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I agree with Greta and Maria's comments above. Liberal christians may not dislike us as people, but once we enter into a discussion with them and they learn that we don't agree with their special snowflake, they become irritated, and either overtly or passively hostile. For those christians who are suffciently perceptive, our very existence seems to shake the pillars of their social orthodoxy, and on some level tells them that they have an emotional stake in a false idea that is central to their worldview. On a related note, it goes without saying that religion attempts to influence politics and our legal system. But I wonder if, paradoxically, our largely secular political and legal systems work to soften, to moderate, to modernize religious beliefs and values. So that in 50 years, christianity in america will be more like the Church of England. Wishful thinking? Perhaps.
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Have a great time. Have you thought about employing a back-up blogger. Okay, maybe not a good idea. I'm watching the classic movie All About Eve (in between super bowl plays), and the lesson is: watch out for back-ups!
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I hope you come to Wash D.C. area someday.
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Smart business decision on AlterNet's part, but not so good for us as we have to endure the odious and irrational comments of your religious AlterNet readers.
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To Veritas, All theological arguments HAVE been refuted (read any of the atheist books, go on Youtube and search on Kalam or Ontological, or read Kant or Hume). All these "sophisticated" theological arguments hinge on just a few logical fallacies such as Special Pleading, Appeal to the Consequent, etc. And even if one of these arguments were valid, it would mean nothing unless it could be tied to reality and empirically observed and tested. All believers reason - employ logic - by starting with the presupposition of their deity and constructing syllogisms to "prove" their presupposition. The problem is, believers disregard refutations; they insist their arguments are sound and point you to yet another theological work, or demand you re-read them as we "clearly have not comprehended their profundity." I'll close with a quote from my own sophisticated philosopher, Mark Twain, who said, "Theology is the study of nothing." And it is believers who wail that something cannot come from nothing. Regards, L7
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This is the only blog of yours that I'm not quite on board with insofar as I think some of the ideas are not fully explored. I am familiar with Haidt's work; let me offer a couple of thoughts: I agree with one of the above posters that how a person is raised influences the interpretation of these values, but also it depends how how each person is hard-wired. Research shows, and Haidt notes this, that some are hard-wired to prize authority more than others, etc. So, on purity, with conservatives, purity is often associated with sexual purity of women (this derives with religion). Virginity is highly valued. That this idea lingers even though women are no longer SUPPOSED to be considered property is appalling. Ideological purity is valued by both the right wing of the republican party (and perhaps most of the entire party), but also by the left wing of the democratic party. You can see evidence of that latter comment in the criticism of Obama by the left for not being ideologically pure, for moving toward the center. The same occurred with Clinton. I would speculate that this derives from people who were hard-wired to prize purity, but were raised in liberal households. If they were raised in liberal Catholic homes, for example, they might prize sexual purity as well, but that is only a guess. For more on the conservatives obsession with sexual purity (in women, naturally), I commend Susan Faludi's "The Terror Dream", which relates how america's wild west mythology of the strong male rescuing women from indian "savages" informs our country's reaction to 9/11 (and I would add, the recent shooting in Arizona). Just some thoughts. I'm slowly working my way through all of your blog posts. As a former professional writer of sorts, I agree with your other fans that there is a book lurking within.
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Jan 18, 2011