or wrongly, I was attibuting the non-logic to you." That would be wrongly. I offered Pat Roberton up as an example of those who use religion as a way of grasping for power. You've gone off on a tear, unrelated to my comment, about how leftists, represented by me argue that because a religious figure is a wacko, God is dumb and religion is bad.

You're out of your mind. I did not argue any such thing. I am not interested in the rest of your wild theories on the religious paths of people on political left, and in particular my own. I don't find it uncomfortable to talk about faith. I'm just not going to talk to you about it for two reasons: first, my faith or lack of faith has nothing to do with the meaning or vailidity of my comment on Robertson, and two, because you have no purpose other than to pounce on and misinterpret what I say. Go, and sin no more.