Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gagging on Religion and Politics

January 20, 2007

There is some question whether concern for mankind is the prerogative of one side of the political spectrum or the other. Liberals have staked out this territory for generations, and lately have been branded as know-nothings and dangerous loonies by certain proponents of the Right, who lay claim to a deep and pervasive grip on not only Righteousness, but also religion and spiritual truth.

There are enormously popular blogs which expend a great deal of energy in espousing hatred and claiming that it is the other side which is doing so. There seems to be an intellectual snobbery on both sides, and each has its lunatic fringe which plays into the paranoid game. People who stumble onto such blogs get sucked into the discussion, thinking they will get a hearing; they are smacked down by the regular readers and commenters and accused of everything from stupidity to treason, and held in contempt by the all-powerful blogmeister.

The odd thing about these adversarial blogs is that they are addictive. Even those readers who seemingly learned their lesson by asking a question or two about a particular post and being vilified by the assembly (and the blogmeister himself) return time after time to get in on the fray. The seduction is mysterious, but it is very real indeed. The appeal is twofold – the seducer is the very brilliant if brittle mind of the writer (meister) himself. He is clever with words and absolutely astounding with ideas, some of which are so blatantly wrong and vicious that it is a marvel how they are couched in wit and a coating of religiosity that make them seem relatively benign if not actually enlightening.

The other side of the seduction lies in the nature of those seduced. They are vulnerable, seeking, sometimes needy souls who want to be led into the light and may have a certain amount of masochism. They feel that they are enduring the flagellation to some end which will result in a kind of wisdom and serenity, although there is certainly no indication that such is the province of the others who read and comment.

This particular blog, Finding Fair Hope, has touched on spirituality and the existence of God in several posts, but found no real pay dirt in the discussions that ensued. No one was convinced that the blogmeister here had any particularly direct line to the answers, although the posts profound in the eyes of the writer; since the need to proselytize was absent, and no proselytes appeared.

I think I’d better find something other than religion and politics to comment on. However, if you’d like to refresh your memory on what I did say, click here or type "A Cry in the Wilderness" in the "Search This Blog" box at the top of the blog.

And how about making a comment below? We could get a whole new thing going.


Bert Bananas said...

Even-Handed Hope, the fact that there are so many opinions on the various "important" topics is a given. But what about American Common Ground. If we define this as opinions shared by 95% of the populace, what are some of these opinions?

Is "America is a Country chosen by God to be a shining beacon on the mountain top" one?

Steve said...

"He is clever with words and absolutely astounding with ideas, some of which are so blatantly wrong and vicious that it is a marvel how they are couched in wit and a coating of religiosity that make them seem relatively benign if not actually enlightening."

I can't imagine whose blog you could have in mind. :-) It IS a "marvel," to be sure. I admit that I used to be sucked in to reading it every day and feeling my blood boil, and I even went on a mini-crusade to challenge the blogmeister and his minions on every dubious assertion they made about religion and politics. I was the resident gadfly for a longer time than anyone else has ever been there, or so the blogmeister himself told me in private. But I either burned out or wised up or a combination of the two, and now I read it only occasionally and never comment there. Sometimes I comment by private e-mail to the blogmeister and have had some interesting and congenial exchanges with him. Sometimes, I comment on my own blog.

But even though I'd like to think that I've outgrown my virtual obsession with that blog, I think it's still worth reading at times. It's just so brilliant and provocative that, if nothing else, it motivates me to clarify my own ideas and beliefs. For that reason, I'm grateful that the blog in question and others like it (although I'm aware of no others really like it) exist.

Anonymous said...

Add this to the list of things that might contain the truth you are looking for. Now the waters of spirituality are really getting murky.

Mary Lois said...

Gadzooks! There is more to all this than meets the eye...just as I always suspected.

However, you must have a lazy finger or something. I think your name used to be "Ollie Oaf!"

Anonymous said...

Some people don't know what they know, and it would be my guess that you, Miss FFH, fall into that category and thereby shortchange your readers on a regular basis. If we had more philosophical posts we would have more controversy and maybe things would come to life over here, as they do on with relentless regularity over on the blog you're referring to.

Now if you would just set yourself up as the all-knowing guru, throw in a modicum of false modesty, and then start laying for readers who suggest that you don't necessarily have all the right answers -- and then add a few party turns with puns and references to books nobody has ever heard of, you might build a following who'd jump in and comment and beg to be recognized as being in your league intellectually and spiritually.

Got that? Try it.

Anonymous said...

Whether he's an oaf or an oad, I just clicked on the blue word in his comment and found out they're reviving worship of the ancient gods of Greece! Maybe that would be easier than Yoga.

Bert Bananas said...

Tangerine, what gods aren't ancient?

Wouldn't it be cool to find a religion based on worshiping a god who just got his degree? He'd be just out of god school, he'd be the new, fresh god, with the latest in god theory and modern sensibilities; he (or she!) would have no baggage, no food hang ups, no rules carved in stone... We could get in on the ground floor!

Mary Lois said...

Hey bananas, instead of running for President why don't you just run for God and be done with it?

Bert Bananas said...

Even-handed Hope said, "Hey bananas, instead of running for President why don't you just run for God and be done with it?"

Ignoring the petty envy, I'll move on to the important part, the meat, as it were, of your incendiary comment: " for God and be done with it..."

Inherent in your pique is your assumption that becoming a god is "it," that there's no where for a god to go but down. I don't place such limits on god-dom. Why would you imagine that there aren't things gods strive for? I can see a foursome of gods playing a round of godlf (Godlf is HUGE ... there!) and talking about things they hope to one day accomplish. You know, like going on to God graduate school.