Thursday, February 2, 2017

Religion of the Secular West

In the western world we believe in the separation of church and state. Spiritual belief systems and social policy maintain some degree of separation. It hasn't always been the case. Generally religion and the state have been tightly intertwined. I always look at these things from the lens of Darwinism. Why would such societies be the ones that tend to thrive?

Society requires a social order, otherwise there is chaos. Order is maintained in various ways, largely because there are various types of people. Aristotle told us that there were two types of people, who spoke two different languages. The highly intellectual tend to speak dialectic, or a language of reason, and the rest speak rhetoric, which is more emotionally charged. (the most successful people can navigate both). In an advanced society, the ruling tier can largely hold itself together through dialectic and self-interest. And it should be so. Don't we want the most logical people to rise to the top to guide society? Of course it isn't perfect. The wrong people often do percolate up, and different systems suffer this malady to various degrees.

But there is always a contingent of society that don't speak dialectic at all; for who reason, logic, and evidence don't mean much, except perhaps to use as weapons to defend emotionally driven positions. How are these people bound to the social order? There seem to be 4 general methods.
  1. Distraction
  2. Bribery
  3. Inclusion
  4. Direct Force
We can easily see methods 2 and 4 in our current society. Bribery is manifested through social welfare programs to (a) keep people generally content, and (b) to secure votes. Direct force is mostly seen in the police / prison apparatus. Distraction occurs to a fair degree in lots of things, namely television, sports, entertainment etc.

What about inclusion? Inclusion is anything that makes people feel like they are involved in the social order, even if they don't have much power. This is the realm of religion. TODO

Tenet 1: every society has a religion

I propose that every society has a religion. Even a godless/atheist societies have something akin to a religion. Something that binds the people and is sacred. Religion in this sense does not have to be the spiritual sense of the word we are used to. How do we determine what the religion of a state is? A society might claim a religion, but maybe they are misled. 

Tenet 2: An affront to the religion is blasphemy.

We can solve the question What is the religion? by asking What is blasphemous? That is, what is universally shunned? 

For instance, what is the religion of the United States? Most would say Christianity. But is that so? Do you ever hear Christianity being criticized or ridiculed? Does doing so come with a strong societal backlash? I hear it all the time, and I would posit that society tends to encourage it, although experiences may vary. Frankly in this day there are very few repercussions to being an atheist. (I should know.) Yeah to run for office you might have to pretend to be one, but you really just have to pretend. That's about it. I can't think of any other downside to being an atheist. I can think of numerous times Christians are marginalized. It's a constant on social media.

I'd say Christianity is not the religion of our society. Because you can denounce it and generally be supported. What can you not say in our society? This should be fairly obvious. What is the one thing that everyone agrees you can't say? If it isn't apparent just think a moment. What is it that you could say that would get the most condemnation from your friends, family, and community. I'll give some white space while you ponder.

The answer is that you can't say anything racist. Think of all the movies and music and pop culture and education and media narratives you encounter. Racism is the primary sin of our society. It's such a tabboo that most white people go strongly out of their way to show they aren't racist. Think about it. How many people do you run into that are openly atheist? A lot! Most of my friends are. Most of the people I knew in the military were. Now how many people do you know that are openly racist? Do you know any at all? Maybe a couple very loose acquaintances at most. I don't have any friends that I know of that are openly racist.

There are other taboos, although none so strong. Trying being anti-gay in this world. Sorry to those who are behind on the times, but it is easier these days to come out as actually gay than anti-gay, in most cases. I live in Southwest Missouri, not a progressive stronghold, and I am sure it would be more accepted if I said I was gay than if I said I was anti-gay. (I'm neither, btw, but that's another subject.) Being anti-feminist is widely condemned. Milo is most noted for being anti-feminist and his small lecture at UC-Berkley just provoked riots. When's the last time a pro-feminism lecture encountered even a minor violent response? Has it been decades?

The religion of our society is Progressivism. It is intersectional identity politics. It is victim culture. It is Oppressionism. Even conservatives bow before it's power. The primary argument you'll hear that conservatives are violating Progressivism has to do with abortion. But that's because Progressives view it as a front in the war on women, whereas as conservatives see it as rights of the fetus. Conservatives are painted as wanting to restrict women's freedom, but I never hear conservatives make that case. You have two sides drawn up fighting two separate battles.

Other than that conservatives fall in line. The fall over themselves to show how non-racist they are, how supporting of women they are, and, more recently how accepting of LGBT they are. Conservatives can't generally get away with bashing Christianity, but liberals can, and neither side can attack the Progressive virtues without stirring up an epic shitstorm. It's also worth noting that neither side can attack Muslims or Jews without heated condemnation. Doesn't it seem weird that in an allegedly Christian nation that the only religion you can attack is Christianity?

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