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Old 01-09-2006, 08:20 PM   #31
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Originally posted by indra


To be blunt I don't much care what happens in a century or two. I think people are too worried about this world not being the same in 100 or 200 years. Of course it's not going to be the same as it is now! It will move and change and develop into something we can now only imagine. And that to me is a good thing -- not something to fear.
It depends on what the shift is towards. The shift away from theocracy and ignorance towars secularism and rationalism yielded tremendous benefit, the danger is that the dominant ideologies of the future will be the retrograde forces of religious sectarianism.

The one bright spot is that an innovative and free society will always have the edge over a dogmatic authoritarian one, regardless of how the populations swing in any particular geographic location.
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Old 01-09-2006, 08:33 PM   #32
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Analyses based purely on current population replacement rates are overly simplistic and ignore the positive effects inward immigration can have, provided it is well managed.
Very true that immigration can have positive effects. But a high birthrate and a high immigration rate could be catastrophic - just as a low birthrate and high emigration rate could be troublesome! I guess it's all about balance.
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Old 01-09-2006, 08:37 PM   #33
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What about high immigration rates of unskilled labour that have high birthrates even in second and third generations coupled with a low birthrate of your pre-existing population.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:19 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra


To be blunt I don't much care what happens in a century or two. I think people are too worried about this world not being the same in 100 or 200 years. Of course it's not going to be the same as it is now! It will move and change and develop into something we can now only imagine. And that to me is a good thing -- not something to fear.

I'm sure people 100 - 200 years ago couldn't anticipate the current world, and most probably would have been horrified if they had a view into the future. But I'm very glad it's not the same world they had, and I'm betting the people a century or two from now will feel the same way.

So I don't see that declining population is such a big ass deal.
They'll look back at our era the way we look at the Victorian era. Things will be different, and I don't see a decreasing birthrate as a problem. I think our democracies will last, even if more of those practicing it go to mosques to pray rather than churches and synagogues.
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Old 01-09-2006, 10:56 PM   #35
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Im not so sure that jizya and gender apartheid are improvements like the transition from the Victorian era to the Progressive societies that exist today. At least Australia is so far removed from that type of scenario, and theres always India and China (stay tuned).
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Old 01-09-2006, 11:00 PM   #36
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
What about high immigration rates of unskilled labour that have high birthrates even in second and third generations coupled with a low birthrate of your pre-existing population.
A valid point. But that's where I said - it's all about balance. For immigration and population control to work, you need strong policy. You need criteria for immigration and you need to allow some degree of support for immigrants. I'm not suggesting that we should let people march into our country and sign up for the dole right away, but we need opportunities for unskilled workers to gain skills. At the end of the day, though, we will always need checkout chicks, brickie's labourers and others who can do the grunt work for us. We just have to keep tabs on how many we have and monitor our policies to maintain that balance. This is probably why I am not a politician - I don't have all the answers!
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Old 01-09-2006, 11:19 PM   #37
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Re: European Christianity in decline

Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/200...oddeadineurope

Thoughts?
I think the Religious Right in America should take notes and rapidly retreat from involvement in American politics. The kind of "theocratic democracy" that they desire (and you know they do) has already happened in many European nations (and Québec). Sure, they got a good 20-40 years of iron fisted "Christian" rule, but every last one of these governments collapsed under popular discontent, and the end result was always a dramatic decline in faith. When religion ties itself to politics, they will sink with the political ship when the tides turn.

Anyway, the Religious Right in America can't resist the vanity of power, so I do believe that nothing can stop groups like Focus on the Fascism and the Khristian KKoalition from continuing their march towards Washington, D.C. And, eventually, Americans won't like a bunch of old clerics telling them what to do all the time, and we'll wisen up to the two to three decades of vote rigging and actually demand a real recount. And then we'll have an American public who, when they think of Jesus or Christianity, will only be able to think of dictatorship and loss of freedom. Then we'll hate Christianity as much as Europe has, after having endured centuries of corruption and oppression at the hands of Christianity.

And, Jesus Christ, that hysterical moron of a writer has it all wrong. People are not having children solely because they "hate God." It's called the fact that they generally live in rather wealthy and homogenous nations. Do a demographic survey of middle class to wealthy white Americans, and you'll find a similarly bleak birth rate. Our "repopulation" in America are coming from the poor and uneducated, whether they're citizens or immigrants. The richer and more educated people are, the fewer children they choose to have.

And blaming "gay marriage" on heterosexuals not having children? Why not blame "the Jews" for the bird flu while you're at it? It's morons like him as to why I hate Christianity. Maybe once the "moral powers-that-be" take care of their fanatics, they'll gain more recruits. I hear the local Catholic church has started to regain its attendance, after they got rid of their Y2K-obsessed, Catholic League loving fascist of a priest. I guess the diocese finally listened after six years of complaints from the locals. Or maybe it was when he went over the deep end and was shipped off to the mental hospital (no exaggeration).

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Old 01-09-2006, 11:43 PM   #38
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Ugh...I actually want to say that I don't mean to sling so much vitriol towards religion, in general. I'm still quite a spiritual person. I just really cannot stand "institutional Christianity" at all anymore. And I'm just frustrated at the state of religion today.

There was an episode of "South Park" that resonated rather well, when the Vatican brought out the giant spider for guidance. Basically, when you become so "lofty" that you no longer resonate with the people you're supposed to be appealing to, why *should* people follow religion? And I think that's what has happened. In response, "institutional Christianity" hasn't changed its business model. No, instead it just spews a bunch of shit out of its mouth and tries to guilt you into staying.

Well, I'm sorry. I'm not going to be part of an institution that vacillates between blaming me for all the world's problems and refusing to acknowledge my existence. Why should I waste any effort with that nonsense?

Good for Europe, really. If Christianity doesn't want to change and remain relevant, why should they keep on believing in it?

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Old 01-10-2006, 12:13 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Global population is going to level out like a logarithmic graph at around 10 billion, the majority of that population is going to be religious. Who knows perhaps the very secular and rational societies that we strive towards will be their own undoing. Athough with gene therapies and aging populations with wealth we could wind up with an eternal population.
It's not about "secular and rational societies" anymore than it's about "religious societies." Hate to say it, but, statistically, the poorer and dumber you are, the more religious you are. Now, as for the exceptions, how many wealthy Christians have a litter of children? They may have one or two children themselves.

Civilizations rise and fall probably because wealthy societies collapse after enough generations of leisure and low birth rates. But you know what? That's for the best. What a nightmare it would be if the wealthiest and most powerful families of yesterday (like the Medicis of Florence, for instance) were still around, because they'd probably have hoarded up enough money and power so no one else in Italy could compete. And, really, the last thing we need is a "dynasty" of Wal-Mart heirs fucking up the future.

Let the "poorer" generations of the future multiply and create their own world in their image, rather than feeling compelled to continue ours.

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Old 01-10-2006, 12:27 AM   #40
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But the things that broke the shackles of theocracy and dynastic rule - liberty, democracy and rationalism - are threatened by those forces of religion. Concieve the great sculptures of the rennaisance artisans meeting the same fate as the Bamiyan Buddha.

With the inherent authoritarian evil of the omniscient god it is little wonder that dictators so easily prosper.
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:34 AM   #41
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Originally posted by melon


Hate to say it, but, statistically, the poorer and dumber you are, the more religious you are.
I'm sorry, Melon -- I couldn't let this statement pass without addressing it.

I agree with you on some of your points. Power is a heady weapon that can easily lead to corruption, and I agree that the Christian Coalition is a powerful lobby in this country. (At the same time, you're not singling out any other corrupt, monolithic lobby groups **coughcough**Big Labor**coughcough**.)

Look, I don't know what your experience with religion is. From the statements I've read, it sounds like you've been burned. I wish it weren't so. But you do realize that the way you see religion, doesn't necessarily make it so, right?

You do realize that last year's New York Times list contained at least half-a-dozen books on the subject of religion (from discourses as wide as The Da Vinci Code was divorced from reality) -- which shows that at least some of the dumb and poor people you derided can actually read and write.

You do realize that many, many, many churches and synagogues have been at the forefront of aid to the poor and needy -- for example, in the tsunami and hurricane tragedies this year, when churches and aid organizations (including the Salvation Army and World Vision) led aid groups and missions to the ravaged areas to provide food and shelter. (I know of at least half a dozen churches that flew refugees out and put them up.)

You do realize that churches as diverse as The Potter's House, Without Walls, Saddleback, and Mosaic (to name but a few) are at the forefront of addressing urban issues, right? That The Potter's House helps its members start businesses to make them financially independent? That Without Walls helps its members find low-interest mortgages they can afford? That Saddleback recently led a historic symposium on addressing the growing plight of AIDS, attended by over 2,000 pastors?

You do realize that of the roughly 1 billion Christians on the planet (all of whom summarily written off by you), most of them are non-white, right? That most of them come from poverty-ravaged countries subjected to tyrannical governments (and not, as you so lightly claim, religious ones). That perhaps it is precisely because the citizens of China, North Korea, Botswana, Uganda, etc find themselves in a plight where they cannot help themselves, that they cry out for someone to do so. You do realize that the church in China and North Korea and Africa has exploded in these circumstances, right? That Jesus said "blessed are the poor in spirit" precisely because He was talking to those who were so, telling them that despite the fact that everyone else in society had written them off, He loved them anyway. You did realize the inherent elitism and racism in your statement, didn't you?

You do realize that of the roughly 1 billion Christians on the planet (to say nothing of religious people worldwide), there are doctors, lawyers, philosophers, PhDs, scientists (over 40% of whom, shockingly, believe in God), teachers, and artisans? You did include these people in the poor and dumb category you created, didn't you? That in America, the wealthiest, most educated country in the world, over 90% of its citizens claim some faith in God? You did include that in your poor and dumb "statistic", didn't you?

Again, Melon, I'm sorry for your anger and hatred of organized religion. I'll be the first to admit that religion in the wrong hands can be used for control -- it has been and currently is. But let's not pretend to demonize religion for the world's problems -- and further, let's not reduce the humanity of the billions who believe and follow.
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Old 01-10-2006, 02:14 PM   #42
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good post Nathan. just a few things ...

Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
I agree with you on some of your points. Power is a heady weapon that can easily lead to corruption, and I agree that the Christian Coalition is a powerful lobby in this country. (At the same time, you're not singling out any other corrupt, monolithic lobby groups **coughcough**Big Labor**coughcough**.)



yes, but no other lobbying group claims to speak for the Almighty, the Infinite.

that's quite a powerful boss they work for, no?



[q]You do realize that last year's New York Times list contained at least half-a-dozen books on the subject of religion (from discourses as wide as The Da Vinci Code was divorced from reality) -- which shows that at least some of the dumb and poor people you derided can actually read and write.[/q]

please note that The Da Vinci Code is a fictional novel.


[q]You do realize that many, many, many churches and synagogues have been at the forefront of aid to the poor and needy -- for example, in the tsunami and hurricane tragedies this year, when churches and aid organizations (including the Salvation Army and World Vision) led aid groups and missions to the ravaged areas to provide food and shelter. (I know of at least half a dozen churches that flew refugees out and put them up.)[/q]


good points. but helping the poor doesn't seem to be on the minds of the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, or any of the other religious pressure groups who claim substantial political influence in washington, who claim being responsible for Bush's victories in 2000 and 2004, and who are regularly consulted by Karl Rove on any and all social policy matters not least of which are SCOTUS nominees. while you are right to point out the good work that is done under the umbrella of Christianity, i think it's every bit as legitimate to point out what many of us feel are organized hate groups and their undue influence over this particular administration.


[q]You do realize that of the roughly 1 billion Christians on the planet (all of whom summarily written off by you), most of them are non-white, right? That most of them come from poverty-ravaged countries subjected to tyrannical governments (and not, as you so lightly claim, religious ones). That perhaps it is precisely because the citizens of China, North Korea, Botswana, Uganda, etc find themselves in a plight where they cannot help themselves, that they cry out for someone to do so. You do realize that the church in China and North Korea and Africa has exploded in these circumstances, right? That Jesus said "blessed are the poor in spirit" precisely because He was talking to those who were so, telling them that despite the fact that everyone else in society had written them off, He loved them anyway. You did realize the inherent elitism and racism in your statement, didn't you?[/q]


i really mean this as more in the way of discussion, but can't we also view the idea that "god loves the poor" as another way of saying "be happy with your lot in life"? haven't churches used Christ's outreach to the poor and those who "sin" as a way of saying, "God wants you to be poor, accept your station"? that religion provides structure, meaning, and purpose to lives that have been stripped of such things by tyrannically oppressive governments (often supported by the US) is no secret. can't the very message you've highlighted by just as effective a means of social control and repression as any sort of secular state or government?



[q]You do realize that of the roughly 1 billion Christians on the planet (to say nothing of religious people worldwide), there are doctors, lawyers, philosophers, PhDs, scientists (over 40% of whom, shockingly, believe in God), teachers, and artisans? You did include these people in the poor and dumb category you created, didn't you? That in America, the wealthiest, most educated country in the world, over 90% of its citizens claim some faith in God? You did include that in your poor and dumb "statistic", didn't you?[/q]


i think you might be confusing a distinction that i make, and that i think Melon makes, between "spiritual" and "religious" -- a belief in God does not make you religous. and i would also imagine that the vast majority of those with PhD's do not center their lives around their churches the way it is done in many rural communities where people, in general, do not have college educations.

my boyfriend is from rural Tennessee. he was the only male in his high school class to go to college. most of his friends from high school got married and then pregnant within a year of graduation (or, just as often, got pregnant and then married). their lives also revolve around the church. there's mass on Sunday. Bible study on Tuesday. social clubs, picnics, book clubs, etc. all of this revolves around the church, and all of these activities are imbued with a bit of religious feeling. you might read a "secular" book for book club, but they will try to tease out a Christian reading in discussion, for example.

this is not to say that the above is good, bad, right, or wrong.

but it is to say that most people who are highly educated do not look to their churches alone to be the center of their non-work lives.

i think it's also fair to say that those who are highly educated aren't buying the "Left Behind" series or watching the "700 Club."


Quote:
But let's not pretend to demonize religion for the world's problems -- and further, let's not reduce the humanity of the billions who believe and follow.



totally fair and a good point. i feel the same when when people try to pin every greivance under the sun on "America."
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Old 01-10-2006, 05:38 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977
I agree with you on some of your points. Power is a heady weapon that can easily lead to corruption, and I agree that the Christian Coalition is a powerful lobby in this country. (At the same time, you're not singling out any other corrupt, monolithic lobby groups **coughcough**Big Labor**coughcough**.)
So what has "Big Labor" done to you? Try to raise your wages and give you free employer-provided health care? Those bastards.

Quote:
Look, I don't know what your experience with religion is. From the statements I've read, it sounds like you've been burned. I wish it weren't so. But you do realize that the way you see religion, doesn't necessarily make it so, right?
I've already made my distinction between spirituality and "institutional Christianity." I have nothing but an intense loathing for all "Christian" institutions, and considering all of their excursions into politics over the last 30 or so years, they should have all had their tax-exempt statuses taken away a long time ago.

Quote:
You do realize that last year's New York Times list contained at least half-a-dozen books on the subject of religion (from discourses as wide as The Da Vinci Code was divorced from reality) -- which shows that at least some of the dumb and poor people you derided can actually read and write.
Over half of America doesn't believe in evolution either. That doesn't exactly help their case.

Quote:
You do realize that many, many, many churches and synagogues have been at the forefront of aid to the poor and needy -- for example, in the tsunami and hurricane tragedies this year, when churches and aid organizations (including the Salvation Army and World Vision) led aid groups and missions to the ravaged areas to provide food and shelter. (I know of at least half a dozen churches that flew refugees out and put them up.)
These many, many, many churches and synagogues are good at the "corporal works of mercy"--that is, band-aid solutions--while many of them are downright viciously opposed to "social justice," which would work to change the institutions that cause such poverty. Try to fix Alabama's antiquated tax code, and the Christian Coalition will be the first one to bark. The Vatican put its foot down on South American "liberation theology," claiming they didn't want their clergy intervening so closely into politics. Yet, this is the same church that actively supported Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, and Duplessis in Québec, amongst other anti-democratic, (quasi-)fascist governments. Needless to say, all three places are now rather viciously anti-Christian, which is why I posted my original comment on this thread.

I'm sorry, but religion has done a great job of cancelling out the value of its good works with plenty of bad ones.

Quote:
You do realize that of the roughly 1 billion Christians on the planet (all of whom summarily written off by you), most of them are non-white, right? That most of them come from poverty-ravaged countries subjected to tyrannical governments (and not, as you so lightly claim, religious ones). That perhaps it is precisely because the citizens of China, North Korea, Botswana, Uganda, etc find themselves in a plight where they cannot help themselves, that they cry out for someone to do so. You do realize that the church in China and North Korea and Africa has exploded in these circumstances, right? That Jesus said "blessed are the poor in spirit" precisely because He was talking to those who were so, telling them that despite the fact that everyone else in society had written them off, He loved them anyway. You did realize the inherent elitism and racism in your statement, didn't you?
Sure, most of them are non-white, but who converted them in the first place? My biggest gripe with Christian missionaries is that they spread their prejudices everywhere they go. There are many places that are now virulently homophobic, thanks to those "kindly" Christian missionaries.

Places like China and North Korea embrace Christianity or other religions solely because it makes them rebellious against their atheist governments. I'm sorry, but maybe they'll change their minds once the "rebels" get into power and start oppressing them too for not believing in the "right kind" of Christianity. During the Roman era, we know that early Christians were oppressed and killed by the Roman Empire. Fast forward a few hundred years, where the Christians came into power, and they have developed an equally large intolerance for other religions and even more grotesque means of torture and murder. Hell, the Roman Catholic Church is credited for being the organization that helped create modern capital punishment!

Quote:
You do realize that of the roughly 1 billion Christians on the planet (to say nothing of religious people worldwide), there are doctors, lawyers, philosophers, PhDs, scientists (over 40% of whom, shockingly, believe in God), teachers, and artisans? You did include these people in the poor and dumb category you created, didn't you? That in America, the wealthiest, most educated country in the world, over 90% of its citizens claim some faith in God? You did include that in your poor and dumb "statistic", didn't you?
Irvine511's assessment about the distinction between "religiosity" and "spirituality" is on the mark. That's what I was referring to, as well.

Quote:
Again, Melon, I'm sorry for your anger and hatred of organized religion. I'll be the first to admit that religion in the wrong hands can be used for control -- it has been and currently is. But let's not pretend to demonize religion for the world's problems -- and further, let's not reduce the humanity of the billions who believe and follow.
Until mainstream religion stops being little more than a heterosexual suprecmacist hate group, I will likely not have one good word to say about it.

I'm sorry, but you have a different view of the world when you're looking in on it from the outside. Look at it this way: from the dawn of Christianity to the fall of Nazi Germany, Christianity was virulently anti-Semitic. Now completely putting Nazism and Hitler aside, try telling a European Jew from anytime in this era to look at the "good things" Christianity does for the world, putting aside all the anti-Semitism. Jews, instead, were happier to live in the Islamic Ottoman Empire than in Christian Europe.

Post-WWII, sure, you have your fringe groups today that are anti-Semitic, but mainstream Christianity today takes a strong stand against anti-Jewish sentiment and those Biblical passages in the epistles of St. Paul that were used to justify hatred of Jews for nearly 2000 years are now seen as a bigoted misinterpretation. Gays aren't given the same respect, however. There are still the same 2000 year old bigoted Biblical misinterpretations and mainstream Christianity is either downright hostile or completely annoyed.

Now try telling me to find the bright side of Christianity today. You'll see why I couldn't care less, in light of their present bad behavior.

Melon
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