Reply to post: Re: I hope you include all religions there

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Re: I hope you include all religions there

@Trevor Potts:

Three points:

First: Like the originator of this thread (I hope you include . . .) I sense that there is a specific personal experience underlying your response. That's not said to invalidate any of your points, many of which I agree with.

What I question, specifically, is your general assertion that all religions are obsessed with getting their hands on everyone's personally identifiable information. (I recognize that there are, within specific religions and sects, the proclivities you cite to admonish, correct, condemn and shun any who do adhere strictly to a specific set of doctrinal beliefs or ritual expressions of faith. I am also aware that of at least one religion obsessed with gathering the particulars of prior generations and relatives, gathering them like the burial treasures of the Egyptian Pharos to achieve personal "godhood." But in my experience these are the exception, not the norm.)

Second, while the personality traits implicit in your discussion are most visible (and annoying) amongst religious groups, they are by no means exclusive to them. You are describing an authoritarian "follower" mindset. Simplistically, authoritarians accept belief in an external authority as the basis for unquestionable truth, to the exclusion of logic or proofs to the contrary. For this personality type, as your post describes extremely well, belief is tantamount to proof.

Religious beliefs are arguably the easiest targets to hit. But the same personality type can seize on any authority. . . a book, a person, a group. This personality type is equally represented in Anabaptists and atheists alike. (My atheist colleagues quote Dawkins's "No Skyhooks" with all the passion of a Christian fundamentalist quoting Revelations--and with no more thought.)

This is anything but a one dimensional problem. As outlined by the Toffler's what one believes is essentially irrelevant to the "True Believer." They will believe anything, as long as they have an external authority to absolve them of personal responsibility. Again, not to take issue with Mr. Pott's points, per se. Just to observe that, as @Denarius points out, this is only part of a larger picture.

And, while the example is a cliche', the Nazi regime illustrated what can happen when an authoritarian leader succeeds in blending elements of religion, science, state authority and personality.

Third, for transparency, I am a confessed Christian. Granted I am a Christian of the flavor that have traditionally been burnt at the stake by other Christians. I'm essentially Wesleyan by nature. My faith is informed by scripture, tradition, experience and reason. I am fundamentally (pun intended) profoundly agnostic. Belief and knowledge are very different things. I am fairly typical of other Christians I encounter on a daily basis. I firmly believe that this same mindset is widely reflected in believers from other traditions.

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