Saturday, July 03, 2010

Non-"religious” beliefs can be problematic

Myths of Austerity By PAUL KRUGMAN July 1, 2010
When I was young and naïve, I believed that important people took positions based on careful consideration of the options. Now I know better. Much of what Serious People believe rests on prejudices, not analysis. And these prejudices are subject to fads and fashions.

 The Semiotics of “Dude” from Larval Subjects 
Masculine debates are always difficult to end because, insofar as masculinity is always a semblance, masquerade, or semblance of being, concession is incredibly difficult because it reveals the "$" that lies behind any masculine identity and its will to mastery or S1.  

Religion and belief from An und für sich by Adam Kotsko
Over the last few days, I’ve been involved in a discussion of religion at Unfogged, where I tried to argue that religion isn’t primarily a matter of believing propositions. It went relatively well compared to previous attempts — presumably the experience of teaching has mellowed me out somewhat — but there always comes a point where one begins to ask, “Why am I putting so much effort into convincing someone who obviously won’t be convinced?” Reflecting with Brad on this, and starting from the premise that the purpose of such debates is usually not to convince the individual person you’re arguing with but for the benefit of the bystanders, I concluded that my goals in such conversations are as follows:
  1. To break the hegemony of fundamentalism over the concept of “religion.” When people think that religion means believing stupid things, they are usually thinking of fundamentalist Christians as their model of religious people. Jews and Catholics are ignored, and liberal Christians are dismissed as a bizarre contradiction. Obviously this is simply inaccurate — it winds up basically slandering all religious people by assimilating them to the worst kind, and this then has the effect of making the debate much more heated and defensive than it needs to be.
  2. To move toward a more general critique of ideology, in which “religious” ideologies would not be uniquely problematic. This is the ultimate payoff, besides simple accuracy, of putting forth a practice-centric definition of religion (in which “struggling with one’s faith” would be an evangelical Christian religious practice, for example). The primary emotional charge for people who dislike fundamentalism isn’t so much their beliefs, but what their beliefs make them do. Once we start talking about beliefs as a structuing principle for practices or a rationalization for practices, it becomes clear that non-"religious” beliefs can be just as problematic, if not more so. 
Spirituality does not mean rejection of worldly life In the Indian tradition the spiritual value is given supreme importance. But while trying to understand the Indian concept of spirituality, it should be borne in mind that the spiritual value, as projected by seers, is integral and holistic, incorporating within itself the material, moral and cultural values. The holistic meaning of spirituality is prevalent right from the Vedic-Upanishadic time; in the modern age Sri Aurobindo is the champion protagonist of the all-inclusive and all-assimilative character of the spiritual consciousness. The spiritual should not be understood in isolation from the material and socio-cultural life. Centre for spiritualism and human enrichment- Human Values Excel At SMS Press Release Submitted by Mohammad Zohair on 07/03/2010 from IN Varanasi

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