Will The U.S. Last If It Keeps Up Its Patterns?

We will never totally run out of oil, there will allwyas become new oil. However oil will become more expensive and for the enviroment that is probably very good.

Good point. One should also bear in mind that the “health of the economy” which is a technical notion (a remarkable ideological metaphor) is not correlated with the welfare of the people. The way a “good economy” is related to welfare is a complex issue, but the current policies teach us that people (working people) must give hopes of high living standards and be “realistic” in order to benefit “the economy” whose “health” we should be more concerned about. Isn’t that common sense?

If “slavery and conquering nations” are the sufficient conditions for joining the distinguished club of empires, we can surely welcome the US.

There’s no reason to take “the missionary vision” of Bush, the “urge to do good”, “theology” and so on seriously in the context of US foreign policy. Such ideas can’t possibly play a functional role. The US (government) behaves rational – in the interest of a very narrow spectrum of elites. A basic course in economics should be sufficient for an explanation of the basic motives of policy planners. They behave according to their “rational self-interests” (class-interests) – and the constraints is almost non-existing, partly because we are subjected to a very efficient propaganda campaign that teaches us to interpret – and criticise – the dangerous policies of US as creatures of grand ideas or ideology and not “informed self-interest”. These ideas provide a framework of justification that is designed to divert attention away from the actual motives and actions. Bush and the rest of the reaganite bunch should not be criticised on these grounds, but on the grounds that they have made the world a far more dangerous place to live in and continue to do so. Well, that for starters.

George Kennan, then head of the State Department policy planning staff, said in a Top Secret document in 1948:
We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population… In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity… We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction… We should cease to talk about vague and…, unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

This outlines some of the driving forces of US foreign policy. While policy planners “need not deceive ourselves”, one of the major tasks of everyday propaganda is to deceive the public to think that the actions of the US result from concerns with “democratisation” and “world-benefaction” – though such an account has been contradicted by the official record through half a century. The more plausible analytical framework – the “straight power concepts” – should be reserved for the people in power.

George Kennan’s considerations seem very much up to date in many aspects. Yet some of the figures are wrong. Today the US has less than “50 percent of the world’s wealth” (would 20-25% be a reasonable guess?). But US is still superior when it comes to military power. In this respect the “disparity” remains and we can expect that it will be used to deepen the economic disparity, which, as a predictable side effect, will increase the threats to US hegemony (as in fact already done: armament in Russia and China) and the reservoir of despair that fosters the subcategory of terrorists that point their weapons against “us” (thus helping establishing the US as an “object of envy and resentment”).

In my opinion “the path [US] has been taking under the current administration” (Kizzume) is the very same path as – always. It’s not a “neo-conservative” speciality. The current administration is just more outspoken about its policies than perhaps ever before. The National Security Strategy (September 2002) practically declares that the US intends to run the world by force.

Feels like Uffe is another who voted for “Yes, unfortunately” like me.

I spoke to people who were sure that the US are doin war to “help” people (?) and not for economical interests. With all the suffering people we have in the world I had to ask myself how was that possible that the US goes “Superman” only in certain places.

Now what, after finally bringing peace to Iraq (???) they have found a new people in strong need of help, lucky bastards.
It is not North Korea… it is not Madagascar… it is not Johannesburg… guess what, is Venezuela.

Hard to believe? A tropical paradise facing the caribbean on one side and the amazonian forest on the other that suddenly becomes a real menace for peace and democracy for the whole world.
Venezuela is rapidly going to be a real danger xpecially since their democratically elected president (Chavez) is NOT pro-USA ( as instead Columbia, the cocaine production world’s leader, does for obvious business reasons )… and since Venezuela, on their geography books, comes with the magic word “OIL”… in form of millions of barrels sold every month to the states.

Simple google search with “Venezuela” and “Bush” will give more infos…
Yes, friends, I hope I’m wrong… but it looks like they’re getting ready to “do it again”.

There are not much people living inside the US that can actually say that, but Bush did helped a lot to make it look more obvious.
At least 54% of the native (or greencard club) US have finally seen the light.

But it’s actually not Bush that sets the policy, Bush is just only the weatherman bringing the forecast, but he did not put that forecast on paper, he just agrees with what has been put on paper.
I rather would see the weapons and armory magnates turning down the tone as they still dictate the biggest policy to my opinion.

The US has never been a democracy, only when certain individuals that have the real puppet strings in their hands, considered time to bring in a peacefull period, it happened.
It does not differ that much from the old Russian system.
Though people are allowed to say what they want because of having freedom of speech, choice and position, if they tend to go to the complete wrong side of the road, someone from above would not even consider a second to gently push the person back on the right track, but just gets eliminated.
Else we would already had hard facts who killed Kennedy in the first place.
We all have various suspects leading to certain “governmental” departments, but those that got close can’t tell us shit about it anymore.

I find the US foreign policy pretty hypocrite but that’s all i want to say about it.
They will meet themselves one day and it’s probably gonna cost them a lot more than two towers and a few thousand lives.
The proove that no massive destruction weapons or traces of them have been found in Iraq is one of those punnishments i prefer above using violence to take innocent lives.
Now only for the tricks to get the propaganda off television and off air it would maybe convince the other 56% brainwashed to make a better choice.

I think I voted for “No, I hope not”. One needs hope. I’m a religious person :yeah:

If US war-fare, much more extensive than the Iraq affair, in generel helped people one could reasonably argue that they should concentrate their war efforts on the more needy - which they in fact do, but the needy, say the million dead because of the UN sanctions in Iraq, are not primarily in need of war. If US war-fare on the contrary is essentially destructive (as wars often are) it’s a curious argument. - Well, you shouldn’t be puzzled be this and of cause you aren’t:
“Superman” chooses to go certain places according to simple criteria. In the 80’s constraints were finally imposed on the US global ambitions due to the population’s unwillingness to play the disgraceful game again of murdering millions of people. Now, when US is not conducting what was called “low intensity war-fare” or “clandestine war” in the policy planning vocabulary of the 80’s when the administration realized it could not go full-scale B-52 and napalm style “indiscriminate” war-fare (like the great liberal Kennedy did in Indochina and would have done in Cuba (“Unleash the terrors of the earth!”) had it not been prevented by their Russia-backed means of deterrence), the place in question has to meet, I think, 3 conditions:

  1. It must be worth it, i. e. in the short run it must be promising from a strictly economic cost-benefit perspective or/and in the long run it must be of some strategic significance, i. e. it must be a step in the right direction – on the long and troubling road towards global dominance. (the cost-benefit perspective is always the perspective of some agents seeking profit for themselves and not an analysis of what’s good for the society or “the economy” as a whole. People often mix these things up.)
  2. The subject must be extremely weak – only the most impoverished (in terms of military strength and often also in terms of welfare) countries have been subjected to US terror through half a century. The idea is that they should stay impoverished, like most of South America, to make sure they can’t pose any threat. This policy has been extremely successful. No significant risk-factor is accepted.
  3. There must be a way to portray the target of intervention as a “dangerous monster” etc. This is the point where the perceptions of the general population is taken into serious consideration – as another subject of propaganda. One could say that this is the democratic dimension.

Add (or subtract) some if you think other significant factors need to be taken into consideration.

Glad you mention this, another covert off-the-agenda-operation. Actually a year ago Venezuela asked the US to extradite two former military officers who where seeking asylum in the United States. They had taken part in a military coup supported by the Bush administration, which backed down in the face of furious outrage throughout the hemisphere.
If one likes to google and see what happens you can try, say put in random South or Central American country and then one of the phrases typically ascribed to our enemies, like “atrocity” or “terror” or something. Doing this exercise will bring important information about US involvement from official and dissident sources as well.

First and foremost the important issue, I think, is not that they will do it again, but that they are doing it. People are torn to shreds in Columbia right now because of the “war on drugs”. Peasants are subjected to chemical war-fare. In spite of the usual rhetorics I don’t think Venezuela is next in the line, but it is possible.

The interests of the “armory magnates” are dangerous to survival, but I think one should resist pointing out “various suspects” and I think that the idea that they “dictate the biggest policy” plays down the importance of decision making and the system that produces them. The military industry is interlocked with other powerful sectors (for example General Electric provides military technology and owns NBC). It’s not communism but a co-operative elite. The “puppet master” can’t be pointed out as an actual entity. But the idea that the various agents play functional roles in a self-sustaining system is – or should be – appealing. Ahead lies important and serious issues.

If this happens I think we in effect will probably go down with them – in any case this is a situation we should try to avoid. The idea that there - as tacitly suggested ? - should be some kind of justice built into history that takes care that “the punisher will be punished” etc. is of no use but very common.

Well, that itself teaches nobody a lesson. Polls show that nearly 50% of the American population believes that Iraq had WMD before the liberation. Nearly 20% believe that WMD were used in the war. If we look at what’s within our reach the proper punishment should be massive opposition to the policies in various ways, but this requires that people knows what’s going on – and this requirement can only be achieved by opposition.

To my knowledge there is no such “tricks”. We cannot escape the doctrinal system. Besides confronting propaganda, if that makes sense, what one can do is to go “activist” in some kind of way (maybe as a parallel to what we are doing in the “scene”). One expects that the important information about the world is simply presented to us; that we are “enlightened agents” etc. In fact a lot of the facts that are crucial to our survival need to be discovered. It takes work. In this regard we as europeans are in no special position. We are in many ways “brainwashed” too. We have a lot of illusions about our own innocence. And that’s not another issue. “But now to something completely different…”

To me the two things are in strong opposition :)
But what the hell, I would like to see more “religious” persons like you…

Yes, I see you point :(
You’re right… it was a momentary loss of perspective <_<

I don’t know. Why you think so?

vvoois: They will meet themselves one day and it’s probably gonna cost them a lot more than two towers and a few thousand lives.

Uffe: If this happens I think we in effect will probably go down with them

Parsec: I don’t know. Why you think so?

I came to think of James Cameron’s fine propaganda piece “True lies” that tells us something about the scope of policy planning and the way we see ourselves. The synopsis explains that “Muslim terrorists” is trying to “blackmail America with four stolen nuclear warheads.” In fact the Muslim madmen called Red Jihad (a nice name comprising all Evil we know of) demand US withdrawal from the Persian Gulf - a quite reasonably demand that happens to be the same thing bin Laden wants. If US does not give in to this demand they will detonate the nuclear warheads. Not even considering negotiating or complying with the terrorists Schwarzenegger takes on the dangerous and heroic task of “hunting them down” thereby consciously exposing a lot of US citizens to the risk of annihilation (of cause the terrorists come pretty close to achieve this end).
This illustrates that holding on to power is much more important than preventing dangers to survival. It’s kind of a truism – only the most radical extremist would suggest that US should back off from the Middle East (this explains why almost every Arab is an “extremist”) or talk to the people that would like to see US burn in hell.
A few weeks ago there was an expert on Danish national television describing some of problems “the coalition of the willing” faces in Iraq. First he said a few words about how the “extremists” terrorizes people. Then putting this in a larger picture he identified the “extremists” as the citizens who wants the US to leave (80% or something). Well, one could distinguish between… ah never mind.
The thing is that it’s almost incomprehensible that the western world should deal with these serious problems in an alternative way, for example that we should abandon our right to control the regions we please. This does not even present itself as a possibility. The priority is power, insignificant things like peace and safety is somewhere in the bottom of the list.

Okay, to answer your question Parsec:
Since conventional war-fare for obvious reasons is not an option for the terrorist opponents of US and the western world other means comes to mind. The situation in which the US will suffer “a lot more than two towers and a few thousand lives” could come about the day bin Laden style terrorism is conjoined with WMD. The current policies incline the terrorists to get to this point. In a not to far future this is a realistic scenario, or so concludes reports on the subject. I guess that this is what vvoois was thinking about (and anticipating?). Well, a WMD strike on US homeland will possibly trigger all sorts of dangerous things. The response would be… overwhelming. The whole thing could blow up, but who knows.
Let’s hope that this won’t be the conclusion on nature’s experiment with advanced intelligence.
(btw: I’m religious like: :yeah: or :angry: not like standard :w00t:
No, seriously religion brings high hopes, not for the present situation or “this world” but for “the hereafter”. In fact there’s a lot of christians who interpret the dangerous things going on as signs of comming apocalypse. Reading the world like this a war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed - an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. In this perspective lack of hope for the survival of the species produces high hopes of eternal liberation from the miserable and imperfect world in which we are imprisoned - for the time being.)

I do not understand.

Then let’s say that I think there is no hope for those hoping in a thereafter.
It definitely changes the way you stay here and now, don’t you think?

That you call hope? To find out there is nothing for me here… and that I would do a much better thing if I hope I’ll die soon… while defining the only chance to exist here as something “wrong, miserable and imperfect”? <_<
You seem to be aware about propaganda and influence and pressure in politics. Seems like you ignore the propaganda and influence and pressure made in religion :)

One can have faith in many different ways (destructive - harmless - constructive…) and believe in lot’s of different things (a concept, some heavenly person, a force…). But in this case: Yes I do.

The irony of the passage you’re referring to and my initial ridiculous confession to religion should definitely have been more outspoken. I was trying to represent the thinking of… say Jehovah’s Witnesses, who is obsessed with the end of the world (this one) because it means the rise of a new glorious world. Pity those who have not converted by then. Numerous dates for the end of the world have been proposed through the years. Now it’s postponed for an indefinite period, I think.

Another more disturbing example is the best-selling books in America today: the 12 volumes of the “Left Behind” series written by the Christian fundamentalist and right-wing warrior Timothy LaHaye. I havn’t read it, but Bill Moyers has outlined the story:

“Once Israel has occupied the rest of its “biblical lands,” legions of the antichrist will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to Heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.”

Now, that’s “high hopes”.
If you want to see how todays events is just fulfilments of the Bible’s prophecies go to http://www.raptureready.com/

You’re absolutely right, the two often go hand in hand.
In the same line of transcendent logic that I were trying to represent with the talk of this miserable world inclining us to seek redemption etc. James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was of no concern in light of the imminent return of JC. In public testimony he said, “after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.”
Conclusion: if we f****k it all up for ourselves we will be rewarded beyond our wildest dreams in the end, so let’s continue.
But again, I think this is not as much a case of religion determining politics as it is an example of religion being used to justify and promote political ends. Unfortunately there’s a rationale for exploiting the natural resources beyond what’s rational. After all the big bussiness is rewarded here and now - not in the “hereafter” (where some of them will probably burn in hell).

I hope this clarifies a few things. :)

Religion in 2005, no longer the opium… now the crack pipe of the masses.
For a lack of self faith, believe in enslavement to the ever corrupting ideal.
Could it be that no prophets is better than false prophets?
In our time of war, religions have not brought peace - only conflict and murder.
Your beliefs stop when your body dies. Hell on earth, cometh.

QUOTE: “True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to Heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.”

Now, that’s “high hopes”."ENDQUOTE

That’s “high hopes”?! That’s madness!!!

So basically, those poisoned juice suicide pacts–those “cults” are evil, but wishing everyone on the planet to die so “true believers” can live in the afterlife kissing the feet of someone who lets terrible things happen to people everyday, and those that aren’t true believers can be left in vats of drano to burn forever–this is a “good” and “positive” thing?

Scary. And even more scary how many people believe in it–a self fufilling prophecy–if enough people believe something will happen generation after generation, it will probably eventually happen by the will of the people.

Well Auffe… I don’t understand the point.
To say it all, making a long list that show how totally screwed in their mind most of the believers are… it doesn’t really put you… or any other believer… under a “better light” :) So I don’t really see why you speaking about that…

Remember it was you who stated “One needs hope, I’m a religious person”? :)
IMHO, untill you and other believers stick to stuff like “Doom” or “destiny”, placing the “solution” and the “reasons” outside of mankind, out of range… it will be quite obvious that there will be no solution for mankind.

Yes it is!!! I tried to signal that with the quotation marks. And I called it a “more disturbing example” (although it was taken from fiction). Then I mentioned that James Watt, Reagan’s first secretary of the interior, in reality believed in such fictions and elaborated a little on his suggestion idea that “after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back”:
“Conclusion: if we f****k it all up for ourselves we will be rewarded beyond our wildest dreams in the end, so let’s continue.” (meaning: No let’s stop!)


It was really nothing more than a joke, an attempt to throw in some fun. The SATANIC rocking smiley that I put after that sentence was supposed to make it ridiculous - and maybe to suggest that in the current situation we have to turn to religion if we want to have some kind of hope due to the fact that there’s little to be hopeful about in “this world”. Though of course that’s an exaggeration.
That’s why I wrote that “The irony of… my initial ridiculous confession to religion should definitely have been more outspoken.” I hope it is now :slight_smile:

Well, religion doesn’t interest me that much. What interests me is religion in politics and wrong-doings in general.
Generally speaking, I think that anyone, regardless of what religion they subscribe to or what position they’re in, should be concerned not with putting themselves in a “better light”. People should be concerned with the negative sides of their practices (like righteousness or being obsessed with putting themselves in a “better light”, so forgetting the dark sides - and how to control them). Now there’s an awful lot of crap in our culture or “civilization”. That’s why I made the “long list”.

There’s an unfortunate tendency in the Christian tradition, however grounded in the bible, to divide the world in dichotomous pairs: us – them, good – evil, saved – doomed etc. O.K., that’s bad. It’s not a religious speciality, however. IMHO it’s a primitive (in the sense: original, basic, and in the sense: rough, uncivilized, stupid) human capacity, well developed in western culture. It’s practically impossible to transcend this division. But here other religious or metaphysical insights like “we are all the same” might come in handy, if one like. Certainly these are not necessary.
Then irrational elements play an essential role in all religions – in the sense that they involve ideas about stuff that’s not accessible to the five senses. That’s bad in so far believers hold these ideas to be true in the usual manner of being beyond justification and reasons.
But I do not think that one in principle should be against religion in all its forms. If we are to determine the value of things in terms of their consequences (as you rightly seem to believe we should) religion like other complex phenomena can be a good thing.
In the 1980’s the “liberation theology” movement in Latin America devoted themselves to raise the poor living standards of starving Latin American peasants instituted by colonial rule. The catholic movement was itself “descendents” of the colonial rule. In fact the central dogmas remained the same. But the practice changed dramatically. Roughly speaking the focus shifted from saving the poor unenlightened savages’ souls (in the “hereafter”) to saving their lives and paying attention to their earthly needs (here and now) while not abandoning the “higher cause” and the soul-stuff. This is a fine example of religion being given a prominent place not “outside of mankind, out of range” but right here where it can do some good. There’s no guarantee prior to actual instances or practices that religion will lead to good or bad things.
(Well, all good things must come to an end. This fine movement was subjected to US terror, killing lots of official figures (among them the Salvadorian Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980 whose story is worth looking into). One of the official American terror institutions, School of Americas, has taken credit for “defeating liberation theology”, apparently one of the more serious threats.)

Another more recent example is the “truth commission” in South Africa. This is a truly fantastic and historically unprecedented way of dealing with enormous grievances and hardcore conflict-potential. Here religion plays a central positive role.

I’m not entirely sure I do either - or that there is a point… Maybe it is that one should not just be against - or for - religion regardless of “where” and “how” and “why” and “what for” etc. (which is a fundamentalist, not necessarily a religious stance)

I’m sorry that I can’t control myself but…
this is the day we’re informed that the recycled reaganite John Bolton is appointed US’ UN ambassador. Among his achievements John Bolton, then as the administrations point man, informed Europe in 2002 that there would be no further negotiations to introduce enforcement measures into the bioweapons treaty. This treaty, which US have signed, is one of many nice and progressive UN treaties not backed by any enforcement measures, therefore useless. The reasons that were given was that inspection might harm the interests of US pharmaceutical corporations.
For Iraq or any country we consider a threat, yes. For US, no.

Whoa :huh:
this is what I call a long post :P
I just hope we’re not boring the audience :)

Ooh… :o I see, ok :P
I’m not the only one who missed the “joke” anyway… :D
Here I try to see why:

I don’t exactly dig this… as “this world” we’re on… it already is a world of religions and millions of people they already look to religion to solve their problems. To say it all, my impression is that the one of the problems with “hate” is indeed the fact itself that “there are religions out there”… and people is scared about the idea of another -religion- as “another one claiming to be the only true religion” because it puts in danger what they have been told to be “the only true religion”. “Battle of Fools”. Are you sure that it’s “hope” what it takes? And are you sure it’s in “religion” that we have to put “hopes” toward? If only people would spend the same amount of energy they waste to pray the whole focking year… for a single session of work and money… then they could probably move mountains, turn deserts into fertile lands, solve any energy issue in the world for thousands of years to come, colonize the solar system and the galaxy…

Well if you’re into “wrong-doings” …religion offers a whole world of wrongdoing to be discussed :) Ah… let me share a link to the Skeptic’s annotated bible just for your everyday defence from religious attempts :)

Well… psychology is, too. That’s why I like it. At least it doesn’t place the solution “out” of us… or “after” us.

I do! :) They all seem to originate from a “Passion for mankind” but they all end up in ridicolous rituals and meaningless over-structures that they all tend to “eat” or destroy the energy, time, focus… from one person’s mind without nothing in change (ohwell… not now… but “after”…)
The only “religion” actually claiming (at the origin, at least) something slightly more… healthy… can be Buddism… since the original idea is that there is no god… only “illumination” inside of each… but today it is nothing more than another senseless bunch or rituals with little to do with “Mankind”.
And anyway it can’t be really considered a “religion” as it is more of a philosophical approach to life… like Taoism…

Good things are achieved by “Good persons” and u find good/smart/intelligent people no matter what religion they believe in… and you find those also in non-religious or even anti-religious situations.
What does this tells us? That there is no relation between “good” and “religion”… as “good” happens also out of religion and even in conditions that are descibed as “bad” from religion itself.
It’s good people, good minds… not “good religion”.
As a matter of fact… any great “religious” mind had to “adapt” to the religion that “colonized” him… and in a certain way, had to “distort” religion a bit to be able to live with it.
The problem is that you don’t “invent” religion. You are “Told” about religion in your life… and this mostly happen during the first childhood… when we have no chance of discrimination in what we are told. We have to accept it for our own survival. We have to think that it’s “True” because that’s what we are told to be necessary to survive (and your survival is a damn important isssue when you’re a baby). This tells us that you -first- feel the “must” of declaring “Religion” as true… and only THEN you have to live with this idea… and build a lot of logic-rational points to sustain it.

“Some good” :rolleyes:
This is what I mean when I say “You seem not to be aware of pressure made on you from religion”.
You probably have heard what they wanted you to hear.
Want to know what I have to say about this? I don’t know about you… but I’ve been “there” and had the chance of seeing with my own astonished eyes.
There = Venezuela. Amazonian forest. From puerto ayacucho down south along the Orinoco river and the Catañiapo river, toward Brasil. Speaking with local tribes and “communities” like Agua Blanca… you should see what a fine job the religion-related missionaries have done down there.

They went more or less like:
“Oh brother, it is not possible that you live in the forest and you don’t have an house with a number on it where I can trace you back if I want to. Here I christianly give you this set of dark, small, prefab houses in form of “lines of rooms” where you will live from now on.
And oh, poor brother, I see that satan itself made you think you could walk half naked wherever you feel to. Here, take this set of second-hand clothes from the rich world to cover your body.
Oh my poor brother… you don’t have a job, of course you’re poor and compelled to eat plants and disgusting insects from the ground. Of course you’re compelled to build your own clothes with plants and even primitive weapons to hunt down animals… putting your sacred life to danger every day.
Here… I start for you this new exciting activity where you “mount” small wooden birds and necklaces. You can sell this stuff to visitors, you know, so that turists are actracted here and your place can finally become “civilized”.
What do I see? Why should you use your own hands? Here, I give you tons of plastic bags for you to use for awhile and then unconsciously leave in the forest, poisoning your own environment for a couple of thousands years.
Oh… let me have a look. Oh yeah! Now you do look like a son of christ!”

I wanted to cry.
From a balanced life… in total harmony with their environment… to the lowest step of human conditions. Thank you very much, missionary man. How many good things in the name of thy lord, uhn? <_<

It’s automatic that any religion or culture or set of ideas that’s not based on here-and-now will fail to describe “here and now”.
This leads to the obvious logical conclusion that only “your” fresh culture, built with sacrifice on your own skin, experienced in every bit by yourself with open eyes, is the only kind of culture you can accept… and not even permanently because things are continously changing.
To stick to the “conservative” kind, to receive values via “cultural heritage”, to stick to culture and tradition, in my opinion, is pure madness.
Is an astonishing attempt at seeing mankind under the point of view of a “static” nature. A “Non-evolving” nature.
Religions are famous for the whole approach they have at this.

Parsec, those are some of the best explainations I’ve seen. :)

Parsec, I really agree with much of what you say (even though it’s often presented as disagreements). But in general I think you should be more cautious in your judgements and more specific about what kind of religious practice you’re talking about – since I believe that there’s different kinds of religious practices having different characteristics in different places at different times.

Let’s first state the obvious:

Again, no need to hope, Parsec, they are all gone. :)

You’re right and that is what I’ve been discussing all along - remember the “long list” and all. However I don’t think a grand attack on religion in all it’s forms is appropriate – or justified. Reasons will follow.

And then to solve a little misunderstanding:

Damn it (ups, forgive me lord). I really have a communication problem. Let’s see if I can clarify the meaning of the sentence to which you’re responding. I wrote that “(bla bla bla)…in the current situation we have to turn to religion if we want to have some kind of hope due to the fact that there’s little to be hopeful about in “this world”.” It’s quite similar to other wicked ideas that I’ve proposed.
First let’s establish a little realistic background. In response to the US’ plans to militarize space and the “pre-emptive strike” doctrine Russia has developed a nuclear launch-on-warning strategy. In 2002 a nuclear attack was barely aborted by human intervention (the system allows human interference for 8 minutes before it sends off nuclear missiles. 2 minutes before showdown it was stopped because someone noticed that the system had identified a non-existing attack).
OK, the sentence was supposed to be understood in the same way as this one:
“Now that we know that the Russian automated response system has accidentally identified an nuclear attack on Russia and that nuclear missiles therefore are heading our way… let’s try to prevent it by throwing some dices.”

The absurd solution (religion or dices) is supposed to emphasize the seriousness of the problem (the risk of ultimate doom) it’s “designed” to solve. So it’s just a rhetorics, if you like.
I have to add… The idea that hope in itself is a solution to anything “out there” is of course absurd, but hope can be a requisite for actually doing anything about anything. No need to do anything if one is convinced that it’s doomed to fail… If terminal nuclear war is suddenly upon us, it doesn’t matter much whether we throw dices or go to a demonstration against the policies that have led to this situation.

Now, let’s turn to a central disagreement which I will try to sketch out in what follows:
Parsec: there are good reasons to be against religion in all forms.
Uffe: Why is religion guilty as charged?

Religion causes hate and antagonism.

Religion causes passiveness, therefore it’s indirectly responsible for the fact that religious people don’t do (more) constructive things. Religious practices are meaningless, they don’t do any good.

First let’s establish some common ground. I wrote that “if we are to determine the value of things in terms of their consequences… religion like other complex phenomena can be a good thing.” O.K let’s forget about the “good thing” and agree that “we are to determine the value of things in terms of their consequences”.

Now back to the quote above. As far as I can see you’re undermining your own argument here. I’ll try to summarize:
(1) Religious as well as non-religious people are doing good things. Therefore: “religion” is not related to “good”.

Then how are we to identify “good”?
(2) “Good” is caused (“achieved”) by persons. Therefore: a person can be good, religion (for example) cannot.

Following your argument one is inclined to generalize (2), so that [A] questions of value (good – bad) arise only for individuals AND [B] it’s ONLY individual qualities (“good/smart/intelligent people”) that directly produce good or bad things (like bugs, hehe) AND [C] that these are ultimate causes. At least (if you’re not taking about reality (ontology)) that’s our method for evaluation. Therefore there’s no point in asking if there’s further causes behind the “good mind doing good”.

Yet you insist:
(3) Religion causes bad things (hate, passiveness etc.) because it causes people to do bad things. (Therefore: “religion” is “related” to “bad things”)

Now what seems to be a formal variant of (1):
(1a) Religious as well as non-religious people are doing BAD things. Therefore: “religion” is not related to “BAD things”
is precluded by (3)

To make (1), (2) compatible with (3) one has, reasonably, to rule out [A] and [C] – this operation brings forth what seems to be the underlying assumption:
Namely that, following the causal chains of events, “bad things” can be caused by all sorts of things (culture, tradition, religion… also people) while “good things” exclusively are products of people (to your credit (?) this is actually a central part of Lutheranism turned on it’s head).
Why not treat “good” and “bad” in the same way? My guess? Because you have a preconceived opinion on religion, that it always and “in all forms”, as you agreed, must be bad.
My suggestion is that we don’t draw conclusions of the kind presented in (1) and (1a). So we should dismiss the principle:

  • If some X is Y and some X is not-Y, then it must follow that X IS NOT “essentially” related to Y
    As well as
  • If some X is Y and some X is not-Y, then it must follow that X IS “essentially” related to Y

And we should turn down [A] and [C] while sticking to [B], meaning: persons are the kind of things that are responsible for their (good or bad) actions, but it is possible that there’s there are other “non-personal” factors that lead, influence, direct etc. their actions.
Then it’s an open question whether religion is doing any good or any bad. What does religion “makes” people do?
Now empirical and not logical question arise. If it’s possible to find destructive or bad “instances” of religion (like the important kinds you mentioned) we should be aware that religion in these particular forms (hate, passiveness, indoctrination, destroying “primitive” cultures etc.) is a bad thing – and maybe do something about it if we can. If we, much to our surprise, find good religious practices (inspiring love, helping the poor) we should acknowledge this too.
So if you expect us to blame “religion” for bad religious practices, you should, for the sake of fairness, also be willing to praise “religion” for good religious practices.
Else, it must be argued: religion can never as a “background cause” have positive effects, while it always has negative effects (if any). Well OK, if the known evidence so far tells us so… but it’s a rule that easily breaks down: only one counter example is needed - and if the POSSIBILITY of a counter example is precluded by the rule we are dealing with some kind of dogma.

Our disagreement(s) can be represented in another way. The personal qualities you mention as factors likely to do good are “formal potentials” (“good/smart/intelligent”). I think that ideas or principles (“love thy neighbour!”) can also help people do some good. It’s striking that all the contents of the mind you mention is “negative” content… If you think that “beliefs” (in the sense: mind contents) in principle is excluded from the business of doing good, we can of course thrash most religious contents.

This post is getting too long, so I will put the empirical stuff and lot’s of smaller disagreements aside for now. Your Venezuela experience was worth reading – actually I’ve heard “that story” from a lot of people (although I “probably… heard what they wanted [me] to hear.”). There’s no room for controversy here, I barely touched the issue mentioning “the poor living standards of starving Latin American peasants instituted by colonial rule.”
However, this does simply not relate to the issue of “liberation theology”, which in part was a reaction to some of the practices you describe.
The two “case stories” do not contradict one another – or only on the tacit assumption that they are both “religious” in character and that “religion” is either bad in all cases or good in all cases. Then of course one of them must be false. I tend to believe that it is this principle that’s false.

Back on the political track and on to a important topic…
March 19-20 marks the two-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. After all of the death and destruction, and with the Bush administration claiming a mandate to continue the war, there’s a new urgency within the global antiwar movement to protest.

“Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” said Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal.

“What we have evidence of is the use of air power in populated urban areas and the bad consequences of it.”

“The use of air power in areas with lots of civilians appears to be killing a lot of women and children.”

Let’s say no to this infernal lunacy and on-going warcrimes. It’s a global issue. Participate in a demonstration near you.

Uffe and Parsec that was some intresting reading. I have come to the same conclusion as Parsec…

Hmm, I don’t think its that simple, Parsec has probably come to this conclusion by looking at the overall picture.

Sure religion do good things, it even tells people to do good things but they also make bad things and are a ground for bad things.

What Parsec and I´m saying is that.
If those religious people doing bad things where not religious, but in fact tried to think for themselves those bad things might not have happened.

Sure there are allways people (most acctually :) who are unable to think for themselves in a deeper way even non religious ones.

So how come religion is bad then?
Religion does in fact encourage people to not think, its built into the phenomena of religion.

Though shall not have any doubts, though shall belive. Though shall not question, its the will of god etc…

Religions claims that it is created by a god and that god knows what is best for us, and we should not question what god says because god created us.

However on some occations the “rules” written in wholy books by god can be interpreted in different ways.
Priests are said to be the servants of god, and be close to god.
So priests and the church thus have power to claim that they know what is the right interpretation.

When those priests interprets religion in a bad way they can cause great damage, because it is built into the religion that you should not question what the priest says. (If you don’t follow the priest (ie god) you will not be successful in your next life.)

The increasing risc of bad things happening is an automatic consequence of anything which claims that you should not question their opinion/or follow them without asking any questions

Religion also help dividing world into those that belive in our religion and those that don’t instead of trying to see what we have in common…

For instance, many if not most Christian do not know that Islam has the same god…