To begin with, I've always been interested - and not in an admiring way - in the excesses, repressions and atrocities forced on humanity through religious (or as good as religious) beliefs. Theocracies, autocracies, brainwashings, genocides, massacres and mutilations and imprisonments, from tribal-god warfare to the Mormon Church's television advertising on behalf of the rescinding of minority civil rights -- we know that it's messed up, don't we, assuming that we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and sufficient neuron-firings to think in our own right?
I'd certainly hope so. And I'd certainly hope that the people who can see what's wrong with one conspicuously-extreme religious sect trying to force its agenda on all can also see what's wrong with all the other sects and religions doing so (regardless of their popularity) - and even the idea that all religions ought to be ridiculed and abolished, is that not also a religion by (non)virtue of its self-certain absolutism?
A certain itinerant healer and preacher is reputed to have said that the meek will inherit the earth. A significant portion of his nominal followers, through the course of history since, have refused that inheritance in every possible way, through profligate use of doctrinized propaganda, legalized discrimination, genocidal violence and social persecution against others not conforming to their ways. I think we can assume that any constructive usage of "meek" does not mean "spineless passive doormat," otherwise it'd be of little purpose to bequeath them anything...but the total reverse of that, the militant religious warriors bent on the conversion or annihilation of all around them, what place have they in a modern and supposedly-civilized world? - and even moreso in a nation who owes its structural existance to believers in the equal dignity of all humanity?
Yeah. That mess too. People claiming the United States to be a Christian nation, just as some people claim that the Divine Realtor promised them dominion over lands that other people just happened to be living on. And for this passionate intensity there is war, whether within the framework of laws or against all civilized (that word again) conventions.
I don't deny that religion has any value, or that any philosophy of social or spiritual import doesn't have something worth considering. But seriously, folks, my general opinion these days is that the "meek" inheriting the earth are going to be those people who have the sanity not to pit themselves against each other in self-righteous hostilities. The people who have the all-'round intelligence to be able to coexist with each other, left when all the others who can't envision any compromise of their fervour have killed each other off.
Which also brings to mind that there may need to be some laying-low, in that hyper-Armageddonistic case....but I digress.
Point is, there's no point in fanaticism. It's all very well to be willing to die for the integrity of your beliefs, whatever they may be, but the instant you think it justified to kill, harm and suppress others for the maintenance and global expansion of your beliefs, an ethical line has been crossed, and the very concept of what we often call "civilization" requires that people learn to live with each other without infringing upon each others' rights, and that a core body of human rights be upheld regardless of the religious (or anti-religious) dictates claimed as excuse for their violation. To allow exceptions because of tradition or cultural respect is to allow oppression of an actual nature - as opposed to the false claim of "oppression" which simply means that an assumed majority is peeved at not being allowed to harrass and oppress the rest on account of it, or that a group culture - large or small, popular or reviled - is being stymied in its attempts to maintain an inexorable and perpetual hold on those it consider its own.
So.....having opened this whole kettle of worms, I propose that this online community is a place for all serious thinkers who are not fanatics - or perhaps might be recovering fanatics, as per the title - to share our thoughts and reasonings (and frustrations and outrage) about the state of religion and culture and law, and where it ought to be seen that people have gone too far in forcing their "faith."
I welcome you all to this forum, and especially those members of dark_christian who have been wanting a broader range of topic and discourse than just the Christian dominionist movements per se. As a general note, I highly recommend dark_christian and its comprehensive resources to anyone beginning to explore the field of Christian socioreligious warfare, as well as those seeking answers and explanations to the religious proselytizing and pressures they may have personally experienced in the "evangelical Christian" area.
Current Mood: Rhetorical