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Faith?

Engage in conversations about worldwide religions, cults, philosophy, atheism, freethought, critical thinking, and skepticism in this forum.
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irishrosem

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Re: re: faith

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Quote:Other cultures have certainly worshiped gods they didn't precisely trust. Religion as a general phenomenon permits of a number of different relationships between the individual and the presumed deity.Well I can't think of any deity that is worshiped without some sort of trust, as I defined trust above, trust in some sort of relationship. Even if you view malevolent gods, there is still some relationship that leaves the worshiper to believe. I guess the trust comes from the perception of interest. If someone worships a god mustn't she have some belief that there is an interest, whether good or bad, direct or indirect. If there is no interest, what is the point of worship?Quote:Ultimately, I think religion occupies itself with providing the foundation for transformation, both personal and cultural. When you consider religion, as it is predominantly institutionalized, I would profoundly disagree with you. Religion itself is not transformative. It may transform individuals to conform to its precepts, or it may change names and rituals to conform to a culture's previous religion, but religion itself is not occupied with transforming. It has many of the same characteristics throughout history and throughout different mediums.Quote:What I'm trying to get at is that, when we talk of simple faith, it's misleading to draw a distinction between the religious and the secular. That's a real distinction, but it occurs on the level of complex belief, not at the level of those premises which undergird all belief.So you would argue that secular beliefs are just as ingrained with faith as religious beliefs? That all secular beliefs are built on equally irrational faith-based views as religious beliefs?Quote:Rather, on the personal level, most people are ultimately going to be unable to point to discrete, nameable elements of faith that have led to their acceptance of a given belief. And I see no reason to limit that to religious belief -- it seems to me indicative of all belief.Well if we are to accept that this is indicative of all belief, let's have some examples of what you mean. If this is not a phenomenon but an individual inability to pinpoint the cause of belief then it should, as you say, pervade all beliefs.Quote:Distinguishing signal from noise is one of the essential steps in the observational method which forms the core of science, and the categorization of a thing as signal is as much a matter of the scientist's intent as it is of the nature of reality.Seriously, I can't speak about science. I may be opinionated and loud, but I rarely venture into land where I have no knowledge. Science is one such kingdom. It is on my "to be explored" list, but it's way down there. I recognize this is a failing, but there are so many bodies of knowledge that are vastly more interesting to me, that I don't criticize myself too harshly.Quote:The best I can offer is that faith is a) the assumption of a fact for the purposes of moving forward, and b) the structure of belief that rests on that initial foundation. Well I guess that's where the root of our issue lies. I can see making assumptions in order to move forward, even making compromises for the objective of progress. But the assumption of fact is just not acceptable to me. I perceive, I learn, I interpret, but I do not assume facts. Facts are precious things, and they are not to be tampered with, nor are they to be assumed. And to take it one step further I do not believe that all logical reasoning is grounded in faith as defined by the assumption of fact. This would take some serious convincing.Quote:Sorry if this is all a little disconnected; I'm ill, and struggling to write this through a minor headache.No problem, I wouldn't even try to think about these things if I wasn't feeling well.
MadArchitect

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Re: Contingencies of faith?

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Doolittle is Pixies at their most consistent best. That said, I love all four of the major releases, warts and all. Bossanova is probably the one I listen to least.
irishrosem

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Re: Contingencies of faith?

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"Debaser" on Doolittle has more than once kept me running for that final mile. It has such a great rhythm.First, a comment on some of the stuff I wasn't able to get to from before with regard to religion being transformative.Mad: The point is that significant changes took place in the cultures associated with Islam in large part because changes took place within the religion itself. Of course, not all of the changes can be derived from shifts in the religion, but the more you compare the history of these regions to the history of the religion, the more it becomes clear that certain institutions and social movements were made possible by the ideas that flowered in the religion.This is precisely what I mean by religion not being truly transformative, but merely forcing societies to conform to similar religious standards that permeate many religions. Islamic law that required burkas is generally thought to have been instituted to protect women from rape. I personally do not see this as transformative. It did what religion has done for generations. It places the responsibility of man's uncontrolled sexual urges on the woman. It demands a higher moral standard for women, placing them on religious or moral pedestals. It is also reminiscent of the veil, and Victorian era garb that required women to cover up for fear of compromising their virginity. This is not transformative in the sense that it questions why women are victims of sexual assault, how men are responsible for this aggression, and how society can rightly address this infection. It does not alter society that in any way changes perceptions or occurrences of violence toward women. It merely bandaids the problem with a religious crutch. This is what I mean by religion not being transformative, and often holding very similar dogmas between different sects.I can think of a few issues that are so tangled up in religious controversy that it's hard to say how the majority would vote were it not for religious influence, but only a few.I disagree I think many domestic issues, particularly regarding victimless crimes, are wrapped up in an attempt to police the public's morality. This also tends to be pursued under the guise of creating a stronger union. Thus, gay marriage is challenged and introduced as needing to be constitutionally restricted because gay marriage will result in the destruction of the family unit, and likewise will cause the downfall of the U.S. Similar religious-inspired messages pervade many domestic legislative efforts and also constitute the platforms on which a large part of the voting ignorant "educate" themselves. These are the scare tactics that I am speaking of. This is also what I mean when I say politicians corrupt religion which then corrupts government. The religious scare tactics they use obfuscate their often highly conservative and unjust politics. Politicians also never address whether these moral issues and views have any actual bearing on their specific office. Thus, when a governor campaigns on an abortion platform, no one asks what really the state's power is in abortion issues. Largely none. However, religious believers tend to vote that way nonetheless. If a governor that I truly respected, whose ideals reflected mine, was anti-choice, I would seriously consider voting for her. I do not see religious voters acting the same way. This is how politicians are using, manipulating and corrupting religion and politics.I'm not entirely clear on what you mean by that.What I mean is to regress the question of how religion affects secular morality is not relevant when considering the daily role of U.S. politicians. Although there might be a need to investigate and theorize on these ideas, this does not alter the role of U.S. politicians, unless and until the constitution itself is altered. I understand that you believe our ideas of democracy, republic, justice, morality are all tied up in our religious history. However, the Constitution itself exists as a definite governing document (outside of it's theoretical origins). To say it is o.k. to accept religious theory when occupying a definite political position, because secular theory has not rightly defined its scope, is unjustified. Unless the scope of the constitution changes, politicians should be constrained by it. And that framework is decidedly secular.They are, however, no more innocent of allowing other interests -- eg. business, personal advancement, and so on -- to affect that scope. And politicians who prioritize business or personal advancement above and beyond the scope of their government position are equally at fault, especially when that tramples upon the guaranteed rights of the individual. In this sense it is o.k. for a politician to campaign on a platform that wholly denies a woman the right to choose what is best for herself, because of religious conviction. But it is not o.k. to campaign on a platform that wholly denies an individual the right to a trial by jury with a presumption of innocence, because of police enforcement convictions. Religious conviction is allowed to trump civil rights. This is not to say that it is impossible for a person who does not prioritize constitution, state, public above religion will automatically be pro-choice. There are a lot of arguments to be made for the state's interest in the potential for human life. Those arguments, I understand, are probably all tied up in our religious history. However, religious conviction should not define or propel legislature, anymore than a pacifist conviction should propel and define anti-gun, policing or war legislature, or capitalism should define any public service or social service legislature. These are all things that will inform a politician's positions, but the priorities still need to exist. I find that, for some reason, we allow an altering of these priorities with regard to religious conviction.My understanding is that the religion as private formula started essentially with William James, but I think it's misguided. It's a mistake to think that we're sheilding ourselves from other people's actions by suggesting that they should compartmentalize their belief. And we do that on a secular level as well. Again, I am not claiming that politicians need to keep their religion private, anymore than I would claim that they need to keep their sexual orientation, their family background, their education, or their political platforms secret. I also do not think a government that strives to protect the integrity of the framework of their positions requires compartmentalizing their belief. It does, however, require them to prioritize their beliefs. And I argue that a politician who cannot prioritize the constitution, the governmental position she holds, the public and the state above her religious belief is unable to truly perform her job in the U.S. government. This is not to say that it will not be difficult for her. This is also not to say that her idea of prioritizing these things will necessarily result in the same conclusion that I have. However, the effort has to be made, and the intention must be there. I don't believe this intention currently exists among many religious politicians. (I urge you not to infer that I believe this of all politicians. I just read Barack Obama's book and truly believe he struggles to resolve his role in government and his religious conviction. This is why I believe it is possible, it just isn't demanded of politicians so they don't make an effort.)Let us take a, not necessarily religious, conviction that could inform a politician's belief. A Congresswoman believes that the strongest family unit for children consists of two parents (not necessarily a heterosexual couple either). This belief is based on a lot of social, psychological, early childhood development reading/research/instruction. Her agenda could encourage two parent households, but she should not legislate against single parenthood. She should not prioritize her belief or goal beyond other priorities assigned to her position.Not that I would defend the current administation, but not all of their ideals are as religiously grounded as their election campaigns would suggest. Their insistence on credibility, for instance, is more Nixonian than Baptist. Paul Berman makes, I think, a fairly compelling argument that what was at stake in the invasion of Iraq was more the credibility of American ultimatums than some of the other concerns which had people so much in arms.Concerning the Bush administration, I was speaking in more general terms regarding ideals. I think there is definitely a sense of divine right or authority that informs much of the policy making both foreign and domestic. However, specifically, I would direct those religiously influenced ideals more to the moral policing of the American public than to foreign policy, especially Iraq policy.Me: Actually my inquiry with regard to gender dealt with social constructs.Mad: I could say the same with regard to me inquiry into religion.Then, as with my understanding of gender social constructs, your understanding of religious social constructs could be useful in your political life. However, religious convictions (the way I understand them as institutionalized in the U.S. today) would be outside of the scope of the constitution. Let me illustrate what I mean with the ever-current hot button issue, abortion. Your knowledge of religion allows you to understand why abortion is so inherently wrong to many religious people. However, that knowledge, if it is not a conviction, only informs a voting decision with regard to abortion; it does not dictate your position. So if you, as a congressman(woman?--I think you are male, but I don't want to presume), are presented with a Supreme Court Justice candidate with stellar recommendations, you are able to push him through, even though you are pretty sure he will uphold Roe v. Wade. This is because you are able to recognize that your part in approving or disapproving Supreme Court Justices is not a ticket to legislate your own religious morality. (BTW, I am not assuming you or pro or anti choice. I am just throwing this out as an example to clarify my position.)Given that the vast majority of people in the world are religious, I'd say it's probably more practical to try to foster that sort of religious life, rather than to seriously get all those people to "keep it in their pants", as Mr. P is fond of saying.Well I don't consider myself as militant as Mr.P when it comes to atheism; however, I don't think it responsible to foster any sort of religious life when I personally recognize the disadvantages to such thought. I understand this is a conviction of my own, but it is one that I truly "believe" in. No matter how open one's religious beliefs, no matter how positively transforming, they are not something I would condone or choose to foster. Religion used in this way is a crutch, and it is a crutch that can be used to knock out the other guy's crutch, or to beat the crutch-less. I would rather discover, in truth, why I choose to strive for a moral existence and why it is better to act in this way. I don't want to pin that choice on a non-existent being; I want to own it; I want it to be mine. And when I took control of that choice, I found much more peace than I ever did in god. I look at it much like the crutch alcoholics now choose in AA. They don't really resolve their addiction, they trade it for another, the reliance on AA. Although AA is responsible for pulling many people out of the constraints of alcoholism (which is overall a positive thing), it is not an organization I support, because it continues to foster reliance. There are organizations that I don't support, even if they provide good results, because I don't approve of the methods, religion is one such organization. (Religion has the added disadvantage that it also produces horrendously bad results.) So, although a philosopher like Kierkegaard has immense significance in challenging the sheep to truly question and more fully understand what they believe, his writing still resulted in faith/reliance in a god. Thus, something I would not want to foster.
MadArchitect

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Re: Contingencies of faith?

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I'm not going to have time to address all this at the moment, but I'm bumping it up closer to the top so I don't forget to look at it later on. Sorry if that's obnoxious.
MadArchitect

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Re: Contingencies of faith?

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Okay, jumping back in (and trying to keep abreast of the chat with Dr. Scott)...Rose: "Debaser" on Doolittle has more than once kept me running for that final mile. It has such a great rhythm.I'm a big fan of "Alec Eiffel" on Trompe le Monde. Great outtro on that one.This is precisely what I mean by religion not being truly transformative, but merely forcing societies to conform to similar religious standards that permeate many religions. Islamic law that required burkas is generally thought to have been instituted to protect women from rape. I personally do not see this as transformative. It did what religion has done for generations.Ah, so if I understand you correctly, you're talking more about religion as a phenomenon rather than the effect of any particular religion on the culture in which it takes place. Does that sound right? So you're arguing that there's a conservative element in religion that directs all cultures towards a particular set of religious modes?That's an idea worth checking out. Offhand, I think one particular hitch is that it may just be that certain religious modes tend to survive and spread better. For example, most major world religions tend to promote a particular form of family unit, but that isn't necessarily because it's a universal characteristic of religion. Rather, other religions have provided for other forms -- eg. sects that call for total abstinance -- but they haven't provided a reliable way for continuing or spreading their own doctrines. To some extent, the same must be applicable to the social reforms instituted by a religion like Islam -- that is, a religion that promotes the welfare of its adherents is more likely to survive than one that underminds their welfare. That Islam has moral features similar to those found in other major religions is probably only evidence that those features promote the survival and spread of the religion. Looking at smaller and extinct religious movements can often demonstrate how much variation actually takes place in religion as a whole.This is not transformative in the sense that it questions why women are victims of sexual assault, how men are responsible for this aggression, and how society can rightly address this infection.Just because it isn't transformative in the ways we would like it to be doesn't mean that it isn't transformative, period. It isn't my intention to argue that all religions are "progressive" -- that's a word that I'm highly suspicious of -- simply that they provide the elements that are sometimes necessary for social rearrangement. And I think that's more basic to religion than any particular form of belief. What a religion provides is usually a set of concepts that are not necessarily obvious, but once you adopt them, they allow for certain ways of thinking. That's not necessarily always a good thing, but I do think it explains a lot of the cultural transformations that have taken place in the past.I understand that you believe our ideas of democracy, republic, justice, morality are all tied up in our religious history. However, the Constitution itself exists as a definite governing document (outside of it's theoretical origins). To say it is o.k. to accept religious theory when occupying a definite political position, because secular theory has not rightly defined its scope, is unjustified.No, I see your point here. And I think I may have misrepresented myself to the extent that you think my arguments about whether or not religious belief is compatible with public office and my argument that atheists should feel a more vested interest in the origins of their value systems are part and parcel. I meant them as distinct points. The point of convergence is that an atheist politician likely brings their own values to office with them, values that are not necessarily coextensive with the documents that determine governance in the American context. And I don't know that the atheist is any less likely to act from those private values than a theist is to act from their religious beliefs.There are a lot of arguments to be made for the state's interest in the potential for human life. Those arguments, I understand, are probably all tied up in our religious history.I think there are fairly good pragmattic arguments, founded in the use of a citizen to the state. That's fairly solid as a secular argument. Where it starts to get fuzzy is when you start to trace the idea of "citizen". It probably does have a religious origin, at least as an articulated concept. But as long as you're willing to entertain the concept of civic relationship, you can stick to fairly secular arguments.However, religious conviction should not define or propel legislature, anymore than a pacifist conviction should propel and define anti-gun, policing or war legislature, or capitalism should define any public service or social service legislature.On the whole, I'd agree -- I just don't think it's possible to really compartmentalize values of the sort that are related to, but not exclusive to, religion. But let's look at this from another perspective: what should define or propel legislature?And I argue that a politician who cannot prioritize the constitution, the governmental position she holds, the public and the state above her religious belief is unable to truly perform her job in the U.S. government.I just don't think that there's any necessary reason to believe that a religious believer is more likely to do this than an atheist. I'd say we're more likely to see it in religious believers -- but that's mostly because the structure of their beliefs is more visible, and because they often find reasons for being very vocal about giving their values higher priority.(woman?--I think you are male, but I don't want to presume)I'm male, but thanks for not presuming. I like to imagine that my chauvanism doesn't show through.
irishrosem

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Re: Contingencies of faith?

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Mad:I'm a big fan of "Alec Eiffel" on Trompe le Monde. Great outtro on that one.I just played "Alec Eiffel" on the juke box at the bar I was at on Saturday night. "Debaser" too. So you're arguing that there's a conservative element in religion that directs all cultures towards a particular set of religious modes?Not precisely. I don't think these, usually conservative, elements are inherent in religion. Rather, that religions often adopt these similar elements, and they tend to do so across the board. So the burka adopted to protect women's sexuality from the preying male, is no different than the veil adopted in early Christianity and Judaism to cover women's sexually enticing hair, skirt and cuff lengths to hide the alluring female ankle and wrist, high collars in Puritanism to hide the provocative neck etc. etc. And that none of these are transformative in the way I would use the word. Just because it isn't transformative in the ways we would like it to be doesn't mean that it isn't transformative, period.It isn't transformative (progressively or otherwise) in the way I view the term. Does it band aid or cover up the problem? Absolutely. Does it truly address and transform social attitudes towards the problem? Absolutely not. Taking our original example, the introduction of the burka, I think it essential to address the core issue. I would argue the violence towards women, that the burka was meant to "fix," was an effect of the true problem. That problem is, essentially, the commodification of woman. Assigning women the task of wearing burkas may "transform" the effect, violence; but it doesn't address, nor "transform" the actual issue, commodification. It, in fact, enhances and exacerbates that issue, turning women into prized possessions that need to be covered up to protect their value. To be transformative, it would need to truly address the issue at hand. Rather, in my opinion, religion is used as a crutch to band aid the problem, without ever actually addressing it. I'm currently reading Orhan Pamuk's Snow and he is directly addressing this idea in his book. In his story, women, who are being forced to "uncover" in order to attend public universities, are committing suicide. The citizens' intention is to free these women of the confines of religious conservatism, but they never identify why these women feel confined, and unhappy.As a side note, I've often wondered if the institution of the burka paralleled the institution of more strict laws against violence towards women (or even violence in general). Especially when considering the property value of a virgin wife in Muslim communities. I have never found any connection yet, but if there was one, maybe the burka doesn't provide the effect we've all bought into. Perhaps it was the change in law and not custom that addressed the violence. The point of convergence is that an atheist politician likely brings their own values to office with them, values that are not necessarily coextensive with the documents that determine governance in the American context. And I don't know that the atheist is any less likely to act from those private values than a theist is to act from their religious beliefs.I don't agree with your conclusion here. But first things first, I read the above as an assumption that because an atheist is "less likely" to prioritize their personal values below their role in government, that it is o.k. for the theist to act in the same way. That is how the part and parcel argument developed. Am I right on that assumption?Where it starts to get fuzzy is when you start to trace the idea of "citizen".And in these secular arguments with regard to abortion it is the concept of citizen, as defined and inferred in the Constitution (and its Amendments), that is used to develop laws with regard to abortion. It is not the concept of "personhood" as developed in religious ideology that should determine "citizenship." A person working on a religious agenda is unlikely to prioritize the secular definition of "citizenship" above the religious definition of "personhood." A person working with a religious background who has prioritized her role in government above her religious ideology would, I think, be able to consider the alternative. Although she might have a mighty moral struggle to contend with personally, her definition of citizenship could be confined to a secular argument.On the whole, I'd agree -- I just don't think it's possible to really compartmentalize values of the sort that are related to, but not exclusive to, religion.As I said before, I don't think it is compartmentalizing so much as it is prioritizing. Religion is permitted to be prioritized in a way that other agendas are not. Let's go back to the law enforcement agenda in comparison to the religion agenda. And we can take a hot button issue like marriage. It would be ludicrous for a politician to attempt to legislate against criminals (let's even say repeat offenders) from marrying based on an agenda of law enforcement. (An argument could be that criminals have given up these civil rights, that they are unable to engage in healthy relationships, that they are unable to maintain stable households.) But it is o.k. (even possible) for a politician to legislate against gay marriage based on their own religious agenda. What is the difference? Socially we are able to see the one as being unconstitutional, unjust to deny equal rights and opportunities because of a criminal history. We are not able to see that the other is equally unjust because it is mired in religious ideology, which is socially acceptable. And we see this across the board.But let's look at this from another perspective: what should define or propel legislature?Well to narrow this down a bit, Congressional members take an Oath of Office wherein they swear: to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic; swear (bear?) allegiance to the Constitution; that they will faithfully discharge the duties of their office; that they do so without any reservation or "purpose of evasion." It is also customary, but not required, to end with "So help me god." (This is out of my best memory; I don't have a book in front of me. Only the parts in quotes are definitely word for word.) Anyway, that generally, but not specifically, defines their role in government. Because a lot is left up to interpretation, I am usually only offended by actions that are either directly antagonistic toward the Constitution, or betray the spirit of the document. I truly believe that religious conviction (conviction meaning "of or being convinced") is not in the spirit of the constitution. Religious conviction (as opposed to education or inquiry) is an agenda, and it is an agenda that wholly denies the secular intent of the Constitution and the role of government.I just don't think that there's any necessary reason to believe that a religious believer is more likely to do this than an atheist. They are 100% more likely to do so when it comes to a religious agenda, which is allowed a priority that other agendas are not.I'd say we're more likely to see it in religious believers -- but that's mostly because the structure of their beliefs is more visible, and because they often find reasons for being very vocal about giving their values higher priority.Not only are they (those with religious conviction) very vocal, they campaign, they develop legislature, and they vote on that legislature with their religious ideals as the primary, often the sole, priority. That is the inherent problem. I can't think of any other ideal, that falls outside the scope of the Constitution, which is given that flexibility. That is the problem with religion in government. The problem isn't with religious backgrounds, religious-developed values, religious education, it is with religious conviction. That is why it sounded absurd when I wrote "pacifist conviction" and "law enforcement conviction" before. It is because these are values a politician considers when developing policy, not convictions that define policy.
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Re: Contingencies of faith?

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And that none of these are transformative in the way I would use the word.Well, note that I don't call them transcendent. "Transformative", to my mind, stops short of implying a preference for any particular direction of change, so to speak. I'd call all the prior examples transformative precisely because their impact on the societies involved are demonstrable. Whether or not they're transcendent depends entirely on your estimation of the society prior to and after its transformation.Does it band aid or cover up the problem? Absolutely. Does it truly address and transform social attitudes towards the problem? Absolutely not.I'd argue that it does, though perhaps not all at once. And I think you'd have quite a bit of work to do if your aim was to demonstrate that the Arabian mentality after the Middle East's embrace of Islam were identical to that prior to, particularly when so much seems to have changed. That modern Arabian society is, by and large, misogynistic I won't argue, but even there I think there are differences, and the modern instance of misogyny is very likely rooted in a set of causes that are just as different as the form of expression it's taken in the two different periods.That problem is, essentially, the commodification of woman.I'd say there's evidence that Islam attempted to address that problem as well -- for example, scripture to the effect that women could be inheritors, and should not be excluded from inheritance because of their gender.Assigning women the task of wearing burkas may "transform" the effect, violence; but it doesn't address, nor "transform" the actual issue, commodification.I'd never claim that such transformations were complete or perfect, and their effectiveness has a great deal to do with how well the people involved assess their own situation. Which is, itself, a matter of what sort of system of values they have at their disposal. Just to take a very modern example, without a concept of "human rights", early modern Europe had great difficult framing certain questions or providing an adequate conceptual bulwark against, say, Nazism, of Imperial abuses in second and third world countries. The idea of human rights, and later, of the category of "crimes against humanity," were developed in part to deal with problems that we as a society had only just begun to form a dim grasp of. So if early Islam failed to address some "root problem" that we've pinpointed in later eras, it may be in part because their culture provided no conceptual foundation adequate to identifying the problem. Part of the way in which a religion can be, in the long term, transformative, is in its capacity to provides just such a conceptual foundation. R.M. Cornford has demonstrated the way in which the concepts basic to Greek philosophy were founded in Greek religion; along similar lines, many of the concepts that have allowed for modern secular bulwarks like "crimes against humanity" derive from the conceptual transformation brought about in the crucible of medieval Christianity.Perhaps it was the change in law and not custom that addressed the violence.I'm not at all convinced that you can draw a distinction between the two, especially in the context of early Islam.But first things first, I read the above as an assumption that because an atheist is "less likely" to prioritize their personal values below their role in government, that it is o.k. for the theist to act in the same way. That is how the part and parcel argument developed. Am I right on that assumption?No, my point is that we -- as voters -- are in no better epistemic position when it comes to the atheist than we are when it comes to the theist. We may actually be in a better position to estimate the theist's capacity for prioritizing, simply because we're better equipped to draw a line between his or her personal beliefs and their professional obligations. With the atheist, that's harder to do, in part because so many atheists have been completely uncritical about the source of their values, to the point that they may even regard them as objective. The point being only that, if our goal is to mediate between personal belief and public responsibility, our scrutiny has to be more complex than simply: this candidate subscribes to this religion, therefore he's likely to be conflicted in his priorities to the public and to his religion.Religion is permitted to be prioritized in a way that other agendas are not.I don't think that's the case, either in theory or in practice.But it is o.k. (even possible) for a politician to legislate against gay marriage based on their own religious agenda. What is the difference?Honestly, I think the real issue -- the one that hardly anyone is addressing -- is that of why marriage should be subject to legal categorization. Why should a secular government even recognize marriage? There's so much normatively implied in marriage that has nothing to do with the government that it looks to me as though it is convenient only as a sort of shorthand, and that enough complications have cropped up from our civic reliance on that shorthand that we're better off finding a better expression for what precisely it is that marriage is supposed to signify in relation to governance.We are not able to see that the other is equally unjust because it is mired in religious ideology, which is socially acceptable.That's because a presumably secular society has uncritically inherited a ceremonial and terminology rooted in religious institutions. There'd be no mire if it weren't for that foundation.
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