The Religion word

May 2024 Forums General discussion The Religion word

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  • #89188
    robbo203
    Participant
    gnome wrote:
     And he’s been cracking on about the party opening up its ranks to religious people ever since this alleged paranormal experience over ten years ago.   Even left the party because it wouldn’t change its stance on not admitting those with the God bug.   Says it all really……..

     Nope. I’ve long felt uneasy about the SPGB’s dogmatic stance on religion, way before the supposed “paranormal experience” that was discussed on SPOPEN and  there is absolutely no connection between these two things.  It is typical,  though, of some SPGBers (and let me make it clear I do not tar all with the same brush) to run away from the argument  being presented by engaging in such diversionary tactics -presumably with the intent of making ex-Cde Cox look foolish.  Which is rather pathetic when you think about it….. As  far as I am concerned , I keep on open mind on much matters which, I suggest,  is the proper scientific attitude to take .  All I am saying is that I cannot account  for the events that occurred .  There may very well be a perfectly natural explanation for what happened and, of course, as a rationalist, I tried to look at these events  from every conceivable angle with a view to arriving at just such an explanation  but to date remain completely flummoxed by it all.  I don’t have an explanation so I guess I’m honour bound  to remain agnostic about it all .  Actually, the only ones who looked rather  foolish, in the end , were the sneerers  and the jeerers  who themselves could not come up with anything like a plausible explanation.  Not that they even showed any inclination to want to do so.    And these are the people who complain about the bigotry and closed-mindedness  of religious folk!  Not that I give a toss about their opinion, anyway..  I don’t  have to prove anything and I’m not trying to  persuade  anyone about the existence of the so called “paranormal”.  My only crime , I suppose, was one of naivete – expecting to have an open-minded and constructive discussion with individuals  who had not the slightest intention of engaging in such a discussion. And, boy does it show!   Here’s why Gnome considers religious socialists should be kept out of the SPGB:The truth is that the majority of religious people subscribe to an after-life of one sort or another and many regard their present existence as simply a lacrimarum valle and thus have no real incentive to improve their lot or that of others except to the extent that their ‘good works’ might guarantee safe passage to the hereafter For fucks sake!   I despair of the SPGB when I read utter dross like this.  Little wonder the Party seems hell-bent  on heading for oblivion.

    #89190
    northern light
    Participant

    Hello ALB,
    You are not being impertinent asking what my paranormal experiences were. The stories will be too long in the telling, but I will say this. One involved banging on bedroom walls (forget about subsidence), a grey figure moving in the room, and walking into an ice-cold bedroom (and I mean ice-cold) during the daytime. I did not find these experiences intimidating, in any way.
    I can not say the same about the second. I was night fishing by myself, when an overwhelming sense of evil forced me to leave. I am not afraid of the dark. I have fished through the night, by myself, since I was 16. It was not a remote place, and I was catching cod, and did not want to leave. I moved to another place, and continued fishing. These few words will not give you an inkling of the struggle I had with the “nothing.”
     
    Hello HollyHead,
                                    You said, ” Why then jump to a supposed Creator which is beyond the scope of normal objective investigation.”
     
    Well HollyHead, if you are a Scientific Socialist, perhaps you might find some credence in the words of these scientists.
     
    When in 1929 Edwin Hubble proved that the Universe was expanding, Albert Einstein acknowledged “the necessity for a begining and the presence of a superior reasoning power.” He believed ” that God was intelligent and creative, but not personal.”
     
    Heinz Pagels, whose field of work was Quantum Field Theory, and Cosmology said, “the unthinkable void converts itself into the plenum of existence – a necessary consequence of physical laws. Where are these laws written into the void? What tells the void that it is pregnant with a possible universe? It would seem the void is subject to laws, a logic that exists prior to space and time.”
     
    I go back to my original question of why am I not allowed to join the Party, because I have a personal and private belief.
    I would suspect when the Party was founded in 1904, the objection would be to mainstream religion, simply because the church
    was, and still is, the instrument of the state.
    I can find no reference in the Object and Declaration of Princibles, to the fact that people who have a religious faith, are barred, in fact the last line at the bottom of the text reads, ” The Socialist Party calls on every worker to support these efforts in any way they can. “
     
    I close my case.
     
    Thankyou to everyone who has taken part.
     
    And to the few who tried to disrupt the debate……………. UP YOURS.

    #89192
    robbo203
    Participant

    Hi Northern Light It may be that the experiences you underwent – like the experiences I underwent – have a perfectly natural explanation though, in my case, I don’t draw any religious implications from those experiences at all.  The more science advances the more does it overturns our taken-for-granted assumptions about the nature of reality  and about what is normal and “paranormal”.  The proper scientific and rational response is not to scoff and dismiss such things apriori.and disrespect the individuals making such claims .  This is attitude of the religious bigot which the SPGB claims to oppose.  No, the proper scientific  and rational attitude is to keep an open mind  always and to work with, and through, the evidence presented regardless of where it leads you…. You know,  when I first encountered the SPGB what really impressed  me about the organisation was its willingness to fight it own corner with ruthless logic and fierce rationalism. Or so it seemed at  the time. The taken-for-granted assumptions that people had about capitalism,  about the nature of money  and all sorts of other social phenomena were subjected to the most penetrating analysis.  The SPGB stood out at the time as refreshingly different from any other organisation I had ever encountered.  Swept along by the sheer force of its arguments, I joined.  I guess since then my experience of the SPGB has been a gradual process of disillusionment . It is not at all the organisation I once thought it was.  I suppose a part of me still hopes that it might one day become that organisation otherwise I wouldn’t bother.  As an outsider now,   I can see both its potential and its crippling  and self-imposed limitations. Don’t get me wrong – there are many good comrades in the SPGB who are tolerant and open minded about criticism and willing to explore new ways of thinking and looking at things.  But there is something about the organisation itself , its fundamental orientation,  that somehow induces a kind of religious dogmatism,  a mind-numbingly mechanical knee-jerk response to criticism which in my naivete I once took for profundity.  Members may protest loudly that this is not the case at all, that there is a variety of opinion within the Party on all sorts of things but I would submit that this is skin deep as far as the organisation itself is concerned and they should try stepping back  and looking at the matter from an outsider’s perspective. We have seen this perfectly well  illustrated on this thread.  In the face of overwhelming  evidence that holding religious views in  itself  is absolutely  no barrier whatsoever to wanting and understanding socialism (i.e.. being a socialist) and that the bar on religious applicants is totally redundant from that point of view as well as being a significant barrier to Party growth, how have some of our SPGB stalwarts responded?   One confines his response to a disparaging and oh-so-profound  reference to the  “god bug” while patronizingly allowing that religious sympathisers can still “support” the Party – rather like the attitude of the racist  American Government towards black recruitment into the army during the First world war.   Another smirkingly posts a link to some exchanges on SPOPEN years ago with the obvious intention of trying to make the ex comrade involved in such exchanges come across as foolish. In other words an ad hominem attack.  What both these responses indicate to me is a complete unwillingness  to actually engage constructively in debate – in fact,  a wholesale retreat from the position so proudly trumpeted at the very foundation of the  SPGB all those years ago which invited the most rigorous criticism from all and sundry.   What we see  more and more these days is SPGBers running away from an argument  into the comfort zone that is called the “Party Principles”. I suppose that is why one or two pretty much ineffectual anarcho-capitalists were banned from the WSM froum – because of the inconvenience of  constant criticism emanating  from these political lightweights. Rather than use these interventions to constructively develop the  socialist argument against the free marketeers,   members whinged and  moaned on like a bunch of cissies about the repetitiousness of the criticism offered  – which is true enough but besides the point.  Far better, it seems,  to post reports of  some party meeting in some far flung corner of Her Majesty’s disunited kingdom attended by all of 9 individuals and someone’s proverbial dog,  to induce a glow of rosy optimism that what we are dealing with here is a serious political movement on the move and reshaping the face of British Politics, as we speak.  Never underestimate the power of delusion, my friend. I find this all very sad.  The SPGB is not at all the organisation I once took it to be . It has fallen considerably in my estimation  and in the estimation of others, I might add.  It is dying on its feet  and, year by year, gets smaller and smaller.  It is half the size it was when I was a member . In 20 or 30 years time I doubt if it will still exist  and yet the air of utter complacency and conservatism hangs about it like a bad smell.  Never mind the revolutionary change from capitalism to socialism. it is the SPGB that is in dire need of a revolution Nothing better illustrates the malaise at the heart of the organisation than its utterly irrational bar on religious socialists.   The metaphysics of religious belief  presents  absolutely no barrier to socialist conviction  – though the social policies of organised religions might very well do – yet absurdly the SPGB continues to repel many religious believers who earnestly support its object and  declaration of principles on the frankly  laughable grounds that to hold such religious beliefs is “irrational” and therefore antithetical to socialism.  As if there can ever be such a thing as a totally rational individual (maybe the problem here is that some SPGBers don’t understand what “rationality” means).   As if the SPGB is not  itself being totally irrational in thus seriously obstructing its own growth in this way .  Its not as if , for a dying organisation, it can afford to be so hyper-selective.  It seems to have forgotten the purpose for which it is supposed to exist which is to help  bring about a socialist society – not to cleanse the world of the godbug.  As any good historical materialist knows, the ” godbug” will mutate as it always has done,  into something more  amenable to the society in which it finds itself.and that includes a future socialist society as well.  But that requires that we change first the material conditions we encounter   today by means of a socialist revolution and there are plenty of religious socialists out there which the SPGB wilfully spurns who would only to willingly aid that revolution given half a chance

    #89193
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    This thread is another example of why the party is so small. Nothing to do with the religious question – but the contempt, arrogance (only the SPGB is ‘right’) and rotten attitude, not only to non socialist workers but to people who actually WANT to join the party.I despair, because there can be no remedy in conference resolutions. Or perhaps there can: Is it not action detrimental to the party’s interests to persistently  cause potential socialists and in the case an actual socialist so much grief that they turn away from the party. I apologise to Northern Light for the undoing of the  work comrade Gleghorn did in convincing you to reject capitalism and join the socialist movement.  I hope you continue. 

    #89191
    ALB
    Keymaster
    northern light wrote:
    When in 1929 Edwin Hubble proved that the Universe was expanding, Albert Einstein acknowledged “the necessity for a begining and the presence of a superior reasoning power.” He believed ” that God was intelligent and creative, but not personal.”

    I’m not sure that this is a direct quote from Einstein. It sounds more like a description of his view by some American Creationist trying to appropriate him for their side. As far as I can work out, Einstein’s position was the Universe was “God” and that what physics was trying to do was to work out the logic behind how it worked. What Stephen Hawking once called “the mind of God” (not that he believes in a personal god either or in fact in any god). This is just a poetic way of expressing it.If your views on religion are the same as Einstein’s you should apply to join and see what happens. After all, Einstein once wrote a good article against capitalism and for socialism.

    #89194

    Just a couple of quick points.The membership test exists to ensure that all members of the party are equal (rather than, as many other organisations do, relying on ad hoc notions of soundness).The party is a materialist party, grounded in an approach that says humans make history, and create their own institutions.  this approach as a matter of course precludes any approach to the world that involves intervention by transcendent entities, be they God, D’jinn or Faeries.Now, someone who believe Bob created the universe and then buggered off and does not, cannot have any say in its workings is not necessarilly in contradiction with that position, though they may hold that there is an ideal to which the universe normitively does/should (especially should) tend and that is incompatible with a materialist approach.But, let’s not forget, that the membership test cuts both ways.  We are also telling applicants where we stand, and if they feel that their religious position is incompatible with our tennets, then they don’t join.  If their belief that Bob created the world is sufficiently strong that they can’t simply say: “OK, renouncing it doesn’t matter” then really they don’t want to join.The point is, in discussion, does the applicant show adherence to materialist method to such an extent that they can be trusted to vote on party policy.  That is the only member benefit they gain.  Else they can attend branches, speak, help out, vote for us, etc.

    #89195
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    robbo203 wrote:
    And, boy does it show!   Here’s why Gnome considers religious socialists should be kept out of the SPGB:The truth is that the majority of religious people subscribe to an after-life of one sort or another and many regard their present existence as simply a lacrimarum valle and thus have no real incentive to improve their lot or that of others except to the extent that their ‘good works’ might guarantee safe passage to the hereafterFor fucks sake!   I despair of the SPGB when I read utter dross like this.  Little wonder the Party seems hell-bent  on heading for oblivion.

     Oh good grief; you really do need to lighten up a bit, Robin.   The comment was an attempt to introduce a little irony into what has become a tedious and repetitive subject.  Clearly failed in your case :)D’ya know something though?  You remind me very much of the Vegan, who’s been telling the SPGB for the past 30 years where its going wrong and how its facing imminent oblivion.  Come to think of it, you’ve been saying much the same for much the same period, both when you were a member and now that you’re not.  Well, neither of you possess the silver bullet; the party’s still here and I suspect will be long after both of you, and I, have left this mortal coil, unless, of course, socialism is established before then.As a result of the OP making a connection between a paranormal experience and a creator, this thread has become derailed into discussing, yet again, why the party should accept people with religious views.  Leaving that question aside, the subject of the paranormal and why many people think they’ve had a particular experience is an interesting one which has been the result of much research. One such paper can be downloaded here:-http://www.koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk/Documents/rabeyronpaid09.pdfA lecture was given some three years ago in Merseyside which also throws some light on the subject:-http://edthemanicstreetpreacher.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/mss-paranormal-experiences/

    #89196
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    ALB wrote:
    northern light wrote:
    When in 1929 Edwin Hubble proved that the Universe was expanding, Albert Einstein acknowledged “the necessity for a begining and the presence of a superior reasoning power.” He believed ” that God was intelligent and creative, but not personal.”

    I’m not sure that this is a direct quote from Einstein. It sounds more like a description of his view by some American Creationist trying to appropriate him for their side. As far as I can work out, Einstein’s position was the Universe was “God” and that what physics was trying to do was to work out the logic behind how it worked. What Stephen Hawking once called “the mind of God” (not that he believes in a personal god either or in fact in any god). This is just a poetic way of expressing it.If your views on religion are the same as Einstein’s you should apply to join and see what happens. After all, Einstein once wrote a good article against capitalism and for socialism.

    I dont believe that I have read the article you refer to ALB. Any chance of a link to it

    #89197
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #89198
    ALB
    Keymaster
    TheOldGreyWhistle wrote:

    Yes, it is. Not bad, is it?I thought that when we you used the link icon the text was highlighted. Apparently not, at least not for everyone. So I shan’t use it in the future. Here in case anyone missed it is the link to Einstein’s views on religion:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_EinsteinI say a “pantheist” might be admitted. Young Master Smeet says a “deist” might be ok. That just leaves those who believe in a personal god that intervenes in nature and society (and/or who believe in an after life) as beyond the pale. Don’t ask me about those who believe in poltergeists.

    #89199
    HollyHead
    Participant
    northern light wrote:
     Hello HollyHead,                                You said, ” Why then jump to a supposed Creator which is beyond the scope of normal objective investigation.”Well HollyHead, if you are a Scientific Socialist, perhaps you might find some credence in the words of these scientists.

    No I’m afraid I have very little time for argument from authority. I prefer to consider argument based on facts, and theories that claim to explain things as they are. 

    Quote:
    Heinz Pagels, whose field of work was Quantum Field Theory, and Cosmology said, “the unthinkable void converts itself into the plenum of existence – a necessary consequence of physical laws. Where are these laws written into the void? What tells the void that it is pregnant with a possible universe? It would seem the void is subject to laws, a logic that exists prior to space and time.”

    “Plenum of existence”? I had to look that one up. (It means a space containing matter.)This, to me, reads like so much mystifying mumbo jumbo. I take it to be a “profounder” form of the “Why is there something rather than nothing?” poser — which is interesting in itself but a bit of a time waster in the field of political action.And how can a void be pregnant?? (That’s a rhetorical question btw).

    Quote:
    I can find no reference in the Object and Declaration of Princibles, to the fact that people who have a religious faith, are barred, in fact the last line at the bottom of the text reads, ” The Socialist Party calls on every worker to support these efforts in any way they can. “

    There is no mention of our opposition to reformism, or to capitalisms wars, either — they are logical inferences from our Object and D of P.

    Quote:
    I close my case.

     Pity.

    #89200
    robbo203
    Participant
    gnome wrote:
    Oh good grief; you really do need to lighten up a bit, Robin.   The comment was an attempt to introduce a little irony into what has become a tedious and repetitive subject.  Clearly failed in your case :)D’ya know something though?  You remind me very much of the Vegan, who’s been telling the SPGB for the past 30 years where its going wrong and how its facing imminent oblivion.  Come to think of it, you’ve been saying much the same for much the same period, both when you were a member and now that you’re not.  Well, neither of you possess the silver bullet; the party’s still here and I suspect will be long after both of you, and I, have left this mortal coil, unless, of course, socialism is established before then.As a result of the OP making a connection between a paranormal experience and a creator, this thread has become derailed into discussing, yet again, why the party should accept people with religious views. 

     “Lighten up a bit”, my arse .  This seems to be your style , innit  Dave?   Get you snidey little insults in first and then when you get quite rightly and soundly  rapped over the knuckles  for doing so , you come over all mock-offended at the other person supposedly  taking umbrage unnecessarily. And “d’ya know something else”, Dave?  You really ought to do your homework before proffering your asinine comments.  My views on where the Party “goes wrong” are not at all the same as Bob Howe’s and in fact as he would attest, I have been one of his sternest critics.  But unlike you I make the effort  to try to analyse logically where i think his ideas go seriously wrong  – as opposed to just  wittering on tediously and repetitively about how tedious and repetitive those ideas are.  Everything seems to be “tedious and repetitive” with you – particularly when it comes to putting  in some effort into actually defending your ideas in a real substantive sense as  opposed to just ridiculing those – like poor old Bob, the butt of many a Dave Chesham tirade  – who attack them Oh,  and talking of not doing your homework this thread has not been derailed  by those who wish to discuss the question  of  why the party should accept people with religious views..  Go to the OP and read for yourself. Maybe its you who wants to derail what this thread is really about

    #89201
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Yes, Rob, my thoughts exactly. Two potential members and a member well and truly pissed off.

    #89203
    steve colborn
    Participant

    The discussion on religion and party membership is, as has been proved on this thread, a difficult and and oft times, divisive one. On the one hand a non-materialist base for considering society, on the other, a “materialist conception of history” and the world around us. CONUNDRUM.
    What we do know, is that it would appear that members of the party and northern lights, robbo and quite a few other non-members, have one thing in common, a detestation of the insane capitalist system and a concommitant desire to end it.
    It has not been beyond the wit of man to accomplish the many brilliant things that have been managed over the centuries, with more to come. Therefore, I believe that is not beyond the with of socialists both within and without the party to square, this most troublesome of circles.
    This discussion should be used as a base for this. A discussion put, in a spirit of amity and comradeship. With both eyes kept on the ultimate goal, a better society, whatever it may be CALLED.

    #89205
    steve colborn
    Participant

    That is why we need this discussion. I do not wish to put words into the mouth of northern lights, but I presume if he were to join the party and subsequently put the case for socialism, religion would be a non-issue. As he says, his religious views, whatever they are, are his PERSONAL views, full stop.

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