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Preview: Comments on The Clutter Museum: Go with him twain*

Comments on The Clutter Museum: Go with him twain*

Updated: 2011-11-01T10:05:51.746-06:00


Nicely said. As I've written before: "I hold equal...


Nicely said. As I've written before: "I hold equal disdain for true believers of any stripe, whether they worship a god, or money, or beauty, or the scientific method, or evolution. By true believers I mean anyone who thinks all questions have already been answered, who refer to whatever it is they believe in as the fount of all knowledge. There is nothing wrong with belief. In itself, belief is neutral. What we do with that belief is what makes it beneficial or dangerous."

Somehow embracing our own ignorance has not been valued. Yet, what we don't know will always outnumber what we do. Knowledge and belief are different things. As I believe you will agree, both sides of this debate need to remember that.

Oh! And I want a positive word for someone who do...


Oh! And I want a positive word for someone who doesn't believe in divinity. Nonbeliever, agnostic, atheist — all based on a sense of otherness. "Bright" just leaves me cold.

Anything better?

It's kind of funny that the excellent Mr. Fang sho...


It's kind of funny that the excellent Mr. Fang should chastise us for not grabbing on with both hands to a polarizing topic for which we have just been roundly taken to task. But of course, he’s right that we should be engaging in dialogue.

From my point of view, it's precisely this lack of engagement that encourages the inflammatory statements on both sides. Believers and nonbelievers don't mix very much, and true ecumenism is rare — bravo! to you Ms. Trillwing for mixing it up with the various faiths. Race and especially class play an enormous part in faith segregation and separate the secular and the spiritual. (From my point of view, class is probably the most powerful divisor among Americans, though we don't appreciate the mechanism at work.) Tack onto that the perceived connections between religion and modernity — whether in Arabia or Appalachia or Afghanistan — and you have a very potent and naturally divisive force in the absence of interchange.

We in American society are not well-equipped to handle the dissonance between what belongs to God and Caesar. In many cases, young people grow up with religious instruction, find inconsistencies in it at a tender age, and are just told to accept the mystery of religion at exactly the same age that they are being taught (correctly) to move from magical thinking to a more modern paradigm. In the absence of better social training, how does this not lead to the belief that religious folks are intellectually dishonest or unintelligent? (I personally don’t believe that.) And, in my opinion, the separation of church and state has become something of a partition or firewall, which isn’t helpful either.

So finally an anecdote. On Good Friday, I went to a restaurant with a number of coworkers and the mother of one of them, who had visited a friend for Maundy Thursday. After a bit of chitchat, the food showed up and the mother said, “Let’s say grace,” and held up her hands to make a prayer circle. Panic! The Hindu next to me and I were the only two missing links, but we were outnumbered. The prayer was a small affair, but so was the restaurant. Now, I was born into a Baptist family, dabbled in Catholicism, attended Friday prayers with the Muslims, and visited a few Hindu temples; but I had never felt so awkward as having everybody in a Korean restaurant in downtown Natick, Mass., watch me "pray."

Great post. I've thought some of the same things m...


Great post. I've thought some of the same things myself.

I think it reflects poorly on your readers, though, that so few want to join in the conversation you're trying to start. You scratch the surface of the subject of religion in this country and you'll see what Intellectual Elitism really looks like.

Well-educated atheists always hold their noses like you're waving a big, stinky turd in their faces.

Come on, folks! The fun is in the argument, not the foregone conclusion. I say, "loosen up and play nice."

Your pal, Fang

Thank you so much, Trillwing. I don't hear nearly...


Thank you so much, Trillwing. I don't hear nearly enough people talking like this, these days. The polarisation and the fighting based in stereotypes all drive me crazy, and it seems to be happening more and more, even in my country.