Author Topic: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?  (Read 329 times)

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Offline flapdoodle64

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Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« on: July 24, 2014, 03:54:05 PM »
A lot of nice liberal theists I know like to talk about separation of church and state, which admittedly sounds like a good idea, but I think it is really an ahistoric concept for the most part.

Ancient kings and queens tended to base their authority on being either an incarnate god, or being appointed by a god. 

Yahweh, the ancient Hebrew god, ordered his followers to make war, conquer and enslave other tribes, and to destroy all vestiges of the other gods. The ancient Hebrew kings ruled at the pleasure of Yahweh.

After Yahweh converted to Christianity, the Roman emperor converted as well, and Christianity became the state religion of Rome.  Until modern times, virtually all European kings and queens were installed to their posts by representatives of the church, and they regularly obtained permission of the pope before going off to slaughter other children of god in wars.

USA is supposedly a nation with a separation of church and state, yet churches are powerful political forces, coercing the federal government to give them special tax-exempt status, and causing Congress to make 'In God We Trust' the official US Motto.  Churches were rallying places for many political movements in the USA, such as the Abolitionists and the Civil Rights activists. While the US govt. is allegedly religion-neutral, religious leaders push their followers to vote certain ways, donate funds to certain candidates, and to hold demonstrations and other political activities.  Many religious groups have more real political clout in the USA than, say, the Green Party or the Socialist Party.

Israel is a nation founded on the idea that Yahweh specifically gave a portion of the Middle East to the Hebrews, and that Yahweh's gift supercedes the human rights and property rights of the people who had lived in the region the last thousand years. Certainly the widely held belief of Zionism is a strong force in the world now.

More examples could be cited, but the dead horse has been sufficiently flogged, I think.

But if religion is politics by another name, there is one slight difference. In most nations, a person is expected to take personal responsibility for his politics.  Politics is supposed to be a choice, and if a person's political party is responsible for calamities and mischief, then the individuals also bear the shame.  Moreover, politics can be debated in many forums. 

But religion, not so. Most of  religious persons are the same denomination as their parents.  And most of religious persons refuse to take responsibility for the crimes of their own religion. And just try to critique a person's religion they same way you might critique the Green or Socialist party!

So religion is just politics, except with no responsibility or accountability, and a kind of politics that causes people to become irate and offended if it is criticized in the slightest.

Offline Jontom10

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 04:28:01 PM »
Good analogy

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2014, 12:40:28 PM »
I think that religious power and economic structures can certainly become political, and have. In the US, mainstream Christianity has become almost indistinguishable from Republican Conservatism, also known as "nationalism".

But I don't think that religious edicts are political at all. the Nicene Creed, for example, contains no politics, nor do any of the creeds.

Unfortunately, cherry picking and distorting religious dogmas and edicts to where you're perfectly okay with the slaughter of foreign, brown people who wear the funny hats and talk all "Ae-Rab", but not with prophylactics is a pretty easy feat, all it takes is a little nationalism, false patriotism, racism and propaganda. but I digress.... Oh wait, no I didn't digress, that's the whole point. 

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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2014, 01:21:32 PM »
I think religion was the first form of politics.

Politics today isn't really all that different from religion. Modern politicians, like ancient agrarian religious leaders, still blame man for bad weather i.e., they try to convince us to change our behavior and give our monies to them so they can fix the problem for us.

If they can't convince us...they just take our monies anyway.

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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 01:23:49 PM »
I think that religious power and economic structures can certainly become political, and have. In the US, mainstream Christianity has become almost indistinguishable from Republican Conservatism, also known as "nationalism".

But I don't think that religious edicts are political at all. the Nicene Creed, for example, contains no politics, nor do any of the creeds.

Unfortunately, cherry picking and distorting religious dogmas and edicts to where you're perfectly okay with the slaughter of foreign, brown people who wear the funny hats and talk all "Ae-Rab", but not with prophylactics is a pretty easy feat, all it takes is a little nationalism, false patriotism, racism and propaganda. but I digress.... Oh wait, no I didn't digress, that's the whole point.

The Bible has political statements against other nations.   Lot for example, was the "best of" another nation, and he was a coward who offered his daughters up for a rape gang and then later had babies with them, those babies went on to "found" two nations of Israel's enemies.

But the statement above isn't true for Americans today.

Mid-Western Evangelical Christians are definitely overwhelmingly Republican but...

...Black & Latino Baptist and Catholic churches... are overwhelmingly Democrat.

Very devout black Christians back the Democratic party in spite of any views about abortion. But guys like Rev Jesse Jackson aren't any more sane than Jerry Falwell.  Blue Collar Union Democrats are largely catholic too, and religious but not in favor of evangelical Christians.

Since god is imaginary, the Bible can be twisted around to serve politicians on either side.

All presidents claim to be believers but it's likely that many are not, and simply say what they have to say to get America to trust them... can't trust people like you or me... right atheists?  Lol.
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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2014, 02:34:56 PM »


Mid-Western Evangelical Christians are definitely overwhelmingly Republican but...

...Black & Latino Baptist and Catholic churches... are overwhelmingly Democrat.

Very devout black Christians back the Democratic party in spite of any views about abortion. But guys like Rev Jesse Jackson aren't any more sane than Jerry Falwell.  Blue Collar Union Democrats are largely catholic too, and religious but not in favor of evangelical Christians.

Since god is imaginary, the Bible can be twisted around to serve politicians on either side.

All presidents claim to be believers but it's likely that many are not, and simply say what they have to say to get America to trust them... can't trust people like you or me... right atheists?  Lol.

The fact that certain denominations or subgroups within denominations will tend to vote Dem or Repub respectively supports the idea that religion is really just a form of politics. 

Of course, the discussion is complicated in the case of the USA, where the Repubs and Dems feign an adversarial relationship, and engage in Pro-Wrestling type 'battles' over certain issues, but in fact are complicit regarding the biggest issues, such as militarism, imperialism, corporatism, and transferring wealth from workers and poor people to the rich. 

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2014, 02:48:50 PM »
You have that the other way around. Politics is religion by a different name (for some).
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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2014, 02:57:32 PM »
I think religion was the first form of politics.

Succinct.

I still think religion is political, though most religious people are simply not conscious of it.

The whole notion of trying to make homosexuality illegal or to restrict the rights of gay people is a classic example religion exerting force on the government of the USA. As late as the 1980's, SCOTUS said that simply being gay was illegal and only in the last year or so have the prohibitions against marriage started to fall.

The Hobby Lobby ruling is another example..a majority of theists on the Supreme court means that theists get to impose their will on others.

An organization whose goals are to affect the behavior of government is a political organization. Green Peace conducts many activities but it is also a political organization. Churches have many activities but I wager that in the USA, most are political, although some might be more subtle. 

The allegedly humble faux-liberal Pope Francis, campaigning against equal rights for gays in Argentina in 2010, made this political statement:

Quote
“The bill will be discussed in the Senate after July 13. Look at San Jose, Maria, Child and ask them [to] fervently defend Argentina’s family at this time. [Be reminded] what God told his people in a time of great anguish: ‘This war is not yours but God’s.’ May they succor, defend and join God in this war.”

With Christianity and Islam (I don't know about Judaism), there is a recurrent theme that if people pick the wrong brand of monotheism they can go to hell, even children. People who strongly believe this must live in a constant state of crisis, in that there are innocent children who will needlessly suffer eternal damnation if the proper religious brainwashing environment is not maintained within a society. When the stakes are that high, it stands to reason that some people will be politically active. Even those who are not directly active will still provide resources to support the organization itself (the church), they way certain political party workers don't do actual canvassing but nonetheless will give sandwiches and donuts to the door-to-door volunteers.

Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 02:01:01 AM »
The Bible has political statements against other nations.   Lot for example, was the "best of" another nation, and he was a coward who offered his daughters up for a rape gang and then later had babies with them, those babies went on to "found" two nations of Israel's enemies.

Wait, where was the political statement in any of that?

But the statement above isn't true for Americans today.

Mid-Western Evangelical Christians are definitely overwhelmingly Republican but...

...Black & Latino Baptist and Catholic churches... are overwhelmingly Democrat.

Very devout black Christians back the Democratic party in spite of any views about abortion. But guys like Rev Jesse Jackson aren't any more sane than Jerry Falwell.  Blue Collar Union Democrats are largely catholic too, and religious but not in favor of evangelical Christians.

There is an important distinction between those groups. The blue collar union democrats happen to (tend to) be catholic, this is as incidental as their happening to be sports fans. And the left wing groups you mentioned hold their political views in light of their religious views. I'm sorry, but I just have to say it: the same is not true of their conservative counterparts. They hold their religious views in light of their political views. It's actually the opposite of the OP. In every case that I can think of where politics and religion have become indistinguishable, nationalism is the key ingredient, not religious faith.

Since god is imaginary, the Bible can be twisted around to serve politicians on either side.

??????

So if God wasn't imaginary the bible couldn't be twisted around to serve politicians? what does the proposed imaginariness of God have to do with the fact that people cherry pick and manipulate hoy writ? 

All presidents claim to be believers but it's likely that many are not, and simply say what they have to say to get America to trust them... can't trust people like you or me... right atheists?  Lol.

Well, I'm not an Atheist but I would sure as shit rather have one as president, at least they'd govern according to what's best for everyone and not according to their subjective religious "feelings".
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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 09:37:36 PM »
You have that the other way around. Politics is religion by a different name (for some).

I agree with this.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2014, 06:21:00 PM »
I am certain that many people have an irrational belief in the virtue of their own political party, so in that way, politics could be considered like a religion. 

But actually, it supports my initial thesis. 

If many (most?) politics is irrational, emotional, tribalistic stuff, then politics is like religion.  But since religion appears so early in human history, it seems more logical that religion is the first form of human politics...at least the first politics to extend beyond just small family units. 

I grew up in a 'moderate' theist house...we were liberal Lutherans.  But even 'liberal' Lutherans sent missionaries to foreign countries like Malaysia...what were those missionaries doing but meddling in other cultures, infecting them with foreign ideas? That seems political to me.

And the so-called 'charity' stuff done within the USA...isn't that an attempt to influence the hearts and minds of large numbers of people? Pretty easy for that to become political.

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2014, 01:39:25 PM »
It may very well may have been.  Although I don't think religion is by nature political.  And teaching someone a new idea and forcing that idea on them through rule of law are two different things.

Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2014, 02:30:35 PM »
The Bible has political statements against other nations.   Lot for example, was the "best of" another nation, and he was a coward who offered his daughters up for a rape gang and then later had babies with them, those babies went on to "found" two nations of Israel's enemies.

Wait, where was the political statement in any of that?

But the statement above isn't true for Americans today.

Mid-Western Evangelical Christians are definitely overwhelmingly Republican but...

...Black & Latino Baptist and Catholic churches... are overwhelmingly Democrat.

Very devout black Christians back the Democratic party in spite of any views about abortion. But guys like Rev Jesse Jackson aren't any more sane than Jerry Falwell.  Blue Collar Union Democrats are largely catholic too, and religious but not in favor of evangelical Christians.

There is an important distinction between those groups. The blue collar union democrats happen to (tend to) be catholic, this is as incidental as their happening to be sports fans. And the left wing groups you mentioned hold their political views in light of their religious views. I'm sorry, but I just have to say it: the same is not true of their conservative counterparts. They hold their religious views in light of their political views. It's actually the opposite of the OP. In every case that I can think of where politics and religion have become indistinguishable, nationalism is the key ingredient, not religious faith.

Since god is imaginary, the Bible can be twisted around to serve politicians on either side.

??????

So if God wasn't imaginary the bible couldn't be twisted around to serve politicians? what does the proposed imaginariness of God have to do with the fact that people cherry pick and manipulate hoy writ? 

All presidents claim to be believers but it's likely that many are not, and simply say what they have to say to get America to trust them... can't trust people like you or me... right atheists?  Lol.

Well, I'm not an Atheist but I would sure as shit rather have one as president, at least they'd govern according to what's best for everyone and not according to their subjective religious "feelings".

Going to try to go through your points.

Question 1:
The political statement in the story of Lot having incest with his daughters is that Israel teaches this as the foundation of two competing tribes.

It'd be like Republicans saying that Democrats and Communists were founded by children of incest.

Quote
The consequences of sin

As a result of Lot's daughters becoming pregnant by him, they delivered what would become two of the greatest adversaries of Israel, the Ammorites and Moabites.

http://makingchristknown.com/daily-verse/genesis/daughters-of-lot.htm

You don't really believe that this story happened right?   So, therefore, it's a "tall tale" like a political cartoon putting down the Ammorites and Moabites.  Does that make sense?   i.e.   The Ammorites and Moabites came from a guy who offered his daughters up for rape out of the worst society ever, and then the daughters slept with their dad, and, that's how these rival tribes came to be.

Point #2
I think the religious right is manipulated to vote a certain way by religious leaders and same with the religious left.  Black Baptist pastors might focus less on pro-life messages and more on "Jesus cared for the poor" messages to sway votes towards Democrats.   I'm not saying they're right or wrong.   I'm registered independent and not a huge fan of either party.

I think you're right that there's a difference in the way the two groups carry their religion.   But the way both groups carry religion is hypocritical... the divorce rate is high in both... porn rate high in both... teen pregnancy high in both...  they are "strong in their faith" when it comes to things that help them or that they don't have a problem with.   But it is different.

Point #3
Quote
So if God wasn't imaginary the bible couldn't be twisted around to serve politicians? what does the proposed imaginariness of God have to do with the fact that people cherry pick and manipulate hoy writ? 

I mean that god never speaks up.   People who claim that god speaks to them seem to get personal, contradictory messages.   The Bible is highly contradictory.

Sure, people can twist true things around to serve themselves... but, it's a little harder to do that against something that's overwhelmingly true.   When we had the great recession in 2008... no politician could easily say that things were great economically, and get away with it.   When we're sending troops to war, no politician can get away with saying we are NOT sending troops to war.   If a politician is pro-choice or pro-life... it's easy to prove after a few votes on the topic.

But churches can make claims for "how god feels" in promoting a political candidate for which to vote.

Some churches say that god wants his people to vote Democrat.  Some churches say that god wants his people to vote Republican.   It can't easily be disputed IF you have faith because the word of god is so contradictory and all over the place.   The reason it's such a mess is that god never speaks for himself, and the reason for that is because god is imaginary.

Point #4

I'd likely prefer an atheist president too, though, there are some atheists who are as gung ho about their causes as theists.  Maybe a vegan atheist would desperately want to make it illegal to eat meat.  They've seen how badly the animals going to meat factories are mistreated and can't live with it, so they're "all-in" on that cause.   Or maybe a feminist atheist strongly feels that men are the weaker sex because our maturity develops slower and the simple act of sex itself is like rape.  (there are people who think this)

Atheists may be reasonable about the lack of a god, but it's no guarantee that they're logical and reasonable about other things.

I do think someone who thinks like Sam Harris or Matt Dillahunty or James Randi, a skeptical, critical thinker, might make careful and thoughtful decisions as a national leader.

I don't really care if a leader is religious as long as they keep it split off from decision making.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2014, 02:32:24 PM by YRM_DM »
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Offline viperslayer

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2014, 12:30:26 AM »
Rulers of the ancient world used the terms such as God incarnate and a living God because they knew that they would not be questioned and among the lower classes, all they knew was religion of the various sorts, so in essence it was expedient and quite clever. Which is why now a day, leaders don't throw around words and phrases such as that because people are more educated on average and think someone is crazy if they say they are a God or have the authority to rule because of God.
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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2014, 02:40:07 AM »
A lot of nice liberal theists I know like to talk about separation of church and state, which admittedly sounds like a good idea, but I think it is really an ahistoric concept for the most part.

Ancient kings and queens tended to base their authority on being either an incarnate god, or being appointed by a god. 

Yahweh, the ancient Hebrew god, ordered his followers to make war, conquer and enslave other tribes, and to destroy all vestiges of the other gods. The ancient Hebrew kings ruled at the pleasure of Yahweh.

After Yahweh converted to Christianity, the Roman emperor converted as well, and Christianity became the state religion of Rome.  Until modern times, virtually all European kings and queens were installed to their posts by representatives of the church, and they regularly obtained permission of the pope before going off to slaughter other children of god in wars.

USA is supposedly a nation with a separation of church and state, yet churches are powerful political forces, coercing the federal government to give them special tax-exempt status, and causing Congress to make 'In God We Trust' the official US Motto.  Churches were rallying places for many political movements in the USA, such as the Abolitionists and the Civil Rights activists. While the US govt. is allegedly religion-neutral, religious leaders push their followers to vote certain ways, donate funds to certain candidates, and to hold demonstrations and other political activities.  Many religious groups have more real political clout in the USA than, say, the Green Party or the Socialist Party.

Israel is a nation founded on the idea that Yahweh specifically gave a portion of the Middle East to the Hebrews, and that Yahweh's gift supercedes the human rights and property rights of the people who had lived in the region the last thousand years. Certainly the widely held belief of Zionism is a strong force in the world now.

More examples could be cited, but the dead horse has been sufficiently flogged, I think.

But if religion is politics by another name, there is one slight difference. In most nations, a person is expected to take personal responsibility for his politics.  Politics is supposed to be a choice, and if a person's political party is responsible for calamities and mischief, then the individuals also bear the shame.  Moreover, politics can be debated in many forums. 

But religion, not so. Most of  religious persons are the same denomination as their parents.  And most of religious persons refuse to take responsibility for the crimes of their own religion. And just try to critique a person's religion they same way you might critique the Green or Socialist party!

So religion is just politics, except with no responsibility or accountability, and a kind of politics that causes people to become irate and offended if it is criticized in the slightest.

Heck no it's not. It spreaded through the apostles of Jesus himself. And maybe if you guys actually see if God is real or not, you'll get it.

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2014, 02:41:26 AM »
Rulers of the ancient world used the terms such as God incarnate and a living God because they knew that they would not be questioned and among the lower classes, all they knew was religion of the various sorts, so in essence it was expedient and quite clever. Which is why now a day, leaders don't throw around words and phrases such as that because people are more educated on average and think someone is crazy if they say they are a God or have the authority to rule because of God.

Yes but what about God being real or not? You think he doesn't Then let me ask you if you have ever had a personal experience with him or have tried to see if he's real personally?

Offline viperslayer

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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2014, 09:29:48 AM »
This topic isn't about God being real or not, and please check my introduction before making assumptions about my beliefs.  I tried to check yours but I couldn't seem to locate yours so I apologize if I make assumptions as well.  I think that religion can play a role in today's politics, mainly any religious leader who has enough money to sway the vote of a voted on leader.  They're just like lobbyists and try to have the votes go their way by using their money, influence, power, and etc.  I think this is a poor example of how religion should be, but it has been the same for thousands of years and religion has always had a play in politics, whether in spite of or for.  It is definitely no secret either when the religious leaders that support political persons or parties do so, they come right out and tell you.  So, I apologize that I did not answer your question "God is good", but that is a whole different topic, and will be better served taking it to that thread.
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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2014, 11:23:35 AM »
Both religion and politics have parallel agendas; They are/were built to control people.

They are the most powerful organizations on earth with that power.

Separation of church and state anyone?

I tend to think the more intelligent of us do not want to be governed by (any) religion.
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Re: Isn't religion really just politics by a different name?
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2014, 03:34:24 PM »
Religion and politics operate via the same mechanism: group think. Humans have hard wired into us an "us vs them" mentality from evolution. Religion and politics allows us to easily identify other tribe members. There is strength and safety in numbers. Hence why the group think mechanism is still around after all these millenium.