Wednesday, December 9, 2009

50 blogs on disbelief - Part 2 - Religious Right

50 Blogs on Disbelief
My thoughts on the book, 50 Voices of Disbelief, Why We Are Athiests, edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk. Written as I read them in no particular order. The page number of the essay is provided at the top of each entry.
p 211 Continuing with Laura Purdy’s essay.

She begins her discussion of the Religious Right by asking about “meaning”. She only considered it to be the activities and aims that get us up in the morning, until the Religious Right caught her attention and told her that was just a cover for her despair. She runs through the usual list of inconsistencies in their claims and rules and makes her own claim that our government is trying to create a Christian nation.

I hope our recent election has shifted that trend. Her essay was written after the 2008 elections, but she does not share my hope. I can’t make a case to completely disagree with her, but I don’t think she makes her case very well. She notes a big difference from John F. Kennedy making a speech about how he would not be influenced by the Vatican to George Bush saying he listens to God. She also has a footnote about two cases of religious suppression, one in Afghanistan and another in Iran. They seem out of step with the rest of her discussion about this country. Many of her general comments on the issue are well stated, such as:

“Those who insist upon them (claims of blaspemy and criticisms of secularism) seem oblivious to the fact that preventing any one religion from establishment is the basis for the flourishing religious diversity in the US.”

Her concerns and experiences as a teacher of Philosophy led her to develop a curriculum that analyzes the Religious Right’s worldview. She wants a full-bore examination, not just the extremes. She says humanity’s very survival may depend on it. This may sound extreme, but having lived through the nuclear arms build-up during the Reagan years myself, it is not beyond possibility. Even lower level conflict or disruption of information that we are already seeing in the media and at town halls, could seriously setback human progress.


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