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Peace, freedom, equality, tolerance, and justice for all
19.06.2017 (371 days ago)
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Religion and Individualism: 2 Problems
by cosmicrat ·
19-June-2017, 7:47 am

[1] The Problem with Religions

The problem with religions is that they indoctrinate people, usually starting at a young and vulnerable age, into believing things that are not factually true. Even as the young mind learns to think rationally in other areas, necessary to deal with reality in daily life, it remains open to irrational ideas from those claiming religious or political authority. They can be more easily convinced to believe or act in ways that are not only irrational, but often in conflict with the original teachings of the religion. This has been used to promote the divine right of monarchs, the acceptability of slavery, war, torture, and even genocide.

The original teachings of religions tend to be admirable prescriptions for behavior that, if followed, would likely result in a harmonious and peaceful society. Such teachings could be followed without the irrational beliefs in supernatural invisible beings, and the vulnerability to irrational thinking that results might be mostly avoided.

Though I can advise that everyone should stop indoctrinating their children with superstitious fictions, and realize themselves that they ARE fiction, there is no quick solution to making this happen, and attempts to ban religion, or discriminate against believers of any or all of them, have failed in the past and caused resentment and conflict.

The fact that people resist being told what to think is a good thing overall, even when it means they may hold on to bad ideas.  Our best hope is to teach people HOW to think-- reason and logic that they can use to evaluate what they see and hear.

[2] The Problem with Individualism

I've noticed occasionally an argument that essentially says "Don't worry-- you aren't the target." I'm not a Muslim, a refugee, or an immigrant. I'm not a woman. I'm not gay or transgender. I don't have brown or black skin. I'm not unemployed, or homeless, or in prison. I am, at the moment, quite healthy, and at least I have Medicare if I need it.

So, yes, I have it pretty good. There are dozens of things I don't have to worry about because of who I'm NOT. I could relax and not worry. What's wrong with thinking that way? In my opinion, EVERYTHING.

The concept of individualism came about, ironically, because our social, cooperative, interdependent nature worked so well that could develop a relatively safe existence in which we were not constantly having to defend ourselves from natural dangers.

It was easy for some to believe and proclaim that they didn't need to be part of everyone else, contribute to the general well-being of the group, or even cooperate.  This notion appeared to work much of the time, but it was the beginning of divisiveness and inequality.

And, when there are threats that we once would all come together to overcome, we now have people and groups saying "That doesn't affect me-- it's YOUR problem."

Humanity is not a number of separate independent individuals. We are a part of a species that needs to cooperate, help and protect one another. If we stop caring about ALL of us, we become something less than human.

--Cosmic Rat  June 19 2017


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  •  SecretCorners: 

    I find the second part of this post interesting because when I mentioned the fracturing of American society into an ever increasing number of sub-groups you debated that it was a good thing.  Now you are saying the opposite; that we need to come together.  So which is it, or is this an example of Orwellian double think?  The truth is that the ever increasing number of sub-groups is bad; and it only continues.  I suggest you listen to some of Jordan Peterson's lectures.  Recently Black gays decided they needed to be represented separately and even forced a change in the Gay flag; at least in New York.  I hope the gay community opposes this stupidity that Black gays need two stripes on the flag; one Black and one Brown.  Where would it stop?  Where are all the stripes for other races of gay people?

     370 days ago·1 replies1 replies 
    0 points
    •  cosmicrat: 

      You seem to have misunderstood what I said about individualism.  By criticizing individualism as an ideology, I was not denying that we humans have individual differences, nor was I implying that we should pretend those differences don't exist.  They are actually valuable because they create a wide variety of perspectives, helping us create new ideas and solutions to common problems.

      Ideally, all of those differences would be incidental to the primary sense of belonging to humanity.  However, we have a society in which one group has achieved dominance over others with identifiable differences, either by having greater numbers or by pursuing economic and/or political power.  The dominance can be blatant or subtle.  It affords a sense of superiority and privilege, which might not be proclaimed, but is nevertheless felt.

      Growing numbers of people who could be members of the dominant group are disavowing their privileged status, believing that inequality should not exist.  That reduces it, but does not make it disappear as long as some are still using their advantage.  Social statuses have a kind of inertia.  

      Dominance is not a simple two-group relationship.  There are multiple status levels and different types of classifications, which effectively divide those who are dominated, and often set them against one another.

      In the struggle for equality, each group has a unique set of issues.  Some groups can unite to their mutual benefit, as did blacks, Jews, and hippies in the Civil Rights and antiwar movements in the 60's and 70's.  All of us who believe in equality for all can do a great deal to help, but the issues for racial and ethnic equality are not quite the same as those for women's equality, LBGT rights, overcoming religious discrimination, etc., so each of those groups needs to take the lead in its own liberation, while the rest of us back them up with our support.

      Each group has already been identified and denied equal rights.  They need to proclaim their own identity, unite, and organize to overcome that, and help the rest of us fully understand their situation in order to help.

      I would hope that would be our intent, and not to pick apart the perceived errors in their rhetoric.  As for the flag issue, I think the rainbow was intended as a metaphor, not as skin colors, but I can't say I know how it feels to be either black or gay, and especially not both.  I'm sure they don't want to feel left out.

      You seem to feel the flag issue is silly, and maybe it is, compared to the fact that it's about a subgroup who not only has to worry about being attacked by drunken homophobic thugs, but being shot down in the street by a racist cop, who will probably not even be punished for it.

      Those are things I don't HAVE to worry about.  But they happen to fellow human beings, so I DO care, and I think I ought to care.

       369 days ago 
      0 points
Religion and Individualism: 2 Problems