Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ya Just Gotta Love Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens' most recent column on Slate from this past Monday is a wonderfully reasonable view on religion and the election. Here are a few of the juiciest tidbits that I enjoyed most, but I urge you to click on any of the links here to read the entire article:

Luvya, Christopher!

26 comments:

Ceroill said...

Yep. Good article, thanks for drawing my attention to it.

BAWDYSCOT said...

One more thing which stuck in my craw on this subject was included in Romney's Mormonism speech. The line, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom." The latter half of that statement/equation might have more truth than the former, but hackles should have been raised even from the pious. Freedom has NOTHING to do with religion and anyone with a brain should be able to figure that out. Organized religion is just one more narcotic to sedate this population(along with American Idol, hydrogenized fats, modern country music, Paris Hilton, etc.)against realizing what we are about to lose, freedom.

csm said...

Your list of sedatives made me laugh out loud Bawdy... but you forgot never-ending movie sequels.

BAWDYSCOT said...

And never-ending movie sequels. There I feel better, thanks csm.

Ceroill said...

I gotta agree again. Well said guys.

coreydbarbarian said...

i'm not sure if this a population sedating opiate or not, but try not 2 whistle along. i dare ya!

funny how one stumbles on2 things, kinda serendipitously. and didn't bob just mention the film?

Ceroill said...

Ah, yes, my favorite cinematic look at institutionalized religion!

Easley said...

You guys made me laugh out loud. Freedom without relgion becomes Communism. Religion with freedom becomes Democracy. Learn from history my dear atheist friends. Better yet, read our wonderful Declaration of Indepedence written by very wise men. I know it is easy to ignore for the atheist, but there it is.

The founders understood the reality of the situation unlike those who produce much of the tripe that finds itself in the publishing houses today.

Happy Hunting

BAWDYSCOT said...

Hey, easley. Freedom predates religion.

Happy Hunting

Ceroill said...

From what I've seen over my life at least, Communism (at least as practiced in the last century or so) has very little to do with freedom. And I seriously doubt the equation that religion plus freedom equals democracy. Not that religion might not be an ingredient in the formulation, but rather that it would be but one of many factors involved. Just my own opinion.

easley said...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I don't know where Mr. Scott gets this "freedom predates relgion" from but it is evident that freedom is the result of the creator, not of any man. Therefore, from the atheist perspective, it is a result of relgion since it involves a divine entity. Yes?

Keep Hunting Mr. Scott

BAWDYSCOT said...

OK, easley, ya forced me. When the first man/woman walked out of the cave and scratched their ass, looked around and thought, "that looks like the perfect place to take a shit" - well that sir, is freedom. I don't believe in an intelligant creator; I believe life is a crapshoot and that life was created by happenstance. But if there is a Creator, I will admit I am not infallible, this has nothing to do with RELIGION as that is a human endeavour, not a divine one. And humans as we all know are fallible. BTW, it is not Mr. Scott, it is Scot as in Scottish, but I prefer Bawdy. Capice.

easley said...

Regardless of your beliefs
Mr Bawdy, the DI as I quoted derives our freedom from the Creator. Disagreement is part of that freedom, and you have every right to your opinion. Like it or not, the DI and the vast majority of Americans recognize this truth as outlined by this great document.

Maybe you now understand why Mr Romney espouses our freedom as derived from relgion or whatever you guys call believing in a creator. He only refers to what the DI already has outlined. Sounds like your craw has a problem with this document of freedom?

Thanks for the cavemean reference, but have you do realize they too believed in a creator who placed them is a place of freedom?

BAWDYSCOT said...

easley,

You obviously haven't posted here too long. I will introduce myself. I am a Libertarian who happens to hold the Declaration and the Constitution in the HIGHEST regard. To me they are MUCH more important than any religious trestise. I would defend to the death your right to believe anything you want to believe and I would also defend to the death my right to believe what I believe.

What you are telling me you believe(and I only have what you have written on this blog as a guide)is that a Creator and religion(now that to me could be Islam, Judism, Buddhism, Hinduism not just Christianity) are one and the same. Are you sure you aren't confusing the Creator with being the same as any run of the mill religion? The Declaration doesn't mention a fucking religion(and for good reason).

Your post:

"Thanks for the caveman reference, but have you do(sic)realize they too believed in a creator who placed them is(sic) a place of freedom?

First thing that came to mind, man, can this guy write. Then I thought, how the fuck does this guy know what people thought before written history. Then I thought, maybe he is one of those "the Bible is to be read as though every word is absolute fact" types. Then I thought, this guy is full of shit; people of that epoch were much more interested in where their next meal was coming from(we have always needed to eat which leads to my assumption) instead of getting on bended knees to give thanks to some Creator for the meal in question.

One other thing, the few of us who post on this blog, though mostly atheists, don't believe in the spiritual arena in exactly the same way. I have posted many times that I believe spiritual beliefs are of a personal nature and I think they should stay that way(the world would be a much more peaceful place). I don't have these discussions with the regular posters here for that reason. It takes you "believers" who want(or are ordered, whichever you prefer)to spread "the word" to get me to go over this one more time.

easley said...

Mr Bawdy,

You are obviously full of shit just as I derived early on. You blasted Romney for something that is in the DI that is unless you don't believe the belief in a creator is religion? You still never answered that one nor can you I'm sure. The best you can come up with is typos. Lame indeed my dear boy.
You are just another paranoid atheist who believes all the religions are out to take away you rights to be atheist. Get real Mr. Bawdy; you guys are insignificant which is why none of the candidates pander to you in the first place.

PS: What is fucking religion? Do you sit in your private room and pump the book of Mormon?

coreydbarbarian said...

hey easley!

i know this might be inconvenient, but "..all men are created equal, ...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" doesn't actually mean "Freedom requires religion".

if freedom requires anything, it is sacrifice. imoho, of course.

so please, explain 2 the rest of the class why the mention of Nature's God, the mere mention of a creator, somehow means that "freedom requires religion."

the founders borrowed authority from god by throwing his name around. big whoop.

also, you ask if "..the belief in a creator is religion?"

i would answer, "no." not imo, anyways.

so i ask you, why would belief in a creator equal religion? how do you define religion, easley?

BAWDYSCOT said...

coreyd,

I tried my best but when the thickness of the skull multiplied by the smallness of the grey matter equals a desire to confuse terms we end up behind the eight ball. This is why I brought up the other religions each(most of them)having their own image of the Creator to illustrate the difference between an actual Creator and the differing religions.

easley,

I find it educational how your true colors came out and quite quickly. A little frustrated are you? I have had this conversation with much smarter Christians who would find it a sin to suggest the imagery you did in your post. This leads me to believe you either are unsure of your position or you are not a very good Christian. You tell me.

I love it too how you group all of us together without really knowing how we(the posters here)really think. I have already posted we have differing views on our atheism(by the way, we have at least one agnostic), but you continue to group us as one. A defense mechanism maybe?

Oh, and not to leave a question unanswered, I do not believe in an intelligent Creator(which I did post before) and though I believe religions exist I do not believe any one of them has the answer, hence I do not believe the Creator is religion. Anything else?

easley said...

Thanks Mr. Barbarian for interjecting. I must say it’s beguiling to see such paranoia over this word - religion. So you would contend that someone who is a theist or a deist does not have a religion even though this would include a supposedly mythical being that creates? Are you sure the criticism of ol’ Mitt wasn’t due to his political persuasion?
I take it from that comment you are not an atheist? I have derived from the atheist perspective that any belief in the supernatural or should I say mythical constituted a person with religion.

I am humbled that you would like me to define religion for you. However my dear boy some things are much to complex for a simple rote definition. I will say the etymology of religio or supernatural constraint would be an interesting exercise for you. I dare say ol’ chap, that a belief in a creator is a large part of the equation.

The founders borrowed authority from God by throwing his name around?
My goodness Mr. Barbarian, you really should get out more. That made for another great belly laugh!

Tschuss

BAWDYSCOT said...

coreyd,

I'll give you an example. My wife believes there is a Creator out there but she has no religious affiliation; as long as I have known her(25 years) she has never been to a religious establishment or voiced a preference for one sect over another, let alone a whole religion. But, maybe she is the only one, but there is one.

csm said...

I "believe" in not one, but two creators... my mum and dad! And the DI tells me that my creator (or creators) bestowed upon me my freedom... that works... no religion... no god... nothing supernatural about that at all

coreydbarbarian said...

easley,
you confuse spirituality with religion. don't sweat it; common mistake.

to be quite honest, i don't believe that you actually have an argument 2 make. i believe that you are lonely and bored, and just want 2 troll around.

if you have any serious arguments as 2 why "freedom requires religion", now would be the time.
p.s. you're welcome!
---
bawdy,
i only go 2 churches 4 weddings. and then, only when i have 2. i know some preachers, etc. who are amazing people and good friends, but i cannot do the church thing.
it's not in me. it's only been 2 yrs since i got it out of me, not 25yrs though. i found my spirit thrives outside of religion. imagine that. ;-)
p.s. the d in corey is just my "real life" middle initial. and corey is my "real life" first name. so anytime you want 2 4get my middle initial, feel free. i never hear it in "real life", anyways, so i'm quite used to plain ol' "corey"!
---
csm,
have you ever noticed how some types focus entirely on the "creator" and seemingly ignore the "nature's law" and "nature's god" that precedes it in the d.i.
it seems 2 be a pattern.

coreydbarbarian said...

oops.
that shoulda read:
p.s. the d in coreyd is just my "real life" middle initial.

doesn't quite make sense w/o it.
:-)

Ceroill said...

corey, csm, Bawdy, correct me if I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall (not that I was there) that the original democracy, in ancient Greece, had no religious connotations at all.

Al said...

I was a bit amused and maybe just bored. There is a common theme here of assuming religion must somehow represent some denomination. From dictionary.com:

"a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

Fits in the DI well and for Romney as well since he started this rub. Don't sweat it, seems common to assume religion must belong to some denomination. Actually religion has been present since the dawn of man. Just embrace it and live well. The founders were relgous men and it shows.

coreydbarbarian said...

hi al,
it's nice 2 meet you.

thanks 4 the definition. it definitely helps having the common ground 2 start from.

i have no problem accepting the "set of beliefs" part of the definition provided. i can also live with the "and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs" part.

the problems start when you get 2 "usually involving devotional and ritual observances". in my opinion only, "true" religion is not dependent on these devotional and ritual observances. they are simply the (sometimes) result of the aforementioned set of beliefs and accompanying moral code.

let me concede this much: there is a difference between religion and religiosity. while religion, by our definition, isn't a bad thing, what more often than not passes 4 religion IS a bad thing, and the constant subject of our derision.

i am sorry if it seemed like we were just attacking religion. it seems to be our collective experience that "organized religion" in general is a bad idea, but religion (as a set of ideas about creation, life, and accompanying moral code) is pretty human and natural, and good.

(everybody else: if i misrepresented anybody, PLEASE set me straight. not my intent!)

anybody remember michael stipe of r.e.m. singing "losing my religion"? do y'all think he was losing his beliefs/moral code or the rituals and trappings of religion? is that a fair comparison?
---
friend bob,

i feel the need 2 research the subject a bit, but i do believe your assertion is correct. i think. : )
---
all,
i've gotta move across town the next few days, so don't think i'm ignoring you or this fine discussion. just waiting for the mediacom guy 2 get back from new year's holiday and hook me up all over again...

Ceroill said...

corey, from what I seem to recall from what I've read and heard about the classic Athenian democracy, it was entirely secular/political. In fact, (again if memory serves) there were certain cutting edge philosophers who even back then were questioning the importance and veracity of belief in the gods.

As to the definition of religion, it makes me think of something I came up with several years back. It occurred to me that what various prophets/wise men/saints/whatever taught to their followers/students/disciples were philosophies: new ways of perceiving yourself, the world, and your relationship to the world (Including any gods and demons that might ostensibly be a part of said world). This usually involved some sort of moral/ethical code, often at radical dissonance to the predominant cultural attitudes of that time and place. As a philosophy the teachings and principles are usually quite positive, and even good for you. However, it's when the founder is gone, and the disciples begin with their long term game of 'telephone' with the teachings that we get 'religion', and things begin to get all tangled up with organizational rules and power structures. What do you guys think?