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Are All Cultures Created Equal & Endowed With Inalienable Rights?


chefranden
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I just watched a bit of Book TV on Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (I recommend reading the reviews.)

 

She said this early on in her talk: All people are created equal, but all cultures are not created equal.

 

This statement and some other things* that I've read lately have made me realize that I'm in the process of loosing my belief in pluralism, cultural diversity, and some dedication to live and let live.

 

As much as I despise the hypocrisies and evils of my own culture, it appears, when I check my own conscience, that there are cultures that are more evil than mine. (Yes Asimov I'm slow.)

 

So then what to do?

 

Should one just immerse oneself in one's hobbies and forget the mess? Or perhaps join the Army for a chance to kill a few Religious Patriarchs? The more one looks at the evils of all the cultures the more I find them tied tied to and supported by religion.

 

1. How could one help do away with religion without becoming one of them in strategy and tactics?

2. What would an non-religious culture look like, if it could happen?

3. What would the tools of transformation be?

4. What other questions are relevant?

 

 

* http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1785327/posts

* http://www.beliefnet.com/story/209/story_20904.html

* http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?showtopic=14779

* Lion's Den topic: The Silly-Putty® Bible, The Catch-22 of a malleable from this post to the end.

* http://beyondbelief2006.org/Watch/

* http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith...property_1.html

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I voted no. It's all about darwinism. Survival of the fittest. Whatever criteria are used to judge equality are purely human constructs. To say all cultures or all persons are created equal is as absurd as saying all snowflakes are created equal. Considering inalienable rights rest upon the concept of equality, those go out the window too.

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1. How could one help do away with religion without becoming one of them in strategy and tactics?
You have made the diagnosis, let others do the treatments.

 

2. What would an non-religious culture look like, if it could happen?

I dunno, I have never seen one. Does it really matter?

 

3. What would the tools of transformation be?
Peace or war? Either could work, violence would obvioously be faster and much less nicer.

 

4. What other questions are relevant?

You cant cover all the bases. Eventually youll miss one or two.

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I would say that all humans are created equally with respect to their rights- why should any one man deserve more than another by right of birth? However, it is true that in terms of ability, no, people are not all equal. Different people excel in different areas. As far as cultures go, logic would state that not all cultures are equal. Some are detrimental to the survival and wellbeing of people, and assuming those things are valued, that would make the culture less worthy of being adhered to in principle.

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1. How could one help do away with religion without becoming one of them in strategy and tactics?

2. What would an non-religious culture look like, if it could happen?

3. What would the tools of transformation be?

4. What other questions are relevant?

I voted yes to the poll, because I wanted to be contrary. :wicked: No, actually in one sense they are all created equal and have the same capabilities as created all other cultures, in that they are created by people with the same human qualities as everyone who has ever lived. What happens in its evolution is a matter of stages. Repression cause revolts, cause social change etc.

 

To answer all four of your questions above in one fell swoop:

 

1. Education

2. Education

3. Education

4. ?

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1. How could one help do away with religion without becoming one of them in strategy and tactics?

 

By not becoming one of them in strategy or tactic. Force or arguments will not do away with religion, only education and example.

 

2. What would an non-religious culture look like, if it could happen?
Parts of Europe..... the Netherlands maybe?

 

3. What would the tools of transformation be?

 

Education.

 

4. What other questions are relevant?

 

Should we get rid of religion, or just fundamentalism?

 

 

I didn't in the poll. There was no "other". :grin: Humans, I believe, have rights and all that.... but other animals? Sure they have some rights... but I'm a carnivore. I guess they have the right to be killed nicely so I can eat them. :scratch::shrug:

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1. How could one help do away with religion without becoming one of them in strategy and tactics?

2. What would an non-religious culture look like, if it could happen?

3. What would the tools of transformation be?

4. What other questions are relevant?

I voted yes to the poll, because I wanted to be contrary. :wicked: No, actually in one sense they are all created equal and have the same capabilities as created all other cultures, in that they are created by people with the same human qualities as everyone who has ever lived. What happens in its evolution is a matter of stages. Repression cause revolts, cause social change etc.

 

To answer all four of your questions above in one fell swoop:

 

1. Education

2. Education

3. Education

4. ?

 

I have to agree with AM. This is not a black or white question and cultures are not black and white, even if their inhabitants mostly belong to a religion you detest. Muslim nations have old, rich, and diverse cultures that are not anymore primarily drenched in their religion than the US is in hers. I've met and conversed with and been friends with many people from Muslim cultures and have yet to have run into a wild eyed fundy. Yes they exist, but wild eyed fundies exist in the US as well. Over here we get to watch documentaries and travel shows from Muslim nations all the time. Moreover, Russians travel to Egypt, Tunis, and many other north African regions and are quite familiar with these areas. They are great countries full of interesting and nice people for the most part; just like the US.

 

I think a better question would be: Do some cultures have more problems than others? Yes, of course. The US has a big problem with jingoism and Walmart mentality. Is US culture bad? Bad question. The US culture is diverse and not everyone is prone to frothing at the mouth at right wing radio jingoisms and not every place to shop is a Walmart. Is Saudi Arabia bad? Again, bad question. Does Saudi Arabia have a problem with wild eyed Muslim fundies? Yes, but not every inhabitant of the country is a wild eyed Muslim fundy. They also have an ancient, rich and diverse culture.

 

Chef, I hope you have not been convinced that eradicating entire nations of peoples or Americanizing by invasion entire nations of peoples is any form of an answer to cultures that have some problems, even if those problems appear major.

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All cultures, just like humans, have the same rights and duties.

 

Inasmuch as they respect and tolerate other cultures, they have the right to be respected and tolerated by them. If they aren't willing to grant tolerance to others, they deserve no tolerance by others. Period.

 

Well fundy islam (and jebus cult), tough luck for you. :fdevil:

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Addendum to my last post: Each person is not created equal, but it is beyond our judgment to say which innate characteristics are worthy of rights and which are not. Therefore it is a society's duty to grant each individual equal rights and opportunities. In theory, anyway.

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Heck, I couldn't make up my mind so I answered Yes.

 

No, seriously, I'm not sure...

 

Do humans have equal rights? Well, emotionally I'd say yes, but practically, it never seems to work out.

 

With states? Hmm... well, if a state is seriously dangerous to everyone else, do they have the right to attack?

 

I think the the problem is that philosophically we have grown accustomed in the West to the idea of personal identity, security and rights, while we really haven't really grown to an understanding of the rights of the states. Sometimes I think we wish for more than we really can accomplish as humans.

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With states? Hmm... well, if a state is seriously dangerous to everyone else, do they have the right to attack?

 

The biggest problem here is that we are forced to rely on an unreliable government to tell us if a state is a serious danger to our own well being. We were told that Iraq posed a danger and now we are being told that Iran does. Maybe the real danger is the US? They are the ones with the largest military and most modern weapons. They are the ones with a media that helps the prez rattle his sabers and with a population that runs to the street in parades in support of our troops heading off to invade foriegn lands. They are the country that seems most willing to use its military in so many locations that it's hard to keep track of. We are told that terrorism is the biggest threat, but terrorists have killed only 3000 of our citizens. How many has our military killed in the past 30 years?

 

Maybe it's the US culture then that doesn't have the right to exist?

 

I digress though. I think that the US culture is quite diverse and is bigger than its foreign policy.

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Sometimes I think we wish for more than we really can accomplish as humans.

 

Very good point. Which is why I guess we tend to grow less and less idealistic as we age.

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I have to agree with AM. This is not a black or white question and cultures are not black and white, even if their inhabitants mostly belong to a religion you detest. Muslim nations have old, rich, and diverse cultures that are not anymore primarily drenched in their religion than the US is in hers. I've met and conversed with and been friends with many people from Muslim cultures and have yet to have run into a wild eyed fundy. Yes they exist, but wild eyed fundies exist in the US as well. Over here we get to watch documentaries and travel shows from Muslim nations all the time. Moreover, Russians travel to Egypt, Tunis, and many other north African regions and are quite familiar with these areas. They are great countries full of interesting and nice people for the most part; just like the US.

 

I think a better question would be: Do some cultures have more problems than others? Yes, of course. The US has a big problem with jingoism and Walmart mentality. Is US culture bad? Bad question. The US culture is diverse and not everyone is prone to frothing at the mouth at right wing radio jingoisms and not every place to shop is a Walmart. Is Saudi Arabia bad? Again, bad question. Does Saudi Arabia have a problem with wild eyed Muslim fundies? Yes, but not every inhabitant of the country is a wild eyed Muslim fundy. They also have an ancient, rich and diverse culture.

 

Chef, I hope you have not been convinced that eradicating entire nations of peoples or Americanizing by invasion entire nations of peoples is any form of an answer to cultures that have some problems, even if those problems appear major.

Vigile ... I couldn't put my finger on why the questions in this poll bothered me so much. You nailed it. Thank you.

 

I too have met, and gotten to know, individuals from Muslim countries. They are individuals just like the rest of us. They come from a culture different from our own, but they are people just like us. They have the same worries, the same hopes the same dreams for themselves and the ones that they love as we have for ourselves and the ones we love. They are human and their culture is an extension of their humaness, just like our culture is an extension of our humaness.

 

And well - these days - I'm hoping the rest of the world does not judge American culture by George Bush and all that brought him into power:

  • Our corrupt political system
  • Our capitalistic democracy which allows huge money interests to buy our elections (in this case big oil and big business in general)
  • The Christian right, which helped Karl Rove convince the average Joe and Jane on the street to vote against their own best interests.

If the rest of the world is judging America (as a whole) by these aspects of America - then the rest of us Americans (who do not buy into the corruption and hatred in our own country) are sunk. :(

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With states? Hmm... well, if a state is seriously dangerous to everyone else, do they have the right to attack?

...

Maybe it's the US culture then that doesn't have the right to exist?

 

I digress though. I think that the US culture is quite diverse and is bigger than its foreign policy.

Kind of my point. Does a state have the right to attack? According to the rules in UN under the security counsel (which US created) is does not give a member the right to attack, but only to defend. That would be a true right for a state. Iraq had the right to defend its country, US did not have the right to attack.

 

To take it to the extreme that a certain culture doesn't have the right to exist, is IMO taking it too far. Because the right to remove or destroy a state should never be given to any other state. What US did was wrong, but it doesn't make it right for someone else to do the same "wrong" again.

 

And US culture is definitely not the same as its foreign policy. At least I hope not. Because applying the way US treated Iraq to our culture and society it would mean that we should implement a dictatorship and a police state, where "might makes right".

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Sometimes I think we wish for more than we really can accomplish as humans.

 

Very good point. Which is why I guess we tend to grow less and less idealistic as we age.

:HaHa: Very true. Becoming more of a pessimist over the years.

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1. How could one help do away with religion without becoming one of them in strategy and tactics?

2. What would an non-religious culture look like, if it could happen?

3. What would the tools of transformation be?

4. What other questions are relevant?

I voted yes to the poll, because I wanted to be contrary. :wicked: No, actually in one sense they are all created equal and have the same capabilities as created all other cultures, in that they are created by people with the same human qualities as everyone who has ever lived. What happens in its evolution is a matter of stages. Repression cause revolts, cause social change etc.

 

To answer all four of your questions above in one fell swoop:

 

1. Education

2. Education

3. Education

4. ?

 

Who's curriculum? And how would you propose to get this education into hermetically sealed Middle Eastern, Stanian, and north African clans or past the Mullahs elsewhere.

 

I don't see this to be much better than "Jesus is the Answer".

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Interesting topic, chef.

 

1. How could one help do away with religion without becoming one of them in strategy and tactics?

 

Definitely something people have to be cautious about. Many of us hate Xianity and want it stamped out, but we must be careful not to become the monsters we wish to destroy, ie, oppressive lunatics. That's Xianity's biggest problem, in terms of its social consequences - its oppressiveness.

 

2. What would an non-religious culture look like, if it could happen?

 

Didn't some famous guy write a song about that, entitled "Imagine"? :HaHa:

 

3. What would the tools of transformation be?

 

Primarily, I think education will be the biggest of the tools. We are well past the ages where people can be tricked into believing new gods or new dictates simply because they are said to come from a wiser source than the current one. People need to learn the facts and learn to rely on the facts alone when it comes to religion, like with anything else. Only by arming people with the truth and with all the arguments against Xianity that exist can we hope to finally push Xianity into the grave.

 

When enough people are educated enough to not be tricked into Xianity, or into any similar belief system, no other tools will be needed. No one will believe the world is flat because of all the available facts. One day, Xianity will be like the flat-earth concept.

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...

Who's curriculum? And how would you propose to get this education into hermetically sealed Middle Eastern, Stanian, and north African clans or past the Mullahs elsewhere.

 

I don't see this to be much better than "Jesus is the Answer".

I can see your point... but what's the answer then? When I say education I don't mean indoctrination, just plain old education... you know.... science math and all that stuff. Not even saying, or teaching that religion is bunk, but just a good general all round education.

 

Plus, I don't think the elimination of religion should be the goal of this education. I just think that that education would tone down the radical fundamentalists. Isn't it those fundamentalists that take away the rights of others? I keep having to remind myself that religion is not the enemy, fundamentalism is.

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Ah Chef, I think I see the problem. You are suffering from Queen (the rock group) syndrome: I want it all. I want it ALL! and I want it Now!

 

The problems with the Muslim religion aren't going to go away in our lifetimes. Take a load off your mind. :grin:

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Definitely something people have to be cautious about. Many of us hate Xianity and want it stamped out, but we must be careful not to become the monsters we wish to destroy, ie, oppressive lunatics. That's Xianity's biggest problem, in terms of its social consequences - its oppressiveness....

 

I agree... mostly. Is it the religion itself that is oppressive (it is to a point) but isn't the fundamentalist version of religion the most oppressive? The fundamentalist version is the most apparent, the most dangerous. The more liberal versions aren't as bad and may contain people that are just going along with the flow. But you are right, we must be careful to not become what they are.

 

When enough people are educated enough to not be tricked into Xianity, or into any similar belief system, no other tools will be needed. No one will believe the world is flat because of all the available facts. One day, Xianity will be like the flat-earth concept.

 

This education would be more an educational and growth process than an indoctrination. It would work and that's why religions are trying so hard to get their indoctrination done in the classroom. What else can we do besides stress education?

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What if the problem is too few cultures rather than too many?

 

Once a culture becomes enough of a monolith it can cause worldwide damage when it flexes it's dark side.

 

I know there is a good bit of Irony in being intolerant of intolerance, but...

 

I've long been a proponent of seeing to the speck in my eye first, but doesn't that include examining the position that as evil as my culture is, maybe some others are worse?

 

Perhaps all this wickedness is the result of desperation induced demagoguery, and that desperation can be laid at the feet of free trade globalization. Is this a case of worrying about the symptoms in place of the disease?

 

Sure there are moderate religionists, but I think there is a plausible case for the idea that moderate religionists make room for the fundamentalists. In addition they preserve the germ of fundamentalism through the good times that it may blossom again in its natural nutrient bath of desperation and fear.

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When I say education I don't mean indoctrination, just plain old education... you know.... science math and all that stuff. Not even saying, or teaching that religion is bunk, but just a good general all round education.
General education - is essential for the opening of minds. The simple fact that fundamentalists of all flavors discourage a well-rounded education should show how threatened they are by such things.

 

Plus, I don't think the elimination of religion should be the goal of this education. I just think that that education would tone down the radical fundamentalists. Isn't it those fundamentalists that take away the rights of others? I keep having to remind myself that religion is not the enemy, fundamentalism is.
Thank you Dave - fundamentalism in any flavor (political, nationalism &/or religion) is the root of extremism and violence.
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I keep having to remind myself that religion is not the enemy, fundamentalism is.

 

Exactly. And a strong case can be built, I think, that the pot is being stirred for political reasons much in the same way as fear is being stirred up in the US. What better way to get the hoi polloi fired up and backing your cause than appealing to their religion and/or their fear? What better way to unify the troops than appealing to pious sensibilities of a zealot? Petropolitics plays a large role in creating extremist groups and extremist groups appeal to the religious sensibilities of potential soldiers for the cause. It's a vicious cycle that can't all be blamed on religion.

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The problems with the Muslim religion aren't going to go away in our lifetimes. Take a load off your mind. :grin:

 

Heh - sad but true.

 

Is-lame will collapse, but not until Mooselims learn to criticize their religion. When enough followers defy it, right in Is-lame-ic countries themselves, Is-lame will still hold power over its people and will hence remain strong.

 

Xianity only fell when criticism from within began to erode its stranglehold on the masses. Today, it's a pathetic shadow in comparison with its strength in former times. All we have to do, as a society, is continue our trend away from Xianity and hopefully be a good example to many Mooselims.

 

Other than that, aside from armed invasions of Mooselim countries and forcible indoctrination, what else is there to do? Personally, I'm afraid we have to let time take its course, for the most part.

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