How would religious groups operate within a free society?

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Anonymous
Dec 6 2005 12:04
How would religious groups operate within a free society?

I was thinking about this on the way to work, I can't see how any forms of organised religion could exist in a free society, was just wondering what other people thought about it?

smile

Nick Durie
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Dec 6 2005 12:13

in secret. tongue

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the button
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Dec 6 2005 12:20

Errr...... freely, I suppose. confused

Let's not confuse a "free society" (that great liberal myth) with a libertarian communist society though. wink

I presume that in a lib com (as opposed to a libcom tongue ) society, wealthy & powerful religious groups would be expropriated. That strikes me as fine -- desirable in fact.

If, in the meantime, individuals or groups wanted to practice their faith in private, then good luck to 'em. Daft sods. I think a lib com society would have bigger fish to fry than a few harmless religious nutters. Just as long as they stayed harmless. neutral

Nick Durie
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Dec 6 2005 12:32

indeed. In the UK today there are a great many deists - many more than any other religion, who happily potter along their entire lives without feeling the need to erect vast temples, horde gold, establish a cadre of nonces and weirdoes to tell them what think, or indeed fight holy wars.

I don't have a problem with these people's personal spirituality on any kind of political level, as much as I find it intellectually dishonest and worthless.

Mike Harman
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Dec 6 2005 12:50
Tommy Ascaso wrote:

Established religion is inherently counter-revolutionary, and I can't see churches being willing to give up their wealth or positions of power.

Most of the wealth of churches is in land (CofE) and cash (UCKG for example). That'd be expropriated as much as any other. Vicars don't get paid much and I doubt there'd be much resistance to that sort of expropriation - loads of them aren't big fans of the organisations they work for. The main points of conflict would be over actual buildings (although the CofE already sells of churches and vicarages everywhere to build flats on/in) and old ladies keeping their coffee mornings and beetle drives going.

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What would happen if a community decided to setup a church, give the heads of that church food and housing, and work for them?

If you had communism everyone would get food and housing anyway. The question would be whether they'd get it despite not contributing anything other than clerical duties. The best defense against that sort of thing is making it impossible to accrue wealth and power for anyone regardless of whether it's based on secular or religious authority.

Nick Durie
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Dec 6 2005 12:54

They'd be lobbied by federal and confederal bodies and given certain ultimatums. If they persisted they'd be chucked out of said bodies and given no access to the produce from other areas (unless of course this would result in starvation. If this still didn't work sanctions of some sort could be levied. And if they became a threat confederal approval might be sought for some kind of militia to be prepared to defend against them. If they attacked, then they'd have to be subdued and their commune could be shut down and the people dispersed.

I think it's inevitable that some places will just be reactionary tho. What would you say if the revolution happened in some places as a result of liberation theology? The Zapatistas (as in the former campesino unions which now form the autonomous communities) arose out of the work by the churches and by Maoists, and that aspect of their society is the closest we have today to what we want tomorrow.

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the button
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Dec 6 2005 13:06

It also occurs to me that religion is a very different phenomenon -- in Western Europe at least -- to what it was, say, at the time of the Spanish Revolution. Religion has become a commodity and (as one would expect from the process of commodification) a lifestyle choice.

Survey after survey confirms that the majority of people in the UK consider themselves to have religious beliefs. However, to gauge the nature & content of those beliefs, you'd be better off visiting Waterstone's than you would a church. Look at the shelves & shelves of books in the "Mind, Body, Spirit" section, and compare it to the smaller array of books on the religion shelves.

Religion & spirituality have become assimilated to "self-help," and need to be tackled as such. A lot of anarchist writing on religion is addressing a phenomenon that no longer exists. If it was ever relevant to "critique" religion as an "ideology," it isn't any more -- in the UK anyway. I think a reading of religion along the lines of Foucault's notion of "practices and techniques of the self" is far more useful. But then I would, wouldn't I? wink

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Bodach gun bhrigh
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Dec 6 2005 13:09

But, if you liberate the nutters, then you'll have all these religiously inclined crazies wandering about proselytising. So then what d'you do? Though I don't think it's going to be that much of a problem. If you have freedom of conscience, then surely you allow people to believe they're Genghis Khan, even though they're not. The only option being humanitarian care, rather than the perpetuation of enforced medication. Like a tea and a chat, rather than a sedative and a jag in the bum, like it is just now. I reckon you'll get more wacky philosophies and religions in a free society, as people believe what they want, rather than any official dogma. Freedom doesn't automatically lead to the triumph of reason, as there will be a lot of unresolved instinctual problems which will come to the surface amongst individuals and groups. If the society is more tolerant, it will allow these people to wander around harmlessly, rather than enforcing a vision of anarchist reality upon them. Just look at the US , with freedom of conscience you got loads of wacky christian sects, not the reverse. If people want to respect the rights of the individual, then a vision of everyone having their own philosophy, with reasoned argument the only mediator, is the only viable way to go to maintain freedom. If religious thought comes about through thwarted desires and through the psychic release of suffering, then any sudden release of the cause of the suffering of a large part of mankind is going to unleash a lot of craziness. And what with all the Pagans and suchlike kicking about it's going to be a time before it calms down. Speaking as a loonitarian myself of course.

MalFunction
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Dec 6 2005 17:03

greets

i'd have no problem if any group of people, for example, set up a self-sufficient community as a religious group provided they weren't being parasitical on the wider community.

regarding publication etc - i see no major problem with them having the same access to publication / dissemination as anyone else, provided they don't take a disproportionate amount of a wider community's resources.

i'd rather err on the side of being libertarian than of compulsory communism.

i suspect some religions wouldn't be incompatible with a libcomm society.

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 6 2005 19:34

Hi

Religion is a vice. How would a community of alcoholics operate in a free society? As long as they provide harmless entertainment, they’d be tolerated. If they annoyed me a lot, I’d consider proposing their persecution.

Although divine faith does not have a monopoly on irrational belief, singling out mystics for particular abuse does at least spread the load currently crippling the frail shoulders of comrades who still imagine animals have “rights”.

What about the cows?

LR

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Dec 6 2005 19:36
Lazy Riser wrote:
Religion is a vice. How would a community of alcoholics operate in a free society?

Religion, like drinking alcohol and self-harming, will be a harmless hobby in a communist society. One of those things that people do to exorcise the demons of the human condition. Or something.

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jef costello
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Dec 7 2005 00:17

In a communist society everyone would be fulfilled as they would no longer be alienated, as a result they would no longer need to dope themselves up with religion as they would be able to face life itself.

Nick Durie
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Dec 7 2005 01:46
Quote:
In a communist society everyone would be fulfilled as they would no longer be alienated, as a result they would no longer need to dope themselves up with religion as they would be able to face life itself.

Modernist!

There is next to nobody in the Western world who doesn't philosophically, in some respect at least, disagree with smoking. A good one thirds to one half of the population, dependent on where you are, however, still engage actively in it. People are not wholly rational beings and are never going to be. There's a consciously irrational longing amongst all humans to seek out 'higher' truths and develop 'meanings', this is particularly true because at the end of the day we're the prisoners of our own individual consciousnesses and can never really truly understand what's going on in others' heads as much as we can come to educated guesses.

Amongst the rational beings - the rest of the animal world! - there does not exist this tendency and thus mice, fish, sephalopods and lizards for example don't create religions to interpret the world. They don't need to, they just do things without contemplation because they're not sentient, they're wholly, clinically rational and ruthlessly self-interested.

People will never be like that, and you'll always get some people who'll be more tempted to see some higher forces at work because without that life has no meaning for them, poor sods.

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jef costello
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Dec 8 2005 20:41
Nick Durie wrote:
Amongst the rational beings - the rest of the animal world! - there does not exist this tendency and thus mice, fish, sephalopods and lizards for example don't create religions to interpret the world. They don't need to, they just do things without contemplation because they're not sentient, they're wholly, clinically rational and ruthlessly self-interested.

People will never be like that, and you'll always get some people who'll be more tempted to see some higher forces at work because without that life has no meaning for them, poor sods.

I have to point out that rational being do think about things that is the definition of rational.

Also their ruthless self-interest is entirely irrational, they serve no purpose that they can comprehend, so why do they do anything. (Also I don't know if you've ever seen "animals do the funniest things" but it does prove that they aren't entirely rational.)

I don't like your example but I do see your point. I always wondered what people would strive for after the revolution, would we just be reduced to eating and sitting around because capital drives our activities. I had a feeling it would be art and science, people would strive to raise living conditions and fix the world up using science and would use a lot of their leisure time to create stuff and share it with each other ad just generally enjoy each others' company.

That sounds a bit hippyish but Idon't care, its not like the revolution is coming any time soon.