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+8 votes
How has Christianity affected our external and internal worlds? I see it referenced a lot but I feel like I'm missing some basic understanding about how insidious it is, beyond some of the more obvious things like ideological thinking, moralism, millenarianism, etc.
by (2.5k points)
Where you at dot??! You said 'christian' was one of the worst things you could say about something. Can't remember where.
gdmt. i'm right here. it's another of the big fucking definitional questions people are all excited about all of a sudden, and i'm spinning.
the more something is core to our conceptions of the ... totality... the harder it is to get a handle on how to talk about it. which is why the questions are so important, of course.
plus, i'm the only one who has attempted capitalism (and almost civilization), gdmt. you go answer one of those and let me think!!!


4 Answers

+4 votes
sigh. fine! shit.

a. dualistic thinking. heaven/hell, body/spirit, good/evil, pure/corrupt, man/woman, goes on and on. dumb! (ha. nature/civilization, if you want to get a little more controversial...)

b. god is outside of the world/humans have dominion (related concepts)... this is related to apocalyptic thinking, but i think it is deeper than that.

c. missionaries. nuff said

d. knowing what people need better than they know themselves (ok, that's saying more about missionaries, but fuck it)

e. reward system is outside of the world (ie, don't struggle now, be a good person and your reward comes after you die); this is related to b, of course.

f. saviors/martyrs, dying for a cause as the ultimate expression of commitment.

others can help flesh out those ideas.

edited to remove pique. :)
by (53.1k points)
edited by
+5 votes
In addition to dot's post...

-Linear time. It uprooted cyclical time (based on seasons, migrations, etc) and everything is now moving towards some thing in the future, even that which is anti-Christian.

Christians said that there was Original Sin, God was angry, God forgave us because Jesus died for our sins, he rose again, and he will come again for Gehenna/Rapture/Apocalypse. There's a clear beginning and end of the fate of humanity.

Human life also became viewed in a similar way. We are born neutral, need to be baptized in order for God to care about us, and we live sinful lives that need to be forgiven before eventually dying and receiving paradise.

Anarchists, socialists, communists, and Revolutionaries of all stripes have adopted this mentality. I don't think I could argue it, but I suspect the concept of Progress, and all the secular and atheism that came from it, is based on that switch in mode of thinking.

Another thing I can't prove but intrigues me: perhaps this explains the 'not living in the moment' phenomenon. Buried beneath layers of mental processes we have all been trained to think of life linearly, and always focus on whats next. School and work probably contribute to this as well.

Edited for grammar.
by (4.0k points)
+3 votes
I would add, to the other great answers, not only the disenchantment of the world within which we live, but a very deep hostility to it. The desire always for something better than reality, the preference of our ideals, and our valuations of those ideals, to reality as we may live it. This is alive and well every bit in atheistic humanism as it is in Christianity.

It has thus also provided for the creation of 'subject' and 'object' differentiation, the self-distancing commonly called 'objectivity.' This has most definitely contributed to modern science, but also to political discourse, civilization/domestication, etc. It's one of the main reasons why environmentalism will never provide any basis for living and flourishing with all life, as 'it' remains largely a civilizing and therefore distancing project.

This is the contradiction of a 'true' world with this one which hardly has 'existence' at all. While this may be of Socratic/Platonic in origin, Christianity, as Nietzsche put it, made that Platonism over for masses.

Edited to expand my thoughts a bit.
by (7.5k points)
edited by
I can't believe that when writing my answer I forgot one salient tendency I've found among Christians when conversing with them: a siege mentality.

What I mean by this is that no matter how much hateful judgement they may spew on others, any inconvenient fact, critical argumentation, responsive ridicule, is taken as an all-out assault on the City of God. It's as if these folks are constantly surrounded by the enemy. Isn't that the what the tradition has taught about 'this world,' though?

I understand that this is a generality, but I've definitely encountered this enough times to also understand it has more than a mustard-seed's amount of truth to it.
I agree with the mustard-seed's amount of truth, but I'm wondering if you're referring to a particular strain of Christians. My experience has mostly been with Catholics, and generally speaking, they don't talk all that much about being surrounded by the enemy, even though I sense the fear lurking in the background.
Oddly enough, in my interactions with them, Catholics do tend to be a bit more down to earth, reachable about things religious, more open to rational discussion even if they do cease discussion in the end. Perhaps it's part of their heritage, incorporating Aristotelian-ism long ago and all.

I was thinking more along the lines of many American protestants, born-agains, etc., who become unhinged and bellyache about attacks on their faith.

Edited for clarity.
Thanks for your reply, AF. I've had similar experiences with born-agains and others. As you said, these are generalizations, but I have found differences in responses based on the strain of Christianity. One thing that seems universal among them though, is the unyielding belief in laws. I love the Mel Brooks scene in History of the World where Moses walks out with three stone tablets and declares "I give you these 15...." then he drops and breaks one of the tablets, and continues "uhhh...10 commandments!".

edite: to fix the lines in the joke.
–8 votes
Ugh, this old argument. Yes, government enforced Christianity (the vast majority of Christianity, despite what the US government will claim about the seperation of Church and State) has caused a lot of problems and has often been an obstacle to truly free thinking. These other answerers are correct about that.

However, this smug sense of superiority that atheists get because they think are somehow more advanced than those who are religious is bullshit.

Christian thought, when interpreted by those with more open, tolerant minds, has made a significant contribution to anarchist thought, before the atheism of the 19th century came into vogue. Many of the most successful attempted utopian anarchist and communist communities of the past, like those of the Hutterites and the Quakers and even the Amish were founded on Christian principles. "Leo Tolstoy," the genius Russian author was also a "Christian Anarchist."

Hegel and his followers, the Hegelians, the people who influenced Proudhon and Marx to an extreme degree were also Christians, and their original philosophy of dialectical change was based on the interaction between the spirit of God and human society. Proudhon and Marx essentially took that philosophy and replaced God with material conditions, making the theory much more practical. Though Proudhon and Marx, both militant atheists, improved Hegel's theory a lot, it can't be forgotten that they owed their foundations  to Christian thinkers.

Though Christianity does affect a person's worldview in some way (depending on that person's interpretation of Christianity), as does any other belief, it is NOT possible to erase a person's culture, no matter how much you disagree with them. The Communists learned that the hard way through their failed "Cultural Revolutions" that attempted to rid people of religion and culture through the use of atrocity and mass murder.

Christianity and anarchism CAN co-exist, as can any other religion and anarchism. Any aspect of culture that doesn't infringe on the rights of others (and no, infringing on the rights of others is not a core tenant of Christianity, that's just an excuse used by those who want to maintain their own secular power) should be allowed to freely exist in any anarchist society. If it can't, then we might as well hang up our hats and give up, because it is not possible to destroy culture, and even if it was, that would be the opposite of anarchy.

I'm not a Christian, so don't take this as an apology, but anarchy relies on tolerance for ALL beliefs and ways of life, and militant atheism does not meet that criteria.
by (-10 points)
edited by
welcome lantz?
downvoted because
a) you assume answers are from atheists (quite offensive)
b) you assume what my/our position would be re: christians (who says anyone wants to (much less would try to) erase anything?)
c) anarchy does not at all rely on universal tolerance, that is some half-assed shit (omg i am swearing so much on this thread...!). and i expect you wouldn't say that about anarchists being tolerant of racism, sexism, etc.
d) the question is what has christianity done, not what is good/bad about it. your post should probably be a comment, or you could add to it so that it more clearly actually addresses the question, whether positively or negatively.

edit: you being a christian is completely irrelevant to whether your post is an apology or not. (also, your post is an apology.)
a.) I was primarily responding to the original question, which is completely biased and intended to incite one-sided criticism of Christianity. "Insidious" is not an unbiased term. And I was also referring to the condescending attitude in your answer, which I don't blame you for, but I felt like attention needed to be called to it. However, the comment about militant atheism was more of a warning about where the discussion seems to be headed than about where it has already gone.

b.) The comment about the attempt to erase religion was also aimed at the potential consequences of the argument (again, if something is truly "insidious" then it generally is seen as something that should be eliminated.)

c.) Tolerance of intolerance is bad logic. I clearly said that any aspect of culture that doesn't infringe on the rights of others should  be allowed to freely exist.

d.) That is on the assumption that this is a fair and unbiased discussion, which it isn't, and never was. Again, "insidious". I've read enough of these types of discussions to see that they are primarily just masturbatory material for anti-Christians to reinforce their own beliefs, they aren't actually open discussions. That's why I figured I'd shake things up a bit.

Finally, I did answer what Christianity has done "for" us (not "to" us, another example of unbiased language), "us" being anarchists. It formed a strong foundation for us to work off of. Despite Christianity's potential problems, we owe Christian Anarchists a lot. In fact, that reminds me of another bit to add to my answer, concerning the people who influenced Marx and Proudhon.
good scientific language -- the evils of bias!
science is biased. we are all biased. another reason it wouldn't make sense for me to talk about erasing anything, since i am just as much impacted by the things i don't like as anyone else is.
(your excuses about not addressing the arguments as they stand but addressing where they seem to be headed is lame. sure you have no reason to trust anyone here, but if you have a point to make on an online forum, then surely trust is not really the issue?)
i am not talking of christianity's "potential" problems. i am talking about what christianity has done (or, something has done it, and christianity certainly seems the most likely single cause to me -- although i will acknowledge that nothing really has a single cause, of course).
if you want to engage in a conversation here, maybe you could do that, rather than coming in guns ablazing to save poor christianity from the terrible things people are saying about it.

and the fact that anarchy has included people influenced by monarchism, by democracy, by islam, by christianity, by capitalism, by all kinds of things that we refute, is not an argument *for* any of those things. far from it, in fact.
" Tolerance of intolerance is bad logic. I clearly said that any aspect of culture that doesn't infringe on the rights of others should  be allowed to freely exist."

I don't give 'logic' much credence, since every logical system is based in moral evaluation (axioms) and is therefore biased.

More to the point, there are plenty of perspectives, power-relations, actions, and people I think and feel are repugnant given their capacity for making my life and the lives of others miserable...or even just less enjoyable. Christianity is one of 'em.
Postmodernism, while I am sympathetic towards it, has a serious problem with scope and reference. A question that is clearly designed to encourage an unproductive conversation is not "scientifically" equal to a more unbiased question.

Who here doesn't have a point to make? Writing without a point would just be vague rambling. These conversations very often tend to head in the same bad direction, which leads to the same bad conclusions, which I cut off from happening.

Christianity as a belief hasn't "done" anything, people operating under the paradigm of Christianity have done bad things. At its worst Christianity has only ever been a superficial justification for ulterior motives. If you think the Crusades wouldn't have happened without Christianity, you should take a look at what the US has done in the Middle East for oil (Christianity has served as a false justification for that as well, but it is not even remotely the cause).

Religion is like ethnicity, there is nothing inherently wrong with it, but it is often used by ruling states to divide people into classes for different treatment.

I'm not trying to save "poor Christianity" with this argument, Christianity isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I'm trying to save anarchism from the dangerous attitude that people's beliefs shouldn't be tolerated. That attitude doesn't lead to anarchism, it leads to authoritarianism.

Also, linking Islam and Christianity (religions) with capitalism, monarchism, and democracy (political/economic systems) doesn't work. Islam and Christianity can coexist with other political systems, therefore it is possible for a person to be both religious and anarchist. It is not possible, by definition, for a person to be monarchist and anarchist (Personally I don't believe that capitalism works well with anarchism either, but that's another discussion).

 Finally, I'm not saying that all anarchists should be christian, I'm not arguing FOR Christianity. That would be intolerant. I'm simply saying that it isn't possible to make an argument AGAINST Christianity (as a belief system, not as a political system), based on anarchist principles, because the two belief systems share core tenets and anarchism has no basis for the rejection of people's beliefs, as long as they don't infringe on other people's beliefs.
Amor, I think you should look into logic a little more. It has nothing to do with morality. Without logic, you would be incapable of rational thought, in which case there would be no reason for me to take you seriously (another issue with post-modernism).
Lantz: "Postmodernism, while I am sympathetic towards it, has a serious problem with scope and reference."

WTF are you talking about? And who are you responding to? Who said anything about PoMo?
You guys' arguments, that nothing can be truly, scientifically and logically "known" because every person has a different viewpoint. That's what I'm talking about. That's Postmodernism.
Lantz: 'It [logic] has nothing to do with morality.'

Hogwash. I stated this just yesterday. Read carefully:

"The conceptual field of every logical system is provided by what is already considered to be 'worthy' and 'fitting,' that is, axiomatic, as the very origins of the term tells us. An axiom is an imperative, a command, an  "ought to," rather than a description of what "is." It's morality."

Perhaps as another illustration and Nietzsche is one of the tags, this may help:

"In short, the question remains open: are the axioms of logic adequate to reality or are they a means and measure for us to shape reality, the concept "reality," for ourselves? -- To affirm the former one would...have to have a previous knowledge of being --which is certainly not the case. The proposition therefore contains no *criterion of truth,* but an *imperative* concerning that which *should* count as true." WP 516

Logical systems are imperative and only operate within the confines of what is already believed to be fitting.

Can I make this any more clear or less PoMo for your tastes?
Lantz: "Without logic, you would be incapable of rational thought,"

Logic and reason aren't the same, Lantzy. That is they don't indicate the same processes. Logic may be rational...and irrational. I will give you a logically sound syllogism which is completely *irrational.* Ready?

Cells are invisible to the naked eye.
The human body is made of cells.
Therefore, the human body is invisible.
I think you have "logical system" (a vague, useless term) and "logic" confused. Logic is simply the formation of a precept through observation, and the formation of a testable conclusion from that precept. For example, If I have one block, and I grab another block, I will have two blocks. That is deductive logic at it's simplest: If P, then Q. My concept of a "block" might change, as might my numerical system, but that doesn't change the core tenets of the logical statement.

By your "logic," anarchy, along with every other theoretical system, basically IS a religion, equal in validity to any other set of beliefs. In which case Christianity is the least of your worries.

Edit: Your example with the cells is a typical example of faulty logic. "An argument is valid if the conclusion follows unavoidably from the premises, an argument is sound if it is valid and if its premises are true. The conclusion of a sound argument is a true conclusion." -James Lett.

Your argument would be sound if the premises were true, but it's not, because not all cells are invisible to the naked eye. However, even if it was sound, it would not be valid, because its conclusion can clearly be tested and shown to not be true. Therefore your argument is not true. The logical problem is solved with more logic.
'Logic' is an ambiguous lasso-word that indicates a plethora of *logical systems*. It ain't monolithic for 'something'. Those systems put into words or another symbolic language what has been cobbled together into patterns through what we call reason. Reason may include everything from the concrete tactile world, our being bodies in this world, to institutions, language, math, philosophy and other abstractions.

In other words, what we call 'reason' includes the *un-rational,* *pre-rational* but not necessarily the logical.
Lantz:"be tested and shown to not be true."

See? You are using the pre-logical, that is, the illogical (sight, 'evidence'), to 'prove' the logic argument is 'true.' You've step out of the bounds of provided by the axioms of syllogistic logic.
I can agree with you that we are operating on different assumptions of the definition of logic, and that it can be an ambiguous word. I'm gonna use the Wikipedia definition that logic is: "the use and study of valid reasoning."
Sensory evidence is not illogical. It is fallible, however the very fact that sensory experience occurs is proof that something is happening. If we take into the account sensory fallibility and create a statement that can tested by multiple scientists working from different perspectives (the idea of replicability), then sensory experience is highly reliable. The fact that humans are not invisible can be tested over and over again with reliability, and therefore it can be known that humans are not invisible. By the way, how did we end up getting into a discussion of epistemology?
"Christianity as a belief hasn't "done" anything, people operating under the paradigm of Christianity have done bad things. At its worst Christianity has only ever been a superficial justification for ulterior motives. "

You could say this about anything. And the fact that the Bible is so full of contradictions also allows for such intellectually lazy arguments. The fact is, Christianity has had an impact on how we function today (see three above posts). The ways of life that people had before Rome, and then eventually just Europe conquered them were vastly different than what Christianity teaches. Even as anarchists it has impacted us, yes. That doesn't make it a good thing. Without capitalism there wouldn't have been an anarchism. Does that mean we should say we owe a lot to capitalism?

I don't care if anarchists are Christians. I live in a fairly religious city where there are multiple Christian (and post-Christian) anarchists, and we get along just fine. You assume that by examining this question we are all Reddit MRA atheists. We aren't, we're people who recognize that the shitty reality around is perpetuated by all that exists, and vice versa. Therefore, it makes sense to critically dissect these things and see how and why and in what way they impact us.
Sure, you could say that about anything. But I've studied several religious texts, and my point is that the core tenets of Christianity, Islam, and most other religious do NOT endorse inequality, that is a superficial addition by people with ulterior motives. Religion isn't bad in itself, and often, when interpreted as a system of love and tolerance, it can provide a helpful framework for equality, as it did for the Christian Anarchists. That's why we owe a lot to Christians, because they provided us with SUCCESSFUL examples of functioning anarchist communities.

It is when religion is used by the state as a tool of oppression that it becomes bad. It wasn't Christianity in itself that caused that huge change in Rome and Europe, Judaism was around long before Christianity and follows many of the same principles. It was Christianity used as a tool of division, administration, and labeling by the Holy Roman Empire that changed things so much. What we, as critics of government, should consider is not what "religion" has done (as I said, religion is a set of beliefs, it can't DO anything in itself), but what states have done through the guise of religion. That provides us with a much clearer view of the power dynamics at play.

As for the rest of your comment, you're right, and I think that's a good attitude to have. And I'll admit that, although I still think this question is misguided and biased, I did expect you to be the "Reddit MRA atheist" types, and I see now that you aren't. And as I said, I totally agree with your critical dissection statement, but if you REALLY want to dissect religion's effect on the people, you have to cut through the superficial skin of religious belief itself in order to analyse the use of religion by the state as an essentially secular tool of manipulation.
lantz:"I'm gonna use the Wikipedia definition that logic is: "the use and study of valid reasoning."

Awesome. Valid according to whose pre-defined field-o-play, or *axioms*? You've just chased your own tail in circles. This is so loose as to be nearly meaningless. 2+2=4 and 2+2= 11 are both valid according to the axioms (rules) applied beforehand!

lantz:"By your "logic," anarchy, along with every other theoretical system, basically IS a religion"

WTF? What does anarchy have to do with any specific theoretical system? You must be speaking of *anarchism.*

And that you try and lay a religious trip on me is comedy gold given you've already informed us that: "Without logic, you would be incapable of rational thought,..."

Indeed lantz, in the beginning was the Word (logos). Symbol precedes existence.

lantz: "Your example with the cells is a typical example of faulty logic."

BS and bringing in your authority figure won't help you. In logo-speak your senses may only validate *truth propositions*,  whereas logic is used to *derive* conclusions directly from the assumptions. This distinction between 'truth' and derivation is what neither you nor Lett understands. In deductive logic, which my stupid syllogism was, it doesn't matter if the premises are 'true' only that the conclusion is derived from the premises.
Your answers demonstrate exactly why I don't find logic that credible or interesting, because switching the field of play, that is our predefined assumptions (axioms) is so damned easy, as well as that I seek to become as little dominated by The Word as is possible.
2+2=11 would be totally valid if a person's concept of the number 11 was linked to the concrete existence of what we would call 4 objects. Just because you call it a different thing doesn't mean the actual reality changes. The premises and the conclusion can still be tested and replicated by those definitions.

An axiom is the same as a premises, which I've already explained: "An argument is valid if the conclusion follows unavoidably from the premises, an argument is sound if it is valid and if its premises are true. The conclusion of a sound argument is a true conclusion." That definition is my definition of logic and valid reasoning. Disregarding the fact that a premises must be true for sound argument does not mean that logic in general is faulty, it means that your misused logic is faulty, by that definition.

Nietzsche, in his attempt to validate all of his arrogant bullshit about perspectivism failed to take into account the fact that multiple perspectives, though they differ, can all be directed at the same object or concept, and the combination of those perspectives can be used to verify the existence of that object/concept, as well as to evaluate the knowability of that aspect. If you can achieve the consensus of the vast majority of scientists working under the discriminating framework of the scientific method, then you can "know" your conclusion.

Nietzche also doesn't accept that every perspective is equally valid (otherwise, who would listen to his crap when they could invent their own crap?), and yet if there is a heirarchy of value for perspectives, what is that in relation to?

Finally, without logic, your only claim to knowledge is uninterpreted sensory data and irrational sources of knowledge such as revelation, intuition, and consensum gentium (everyone else says it, so it must be true). That is why any kind of theoretical system would be basically a religion by your thinking, because none of it is grounded in anything other than faith.

 Without logic, you shouldn't even be able to write, because the formation of sentences is a logical conclusion based on a premise that your concepts belong together. Trying to free yourself from the "domination" of logic is like trying to free yourself from the domination of eyesight as a sensory tool by cutting out your eyes (after all, you would learn to hear better..)
Never fear, Yosemite is here to nitpick and be annoying.

"Nietzsche, in his attempt to validate all of his arrogant bullshit about perspectivism failed to take into account the fact that multiple perspectives, though they differ, can all be directed at the same object or concept, and the combination of those perspectives can be used to verify the existence of that object/concept"

The problem with this is that no individual ever has access to any perspective but their own, except when others are communicated to the individual, but there is no way to verify that perspectives (or any other information) can be communicated and received perfectly, because we have no way of communicating without the communication being mediated by the sensory perceptions of the individuals involved, and no one has access to the experience of the sensory perceptions of others.  Therefore there is no way that the multiple perspectives on the same object or concept can be aggregated to verify the existence of it, there's no way to establish that we're all viewing the same object or concept, and so you cannot proceed without taking something on faith.
lantz, in yet another astounding blunder informs us: "2+2=11 would be totally valid if a person's concept of the number 11 was linked to the concrete existence of what we would call 4 objects. "

The difference between whether 2+2= 4 or = 11 has nothing to do with 'objects,' but concepts. In this case the definitions (axioms) within which =4 (base-10 math) or =11 (base-3) are derived.
lantz: "Nietzsche, in his attempt to validate all of his arrogant bullshit about perspectivism failed to take into account the fact that multiple perspectives,"

Thank you. At least you're not pretending to be 'objective,' since N did actually write:

"...we can use the *difference* in perspectives and affective interpretations for knowledge" ... "There is only perspectival seeing, only a perspectival 'knowing;' the more affects we are able to put into words about a thing, the more eyes, various eyes we are able to for the same thing, the more complete will be our ‘concept’ of the thing, our ‘objectivity’. (GM 3:12)

In the same passage he encourages others to adopt this multi-perspectival practice while dismantling the moral-metaphysical notion of 'objectivity-as-view-from-nowhere.' The insolence!!!

Of course, I can't expect those addicted to logopiates to actually read N, 'cuz it's nearly axiomatic that he's arrogant and his work bullshit.

AF now awaiting another wall-o-text...
Yosemite, literary theory (Phenomenological Hermeneutics) supports your comment, but also offers a solution. The key to understanding the perspective of another is to understand as much as possible the experiences that went into building that perspective. By immersing oneself in the writing (or speaking, or whatever other type of perspective transferrence), you incorporate that person's perspective into your own. While it is true that another person's perspective cannot be completely known, it can be understood to a reasonable degree. Nitpicking over differences is then narrowed down to a semantical problem rather than a fundamental one.

Amor: I'm not sure how you can manage to seperate logic completely from the natural world. If there were no objects, this logical process would not even exist, and we would not be arguing over concepts.

Though I'm trying to be as scientific as I can, I am not being completely objective because Nietzsche's philosophy is not really scientifically grounded, it's just baseless speculation that, by nature of itself, is not provable or disprovable, though the hypotheses constructed from it continually fall short. Ironically, epistemological nihilism, and possibly the other forms of nihilism, are somewhat akin to religion, because rather than replacing the absence of faith with something viable (like logic and the scientific method), it simply accepts its own principles, that understanding, morality, and sometimes even reality, don't exist, on faith and superficial justification and rationalization (like scientific logic, but without any root in observation or a discrimination of truth).

However, surprisingly, that Nietzsche quote of yours is actually the exact same argument I already made. Multiple perspectives, or the ability for something to be repeatedly measured from multiple perspectives, leads to a more complete concept and objectivity. Nietzsche just puts an arbitrary limit on the amount of perspective that can be shared and understood.
"I'm not sure how you can manage to seperate logic completely from the natural world"

Your concern about me 'separating' logic from the natural world strikes me a bit funny, since the historical development of logic as a whole as been rife with doing just that! As examples: arguments regarding 'absolute truth,' 'proofs of God,' 'matter/spirit,' 'complete objectivity,''The Good (Agathon), etc. 'Absolute truth' has no correspondence to anything natural, it was trying to untie 'it' from anything at all! It's worse than a pink griffin.

But, let me lay it down for ya: The rest of the so-called natural world doesn't give two shits about our concepts, our logic, our vanity. They are only meaningful to some of us monkeys.

Logic is always tinged with 'subjectivity.' Always. No system of logic is an exception. There is no such logic which is completely objective, precisely because logic is axiomatic, pre-defined by us. Logical validation can only be derived or inferred from within the parameters set by those axioms, or such a validation is no longer 'logical.' In addition, axioms are tautologies. One cannot use the method, the rules of validity play, they demarcate to 'validate' them, as they are already held as 'fitting' or 'worthy' for that very task!
That all makes for a deep and profound (and ultimately fruitless) argument, but historical uses of faulty logic hardly proves the inherent flaw in logic itself. Concepts, and the logic that orders them, are based on the natural world. In that sense, there really is no "subjectivity", because everything is the product of the concrete. You say that nature doesn't care about us monkeys, but you don't seem to fully realize that we monkeys are part of the natural world. I see colors because nature, through natural selection, dictated that I should see colors. My synapses fire in the orders that they do, and I produce the thoughts that I do, as a result of my genetics and my environment. Though my thoughts are my own, they also belong to my position in the natural world.

Without the natural world, there would be no thought. Our concepts exist as products of our perception of the natural world. Without the existence of what I see as the color red, I would not have a concept of red. Just because our natural bodies can only see a limited proportion of our world does not mean that the world doesn't exist as a concrete entity.

As for the argument that logic is inherently subjective, nature could be said to possess its own logic. Clouds condense, therefore it rains. Animals get hungry, therefore they eat. The natural concrete world often uses logical relationships, and structuring our thinking to understand those relationships is probably one of the best examples of objectivity. In fact, a large part of the development of a scientific paradigm is the development of a thought process to match the natural process being studied.
lantz: "and ultimately fruitless"

Perhaps so, but probably not nearly as destructive as the Religion of Dead Abstractions ('Logic,' The Word) and as reading anthropomorphism into all things (ex: "nature could be said to possess its own logic.")

lantz: "but you don't seem to fully realize that we monkeys are part of the natural world."

Uh...lantz...that we are 'natural' has been the very heart of my conversation with you. It's that you just can't seem to grasp that concepts rely upon *identity,* which literally means 'the same." There are no two, three, (etc.) existents which are the same. Nothing is 'equivalent' to anything else in 'nature.' You cannot make two beings 'the same' no matter how hard you hold onto Dumbo's feather, nor if you invoke the spooks of 'species, 'genus' etc.  

Perhaps, the worst lie of logic is that it forgets that it is a lie, a *useful* one in some contexts, but most definitely a lie.
The "Religion of Dead Abstractions"? That's a provocative, poetic term and all, but it doesn't really mean or explain anything that hasn't already been discussed. The same goes for your poetic statement that logic is a lie.

I'm not arguing for the anthropomorphization of nature, I'm calling for the naturalization of anthropomorphs. Nature follows logical relationships and we've structured our thinking to reflect our relationship to those relationships. That was most likely part of cognitive evolution as a species. To reject nature in the arrogant idea that we humans are so seperated from it as to not be able to understand it isn't productive. Nature exists, and we can perceive it, therefore we can understand, if not everything about it, at least its existence and its observable characteristics (and we are always devising new means of observing different features of nature).

Ah, identity. Then this is the foundation of our argument, the nature of identity. Humans create their own identity to a large extent, depending on what aspects of themselves they most associate with. Humans feel a need to belong, and so often go to great lengths to share an identity with others.

Each person does have an individual identity. However, to emphasize that identity over that person's group identity as a human, as an animal, as an organism, is arbitrary. We share far more in common with other humans than we differ from them. Two people might see an object from two different angles, but they observe the object with the same senses and analyse the article with the same type of brain. The problem is not that no one's perspective but your own is truth, the problem is that all perspectives contain truth, and you have to rationally incorporate that truth into your own perspective through a discriminating use of logic and the scientific method.

Overall, to draw an arbitrary line between "self" and "not-self" as Neitzsche did, on the blind faith that our senses and relationships to other humans are meaningless, despite the fact that we evolved those senses and relationships in response the natural world, and to say that nothing on the other side of that line from ourselves can be understood is a baseless argument.
Pat yourself on the back, you're a winner. The Cult of Logos's  wall-o-text award belongs to you.
I feel like "anarchy relies on tolerance for ALL beliefs and ways of life" is probably the stupidest thing I have seen on this website.
Rice Boy, would you explain what you think that statement (by Lantz that you quoted) means and why you think it's stupid? I'm not sure what it means, or whether I think it's stupid or not, but the conversation about it interests me. Thanks.
Ba@- I can see three reasons why I think it's stupid if that's any help.

First, it renders all beliefs and ways of life as being somehow...'equal.'

Second, lantz does what lantz does, and sticks-foot-in-mouth by saying that 'militant atheism' (whatever that means) is outside the pale of 'all beliefs and ways of life.'

Third, lantz denies anarchist history by ignoring both the 'no gods, no masters' motif as well as the real world conflicts against State and capital, Church, fascism, (state) Communism.
Thanks, AF.

I agree with your second reason. I missed the additional part about atheism, and it that context, it is completely contradictory to the rest of the statement. I don't know whether that's stupid, but it is certainly hypocritical to me. edited- okay, on second thought, it sounds stupid.

I'm not sure about reason one. I guess it depends on the definition of "tolerance".

The third I'm not clear on. Perhaps you're talking about Lantz's overall response and not that one sentence.
'Tolerance' is a reification of an activity: to tolerate. My def here is pretty much mainstream: "allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference." If lantz has another def it's up to lantz to show and tell.

'Anarchism' has never tolerated all ways of life (action) and consequently all beliefs (theory). Bureaucrats, presidents, CEOs, priests, nuns, dictators, are all ways of life and beliefs hand in hand. Activity and theory expressed.

Does this help?
Yes, it does. Thanks again.

With those definitions, I'm in agreement with you and RB. I don't use the words "tolerate" or "tolerance" in my expression of things...which is why I questioned it. Perhaps Lantz will reply with his/her definition.
"I don't use the words "tolerate" or "tolerance" in my expression of things"

Nor do I.

Words so often get in the way. I'm finding there are many words most people use that aren't in my vocabulary - not that I've never heard them before or have any reference for them, but they seem to characterize things in a way that have no meaning or relevance for me, or there are many possible meanings (some of which seem contradictory), or they imply concepts that I simply don't believe in.
Ok.... is it so hard for people to read an entire post instead of cherry-picking phrases that fit their superficial criticisms? Sure, I probably shouldn't have emphasized the word ALL in that specific quote, but I said in the paragraph RIGHT before it that "Any aspect of culture (i.e. beliefs and behaviors) that DOESN'T INFRINGE ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS should be allowed to freely exist in any anarchist society."

Clearly, my statement that ALL beliefs and ways of life must be tolerated was made with the stipulation that intolerant behaviors don't have to be tolerated. (Beliefs can't be persecuted unless they manifest themselves in harmful behaviors, but that's another discussion). I also explained this is the comments once before.

Bornagain, don't let them put words in my mouth. Read this stuff for yourself.


First, this point has already been refuted. All beliefs and ways-of-life that don't infringe on the rights of others ARE of equal value. Those beliefs and ways-of-life that do infringe on others aren't covered by my statement. And yes, I'm using your definition of tolerance.

Second, just militant atheism is not tolerant of religion doesn't mean that it doesn't have value. It is only when that belief results in oppression of the religious that it becomes a problem. However, the militant athiest viewpoint does not support equality, and therefore is not an adequate foundation for an anarchist system. You are just nitpicking.

Third: More baseless accusations and superficial nitpicking. Just because I ignored an old anarchist motif, I'm ignoring history? Even those who don't agree with me can see that I clearly use a lot of history in my comments. And besides, the whole "No gods, no masters" thing is not crucial to anarchist philosophy, it's just a buzzphrase. I've already established that anarchy has just as much history in religion as it does in atheism.
Lantz, I did read it. Please don't assume I didn't. I was asking Rice Boy why he thought a certain statement of yours was stupid based on his interpretation. I wasn't asking him to speak for you, and I'd be glad to hear what you meant by "tolerance" (or the entire sentence would be even more helpful to me).
Sorry, that bit about not reading the entire post wasn't directed at you bornagain. It was directed at the people trying to tell you what I was saying. The bit about reading the stuff for yourself was, obviously, directed at you, but not as critically. I was just trying to say, don't take his interpretation as complete truth. Oh, and by tolerance, I mean basically what Amor said: To "allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference."
No worries. I was responding to their definitions of what you wrote, and I can see how that would be frustrating. If you'd like to give a further description of that particular point, I could respond to it if you're interested.
Well, I think I've covered it pretty well, but I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you've got.
lantz: "First, this point has already been refuted. All beliefs and ways-of-life that don't infringe on the rights of others ARE of equal value."

Ooooo. 'rights' now we're gettin' spooky. What may 'rights' consist of?

Who judges the scales of 'equality? God? Humanity? The Pope? Obama? Kropotkin? Your mom?

How does one weigh 'rights' to make sure they identify as ' the same in all respects'?

What exactly does 'infringe' mean? Hell, I've dealt with Christians who consider ridicule as 'oppression' all while condemning others for homosexuality, atheism, and other ways of 'not being right with God.'

lantz: ". It is only when that belief results in oppression of the religious that it becomes a problem.'

That's asinine. I think atheists, 'militant' or even mild-mannered atheists, are in far more hot doo-doo with certain Middle Eastern cults than vice versa.

lantz: "However, the militant athiest viewpoint does not support equality,"

Some religions/ideology do in theory, none really do. Why am I obligated to  'support' either? Who am I 'obligated' to, exactly?

lantz: "More baseless accusations and superficial nitpicking. Just because I ignored an old anarchist motif, I'm ignoring history?...And besides, the whole "No gods, no masters" thing is not crucial to anarchist philosophy, it's just a buzzphrase"

1. One God, One master, seems to know...archism.

2. More importantly, you are just trying to cover your ass, your naked self-contradictions, by appealing to snobs, emotions, and the authority of spooky contemporary democratic buzzwords:  'rights,' 'obligations,' 'equality.' They sound nice on paper, but hardly make for anything overturning the current Western domination of thought, discourse, 'democracy' and Power.
I can't claim to know everything about rights. I'm a humanist, I just believe that all people, along with their beliefs, must be respected as long as they don't infringe on other people. The fact that morality and the idea of rights are tough issues to define doesn't mean they don't exist. They are hardly a modern idea either. Rights are one of the most important ideas that humans have come up with, and just because they've been incorporated into democracy (in an not-completely-successful attempt to safeguard democracy from the tyranny of the previous monarchys) does not mean they are irrelevant. Rejecting everything because it is associated with government is a childish, single-minded approach to anarchism.

Second, toleration does not imply the obligation to support anyone, and it doesn't matter who is in more "doo-doo," intolerance is intolerance. I wouldn't recommend an anarchist system based on militant Islam either.

Third, "One God, One master" is not the opposite of "No god, no masters," this is a false point, as are the previous two points.

You haven't said one productive thing here. As in the other thread, I don't think this is going anywhere.