Monday, February 10, 2014

Divided Ideology: Why We Rarely Practice What We Preach

Cultural relativism:


The view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context. In other words, “right” and “wrong” are culture-specific; what is considered moral in one society may be considered immoral in another, and, since no universal standard of morality exists, no one has the right to judge another society’s customs.

It's natural to judge ourselves in relation to another. We gain a sense of superiority when we're able to point to what we perceive as defects in other cultures. As long as there's another (that we regard as less than us) we don't have to hold ourselves accountable for our lack of consistency when it's time to follow our principles

My criticisms of modern Christian ideology and American exceptionalism are rooted in a love for Jesus and America. The fact that Jesus wasn't like modern Christians is a big selling point for me. My love for America is predicated on the belief that her foundation allows prophetic voices of all stripes to drag her kicking and screaming down the road to equality. Some view any criticism of religion or nation through a defensive lens that prevents them from seeing the love at the center of it. I'm a fallibilist; I could be wrong about most (or all) of my critiques. So with all of that out in the open: is it wrong to point out the obvious hypocrisys in the prevailing dogmas and ideologies of our times?

Christianity has provided a spiritual safe haven for the economically, culturally, and religiously oppressed. America, at her best, has been the manifestation of many prayers. We market America as a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world, yet so many of our citizens are crying out for help? 

Our nation is full of politicians and religious leaders who profess to be Christians, but when you get down to it the only people they seem to love (or like) are Christians who look like them. Dealing with the religious aspect of our ideological problem is necessary in order to show how deep the hypocrisy runs. How can we expect people who believe the bible is the literal word of God to take the founding documents written by men seriously? The next time you hear a politician condemn someone who doesn't look like them, worship like them, or live like them watch how quickly they use the flag as a shield and the Bible as a sword.

The past few years have been a case study in adding qualifications to rights granted to us in the Constitution. I remember all of the fury over the "911 Mosque" which was 2 blocks away from the World Trade Center. In the land of religious freedom we actually had politicians (who claimed to be strict constitutionalist) support a separatist agenda aimed at denying the first amendment rights of citizens to worship. 

We should change the 1st Amendment from, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances", to: Thou shall not worship any deity that is deemed to be an enemy of the state, nor shall any monuments be erected for the worshiping of said deity on any land considered to be hallowed ground.

It's not fair to measure other cultures by our standards. (standards we rarely follow) The first paragraph of  the Declaration of Independence should be read and reread by all of us:

We hold these truths self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,"

This declaration has no qualifications; it's a statement of shared unanimity. A statement made possible by the dispossession of native lands, the subjugation of women, and the enslavement of Africans. I long for the day when we don't place groups of people into secondary categories to be pushed to the margins of society.These promises apply to Muslims, Gays, Lesbians, and brothers and sisters of all colors. 

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