Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fundamentalism - Any Way You Go It's A One Way Road Trip Down The Highway To Hell!

Ironic, isn't it, that the most vehement supporters of Imperial America's widespread military actions, often using the rationalization that that such actions are necessary in order to defend ourselves from the dangers of evil, fundamentalist Islam, are, in fact, themselves Christian Fundamentalists?

Wikipedia (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism) describes Fundamentalism as follows:

"Fundamentalism" describes a movement to return to what is considered the defining or founding principles of the religion. It has especially come to refer to any religious enclave that intentionally resists identification with the larger religious group in which it originally arose, on the basis that fundamental principles upon which the larger religious group is supposedly founded have become corrupt or displaced by alternative principles hostile to its identity.

This formation of a separate identity is deemed necessary on account of a perception that the religious community has surrendered its ability to define itself in religious terms. The "fundamentals" of the religion have been jettisoned by neglect, lost through compromise and inattention, so that the general religious community's explanation of itself appears to the separatist to be in terms that are completely alien and fundamentally hostile to the religion itself. Fundamentalist movements are therefore founded upon the same religious principles as the larger group, but the fundamentalists more self-consciously attempt to build an entire approach to the modern world based on strict fidelity to those principles, to preserve a distinctness both of doctrine and of life.

Fundamentalism is therefore a movement through which the adherents attempt to rescue religious identity from absorption into modern culture, where this absorption appears to the enclave to have made irreversible progress in the wider religious community, necessitating the assertion of a separate identity based upon the fundamental or founding principles of the religion.

Fundamentalists believe their cause to have grave and even cosmic importance. They see themselves as protecting not only a distinctive doctrine, but also a vital principle, and a way of life and of salvation. Community, comprehensively centered upon a clearly defined religious way of life in all of its aspects, is the promise of fundamentalist movements, and it therefore appeals to those adherents of religion who find little that is distinctive, or authentically vital in their previous religious identity.

The fundamentalist "wall of virtue", which protects their identity, is erected against not only alien religions, but also against the modernized, compromised, nominal version of their own religion. In Christianity, fundamentalists are "Born again" and "Bible-believing" Protestants, as opposed to "Mainline", "liberal", "modernist" Protestants, who represent "Churchianity"; in Islam they are jama'at (Arabic: (religious) enclaves with connotations of close fellowship) self-consciously engaged in jihad (struggle) against Western culture that suppresses authentic Islam (submission) and the God-given (Shari'ah) way of life; in Judaism they are Haredi "Torah-true" Jews; and they have their equivalents in Hinduism and other world religions. These groups insist on a sharp boundary between themselves and the faithful adherents of other religions, and finally between a "sacred" view of life and the "secular" world and "nominal religion". Fundamentalists direct their critiques toward and draw most of their converts from the larger community of their religion, by attempting to convince them that they are not experiencing the authentic version of their professed religion.

For religious fundamentalists, sacred scripture is considered the authentic, and literal word of God. Fundamentalist beliefs depend on the twin doctrines that God articulated his will precisely to prophets, and that followers also have a reliable and perfect record of that revelation. Since Scripture is considered the word of God, fundamentalists believe that no person has the right to change it or disagree with it. As a result, people are "obliged" to obey the word of God. The appeal of this point of view is its simplicity: people must do what God tells them to do. END

So, in a geo-political atmosphere, such as we have today, in which the governments of nations are directly (i.e, Iran, etc.) or indirectly (i.e. the United States! I highly recommend Kevin Phillip's fine book, "American Theocracy", for more on that subject) controlled by religious fundamentalists, whose attitude towards those holding differing views is "my way or the highway", is it any wonder that the world is on a collision course for disaster?!? Of course, not! Especailly given the fact that there are multiple large, strong, groups that hold diametrically opposing views! Now being merely intolerant, on a personal level, of others' opposing views might be stupid and counterproductive, but it's not necessarily that dangerous to the world at large. Taking actions, however, to impose their beliefs on everybody else throughout the world via the control of various nations is another matter entirely and is, quite possibly, the greatest threat to the future survival of humanity! Even more of a threat than global warming, over population, or disease and so on.

And the real threat revealed by this analysis of the philosophies of religious fundamentalism and their impact on the actions of many present day governments is only exacerbated by the fact that you have unethical scumbags (as oppossed to well-meaning, but, perhaps, merely misguided "men of God") leading the charge for their forces worldwide!

The murderous and hypocritical actions of Osama and Co. are well documented and I carry no water for them. That all being stated, I'm an American and I can only do so much about them. I'm sure, however, many people (in fact, sadly, a much larger number than I would hope) would be surprised to learn that many of the trusted, respected leaders of their Churches, their "men of God" are just as dispicable as Osama and just as unworthy of being followed/supported.

Take Pat Robertson, as just one example. Yeah, everybody knows about all the whack comments he's made over the years (and his words should surely be both stupid and ugly enough to undermine his credibility and fitness to lead as a "Holy Man"), but his actions are twice as disgusting and dangerous.

For example, from The Nation (at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050919/blumenthal), we get the following:

Far from the media's gaze, Robertson has used the tax-exempt, nonprofit Operation Blessing as a front for his shadowy financial schemes, while exerting his influence within the GOP to cover his tracks. In 1994 he made an emotional plea on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from the Rwandan civil war to Zaire (now Congo). Reporter Bill Sizemore of The Virginian Pilot later discovered that Operation Blessing's planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a Robertson-owned venture initiated with the cooperation of Zaire's then-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

After a lengthy investigation, Virginia's Office of Consumer Affairs determined that Robertson "willfully induced contributions from the public through the use of misleading statements and other implications." Yet when the office called for legal action against Robertson in 1999, Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, a Republican, intervened with his own report, agreeing that Robertson had made deceptive appeals but overruling the recommendation for his prosecution. Two years earlier, while Virginia's investigation was gathering steam, Robertson donated $35,000 to Earley's campaign--Earley's largest contribution. With Earley's report came a sense of vindication. "From the very beginning," Robertson claimed, "we were trying to provide help and assistance to those who were facing disease and death in the war-torn, chaotic nation of Zaire."

(Earley is now president of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an evangelical social-work organization founded by born-again, former Nixon dirty-trickster Charles Colson. PFM has accepted White House faith-based-initiative money and is currently engaged in hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana. Earley remains a close ally of Robertson.)

Absolved of his sins, Robertson dug his heels back in African soil. In 1999 he signed an $8 million agreement with Liberian tyrant Charles Taylor that guaranteed Robertson's Freedom Gold Ltd.--an offshore company registered to the same address as his Christian Broadcasting Network--mining rights in Liberia, and gave Taylor a 10 percent stake in the company. When the United States intervened in Liberia in 2003, forcing Taylor and the Al Qaeda operatives he was harboring to flee, Robertson accused President Bush of "undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country." END

And you wonder why, so many people, like myself, reject all forms of organized religion (forgetting about, for the moment, all the philosophical/logical inconsistencies inherant in all religious systems of belief; I refer you to http://www.ravingatheist.com for lots more resources on that topic!) - because people do not want small minded, regresssive groups led by immoral scumbags to impose their definition of "morality" on America (and, by extension via foreign policy, the world!) through legislation, and use the government (and taxpayer money) to further their religious agendas!

Yep, whether you live in America or the Middle East (or anywhere else for that matter - in today's world, do you really think you can escape the fall out if you live in Australia or some other remote place? Ha!), whether you're Christian, Muslim, or Jew (or Hindu or Buddist, etc.), the facts are clear that with Fundamentalism - Any Way You Go It's A One Way Road Trip Down The Highway To Hell! These religious fundamentalists, of all stripes, must be stopped in their tracks now, before they destroy the entire planet!

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