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Featured The Political Divide from A Theistic Perspective.

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by John D. Brey, Aug 12, 2022.

  1. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Recent political events have magnified the political divide in America to a degree probably unseen since the Civil War. In various threads on politics here in our forum (most notably Predictions of how Trump supporters will react if he's arrested and indicted) dialogue has reached not just a fever pitch, but people on both sides appear to be pitching the dissolution of dialogue with the other side altogether. Worse, they're implying that the other side is beyond hope and must be eliminated rather than finding a middle-ground or reaching some kind of democratic consensus.



    John
     
  2. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    My interlocutor in the noted thread made some points very much in line with the statements above. To generalize his argument, this particular person is past the point of even considering dialogue or compromise with the other side. They can't be worked with at all. Worse, paraphrasing his argument, they're like insects with the form of a human but who are not really a human through and through. Incredibly, according to this person, the people on the other side of the political divide are like aliens from the movie "Men in Black," who should be shown the business end of a weapon of mass destruction.

    Naturally this person is deeply caught up in his struggle with the political divide that's in the cross hairs of these dialogues (and is the point of this thread). Nevertheless, to a student of history, this recent talk (just his week in fact) sounds like it's plagiarizing the historical writings of another person struggling similarly, if not identically, with people he considered insects unworthy of dialogue or compromise, but who are undeniably, in his mind, clearly worthy of extermination. This historical personage's heartfelt struggle is painstakingly described in writings come to be known specifically as his struggle with peoples less than worthy of human dignity.



    John
     
    #2 John D. Brey, Aug 12, 2022
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  3. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry The "I" in Reality

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    There is a big problem with "one side." Using misinformation and conspiracy theories to justify their violence and calls to action certainly makes dialogue difficult, eh?

    Remember, there is an entire political movement based around the unsupportable idea that the current President is illegitimate and the only reconciliation is to depose him and install his opponent.

    How would you suggest communicating with these folks?
     
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  4. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    . . . Are you calling my hand so soon? I'm hoping the fact that I'm a better poker-player than that will give this thread at least the patina of historical, scientific, philosophical, objectivity. :D




    John
     
  5. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry The "I" in Reality

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    ...so about that suggestion?
     
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  6. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    From simply an abstract, or objective standpoint, we could say there's one side who believe strongly that the current President in no way stole the election, and another side that implies the election was stolen. If we keep in mind that the side that considers the election stolen isn't just a fringe element, but the majority of the other side, the problem in the cross-hairs of this thread is better established: what is the criteria for determining the truth concerning matters of such grave import? Which leads to the quasi-theological heart of this thread: Quid est veritas?



    John
     
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  7. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry The "I" in Reality

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    There is the practical problem that arises from questioning "What is truth?" when we are talking about an election in a democracy. For all accounts and appearances, Joe Biden won according to the usual measures. This victory was questioned, evidence was examined and deemed inadequate to challenge the results by the prescribed method, and we went on our merry way.

    Sans any major challenges, deposing a temporary leader and installing the opponent has impractical precedents; any losing candidate may now simply contest the results with shaky evidence and the whole election becomes a shambles. What becomes of our democracy then?

    We may question what truth is philosophically, but this has little practical application in political discourse where misinformation and conspiracy theory is overshadowing the reality of our republic.
     
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  8. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Very well stated. And I wholly agree with you. Nevertheless, without meaning to sound too kerygmatic, I still think we should take a stab at truth, even if we miss the heart and hit it where the blood that comes out isn't, perhaps, deemed worth of a holy grail, and yet could nevertheless ornament a Torah scroll without offending anyone too much. :D



    John
     
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  9. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    It appears to me that when the person I noted as my interlocutor in another political thread implied that the people on one side of the political divide are so divorced from truth that they should be cut off from dialogue or compromise, violently if need be -----that kind of belief, or statement, or action, clearly activates the seemingly necessary proposition that a "truth" is possessed by the exterminators that justifies the high-bar required to resort to extermination.

    Where life and death are concerned, where deadly-force is legitimized, and justified, it seems difficult, or impossible, to suggest that the philosophy concerning the truth that's being used to justify deadly-force has no practical application?

    Isn't the taking of a life something like the very heart and soul of deciding where the practicality and practice of one person's "truth" is allowed to exterminate the "truth" possessed in, and by, another person ----precisely by eliminating that person, and thus that alleged truth?

    "But my truth is true . . . and theirs is just conspiracy theory," assumes a criterion for truth so transparent that anyone not part of that truth shouldn't be part of the community of truth-possessors. Is there a "truth" so transparent that all agree, or should, universally? Is there a Gospel truth so transparently so, that a bullet is the cure for those who reject it? If not, and I believe there is no such truth accessible to more than an individual singularly, then why do so many of us tend to resort to a violent reaction as though there were a universal truth that the bad guys know is true but refuse to accept? Why do we instinctually, when push comes to shove, feel justified in curing disagreement with bullets or gases or poisons (regardless of whether we participate directly or through our elected surrogates)?




    John
     
    #9 John D. Brey, Aug 12, 2022
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  10. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry The "I" in Reality

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    As for taking the life of someone advocating a different truth than you, I suppose this is a stance I would have to take in the context of the discussion.

    In terms of ours, I would suggest that the truth we are describing needs to be contextualized within the system it is occurring in. We have criteria for elections and judging them as valid, and arguments against their validity need to meet certain requirements in order to justify upending the results. Thus, the "truth" according to the American Democratic election of 2020 and the available data thus far is that Joe Biden won. Conspiracy theories that suggest otherwise must remain theories until the conspiracy can be proved.

    An individual is free to hold a different, subjective "truth" according to their individual perspective in space and time, but they will be subject to the consequences of how they manage this "truth." Discussing it will be met with critical analysis and sometimes derision (particularly if they are aggressive with it), or violence if they attend to their "truth" violently.

    As for the mechanisms of our Government, if there was a conspiracy, they did a fine job covering it up. That doesn't justify the action (justification is different from truth), but it does mean that they will face the consequences should that truth become evident. But it requires evidence lest everyone seeking political office call conspiracy without evidence to remain in bm power.
     
  11. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    The title of this thread includes "from a theistic perspective". So my response is from that perspective. I only wish and pray that I can hold this perspective rather than being caught up in the Sturm und Drang of daily events.

    First, it's helpful to look at the world in general because what is happening in the US is part of a pattern that is unfolding. I see turmoil in many nations, Russia's war against Ukraine, drought, disease, economic turmoil, political fighting, uncontrolled anger and more in many places. So to me what is going on is ordained by God to cleanse the world.

    Religions all over the world have anticipated this day. Poets have written about it. Today we have those from my different perspectives sensing and seeing the first winds of "spring" in the not yet dead "winter":

    From Virgil: The Sybil’s final song concludes at last; The great Cycle of the ages begins anew. Justice now returns, and Order reigns. A New Humanity from heaven now descends, And on the Earth the New Man now is born. His coming brings the iron age to its close, And the age of gold shall rise in all the world.

    From The Song Of The Avatars
    When darkness seeks to hold
    The hears of men in fear,
    When men cry out for help
    And no one seems to hear,
    That is when I rise again
    To shatter forms enslaving men
    To let a newer world be born.

    I am Light.
    I am Truth.
    I am the freedom of the Son.
    I am the destiny of Man,
    The triumph of the One.


    My teacher wrote:
    All things of the moment
    To which generations kneel
    Dissolve in the Ocean’s tide,
    Only Love,
    Only love is real!


    Mother_New World.jpg
     
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  12. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    The gist of you statement is well-taken. According to the authorities, and the legal definition as legitimized by the courts, the election was not stolen. In one sense that should be the end of the matter.

    But imagine that, per Trump's urging, Mike Pence refused to legitimate the election. Say it went to the Supreme Court, and, as they ruled on Roe v. Wade, so too here, they rule that though it's unsavory as hell, the vice President has the legal authority to question the legitimacy of the election under the conditions in play, and was of his legal right to not legitimate the election. If Pence takes that legal right and de-legitimizes the election, the election is legally illegitimate and that's the end of the matter.

    It's when we feel that the system itself is under attack, i.e., that even the legal checks and balances that secure our freedom are being disassemble or destroyed by those on the other side of the political divide (often using the law to destroy the law), that, devoid of the normal support and defense for our freedoms and rights, we feel forced to think and act outside of the once functioning legal and political system.

    Right or wrong, the Right (so to say), feel that the judges who overlooked the irregularities and legalized the election at the court level, even implying there was very little evidence of serious irregularities, were like the flip side of Mike Pence. Pence surely felt the weight of what was going on and just didn't feel the situation warranted dismantling the long established norms and standards even if it was legal to do so (he said as much). In the mind of the Right, the judges who shot down appeals regarding the election were part of the machine that rigged the election in the first place; they feel precisely as the Left would have felt if Pence refused (with legal force) to legitimize the election.

    The important part of this for the sake of where I would direct this thread is not to argue what is true, right, factual, in all this, but to point out that we have ---in my opinion ----reached a point in our political history where majorities on both sides of the isle feel that the very legal checks and balances that support a healthy functioning society are under attack by those on the other side of the isle. I feel I genuinely see and appreciate the arguments from both sides. Beyond that, I feel the arguments for both sides are sound and legitimate within the context of the thinking that supports both side.

    And yet I think one side is more correct, and of a high order of correctness, than the other. My goal would be to posit a philosophical/theological argument that's abstract enough that a thinking person even on the side of the isle I feel is incorrect could see the strength, or at least understand the nature of the argument, even if they disagree with it for personal or theological reasons that for them might transcend the factuality, scientific validity, of the argument.



    John
     
    #12 John D. Brey, Aug 12, 2022
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  13. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Even before you made this statement I made a subtle change to the title by capitalizing the A since in my opinion atheism is quasi-theistic. Atheists don't give a queer look of utter lack of understanding when asked about God. They typically imply that they don't believe in him, or that they don't believe there is a him. That stance is theistic: disbelief in God, as opposed to a total lack, or inability, to think about the concept.

    Only animals are without theism. Ask an ape what he thinks of God and he will stare at you blankly. Atheists aren't like that. Ask and ape if he wants a banana and he's likely to show the kind of enthusiasm theists show if you show them a Bible and atheists might show (by involuntary salivation) if you show them a juicy steak.



    John
     
    #13 John D. Brey, Aug 12, 2022
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  14. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    That was me, and you have misunderstood and misrepresented my comment, which was this:

    "The right cannot be worked with. It must simply be neutralized. It needs to be disempowered. It needs to be excluded from governance. Talking to them is pointless. It would be like talking to a horde of locust and begging them not to despoil the land and consume the crops. And I mean that almost literally. What would it look like if you injected an insect's psyche, agenda, and values into a human form that could speak and pass as human, perhaps something from Men In Black? This. This is how insects would behave with human bodies, language, and reasoning abilities. If you disagree, perhaps you can mention something Trump did that an insect controlling his body wouldn't also do. He metaphorically bite the heads off people like a praying mantis. He stings like hornets. He invades like cutter ants. Like an insect, he's never shown any empathy or humor. He doesn't like pets. What's human there?"

    You've changed neutralized by excluding from governance into "should be shown the business end of a weapon of mass destruction."

    And I notice that you declined the offer to counter "If you disagree, perhaps you can mention something Trump did that an insect controlling his body wouldn't also do." Can we assume that if you had a rebuttal, you would have offered it? With no counterargument, your objections are moot. I meant it literally: If you could literally implant an insect's mind into Trump's body, what would change in his values and behavior? If you did the same with Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, or Ted Cruz, who would know and how? Would they become more repulsive or their behavior less human to let you know that that had happened? How? What would that look like?

    You also declined to address the idea that the Republicans cannot be worked with. That's a sound conclusion to me, well supported by evidence, and the quicker one realizes that, the sooner he can stop being Charlie Brown to their Lucie in the false hope that he will some day get her cooperation. That kind of naivety is an impediment to making proper choices, not a virtue. If you had disagreed, you missed taking to opportunity to say why.

    I use the metaphor of a marriage. The relationship between the Republicans and the rest of America is in my opinion irreconcilable. They can go to counselors 'til the cows come home, but one absolutely hates the other, and that will NEVER change. The answer is divorce, because nothing else will work better. And divorce is what I did. I "divorced" America and moved out. I sometimes call it secession. I might have stayed in one of the blue states had one or more seceded, but that didn't happen and wasn't an option.

    I also wrote, "I'm looking for a paradigm shift in how those respecting American values view these people and their place in America. For me, their opinions don't matter except in a surveillance sense, because we have nothing in common with them anymore. There is no need to try to find common ground because there is none, and no reason to compromise with them even were that possible. How are these people any less an enemy of America than foreign enemies? The call the insurrectionists patriots and those jailed political prisoners - just like bin Laden did with the 9/11 terrorists, who were praised and honored. Isn't that what enemies sound like?"

    You also didn't rebut that. I say that the statement is correct.

    Perhaps rather than appearing shocked and offended at these ideas, you might explain why you think that they are incorrect, or explicitly agree that they are. If they're correct, isn't is important to know them? If they're not and you can demonstrate that, don't you have a duty to do so?
     
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  15. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Oh my love
    Look and see
    The Sun rising from the river
    Nature's miracle once more
    Will light the world
    But this light
    Is not for those men
    Still lost in
    An old black shadow
    Won't you help me to believe
    That they will see
    A day
    A brighter day
    When all the shadows
    Will fade away
    That day I'll cry
    That I believe
    That I believe
    Oh my love
    High above us
    The Sun now
    Embraces Nature
    And from Nature we should learn
    That all can start again
    As the stars must fade away
    To give a bright new day.

    Riz Ortolani​



    John
     
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  16. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for adding the quotation I was responding to. It's rather brilliant in light of this thread. I wanted to quote it but in the past I got in trouble using a quotation from another thread to start a new one. So I'm very glad you added the very quotation I wanted to use.

    I actually agree with you on an important level. I would in no way demonize your statement even though it really is right out of Mein Kampf. I've spent half a century trying to fully understand and digest the arguments in that book, and thus the argument found in your quotation.

    This thread is not about demonizing your statement. Far from it. It's refreshing to see someone spell out how they ---and to a degree---- all or most of us feel, when backed into the corner that our Nation is being backed into.




    John
     
    #16 John D. Brey, Aug 12, 2022
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  17. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    You have a history of thinking you have a winning hand against better hands, yet you can't even show a pair of 2's. So we wonder if you are bluffing or just not very good at the game.
     
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  18. sun rise

    sun rise Śvāna Dharma
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    This has been niggling at me. There are those who are strong conservatives who I admire for their honesty and commitment to our principles even as I disagree with their positions. #1 is Liz Cheney but there are others.

    And to be fair, not everyone on the left is a candidate for sainthood. There are some who care more about serving those who give them "campaign contributions" rather than doing what's best for America.

    If I were to use Biblical imagery, I would put it as the "sheep" can't work with the "goats" but I would not prejudge who is one rather than the other based solely on a political label.
     
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  19. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Does that mean that you think that the Democrats can work with the Republican party and find common ground?

    Why do you think that's relevant concerning whether the Republicans can be worked with?

    How about going by the news?
     
  20. Dao Hao Now

    Dao Hao Now Member

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    If this an example of your “poker face”…..
    Let me invite out to Vegas.
    I’d happily sit a table with you!
     
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