Author Topic: Southern fried religion  (Read 1294 times)

Offline NoFear (OP)

Southern fried religion
« on: April 09, 2016, 11:40:56 AM »
Okay, so here in the fried chicken bible belt region, we are working hard to create solidarity on many fronts including racial, economic, and gender equality. The issue I am facing as an atheist is the long standing and rock solid relationship between the black church as an institution of racial progress, and the leftist movement as a whole. Most activist events include a very moving and emotional appeal to the deity, asking the Lawd to bless our efforts. So I'm standing there with my sign, thinking "religion is a tool of oppression, still offering the opiate of pie-in the-sky-by-and-by, yet the movement still clings to it." When will the movement in the south find a base of legitimacy all on it's own, without calling on the comfort of religion to justify our demands?

Offline SGOS

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 11:58:15 AM »
It reminds me of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Hearts are in the right place, but the tool isn't all that helpful.  A secular approach grounded in reality where mankind takes full responsibility, seems like it would work better in the long run.  It's odd that white supremacists wanting to stall the implementation of equality, justifies the opposite goal using the same god to justify their desired outcome.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2016, 12:02:51 PM »
It won't. Black voters are going to cling to their church as will others.  The mere fact that folks go to church and believe in a god doesn't mean that you're spinning your wheels.  Progress is progress so feel free to keep pretending they're your enemy just because they go to church or you can find another way and be accepting of them, work with them and fight off the other end of the spectrum and the right wing that blatantly uses the church as their instrument of oppression and discrimination.
There is no  vast block of voters who will wholesale reject the notion of a god.There are some, but some doesn't win elections.
All hail my new signature!

Admit it. You're secretly green with envy.

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2016, 03:27:56 PM »
Welcome. Religion is based on the fear of death. Which is why the holy scripts are referred to as "books of the dead." You're going to have to get rid of all the bible thumping politicians, school teachers and so on to get to a secular mindset. Children raised in a secular environment that encourages critical thinking are far less likely to be religious.

And it's not going away for a long time.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2016, 03:52:35 PM »
Welcome. Religion is based on the fear of death. Which is why the holy scripts are referred to as "books of the dead." You're going to have to get rid of all the bible thumping politicians, school teachers and so on to get to a secular mindset. Children raised in a secular environment that encourages critical thinking are far less likely to be religious.

And it's not going away for a long time.
You could of course kill off everyone who fears death, that wouldn't leave many people around to worry about elections. I think there are far more people who fear the method of death than actual death itself.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 03:54:26 PM by AllPurposeAtheist »
All hail my new signature!

Admit it. You're secretly green with envy.

Offline Shiranu

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 03:57:50 PM »
Quote
...but the tool isn't all that helpful.

Completely disagreed. The church is one of the largest social institutions in Western society. If you want to make serious changes in society, there are few tools stronger than the church.
"Too curious flower, watching us pass, met death; Our hungry donkey." - Basho

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." - Mahatma Gandhi

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2016, 01:55:21 AM »
Shiranu
Quote
Completely disagreed. The church is one of the largest social institutions in Western society. If you want to make serious changes in society, there are few tools stronger than the church.

Quote
Social Institutions. Social institutions are established or standardized patterns of rule-governed behavior.

The obvious question here is do you personally want someone else governing your behavior?. Now let's say this person is an imbecile governing your behavior...do you think this is a good thing?. We could also talk about socialism, those communists, dictating their beliefs upon the population and their institution.

So in effect you are saying, the church, is a " large tool"?. I am lost...your wisdom eludes me.

Offline Shiranu

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2016, 02:15:27 AM »
Quote
The obvious question here is do you personally want someone else governing your behavior?

It's not a matter of if I want it or not, that is simply how society works.
"Too curious flower, watching us pass, met death; Our hungry donkey." - Basho

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." - Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Baruch

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2016, 08:09:34 AM »
I may be stretching, but I think that Shiranu is asking a classic question of the Left ... which if we drop our own status-quo agendas, we can discuss without prior prejudice.

The classic Left question is ... is society is going to be authoritarian anyway, then let it be authoritarian in the right way (irony of English).

For my POV, the Left and Right are both anti-democratic.  And both have their reasons for being so.  One to destroy the status quo for ulterior reasons, the other to maintain the status quo for ulterior reasons.  The peasants/proletariat have to be saved from themselves.  Just because the Soviet Union collapsed, and Red China as gone to a giant version of Lenin's NEP (compromise with capitalism when necessary ... but the capitalists will sell us the rope to hang them with) ... doesn't mean the Marxist issues have gone away.  Social tensions existed both before and after Marx.  Where I think Marx goes astray, and I think deliberately and cynically, is the Marxist version of pie in the sky (socialist opium of the people) ... that with automation, we can lower the work week and have abundant consumer lifestyle ... in the more modern version because we can enslave machines or even androids with a clear conscience.  This is exactly what European socialism offers ... minus the Stalinism.  And in particular this is the basis for a progressive medical care system such as Europe has and the US corrupts.

Also this string needs to be moved to the political section ;-)
שלום

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2016, 10:08:19 AM »
Completely disagreed. The church is one of the largest social institutions in Western society. If you want to make serious changes in society, there are few tools stronger than the church.
Cool. When are they going to start?
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers


Offline Shiranu

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2016, 12:59:16 PM »
Cool. When are they going to start?

Again, irrelevant. Just because we don't like a system doesn't mean it therefore doesn't exist. Just like evolution doesn't cease to be valid because Christians disagree with it.

But to ask when it will start... they are, so I'm not sure where the whit in your snark is. You are both implying that churches are homogenous and don't vary in what social message they teach and how many people they get involved in the community, as well as implying that atheists are wrong and that religious institutions have zero effect on how believers think.
"Too curious flower, watching us pass, met death; Our hungry donkey." - Basho

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." - Mahatma Gandhi

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2016, 11:45:13 PM »
I gather you haven't been to church, or else a very rare one. Religion is about maintaining status quo, not about advancing new ideas or improving social conditions. The only social conditions in all the years of attending first Mormon and then Christian churches was giving money to (anti abortion) unwed mothers funds or welfare of any kind to very few people. They were uniformly antigay, Republican, hate Obama and against the UN and any other progressive idea. I attended several different churches over the years. Uniformly they were more concerned and spent more time and money trying to get people into the pews to increase revenue. There was very little if any local charity work done. More money was spent on mission funds than any charity.

Two of those churches amounted to the local version of a mega church. One of them raised money to build a gym just so the pastor's son had a place to shoot hoops. One of them converted 50 acres of cropland into a big lawn, just because the pastor wanted lots of area around the church to show off his magnificent stained glass windows. The other one converted a local popular fishing hole into a private lake.

But at least you got the "tool" part right.

Oh yeah. The reason for the private lake was a big baptismal font and also because the pastor was a Southern boy and the lake had Crawfish. Yum.










« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 11:48:53 PM by stromboli »

Offline Shiranu

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2016, 01:05:32 AM »
Of the four churches I have been to Central Texas, three of them were pro-LGBT and had members involved in campaigning (all Lutheran churches btw, who made up probably the largest group in this region followed by the Catholic church). This was also 10-26 years ago. All of the churches donated to charity, ran food banks & soup kitchens, provided disaster relief after flooding, fires and tornadoes we get here, and only one of them was anti-Obama... and that church fell apart. The other three were all very progressive ideologically and still are, with the last one I was a part of  hiring a lesbian pastor last year. The church I was in in New Mexico was much the same, and had a gay pastor when my family was going there. Likewise the different Sunday school groups often discussed topics ranging from theology to social issues and politics, and there was debate... it wasn't everyone just agreeing that "God... obama sux...dem geys faggots... etc. etc.". On Texas State, the campus Lutheran and Roman Catholic organizations are heavily involved with the LGBT movement. I would argue the majority of my progressive ethics are a result of my church upbringing, which clashed with the ultra conservative culture I grew up in.
 
And yet again, I will have to say that is all irrelevant because both what you said and what I said prove my point; churches are social institutions that enable the easier facilitation of spreading social institutions and community involvement, either positive or negative. When I went through Conformation, the ideology taught by the different teachers varied; there was one who openly promoted safe sexual behaviour and one who was a white woman who married an African man, and others who taught more "normal" church values but still generally progressive, including to not judge people for their race, culture, sexuality, social standing or whatever... things that would not have been taught to me in other social institutions (school & school related groups).

Just because we are atheists doesn't mean we have to plug our ears and scream that nothing good could ever come out of religion despite all evidence to the contrary and at risk of contradicting ourselves when we say the church holds any sort of social power.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2016, 01:09:23 AM by Shiranu »
"Too curious flower, watching us pass, met death; Our hungry donkey." - Basho

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." - Mahatma Gandhi

Offline SGOS

Re: Southern fried religion
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2016, 08:21:10 AM »
All I meant by "a tool that isn't that helpful," was that asking for help from a spiritual essence isn't going to help when there is no such essence there.  I wasn't talking about all the good the church would be capable of doing if it organized to do good once in a while.  That's why I compared it to AA, an organization that calls upon an invisible entity to solve a major problem.  In putting the problem in the hands of a spirit, the problem may or may not be solved.  Obviously the non-existent spirit contributes nothing.

Whether the church actually contributes anything to society is a worthwhile debate, but not the one I was promoting.  I just wanted to clarify my intentions.