Posts Tagged ‘pluralism’
This charge will usually rear it’s head at some point as you think about God all the time in not believing him. That sadly ignores the reality of what belief means when in a cult.
Imagine that you had to prepare each week for four meetings learning and worshipping about God and a field trip over the weekend to tell people about it at their front door. That every conversation anywhere was to reflect glory upon God, and reflect well for the faith you stand for. To analyse every social interaction as whether a potential convert to be saved, or person avoided to save yourself. Sitting in front of the TV and thinking if Jesus walked into the lounge how would he feel about what you were watching. To monitor your thoughts in case demons tried to enter to cause doubts. To be trained to have a reflex, so if told you were brainwashed you would reply “we have to be the world tries to pollute our minds in so many ways doesn’t it?”
Such was life with the Jehovah’s Witnesses – and that is only by way of an introduction, for more do read the tabs on Jehovah’s Witnesses and the pages of the blog. To suggest that atheism is a religion or just as obsessive is nonsensical. As a freethinker, I am not tied to an ideology or to honour at all times a society or people. I can be critical of Richard Dawkins when the occasion arises (for example the claim that Obama was a secret atheist), without being disfellowshipped and considered a heretic. Try that in the Jehovah’s Witnesses about the Society and see what happens.
Debate, reasoning and learning with honest critical inquiry aid human reflective thought.
I have mentioned in the past how the debate between Vroomfondle and MagicThighs on the existence or none of God must end. Largely because we need to work on such things as religious freedom, pluralism and multicultural society working harmoniously, protecting human rights from religious privileges, and public policy that has the welfare of people at its core. Leave to people their conscience about God or no God, and work out how we actually can live beyond surviving.
That is not going to be easy. Some believe the way is to get everyone to covert to their way of thinking – then it will be. No, that will be counter productive. Rather, being free to talk, exchange ideas, and work on ways forward in resolving conflicts with justice and fairness are the best way to a better future.
History has shown that conflict is either resolved by dialogue or violence. Having once thought that genocide by Armageddon was the only way this would happen with God’s grace on the few to be saved, I am more optimistic that we will decide there is another way, but only if we are prepared to stand up for the enlightenment and not give in to a cynicism that has no basis in fact but only in attitude.
I am obsessed with the human, and how we can make this a better place for us all to live, without making us all part of some means to fulfil a paradigm set out by others. Let us be free, and use that freedom to help ourselves and others live. How we think matters, which is why the accusation about being obsessed with God is one myth to be put to rest.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
The Pope has announced that there will be a Catholic/Muslim summit between 24 scholars and religious leaders of each side. This will happen just over a year from when the Pope made his speech in Regensburg, Germany where he mentioned that Islam spread across the Arab world not so much by winning hearts and minds but through the sword.
This brings me to the question of whether it is worth having such inter faith dialogues, and in particular when humanists become involved. I have attended Christian atheist ones – I have to say that for some of the Christians that attended it was the first time not only that they had really examined what they personally believed, but had their faith scrutinized.
The issue for me is what the purpose of the meeting is meant to be. If it is just a public relations exercise then it seems pointless. If on the other hand real concerns are being debated, for example where religious hatred is manifesting itself in society and people are stirring up violence, such dialogue may help people to appreciate what is happening in their community.
The thing is in a pluralistic democracy, such meetings of civic groups can be a good thing. Citizens talking about differences, common accord and areas where they can work together for the benefit of society is one that can be endorsed.
However in a truly pluralistic society this is not about a cartel of groups making decisions – all interested citizens and groups have a level playing field inputting into the decision making process. That is where of course you get the issue of the political process acting as gate keepers to the policy making process. But the idea is a bedrock of democracy that you can make representations and the policy process is accountable.
Because the concept of what actually entails the public good does differ.
The joint statement promised that the Pope would be talking about critical issues facing humankind:
It said the Pope would address the meeting on the themes of “Love of God, Love of Neighbour”, “Theological and Spiritual Foundation” and “Human Dignity and Mutual Respect”.
Public relations and theological fencing exercises seem to be the order of the day. Will they talk about such issues as:
human rights for women
freedom of expression
freedom of choice
the right to disagree
stewardship of the planet (physical rather than spiritual)
Perhaps they could proclaim that those who use violence and intimidation, rather than try to win hearts and minds by rational argument, are the enemies of reason. Perhaps they could even condemn those that use faith as a means to condone such activity that brings rent-a-mob to the streets. Instead of indulgences for fragile sensibilities to excuse such behaviour.
I am sure they could find time for that. When we see the worst humanitarian crisis in Gaza since 1967, the need to understand that we need peace rather than division in the world, dialogue rather than discord is one that all those leaders – self proclaimed or otherwise – need to embrace if we are to wake up to the fact that it is not the planet that needs rescuing.
We need to save humanity from itself. Reason and science are there waiting to be heard and acted on. Are we going to heed the call or believe only what we want to believe?
Quote taken from BBC News report here.