Tacitus, in describing the Romans…and it feels all too familiar. They have plundered the world, stripping naked the […]
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. ~ John Adams,
The social gospel, the belief that Church has the skills and obligation to ameliorate the moral deficiencies society, both real and imaginary, is not only a disorder of the liberal church today but of those that ostensibly identify as conservative evangelicals. But the real differences are largely circumstantial, rather than largely substantial. Both seem to be more concerned with a socio/political vision of the perfect society than with the person and work of Jesus; the great society rather than the great commission. This is where we’ve come to, where the differences between the liberals and conservatives in the church are ones of moral persuasion rather a commitment to a transcendent message.
The reduction of Christianity to a mere belief, to simple immanence, barren of the transcendent, leaves christians of any people or nation easy prey to the carnivorous nature of political ideology. And this disenchantment of creation also fundamentally changes the way in which christians conceive of and pray to, God himself. The supplication, adoration and worship that are the elements of prayer are cast off and replaced by a conversation. A conversation with, because of the loss of transcendence, a deity that is always near, always immanent. So near, in fact, so as to be indistinguishable from oneself; prayer does, in fact, become just a conversation with a voice in your head.
Without distinctions, without declarative and vigorously defended ideologies and traditions, there can be no diversity and by consequence, no dialogue either of the intramural sort or the kind one imagines should carry on between parties of diverse opinion and position in a society of intellectual rigor.
But those are things which matter little when your ears itch. You need it scratched and quickly.
Over and over again as a child, I can remember having been impressed upon me—what I now know to be quite delusional at worst and well intentioned at best—that we were founded as and continued to be a representative democracy.
Chris Hedges explains why we need whistle-blowers and what will happen without them.
D.G. Hart hits it spot on regarding the relative confusion and pathos that is the presence of the evangelicalism on the right and especially in the Republican party. Theocratic tendencies will always attempt to assert themselves in a vacuum of political sensibility and absence of a true, formal and active distinction between that which is Sacred and that which is Secular.
The difference between representation and personification is the difference between realism and artistic license.
The reproduction of events in visual and aural mediums denigrate the significance of the event if the pursuit a repristinated representation. If instead, personification is the goal, the accusation of historical distortion falls to pieces. Yet the critique remains, that the commodification of historical and artistic events and creations by capitalist ideology (more specifically, Neo-liberalism as it is understood and practiced today) and market constructs dehumanize the very members of the society and events that they are supposed to represent. It leaves a question in its wake as well. Can the self and the other be successfully de-commodified without exploding the free market system in its entirety?
The Internet is an odd edifice, sort of a public square that only exist insofar and as long as we will it. It isn’t real in the traditional sense, it doesn’t require presence, attendance and yet it remains there, somewhere in the ephemeral ether of caffeine and insomnia fueled consciousness. We log in and out, completely unaware that we are participating in the life, death, and rebirth of society, community and democracy itself. The internet is our Zen moment and the point at which our mortality strikes with all the same force that the dawning of the nuclear age struck our predecessors. Everything. Has. Changed.
In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else’s mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one’s own place and economy.
Look at the tyranny of party — at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty — a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes — and which turns voters into chattles, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction; and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master.
– “The Character of Man,” Mark Twain’s Autobiography
I dislike political ideologies, in fact they make me cringe. Whether it comes from the Left or The […]