. . .[and] the beauty of reason, too. Philosophy grows from religion as astronomy grew from astrology, chemistry from alchemy.
So sayeth Christopher Hitchens.
But as intelligent and reasonable as humans now may be, people the world over including our own American media when the cartoonish becomes scary enough, still pretend and defer to religious claims that divinity plays humanity like puppets in a scripted play, a play that casts most humans as unworthy and doomed no matter what.
Thus in the third millennium “there is no bigger subject than God” and religious leaders still can bully this modern world into abandoning it all — our hard-earned philosophy, science and reason — via their (heavenly or hellish?) weapons of mass destruction, from controlling education, information and economic progress, to genital mutilation and genocide, to the increasing threat of nuclear bombs.
Frisky cock of the snook to Lynn for this six-and-a-half-minute CNN video of Lou Dobbs and Christopher Hitchens talking about the danger of organized religion as politics and policy. The interview ends with Hitchens’ own citizenship journey as Thomas Jefferson’s biographer and finally becoming our “fellow American” on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday at Jefferson’s memorial in America’s capital, in the name of the First Amendment and the essential wall of separation Jefferson himself once imposed between church and state in Virginia.
Mortimer Adler’s definition of education was “the freeing discipline of wonder.” Religious education seems like an oxymoron then, unless we change our definition of religion, to match. Make it freeing rather than oppressive, wondrous rather than warlike, open to questions and new discovery and change. That was the thought when I wrote this:
Maybe human spirituality is evolving [for the next cultural era] as we discover and accept truths not through patriarchal personification and studying “authoritative” writings spelled out for our dutiful performance on demand, but through an “unschooled” direct [and democratic if you will] personal connection to each other, and to the universe as a system?
Maybe that’s what the Don Beck-Ken Wilber cultural “meme” dynamics mean to express? . . .personally I’d rather interpret power of story with blue versus green memes, than try to make sense of religious wars by poring over holy prophecy as written by men to be beaten into women and children. . .
Magical worldviews went with a foraging base, mythic worldviews went with an agrarian base, rational worldviews went with an industrial base, and so on.
But with the rise of modernity (rational-industrial), the increasing globalization of economic exchange made a very intense type of cross-level phenomenon possible: for example, tribal cultures could gain access to rational-industrial technology, often with horrifying results.
Moreover, the same sort of cross-level access could occur within a given culture: Auschwitz was the product of rational-technological capacity (orange) pressed into the hands of intensely pre-rational (red/blue) ethnocentric aggression.
Today, almost any ethnic tribe or feudal order can gain access to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons that historically they would never have been able to produce themselves, and the results are literally explosive. . . These types of phenomena make cross-level analysis of quadrants, levels, and lines absolutely mandatory in today’s world politics, and it dooms analyses that do less than that.
p.s. — to any conservative evangelical homeschooler whose hair bursts into flames at the mention of Christopher Hitchens, consider that he sees the social controls of School as dangerous and beneath us, too:
Hitchens on school as society in the Christian-criticized Harry Potter books:
“I would give a lot to understand this phenomenon better. Part of it must have to do with the extreme banality and conformity of school life as it is experienced today, with everything oriented toward safety on the one hand and correctness on the other. . .”