A hot topic in the Thom Hartmann forums has been "What's the matter with supernaturalism," and it has generated pages and pages of enjoyable, and sometimes daft, comments. People like to comment, I believe, because supernaturalism dovetails with spiritualism, which dovetails with religion, which dovetails with culture, which dovetails with politics, and eventually dovetails with government. Therein lies the matter with spiritualism, i.e. its connection with government. The U.S. Constitution allows for separation of church and state, or at least the prohibition against establishing a state sanctioned religion, but of course there is a strong religious connection in many parts of this country which makes the boundary between church and state ill-defined. In other countries, such as The Islamic Republic of Iran, there is virtually no such boundary. Thus, the establishing of a tenuous communication between the U.S. and Iran is quite an important advance, especially in the field of nuclear arms. During the Cold War, the principle of MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction based on reciprocal nuclear holocaust, was a major operating principal. Despite the United States' religious bent, our leaders, both civilian and military, could be informed by our church/state separation, and Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan never struck me as terribly religious, despite Ronald Reagan's cynical campaign statement that he had "a born again experience." The Soviet Union was by principle atheistic. The end result was a lack in the belief in an afterlife, and thus nuclear annihilation was a literal dead end street. What makes me worried is that the leaders in Iran may have no compunction in sending themselves and their citizens to the afterlife, with promises of a martyr's reward, and the MAD principle will not have as much clout.


Zenzoe 6 years 8 weeks ago

Israel claims to be a secular democracy, all the while acting like a theocracy. However, I doubt Jews have anything in their religion approximating the 72-virgins-afterlife supposedly promised by Islam. Regardless, I doubt the absence of such would keep Israel from nuking Iran, given the opportunity.

The godless science behind the fossil fuel industry won't save the world at the rate it's going. Perhaps what we need is a new paradigm, one which is neither godless nor god-infused, but rather one that rejects capitalism's godless view of nature as dead matter to be used, and used up for human exploitation, a new paradigm that would value nature on its own terms, respecting our place in nature, not as superior beings but as a partner in the web of life.

Glad you've been enjoying the "What's the matter with spiritualism" thread. How come you didn't comment? Or did you? I think your thoughts, above, would have fit right in. :-)

DrJ's picture
DrJ 6 years 8 weeks ago

Well, I was debating where to put in my 2 cents worth, but the atheism angle seemed just far enough afield to me. I'll go and send in some meanderings of mine to the forum topic. By the way, I read somewhere that the concept of the 72 virgins may be the result of a botched translation, and the word "virgins" may actually have been "grapes," seeing as how grapes would be a pretty rare commodity in a desert country.

Zenzoe 6 years 8 weeks ago

Ha! But either way, how ridiculous is that? I sometimes think that such adherence to dogma boils down to a lack of a sense of the absurd, a lack of a sense of humor. Put another way, it's earnestness untempered by humor... or plain old reason!

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