4th October 2012

“Does religion help or harm our civic life? The answer is a little of both. Religion means less tolerance but more neighborliness. And the reason for that neighborliness is not found in what religions teach but in the communities they form.”

David E. Campbell

6 Responses to “4th October 2012”

  1. Dan Says:

    I disagree with Campbell. The door-to-door proselytizing done by the more active religions strikes me as very UN-neighborly.

  2. The Heretic Says:

    Perhaps, but that is not what they are talking about. Campbell is correct. At least as far as Christian/Jewish communities are concerned. Community and acceptance are some of the biggest draws to religion. A family beyond your normal family. It has nothing to do with religion per se, other than it is the common thread. The eclectic society, isn’t strong nor successful for long. I wish that the ties that bind weren’t religion, or ethnicity for that matter, but more often than not they are.

  3. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Thanks for the reply from yesterday Dan!

    My cousin, who attends church regularly (Episcopalian) said to me once that he goes for the fellowship. Implying it isn’t the supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

    Something you should know about him is he met his wife through a dating service.

    He is and always has been the kind of person that depends upon involvement in structured situations to bridge the gaps between people he doesn’t know. He has never been the guy who can just open up a conversation with a stranger.

    I imagine a lot of people are in this situation.

    What I don’t get is what is the big deal? I feel butterflys before speaking in public, I get red faced, I feel silly if I ask a girl to dance and she says no, I just don’t let that stop me in my advance toward an objective.

    I’m by all evidence an extrovert but I’m not without a sense of shyness. I just step over it. The red face fades, the butteflys fly away, we move on.

    Not long ago, while going through airport screening, I was in line behind a very pretty Asian girl who had removed her shoes prior to walking through the metal detector.

    She was in line directly ahead of me and I was struck by how perfect her feet were. I know, I’m revealing what an idiot I am but I think I’m among friends, and I couldn’t help but to blurt out “Wow, you have beautiful feet”.

    She laughed, the TSA guy rolled his eyes, and the two of us started a great conversation that lasted the whole way to our gates (which were just across the way from each other) where we talked for about 40 minutes.

    Lucky for me she and I had that “reeally relate well”with each other thing that religionistas refer to as soulmates or kindred spirits.

    Before she boarded her plan she gave me a kiss on the cheek which I thought was really great.

    I’m married and I didn’t ask for contact info or to follow up with her. She is San Francisco and I’m Boston too.

    I can’t help but to think of that poor TSA schlep that rolled his eyes. He got to show contempt for me, I got some great time and a kiss from a beautiful girl.

    I think no one needs structured situations to meet someone, to share with people, just strike up a conversation, stay with it through any butterflys or shyness/red face, and emerge on the other side with some special experiences. Listen and it helps the shyness fade.

  4. Kittie Says:

    Charles Murray makes this point in his book “Coming Apart”. He talks about how the more homogenous a group is – the better they pull together during a crisis and deal with things like natural disasters. etc. The heterogeneous neighborhoods do not fare as well as people resort to in-group and out-group during resource rationing etc. They do provide social capital. It is just traditional that it centers around church – hopefully in the future it can center around something else. Socially and culturally in my family we have a christmas tree, santa comes – easter bunny comes on easter… I don’t make much of a deal about the religious side of the holidays for us it is a fun thing – not a reverent thing…. Heck I will have fun at any old celebration if there is good food, some wine and gifts!~

  5. Defiantnonbeliever Says:

    Because it’s based on illogic and myth, the neighborliness of religion is false and inherently contains a community scapegoating, demonization, and suppression of some people and some ideas that might otherwise help community growth and maturity. Any cohesion produced is more than countered by the poison pill at it’s magical thinking core.

  6. Kittie Says:

    Sweet story. You must have made her feel really good about herself by the end of the conversation. Is that a gift from god? Just kidding.