Religious liberals, as compared with fundamentalists, have no coherent theory or worldview. They are all over the place in picking various bits they like while ignoring the parts they don’t care for. This results in an incoherent mosaic of ideas slapped together without any sort of unifying principles. Much like the “New Age” perspectives many Christians love to criticize, liberal religion offers no theory to understand or evaluate.
There is plenty I despise about fundamentalist Christianity. I’d much rather associate with liberal Christians in my day-to-day life, and I’d much rather have them in positions of political power. However, I now have a better sense of what I do find more appealing about the fundamentalists and why.
Probably the most galling thing about the (slowly – but inexorably – collapsing) juggernaut of “organized” religion, is the way various denominations/sects/cults attempt to “deal with” the mythos in which they pretend to ‘believe”.
I say pretend, because the vast majority of them have neither read their own mythos in its entirety, or – if they have, are (mostly) unfamiliar with how their particular “canon” was created.
On one hand, you have Fundie/Evangelical/”Conservative” Protestants who attempt (haphazardly) to believe that the (KJV/NIV) “Bible” is “literally” true, and “inerrant” . (These are the sort of “people” who continue pretending that “Creation” occurred in 4004 BC, over the course of six, literal “days” – and who wet themselves in terror that their children might inadvertently be exposed to such scientific subjects as: biology, paleontology, archeology, etc. (Er, I mean “Darwinism”.)
the slightly more “sane” variants of this is aptly illustrated by a “sermon” (in a comparatively up-scale, overwhelmingly “White” Baptist church) introducing the story of Balaam’s ass, with a clip from the movie shrek (because there was a talking donkey in it.)
The above illustrates two things:
- Even fundamentalism/literalism is collapsing – because the anti-science, anti-reality- premise upon which Fundamentalism is predicated necessarily results in the “faith” being progressively “dumbed-down” and yokel-ized.
- The “Mainstream” (IE: those with the courage to admit that at least large chunks of their (purportedly) “Sacred” scriptures are in fact mere mythology) are stuck in a bind:Once you’ve admitted that, how do you keep your “flock” coming back every Sunday?
Further, how do you keep them insulated from other such competing MYTHOLOGIES?
That was the issue at the heart of the “Fundamentalist/Modernist” controversy of the early 20th century, and the myriad theological chickens resultant from that “controversy” are now coming home to roost:
Now, I’ve spent the last several posts relentlessly slagging the “Amish” – for good reasons.
Having said that, I can’t help but have a certain (very limited) amount of sympathy for the victims of what passes for Amish “culture”: those who were unlucky enough to have been born and “raised” within that particular sociological “Skinner Box”.
I genuinely feel bad for them.
I feel bad that they were effectively “predestined” to a life of ignorance and poverty – merely because some (comparatively distant) ancestor(s) chose to join a cult.
I feel bad that this initial “choice” has resulted in generations of inbreeding among their descendants.
I feel bad that those descendants/victims are deliberately prevented from/propagandized against the wider non-Amish (“English”) world (thus, ensuring that the cycle of inbreeding, ignorance and cult-delusion continues).
I feel bad that the (comparatively few) individuals who were unlucky enough to have been born and “raised” within that inbred/ignorant/delusional milieu, but who happen to show a modicum of curiosity/strength of character eventually end up being “Shunned”.
The entire “culture” of the Amish is systematically designed to PREVENT and/or PENALIZE intelligence, curiosity, individual integrity, etc. – for the SOLE PURPOSE of perpetrating a “tradition” of inbreeding, subcultural isolation, superstition and impoverishment – as an “end in itself”.
Meanwhile, the Amish also insist on “Free riding” on that oh-so-terrifying “English” world (for instance, by accessing modern medical technology, or – hypocritically – applying otherwise-verboten technological innovations to their commercial activities.
THIS is what I mean by familial pathologies being multi-generational.
In my last post, I pointed out two things which are individually extremely problematic, but which – in combination – are genuinely evil:
1. The Amish are specifically exempted from a veritable thicket of “laws” which are (otherwise) treated as binding on everyone else – including the vast majority of their fellow “Whites”.
2. The above-mentioned sate of affairs is mostly either ignored – or viewed as some sort of positive good – *merely* because the Amish happen to be (passably) “White”.
In other words, if any aggregate of so-called “Brown people” attempted to enact any of the “quaint customs” which constitute the essence of Amish “Culture” – they would either be seen as a laughing-stock, or threat to public safety/health/decency, etc.
Now, here’s the thing:
My having “called out” the above sort of “special treatment” extended to the Amish *could* be mistaken for “support” of fthe aforementioned “thicket of laws” from which they (qua Amish) just happen to be exempt.
That wasn’t my intention. My complaint has to do with the fact that the Amish are specifically treated as some sort of “Minority group” – even though (absent their stupid constumes and garbled cult-jargon), they could credibly “pass” for any other run-of-the-mill “WHite” person.
Now, one could possibly ogject that the “special treatment” is merely intended to permit the Amish to excercise their “religious freedom” (since at least *some* of their “customs” are sometimes “explained” as attempts to comply with various bible verses, or suchlike. (For example, their stupid costumes are rigidly “gendered”, such sexism being typically “explained” as an attempt to differentiate between “Men’s” and “women’s” clothing. Same goes for their women’s “traditonal” head-coverings.)
However, this objection collapses, for several reasons:
1. Assuming that someone decided to create a “revived” version of the Aztec blood-sacrifice religion. Would we expect areas infested with some arbitrary (but signiicant) fractio of the population who “believed” in such ritualized slaughter to (for example) carve out an explicitly ‘religious” exemptions to the existing homicide laws?
2. Further, not *all* of the “quaint” customs associated with the Amish have any sort of plausible underlying theological rationalize. For example, the ubiquitous “horse with a buggy behind” is (somewhat) less overtly “theological” than their antipathy against photography, and those weird, faceless Amish dolls. (Ironically enough, a literalist reading of the “no graven images” thing would *only* prohibit statuary/carvings.)
To sum up:
The Amish would be ridiculous – if they didn’t also happen to be “White”, and (at least notionally) “Christian”)
What do I mean by that?
Well, assume (just the sake of argument) the reaction if a gaggle of “Brown People” who just happened to be adherents of a particularly ‘strict” form of Wahhabi Islam, began migrating en masse th the U.S.
Further, assume that their particular micro-culture involved the following:
- REFUSAL to use anything other than ‘traditional” technologies (Ie: brute-force methodologies whose development does not require any substantive understanding of, well, anything).
- Stupid (er, I mean “traditional”) costuming
- Rigid (and sternly enforced) dress-codes and behavioral norms for “their” females. (Don’t learn to read, genital mutilation, etc.)
- Outright refusal to learn English at all, and/or only “learning” a garbled, nearly incomprehensible, debased parody thereof.
- An odd tendency to “Free ride” on just exactly those technological/social innovations developed by the (reality-based) science they so emphatically reject). (For example: “resorting” to “Modern” medicine (and the attendant pharmacological/technological “wonders” which make it possible) – instead of merely attempting to “pray” that pesky strangulated hernia away
Let’s be honest: anything like the above would be seen as a filth-encrusted invasion.
They wouldn’t be seen as “quaint”
There wouldn’t be a (forced relentless, and thoroughly inauthentic) campaign to trick bus-loads of tourists to buy their “handicrafts”/”traditional” costuming (so as to better play dress-up).
There damn sure wouldn’t be a concerted effort among what passes for “law” enforcement in the areas they infest, to explicitly exempt them from so much of what is otherwise considered to be “law”. (for example: the waiving of compulsory schooling requirements, permitting their – rickety and primitive – un-powered vehicled (and attendant beasts of burden) to be used on the roads, exemption from what are otherwise compulsory taxes, etc.)
In short, the Amish are protected (IE: PRIVILEGED) “Minority group” – BECAUSE they also happen to be both “White” and (at least tangentially) “Christian”.
The best thing about the Amish is: the ever-increasing amount of inbreeding among them has led to a plethora of mutations and syndromes. This will eventually result in ALL Amish communities become NONVIABLE (IE: unable to breed future generations).
Basically, in the (comparatively) near-term (since they tend to breed like rats) the Amish population will continue increasing.
However, this *also* means that this increased population will contain will continue to be afflicted by the mutations and syndromes and suchlike.
This problem is going to continue escalating, since Amish sub-groups tend to “split” (often over mind-numbingly trivial bullshit), and then “shun” one another.
What this means is: IF the Amish continue to BE “Amish” (IE: insular, ignorant, and In-bred), they WILL eventually either go extinct completely, or end up with something like the fucked-up Mormon mutants:
I honestly don’t know how the various tourism boards who (mistakenly) see the Amish as “quaint” are going to be able to “spin” things, when the “Amish” population have turned into six-fingered, drooling, barely-verbal Dwarfs:
That should be amusing.
A real-world version of The Hills have Eyes comes to mind:
Continuing from my last post:
Besides the weird, “selective” primitivism and stupid costumes, probably the other thing for which the Amish are most noteworthy” is the distinctive “language” – so-called “Pennsylvania Dutch” (or – slightly more accurately – “Pennsylvania German”).
In actuality, this “language” amounts to a garbled, degraded hash of dialects which went extinct in regions where actual German is still spoken, centuries ago.
To be accurate, Pennsylvania “Dutch” isn’t really a “language”, so much as it is an unusually elaborate system in-group “shibboleth”.
the whole purpose of this “language” (as with all such in-group slang/shibboleths), is contained in the following two points:
- It allows in-group members to “communicate” ( in a limited, and rigidly-circumscribed) fashion, among themselves.
- It PREVENTS communication with “outsiders”.
It does this in two ways:
- the “language” itself
- The (garbled and annoying) accent/linguistic “tics” victims of “Pennsylvania Dutch” typically carry over to their attempts to learn/speak English.
The following is a perfect – absolutely textbook -illustration of how this garbled pseudo-language/its bastardized pseudo-English derivative function:
Now, here’s the truly amazing thing:
An entire population who have lived on this continent for CENTURIES – get away with either failing to learn to speak English at all/only ever managing to speak a garbled/broken variant.
How do they do it?
Two words: “White” privilege.
If any of the Amish’s antics were perpetrated by a population “of color”, they would be denounced as inbred trash living in self-imposed ghettoization – and told in no uncertain terms that they should go “back where they came from”:
However, since they can credibly pass for “White”, their superstitions/ins, taboos and tribal mumbo-jumbo is relentlessly milked for every dime of “tourist” cash possible.
More in the next post! 🙂