September 02, 2004

War against religion.

There is a new “cold war” that the West, lead by the ambitions of the Unites States, has begun to wage. You might know this war by its euphemism called “the war on terror”. However, at its root, this is really a war against orthodox religious adherence. Some might more superficially see it as a war against Islam, because that is how it manifests. However, in reality it is not Islamisist or Islam that is the problem. Islam just happens to be the major religion whose adherers most often do not put interest of the state and politics, above interest of the religion. Also, Islam happens to be one of the fastest growing religions, which is spreading a strong form of religious worship throughout the world.

To understand what I am saying one must understand that religions are restrictive, by their nature. Most religions have a blue print or template that its orthodox followers should adhere to. When these religious dictates are merged with the state, then religion becomes the law and freedom is restricted in the eyes of those who have more secular interest. If Christians were as deep followers of their religion as are Muslims, then Christian nations would be equally as repressive as Muslim nations. But the truth is that Christian nations and people do not put the most high at the most high…anymore. Instead, politics, economics and individual freedom rises to the top of the value system in the West. This is so because of the needs of the economics of profit.

The biggest threat to the maximization of capitalism and profit is devout religious adherence. It used to be communism, but now the West feels that threat has diminished. Much of capitalism is fueled by greed and gluttony, which are considered sins in most orthodox religion. Capitalism benefits when people are not constrained by any loyalties or emotional/spiritual commitments. It works best when everyone is samply looking out for their individual interest, trying to get the best deal and trying to maximize personal pleasures. Such behavior is the antithesis of the behavior prescribed by most of the major religions and nations that have religous laws, via a merger between government and religion, restrict profiting (not in all cases, however).

As an example look at how the American economy benefits from divorce or people choosing to remain single, which is the antitheses of the dictates of most religions? It is also a sign of the decline of religion in shaping our choices. Our economy is fueled mostly by consumer consumption of goods and services. When people are married, they generally share many goods and services such as homes, cars ect. However, when people live as singles, many of the things that would be shared must now be purchased for each individual...stimulating the economy in the process. Certainly everyone would agree that there would be less of a need for so many housing units, if nearly everyone 25 and older were married. Housing construction is a major component of economic growth and health, but I am not suggesting that all or the majority is fueled by single lifestyles.

Also, in our society today, the entertainment industries fuel its profit and growth via pushing the moral envelope, by enticing the sinful side of human nature. The truth is that many sins are pleasurable and if people are not constrained by law or religion, they will then gravitate toward satisfying the urge of those pleasures. Thus, the entertainment industry profits by a gradual competition of its members to capture the attention of viewers and listeners...via sin (such as lust). To capture an audience is to capture revenues and they do so by appealing to or promoting our pleasurable sinful side via sex and violence (power is pleasurable). Of course, most religions think that such is appalling and morally degrading to society, but they do not have the power in America over law to change it. Besides, the people receiving the pleasures vote and do not want to be restricted and neither do the companies making the profit...thus politicians are compelled to represent the people and stay in power.

As mentioned before, the concept of loyalty is also a victim of capitalistic free market conditioning. Loyalty is bad for capitalism, because it destroys the assumption of the “free hand”. This assumption is a pillar to free markets. It assumes that everyone will be free to choose the best deal, the better product, the least expensive product, or whatever, not bound by any restrictions. This gives competitors opportunities for your business. However, the concept of loyalty works against the free market, but is a pillar of religion. A person being married, meeting another person that they feel is a better deal than their mate, is constrained by loyality to religion, principles and love.

The real danger comes from the fact that this economic conditioning of “free market” and “free hand” cannot be contained to the economic venue. It can and has spilled into our social venue of relationships and attitudes. The practice of loyalty has faded in relationships as people want the "free hand" to choose from any better deal that comes their way. Also, like the consumer in the economic venue, people are addicted to what is “New”. Thus, they are always changing relationships due to the excitement that comes from something new, that is not necessarily or most often, better. Religious orthodoxy, if this nation had it, would not allow that to happen. Religion thus constraines a major source of profit in our system, which are sins associated with pleasure.

There are indeed short term (a few generations) benefits of capitalism unconstrained by religion. However, the long-term social consequence will negate those benefits in the future. The problem is that greed and gluttony driven systems are not forward looking. All they can think about is how to get more in the present or near term and that is how they come to view religious orthodoxy as a threat to its ability to grow. On the other side, those religiously orthodox and adhering see capitalism and its culture as threatening to its way of life. Hence, the conflict and war that is now manifesting.

It is not any religion that is more repressive than any others; it is simply that some religions have more devout followers than others.


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