Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A pet peeve

I've been reading a bit of dingbat spiritualism (The Secret - I'm looking at you), and I've been wanting to write about why I think I'm more anti-spiritualist, than an atheist (or maybe agressive materialist would be the best way to describe it). But before I do that I have a rant I have to get out of the way first.

One weird feature of the left, probably going back to the 1960s, is a completely inexplicable view that Eastern religions are in some way better than Abrahamic religions. While this is less strong than it was, you can still see it, particularly in the way the Dalai Lama is treated.

Every major religion, every religion that has ever had any power, served the interests of the ruling class. Religions can and do justify existing power structure sand give people reasons not to fight back. While most religions also have ideas that undermine those power structures, all major religions spend most of their time upholding existing power structures. If you like meditating then go for it, but don't pretend it's that different from saying the rosary.

Having got that out of the way, I should be able to get on to why I really hate religion sometime in the next few days.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The Delai Lama is a particularly reactionary religious leader, I remember John Safran did a thing about this on one of his TV Shows, he went round the streets of Melborne with quotes asking people if they thought they were from the Pope or the Delai Lama, all from from the Delai Lama but everyone said the Pope, including one person holding a copy of Green Left Weekly.

  3. Anonymous11:34 am

    Nobody ever discusses the plight of the wife & child, Buddha walked out on,as a result of his spiritual anxieties.

  4. As a member of an Abrahamic religion I have always been amazed at the total free ride Eastern religions get. They are just as conservative us but they get none of the criticism that say, Catholics get.

  5. Are you anti-spiritual or anti-religion?
    Spiritualism does not equal eastern religions.
    I was very atheist until a few years ago when I spent 4 months listening and sometimes chanting a sentence which approximately translates as "follow the lotus sutra" which according to those who have read all 3 inchs of the lotus sutra means "all life is sacred"
    At the time I wasn't particularly interested and assumed it was one of those Ommmm things where you repeat something enough times and it becomes meaningless and the great nothingness of everything is revealed. But since returning to Aotearoa, I have experienced a personal growth curve which at times felt close to vertical.

    I understand that all life is sacred, all life is connected. We are one.
    I understand that love is life and that my strength comes from my heart.
    I am guided by spirit/s through my heart.
    When I get in the bath and put my head under the water, I can hear my ancestors beating my heart as a drum.

    I guess I'm saying I'm a dingbat spiritualist and highly recommend it.

    Love is the first revoluntionary act.

    Peace is,

    ps your blog is cool, I come looking to see what you thought of the ANZAC day action down in Otautahi...

  6. Anonymous11:12 pm

    Well, I got in hot water from my own comrades when I took issue with the pearls of wisdom that His Holiness the Dalai Lama offers up before us swine:
    Tread carefully! ;)

  7. If you haven' read Richard Dawkins' The god delusion, you should steal it from Borders.
    I am a firm believer that atheists have to be more upfront, we always pull back from criticising religion. It is particularly galling around religious and state-religious holidays (Easter is the first type, Anzac Day the second). It shows that in capitalism there is really no separation between church and state. Helen Clark has been criticised for not going to a dawn service. Like you Maia, she probably likes to lay in on a holiday. Me too.
    I'm going to be absolutely firm in future about my own atheism.
    I think we should have an age of consent law for religion.
    I think it should be about 40, not 16.
    I agree that we (the left) is soft on Buddhism, etc and we shouldn't be. No more excuses.

  8. Well, you know, Marty, in New Zealand church and state have never really been separated. There are prayers in Parliament, after all.

  9. Anonymous7:14 am

    I read the god delusion in the book store (thee you go - stealing!) Ithought he actualy fails to understand some of the ideas he attacks. They may not be worth understanding but then I dont need a richard dawkins to give me a list of why 'group X' sux.

    Having said that he is entertaining. There is a sort of excitement in reading his stuff possibly because you sense how big an issue he feels it is.