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Something To Ponder

Discussion in 'Culture & Religion' started by Old_Trapper70, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2014
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    Politics has become boring, to me at least, since neither side can seem to be able to work with the other, and each can only try to denigrate the other (usually by lying), and religion has become obsolete in determining ones values as can be seen by the election of Trump. So, in the spirit of educating some I offer these articles for others to consider, and ponder upon:


    “It was striking, too, during the last phases of the campaign, how little anyone cared that Trump had committed adultery. In a sexually chaotic world, a man who dumps his wives but keeps his kids close becomes a hero, where in a bygone era he would have been a villain. For many college-educated women like me, raised in a bubble of masculine civility and marriage stability, Trump’s personal style and personal history are very hard to swallow. But for many other women and men, he represents a wonderful father figure of a kind they’ve never actually known. As Shelly Lundberg, Robert A. Pollack, and Jenna Stearns wrote in the April issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives: The important divide is between college graduates and others: individuals who have attended college but do not have a four-year degree have family patterns and trajectories that are very similar to those of high school graduates. Compared with college graduates, less-educated women are more likely to enter into cohabiting partnerships early and bear children while cohabiting, are less likely to transition quickly into marriage, and have much higher divorce rates. For this group, rising rates of cohabitation and non-marital childbearing contribute to family histories of relatively unstable relationships and frequent changes in family structure. The romantic churn of multiple cohabitations creates Shameless levels of chaos, fractured identities, and a yearning for some path to stability, economic or otherwise: Compared with women two generations earlier, women with low levels of education today find themselves with greater independence and control over their lives, but also at an increased risk of poverty.

    Less-educated men find themselves both unburdened and unmoored by weakened responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood. To see the changes in America that enabled Donald Trump, take a look at reruns of Roseanne, once denounced by some conservatives as an example of the shocking decline of family values for its portrayal of a working-class family in a fictional Chicago suburb. Watch Roseanne and Shameless side by side if you want to understand Trump’s America. Roseanne Barr said once (and I’m quoting from memory): “For some people, my show represents family decline. For some, it depicts their lives accurately — but for some it represents the kind of family they would like to have.” We in our college-educated bubble may find that reality unpleasant, but we shouldn’t discount it: Trump may seem to us to represent a decline in family values and sexual standards. But for many of our fellow Americans, mired in economic stagnation and sexual chaos, he represents an unattainable ideal, rather than a problem.”

    When pundits describe the Americans who sleep in on Sundays, they often conjure left-leaning hipsters. But religious attendance is down among Republicans, too. According to data assembled for me by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), the percentage of white Republicans with no religious affiliation has nearly tripled since 1990. This shift helped Trump win the GOP nomination. During the campaign, commentators had a hard time reconciling Trump’s apparent ignorance of Christianity and his history of pro-choice and pro-gay-rights statements with his support from evangelicals. But as Notre Dame’s Geoffrey Layman noted, “Trump does best among evangelicals with one key trait: They don’t really go to church.” A Pew Research Center poll last March found that Trump trailed Ted Cruz by 15 points among Republicans who attended religious services every week. But he led Cruz by a whopping 27 points among those who did not.

    Why did these religiously unaffiliated Republicans embrace Trump’s bleak view of America more readily than their churchgoing peers? Has the absence of church made their lives worse? Or are people with troubled lives more likely to stop attending services in the first place? Establishing causation is difficult, but we know that culturally conservative white Americans who are disengaged from church experience less economic success and more family breakdown than those who remain connected, and they grow more pessimistic and resentful. Since the early 1970s, according to W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, rates of religious attendance have fallen more than twice as much among whites without a college degree as among those who graduated college. And even within the white working class, those who don’t regularly attend church are more likely to suffer from divorce, addiction, and financial distress. As Wilcox explains, “Many conservative, Protestant white men who are only nominally attached to a church struggle in today’s world. They have traditional aspirations but often have difficulty holding down a job, getting and staying married, and otherwise forging real and abiding ties in their community. The culture and economy have shifted in ways that have marooned them with traditional aspirations unrealized in their real-world lives.”


    And yet eventually, after his years of self-imposed exile, Plato came back to Athens, bringing his newly gathered learning along with him, to take up where Socrates had left off. Except Plato didn’t philosophize where Socrates had. He abandoned the agora and created the Academy, the first European university, which attracted thinkers—purportedly even a couple of women—from across greater Hellas, including, at the age of 17 or 18, Aristotle. Foremost among the problems they pondered was how to create a society in which a person like Socrates would flourish, issuing stringent calls to self-scrutiny, as relevant now as ever.

    Athens may never again have presided as the imperial center it was before the war. Instead, it staked what has proved to be a far more enduring claim to extraordinariness in becoming a center of intellectual and moral progress. Empires have risen and fallen. But the bedrock of Western civilization has lasted, built upon by, among many others, America’s Founders—students of Plato determined to create a democracy that could avoid the flaws Plato observed in his own.

    In establishing the Academy, Plato didn’t forsake the people of the agora, who, as citizens, had to deliberate responsibly about issues of moral and political import. It was with these issues in mind that he wrote his dialogues—great works of literature as well as of philosophy. The dialogues may not represent his true philosophy (in the Seventh Letter, he explained that he had never committed his teachings to writing), but for more than 2,400 years they’ve been good enough for us, as inspiring and exasperating as Socrates himself must have been.
  2. Gnostic Christian Bishop

    Gnostic Christian Bishop Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2013
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    Politics has fewer liars than religions as every time a priest, preacher or imam says anything about God, they are automatically lying because prior to their lies, they tell us that God is unknowable and unfathomable and works in mysterious ways.

    Politics are held to facts, real data and criticism, while the religious hide behind their veil of faith and deception and tell us we must have faith to believe their lies.

    I think it better to have a politician to question than to go into religion where a God is absentee yet must be believed and followed.


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