Hello Cruel World
Monday, March 08, 2004
Fearful & Depressed in Lent
One does fear for the future when contemplating some developments, such as those mentioned in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald (copied from NY Times?).
Why the secular creed should heed those who keep the faith
Date: March 6 2003
Nicholas Kristof (The New York Times)
Evangelical Christians are increasingly important in every aspect of US culture ... As Professor Philip Jenkins notes in a new book, fundamentalist Christianity is racing through the developing world. The number of African Christians has soared over the last century from 10 million to 360 million, and the boom is among charismatic Pentecostalists...
[A similar point was touched upon by Miranda Devine in her War-wary will not weary them (SMH 2/12/2003) - at
www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2003/02/12/1044927661598.htm - who praised statesmen of great "moral purity" (the type that really frighten me).]
Perhaps because I was brought up in a fairly liberal Anglican parish, I haven't reacted as violently against the ignorant & authoritarian treatment some of my friends, colleagues & acquaintances received from their family, school or other religious instructors, but tried to take the ethical underpinnings into my own moral structure -- also using my science education -- which is strongly based on respect both for ones' fellow humans and the supporting world infrastructure ("environment"). [see also Jacob Bronowski* & Carl Sagan].
Atheism can be as dogmatic & ignorant as any theism. Fundamentalism can apply to many beliefs, including political & economic ones. As with religion or "traditional family values", there may be good things indeed within them, but when they are used in an authoritarian way to promote bigotry, ignorance & oppression, it is up to every decent person to repudiate that part of them. Unfortunately when people react against something, they do tend to swing the pendulum too far, for instance, lesbian separatists, some of the French revolutionaries, &c.
*Jacob Bronowski: Ascent of Man: Knowledge and Certainty
"Science is a very human form of knowledge....Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error.... Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible" ... "One aim of the physical sciences has been to give an exact picture of the material world. One achievement of physics in the twentieth century has been to prove that aim is unattainable" ...
(at Auschwitz) ... "When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods".
Quotes from this are at www.ronrecord.com/Quotes/bronowski.html
Some Other Straws in the Wind (S.O.S.)
11/2/2002 The World's Oldest Multinational Corporation:
A Catholic high school in Pennsylvania has awarded students extra credit for picketing an abortion clinic. More than 50 students of a religion class earned extra credit for picketing outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. The clinic also offers
counselling, cancer screenings and contraceptives.
Ann "invade them, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" Coulter is at it again. After advocating a new Crusade in the Middle East and war against France (for being too soft on terrorism), she has now addressed the American Conservative Union Foundation calling for the use of the death penalty to intimidate dissenters.
"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors."
(There you have it, folks: the Taliban, one of the harshest Islamic Fundamentalist groups in the world, are "liberals", or their ideological kindred.) THINGS SOMEWHAT OR COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
The Main Blog Page ( dev.null.org/blog) includes the news from Rich Hall (an American comedian visiting Melbourne for their Comedy Festival):
"Some jokes are now acceptable in America that would never be permissibleand the information:
in a mainstream British comedy club. 'Why are there no Muslims on Star Trek?'
Hall heard one American comic ask. 'Because it's set in the future.' ... You can
get away with that in America, because the basic mindset of most Americans is
that we're at war with the Muslims, and that really bothers me."
"a study in Britain has found that having an arts degree reduces one's
earnings; in other words, people with arts degrees (in subjects such as
history and English) earn between 2% and 10% less than people with no
university degrees. "
Should I be happy I'm a science graduate? :)
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