Politics, Economics, and Religion

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Politics, Economics, and Religion

Religion has so many connections to political and economic beliefs, there needs to be a place to identify linkages, problems, goals, options, action plans and evaluation criteria.  

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What is the purpose of life?

An eternal question, what is the purpose of life?, occupied philosophers’ thoughts throughout history. Stone pictographs reveal even primitive peoples reflected on this query. Each one has the capacity to define his or her personal thinking about politics, economics and religion.

Discussion Forum

Greta Christina: Why Being Liberal Really Is Better Than Being Conservative

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Grinning Cat yesterday. 10 Replies

Worth a read! Greta Christina explains philosopher Rebecca Goldstein's observation on a fundamental difference between "liberal" and "conservative" core values, and why things aren't as simple as "agreeing to disagree" between two "equally valid"…Continue

Tags: purity, democracy, loyalty, authority, avoidance of harm

You Can't Educate People Into Believing in Evolution

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Loren Miller Dec 1. 4 Replies

"Hill found that religious belief was the strongest determinant of people's views on evolution—much more so than education, socioeconomic status, age, political views, or region of the country. More importantly, "Creationists are substantially more…Continue

Tags: confront, evolution, creationism, beliefs

Karen Armstrong is dangerous

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Sheeva Nov 25. 17 Replies

"Karen Armstrong is dangerous. She’s dangerous because her blanket of tedious verbiage hides the truth that she wants us to completely ignore the dangers of religious dogma.  It appears that for her, there is no harmful dogma that can be pinned on…Continue

Tags: oppression, nihilism, politics, religious dogma, Karen Armstrong

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Comment by Joan Denoo on December 11, 2012 at 2:02pm

Great thanks to John Lynch for this treasure"

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
-- Marcus Aurelius

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 11, 2012 at 1:06am

7 States That Ban Atheists From Holding Public Office

"No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.

TENNESSEE CONSTITUTION"

Comment by Grinning Cat on December 6, 2012 at 12:01am

Ben Sargent's editorial cartoon nicely ties together politics, economics, and religion:

Reporter: 'That's right, Kent - the Republicans tell me that for them the fiscal-cliff impasse is essentially a RELIGIOUS issue --' [wealthy men in suits prostrating themselves before the altar of 'TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH', complete with plenty of smoke and a shaman, and surmounted by a cigar-smoking CEO 'Buddha']

Comment by Grinning Cat on December 5, 2012 at 4:00pm

On perception vs. reality, from yesterday's poll by Public Policy Polling:

49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn't exist anymore. One reason that such a high percentage of Republicans are holding what could be seen as extreme views is that their numbers are declining. Our final poll before the election, which hit the final outcome almost on the head, found 39% of voters identifying themselves as Democrats and 37% as Republicans. Since the election we've seen a 5 point increase in Democratic identification to 44%, and a 5 point decrease in Republican identification to 32%.

Pretty influential for a defunct group! :)  BTW, the same poll found that 25% of Republicans want their state to secede.

Another poll (Pew - Washington Post) finds that Americans overwhelmingly blame the Republican party for the "fiscal cliff" (by a 2:1 margin over Obama) and that this holds across demographics. The only group that didn't blame Republicans was... Republicans.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 4, 2012 at 11:08pm

Sentient, I worked on my family trees for many years and discovered some amazing things about my roots. Mostly about surviving bad times. 

Do you have the dates of your grandparents' births and deaths? and your parents'? And the places they may have lived. We can easily reconstruct some of their stories if you are interested. I have access to genealogy files and can often find out fundamental answers. If you like, I can do the searches through my sources on the internet. 

My grandfather homesteaded as well and I found some interesting details and there may be a trail to follow your grandfather. All I need are names; dates and places help. 
I would love to know what he thought about the Philippine-American war and of his experiences. Did he leave behind any letters? I, too, have some pretty nasty things to say about that war, as I do the US-Iraq war. 

Your partner's story intrigues me and I suspect his background is in China. "The Rape of Nanking" and their invasion of China left some terrible history that has important consequences. 

Also, your father's story of medical experiments in WWII may have left a trail. Do you know the dates of his enlistment and discharge and the unit he served with? and where? I wonder what his "near-skeleton appearance" means? 

It does sound like the Great Influenza but the era is wrong. He could be talking about his childhood experiences. My mother and father told me about it, even though Dad was only 10 and Mom only one year old when the epidemic hit Tekoa, WA. They grew up knowing the story because the other five children that moved in with each family were part of their families as they grew. His one cousin always remained more of a sister to him than a cousin. 

We know US military were used in atomic bomb experiments. That is very well documented. 

Typhus was a big problem in WWII and it is passed by human body  lice. It was known as "camp fever". Heavy doses of DDT powder seemed to be the treatment of choice. 

Also, Hunta virus, although I don't think they called it that then. There are some sites you can find by Googling "WWII + typhus", or "WWII + virus caused by mice and rats."

When my former husband served in Viet Nam I had to send him regular supplies of rat poison because his tent was infested with the critters. I don't know why the Army didn't supply him with vermin poison, and I can't remember if I even asked him. 

There is nothing like tracking family history to get interested in the things we didn't learn while in school. Knowing your grandfather was in the Philippines-US war would have peaked my curiosity. 

Comment by Daniel W on December 4, 2012 at 3:58pm

Joan, so amazing for you to feel connected to, and know that history one/two-generations back!  What you know is much more than most historians will tell, and so important.

My grandfather, who was a young adult then, never mentioned the great influenza.  That I can recall.  Who knows.  He was giving to telling a lot of stories, so it's interesting that he didn't talk about that.  That might have been while he was homesteading and maybe he was too geographically isolated to experience it.  He had a lot to say about his time as a young soldier in the Philippine-American war (Mark Twain had some things to say about that war; I think it's the historic equivalent of the US-Iraq war), but nothing about the great influenza.  I wonder why.  

My partner tells me that his parents were used as biological warfare experimental subjects, by the Japanese occupiers of Manchuria.  They were left for dead, but were rescued by their friends.  Kind of similar, in a way - ordinary people caught up in a human created disaster of epic proportions.  The Japanese occupiers regarded Chinese as an inferior race, less than human.  Hence, the horror of the Rape of Nanking.  Racism is not confined to Europeans, we just know more about that.

My Dad mentioned, a few times, that he was in some sort of medical experiment or epidemic, in the Army, during WWII.  He didn't say much about it, and I never pried.  I've tried to find out since then, what that would be.  Unlike his father, he wasn't given to tall tales, but he was proud of much of his upbringing and talked about lots of other things.  He said he was in Santa Ana for a while, then taken to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.  He said that by that time, he was near-skeleton in appearance.  I've seen photos, it's true.  He described wagons taken around the barracks to collect the dead.  Which sounds like the Great Influenza, but the timing is off by an entire generation.  He told me he was then fattened up, with access to mess hall at all hours, then was given a medical discharge.

I wish I knew more of that story.  It's all he would say.

In so many ways, we are so fortunate to live in this era.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 4, 2012 at 2:19pm

Sentient, you are exactly on topic. As to the influenza, small towns USA were hit hard as well. Both sets of my grandparents and their families were impacted. On my mother's side, my grandparents had 5 children still dependent on them. One of their siblings and his/her spouse died within days leaving behind 5 dependent children. My grandparents took those children into their tiny little home and raised all 10 to be productive citizens, but at great strain on everyone. 

The same thing happened on my father's side and his parents also had 5 children to raise and then took on 5 more because of deaths of both parents. Both my grandparents were trying to recover from a business slump and with extra responsibilities, everyone had to work. That generation learned how to make do with very little, and both grandmothers even made all the clothes for children and adults. They even made hats. 

I wouldn't have a clue how to do most of their chores. Their experiences influenced my parents who came into adulthood during the Great Depression and WW II.   I had lots of really good teachers and learned how to do a lot, but I had it easy. 

I observe the trends that create poverty, recession, depression and feel anxious, hoping my children and grand-children learn and understand their vulnerabilities as my great-grandchildren come into the world. 

When all is said and done, I guess all I can do is provide a model for how to thrive, even in troubled times. They need to see opportunity in events and value the things they will have to learn if they are to succeed, and know there are factors beyond their control, not to blame, but to take pride in meeting their challenges. Finding joy in simple things, finding pride in problem solving, and finding self-respect in learning how to live in community even as problems and conflicts emerge. 

I feel confident in their wisdom and good judgment. They all have good character with high values for honesty and integrity, strengthened by their care and compassion for others. 

Healthy and strong individuals living in healthy and strong families increases the possibility they will not only survive, but thrive. 

Comment by Daniel W on December 4, 2012 at 11:16am

I've been reading "The Great Influenza".  By "reading" I mean listening to the audiobooks version.  The book rambles a lot, and some parts are tedious, but some relevance here.  It's interesting to learn about the bloodletting - that's the comment that prompted me here.  More than that, the politics that led to the greatest, most lethal, most frightening epidemic in modern times.  Woodrow Wilson led the US into WWI.  Because of that, he mobilized (Ie, drafted all males from late teens to late 30s) into the army.  Because of that, training camps were packed way beyond capacity.  The govt issued orders that no one could speak out against the war effort.  Under Wilson, freedom of speech in the US was done away with.  

When hints started about the epidemic's rapidity and lethality - often healthy people were dead the same day they became sick, sometimes 2 or 3 days, the govt and press issued only optimistic statements that the epidemic had peaked.  For the war effort, they had a massive parade in Philadelphia, with thousands of citizens all packed together coughing and infecting one another, resulting in an upsurge of deaths.  Ignorance+politics.  Meanwhile the #s of military dead at camps,  increased rapidly.  The troops were packed into train cars and ships, coughing on each other, and transferred to bases around the country, often needing to be carried by stretcher to the camp hospitals.  Newspapers, fearful of govt censorship, could not print words like "plague" and "epidemic".  Citizens could be arrested for speaking in ways that looked critical of the government or that might "frighten the public". 

As a result, around 50 million people died.  About 500million were infected.  The epidemic disproportionately hit the young and elderly.  The US govt and US military had a big role in the fast spread of the disease, although it also spread in Europe as a result of the war The disease was called Spanish Influenza,  probably because Spain wasn't censoring the press, while infected Germany, Britain, US and  France had media blackouts. 

A bit peripheral to some of the discussion,  but relevant to the group topic.  Not much on religion in that.  Prayer didn't help.

Comment by James Kz on December 4, 2012 at 2:28am

And there were times when eugenics laws sterilised epileptics, repealed three years after I was born in my state (Michigan).


And yet, all you have to do with epilepsy today is punch the terms "epilepsy" and "demon possession" into a search engine and look at the myriad of blogs and Christian apologetics sites in the USA in the XXI Century that still hold neurologists are deluded and I am either possessed or stoned to death (and not by Colorado's recent ballot initiative).

I worry for my country, I do.

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 3, 2012 at 2:12pm

There was a time in USA history when bloodletting, lobotomies, owning slaves, not allowing women to vote, and burning people at the stake or crushing them to death if suspected of being a witch, was acceptable. Times and our Constitution have changed. 

There was a time when Republicans won in 2010, and they leveraged that win to secure the roughly $1 trillion in cuts in the Budget Control Act. 

Democrats won in 2012, and they intend to leverage that win to secure the roughly $1 trillion in revenue from the expiration of the high-end Bush tax cuts.

How can we expect small business and wage-earners to carry more of the financial load of our nation's expenses? 

Why are small businesses and wage-earners not rallying for more taxes on wealth earning instruments? 

Why are we not making adjustments to make contributions to costs of government more equal? 

If the private sector can't create more jobs, why is the government not making work programs to get men and women working and paying taxes?

Why are there not more loans to small businesses and entrepreneurially ambitious individuals?

What plan/s have the highest probability of getting our nation out of the current recession?

 
 
 

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