Mar 18, 2011

Stephen Fry Articulately Explains the Difference Between Revealed and Acquired Truth. A Renaissance Person in Deliberation!

There is a fundamental difference between a progressive person and another one who's satisfied with revealed "truth." The philosopher Immanuel Kant asked, do you believe in something because it makes you feel good or because it's true. He was an enlightened individual among those who tried to lift humankind out of self-imposed immaturity. The Age of Reason, the Renaissance was a truly revolutionary wave that changed the world. Liberalism won--at least in the west--over the Old Regime whose attributes were (still are in some places): religious conformity, ascribed status, and absolutism.

Absolutism is connected to religion and its self-proclaimed truth through revelation. Now, think about his for a moment. Why should God want to reveal his truth to the few? If it's about knowledge then it should be accessible to everyone not to the chosen few. And, not only it should be accessible but it should be open to discussion, and, if necessary, revision. Show me, explain it, not dictate-it-and-of-discussion take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

Stephen Fry is brilliant. He typifies an enlightened person--one who reasons, inquires, revises, and quests for knowledge. In this video, he explains the difference between acquired and revealed truth. What a delightful speaker he is too.

Mar 2, 2011

What Would Jesus Pay For (or, Cut from the US Budget). How Would Jesus Fare Today under Republican Policy?

It seems that Jesus has answers for everything, according to many conservative Xtians--who don't think of Jesus when they support cutting/eliminating social programs that benefit the poor. Some religious leaders are running an ad arguing that the budget is not just about numbers but also about morality. Of course, it is! Choices we make reflect on our priorities and our values, and they affect human lives.

The House Republicans asked for more money for defense, which is higher than last year's. They want to eliminate foreign aid (sounds good, heh?) even if it's for fighting malaria, AIDS, etc. OK, we can't save non-American lives, but how about our own people, specifically, American children? Should we fund programs that clearly help the kind of people Jesus had in mind?

ThinkProgress notes that if House Republicans get their way, they would cut $210 million from Maternal and Health Block Grants, which give low-income mothers, pregnant women, and their children access to health care. They also want to cut $27 million from the Poison Control Center, essentially eliminating the program, even though poisoning primarily affects children under six years old.

If Jesus was around in the US today he would not be a friend to House Republicans. However, the feelings would be mutual! They would ridicule a thirtysomething unemployed man who preached progressive social and economic change!