Friday, January 2, 2009

Morning Meditation - War Made Easy


Yesterday, I spent part of New Year's Day watching the documentary, War Made Easy, based on Norman Solomon's book and it is an eye opener which every person in the world should watch because it describes how governments, even in a democracy like the United States, lie to their people to gather popular support for war which gives their leaders power.


And it has gotten me thinking about how stupid Americans are and easily manipulated. It scares me. We could have had leaders of real character like Al Gore, and John Kerry, and itstead we chose two drunks, Bush and Cheney. You got to wonder where the poor judgment comes from.


And it seems to me that it stems from a number of things but the two major items on my list are a basic lack of understanding of ethics, and a lack of critical thinking skills inculcated by a government run public school system.


There is a huge misunderstanding of the nature of religion and ethics. Most religions engage in unethical behavior which is based on their governance models and the manipulative nature of their leadership. Threatening people with hell and rewarding them with heaven is unethical in the extreme and very manipulative and religious leaders do this to a gullible and naive audience all the time. George Bush aligned himself with God, and freedom, with the good and promised, if we followed him and gave him power, to keep us save from evil. This is child's play and an immature population fell for it.


Our school systems increasingly teach to the test and the task of students, on which they are graded, is give "the right answer." I was teaching at a college level and when I asked my students what they wanted to get out of the course, they are said, "An A." At first, I was shocked, just being an adjunct, and then very disenhearted, that this is a nation of sheep which our public school system has created.


Students are socialized into a society wherein success is measured in terms of "giving the right answer" and so the government finds it very easy when people engage in critical thinking and express skepticism to be accused of being unamerican, communist, supportive of terrorism, etc.


Jesus when challenged was clear, "Give unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar's and to God, the things that are God's."


And what does Unitarian Universalism say belongs to God? Is Unitarian Universalism a social club devoted to progressive politics and causes or does it have a theology worth studying and living? It draws from many religious and nonreligious traditions, but you know the old saying about being a "jack of all trades and a master of none."


It there is one thing that applies to this meditation it would be the Unitarian Universalist value of free and responsible search for truth and meaning, something which is sorely lacking in our weary world. If you don't believe me, watch War Made Easy. And then consider how UU could go about encouraging and implementing it's very important value which is sorely lacking in our nation of sheep.

11 comments:

  1. "Is Unitarian Universalism a social club devoted to progressive politics and causes or does it have a theology worth studying and living?"

    Is that a rhetorical question? ;-)

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  2. BTW you dropped the first 't' in meditation again.

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  3. Hi Robin:

    Thanks for the catch on "meditation". I will be more careful in the future.

    As far as the question, I notice your smilely icon, and I guess it is rhetorical, but I am half serious as well.

    Who are the UU theologians? Do you know any? I have been reading Rebecca Ann Parker and she is interesting, but glosses stuff I wish she would go into more depth on. At any rate, do you have any suggestions of UU theologians worth reading?

    All the best,

    David Markham

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  4. :As far as the question, I notice your smilely icon, and I guess it is rhetorical, but I am half serious as well.

    Well usually a rhetorical question means that you are at least half serious about the fairly obvious answer that the question implies. . . In this case your rhetorical question strongly suggests that Unitarian Universalism *is* a social club devoted to progressive politics and causes and that it may not have a theology worth studying and living. N'est-ce pas? In fact I recently came up with the notion, if not conclusion. . . that Unitarian*Universalism is not so much a "liberal religion" as a "religion" for "liberals". I think that this take on U*Uism aligns quite well with the first part of your rhetorical question.

    James Luther Adams is probably the most renowned UU theologian but he passed away about 15 years ago. Within the U*U World the word "theology" is interpreted rather loosely and often has little or nothing to do with the study of God. I am not aware of any living U*U "theologians" who are actually engaged in bona fide 'theology' in the traditional sense of "the study of God and of God's relation to the world" although I have seen a few U*U ministers say things of a theological nature. Usually fairly shallow and hackneyed stuff as your experience with Rebecca Ann Parker would seem to confirm. I have not read her myself but will take your word for it that her U*U "theology" "glosses stuff" and is lacking in depth.

    If you do find any bona fide living U*U theologians please let me know about them as I would be quite interested in seeing if their theology is based on good old Unitarian Reason. Knowing what I know about contemporary "Unitarianism" I have reasonable grounds to believe that this may not be the case.

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  5. You may find this new U*U blog by a U*U minister who is currently working on a Ph.D. in Theology to be of some interest.

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  6. Hi Robin:

    I love your line that Unitarian Universalism might not be as much a liberal religion as a religion for liberals. I like it. It made me laugh.

    Thanks for the reference to James Luther Adams. I have one of his books and started reading it and then set it down. I will go back to it now with your reference.

    Also, thanks to your reference to the blog. I didn't find much of substance there. I find I learn more from your comments and your blogs.

    You are a smart and thoughtful guy. I wonder what you would say matters the most about Unitarian Universalism to the world?

    All the best,

    David Markham

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  7. Good question David. Let me think about it before responding. I am increasingly of the opinion that contemporary U*Uism is of little or no relevance to the real world, but will try to come up with what, if anything, actually matters the most about that "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as Unitarian*Universalism. If size matters in religions U*Uism barely matters at all. . . Months ago I asked UUA Presidential candidate Rev. Peter Morales to tell everyone just how he proposes to "grow" U*Uism from the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" that it currently is to the "religion of our time" within a reasonable time frame (let's say 25 years at most, otherwise it will no longer be *our* time will it?) but he has not responded in any way, shape or form. I think that his silence in response to my challenge/query on his moribund 'Along The Campaign Trail' blog speaks volumes. . . You will need to open that link in Internet Explorer if you want to read my comments. Firefox does not seem to display comments posted to that blog for some reason.

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  8. Hi Robin:

    I agree with you 100%. The more I read your writings the more impressed I become with your thinking, your passion, your commitment. Have you every thought of running for UUA President?

    All the best,

    David Markham

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  9. Actually Dave I *have* thought of running for UUA President as a "joke" candidate for the upcoming 2009 UUA Elections.

    Don't encourage me. . . :-)

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  10. Well you can give me another little nudge if you want David. ;-)

    How about a public testimonial along the lines of those that Rev. Laurel Hallman and Rev. Peter Morales seek from their professional colleagues. Not that I am a licensed psychotherapist or anything. . . ;-)

    Maybe if I get a few testimonials, especially some really good satirical ones, I will run for UUA President this year. :-)

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  11. Hi Robin:

    I definitely think you should run. I will support you all the way. While it would be great fun and could be a well needed satirical happening, I think in the satire there is a lot of wisdom, a la, Jon Stewart and Steven Cobert, etc.

    Please announce your candidacy and then it would be great for you to begin discussing your platform. God knows the UUA needs reforming.

    All the best,

    David Markkham

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