Monday, August 21, 2006


Brilliant post on CatBlog - Sunday thoughts
The problem is not Christianity.
The problem is Fundamentalism.

It doesn't matter what religious (or political, or philosophical) belief you hold - if you claim that your belief is The Only Truth and that all those who disagree are not just Wrong, but Evil... then you are part of the problem.

It doesn't matter if you are on the Right or the Left, if you are Christian, Moslem, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, Scientific Materialist Atheist or something you made up for yourself... if your belief is True and all others False, then you are part of the problem.

If you can genuinely talk with those who believe differently to you and compare notes on the Universe - and actually listen to and learn from the points on which you differ - then you are not part of the problem.

If you are willing to change your beliefs on the basis of life experience or finding wisdom from the minds of others, then you are not part of the problem.

If you hold compassion for all people, regardless of how much they do not resemble you, you are not part of the problem.

Yes, that includes compassion for the Fundamentalists.

For all that their attitudes scare and horrify us, they are humans too - with the same potential for change and growth. It is hard to reach them through the armour of their hardened belief and their fear and hatred of the Different - but that should never stop us trying.

To see them as a single Enemy is to fall into the same trap they are in.
I couldn't have put it better. Hooray for the rainbow of possibilities and the multiplicity of truths!


Starfisher said...

It's good, but it doesn't take into account those people who believe that theirs is the One and Only Truth but are still willing to listen to other people with respect. They do exist, I met one. I think the main points are RESPECT and TOLERANCE; after all, we are all dogmatic about something! (E.g. I am opposed to racism, dogmatically so in that I am close-minded to any counter-argumenting of the racists)

Yvonne said...

Good point, but I think the difference is, that you are (quite rightly) dogmatically opposed to racism (and so am I), but it is possible to feel sorry for racists because they live in such narrow and tiny minds.

I think that Christianity as a system is the wrong religion for me, but I support the right of other people to believe in it (as long as they don't try to impose it on others).

emile said...

Re religions imposing their doctrines on others. The three western religions of christianity, islam and judaism all believe in a God who is split off from nature, a supra-natural god who is responsible for masculinely, assertively, paternalistically creating the world and its constituents, except that he has given man ‘free will’ so that HE is not responsible for evil acts, man is responsible for those, even though God 'made the game of life'.

this ‘split’ of the doer (God, the ultimate male asserting force) and nature (The Living Space, the female hostspace that accommodates God-driven asserting) sets up a ‘paternalism’ that is the basis of ‘western democracy’ with its central paternalist control hierarchies.

Natural self-organization, wherein ‘we who assert’ attune to ‘we who accommodate’ (the self-same 'we') and seek to sustain inner-outer balance with ourselves (the way that both ecosystems and pioneer community evolves) is over-ruled by this imposed paternalism.

i believe in the natural primacy of natural self-organization where male and female (asserting and accommodating) are seen as a dynamical One-ness; i.e. where the asserting is actualized and shaped by attunement and sustained inner-outer harmony with the accommodating backpressure of the dynamical hostspace. meanwhile, i live within a world-dominating western system based on the absolutist concept of ‘property’ (sovereign-owned property that is the basis of the ‘nation’ aka ‘western democracy’, whose imaginary line boundaries that delineate an abstract closed-form 'object' (on an unbounded natural landscape) are what gives authority to the ‘central governing authority’ of the nation.

the western nation, as the north-american natives have long been complaining, is an imaginary kingdom, the belief in which is perpetuated by violence. that is, ... the members of this property-co-ownership club, in exchange for co-owning membership, commit to bearing arms and giving their lives, if necessary, to perpetuate belief in the existence of the imaginary bounding-line defined ‘nation-state’. nations like ‘canada’ and ‘the united states’ are simply artefacts of the way in which euro-americans steeped in western religious doctrine fought over and divided up what they stole. the only reality in an imaginary line nation-boundary is the reality that someone will beat you about the head if you don’t give deference to it, and by this process, violence is used to make believers out of people in the ‘existence’ of the imaginary-lined-bounded ‘kingdom’ with their necessary ‘central governing authority’.

the unnatural supremacy (over natural-self-organization) of the central governing authority is ‘necessary’ because western religious doctrine have their followers believing that the world dynamic is positivist-masculine-assertive, that things happen because ‘we make them happen’ and that our dynamical hostspace is ‘nothing’ (everything that matters is invested in ‘things’ that ‘do stuff’. the most performant individual/nation is most like God; i.e. we are not 'racist', we respect those who are as performant or more performant than ourselves and disrespect those [races] who are not.). so in order to ‘make the right stuff happen’, we put into unnatural primacy, the central governing authorities of the imaginary kingdoms known as ‘western democratic nation-states’ and we continue to deny the natural primacy of self-organization where male and female, asserting agent and accommodating hostspace are a dynamical One-ness, ... as can be gleaned from early christian gnostic writings and even from the new testament of the bible e.g. Galatians III, 28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Jesus Christ.”

i never was given the chance to agree or not to agree to give up or subordinate my NATURAL freedom to a central control hierarchy where i am compelled by law backed by police and military, to be submissive to the dictates of some politician whose purportedly ‘god-blessed’ decisions he imposes on me against my will. this is not my idea of ‘community’ and it was certainly not the idea of community of naturally free peoples before this fundamentalist notion of ‘imaginary-line-bounded property’ came along, the ultimate of which was ‘nature’ made over into ‘property’ by the imaginary-line-boundary that resulted from religious minds splitting God out of Nature, ... splitting the male out of the female (i.e. ‘male’ and ‘female’ in our natural life experience are dynamical forms of organization within a common dynamical hostspace).

so, my view is that western religions ARE imposing their doctrines on others through putting into an unnatural precedence over natural self-organization of community, organization of community by way of the god-blessed paternalist central authorities of imaginary-line-bounded ‘democratic nation-states’, a fundamentalist invention founded on violence that has fragmented the unbounded hostspace of the natural world, and furthermore amassed police and military and justice systems to protect the radically UNNATURAL right of this fragmented multiplicity who share a common unbounded natural hostspace, to independently pursue their self-interests including the amassing of owned property/resources on both an individual person and individual nation-state level.

i'd call that a rather major 'imposing'.

Yvonne said...

my view is that western religions ARE imposing their doctrines on others through putting into an unnatural precedence over natural self-organization of community...

Hi Emile, yes I agree, but the organisational structures of the western religions are largely fundamentalist according to Cat's definition; they do not admit of other visions or an accommodating host-space. However, mystics (who often try to exist within the religious paradigm of their culture, however painful it may be for them) have always been aware that something was missing from the world-view of the major religions, and moved beyond that paradigm to one that is closer to what you are saying above. (I'm thinking of the Sufis, Jakob Boehme, Hildegard of Bingen, etc.)

Yvonne said...

Isn't all this the classic liberal dilemma - we all want to live and let live, but what are you supposed to think about people who don't want to live and let live?

Perhaps Starhawk had the right idea in The Fifth Sacred Thing: "There is a place set for you at our table."