Friday, March 13, 2009

Are we surrounded yet?

A summary of the recently released American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). Americans are becoming less religious. Christians & other kinds of "believers" are declining as a percentage of the population even as certain kinds of believers grow in number.

Gary Laderman at Religion Dispatches suggests another way of looking at religion:
What if there were more to religious life in America than belief in God? More holy possibilities than those outlined in the so-called “Great Religions of the Book”—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—or other sacred texts like the Upanishads in Hinduism or the Tibetan Book of the Dead in Buddhism?

What if religion is better understood as a ubiquitous feature of cultural life, expressed through and inspired by basic, universal facts of life and fundamentally biological phenomena in human experience: suffering and ecstasy, reproduction and aging, family and conflict, health and death.

To get here, the question must change, from “Do you believe in God?” or “What is your religious affiliation?” to something like, “What is most sacred in your life?”
Today is We Surround Them day, an invention of right wing media creep Glen Beck, & endorsed by camp icon Chuck Norris. Look at the first four of twelve "principles" Glenn lists:
1. America is good
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Note the order. This is Beck's 's hierarchy of the sacred. No surprises there. Nations invent the forms of religion that award sacred primacy to the nation. #3 seems to have wandered in from the Boy Scouts. #4 is quite strange. If government is not the ultimate authority, why is America #1 (it exists,. strictly speaking, as a political institution), & what authority does God have? & what happens when "spouse & I" cannot reach a consensus? Who is the ultimate authority then?

The whole We Surround Them thing is stinking shit anyway. What frightens these people so much that they are more threatened now than under the inept, corrupt, deceitful Cheney/Bush adminstration? Despite our economic woes & two wars, a large majority of Americans feel better about the nation, the government, & our prospects. What American does not believe that our ideals are basically good? Since when is religious belief a requirement for good citizenship? To claim parental authority is "ultimate" (ultimate is a strong word) is a rationale for the abuse of children.

Grr. I began this post intending to write about the sacred & the profane being two sides of the same coin, & how the arts - even religious-themed art - show us this.

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?