Tradition and Ideology

J.L. Wall, writing in response to Scott’s treatise on 21st Century Conservatism, writes: There’s a danger in a self-conscious tradition, and a tradition in which it’s acceptable to toss off a limb for the sake of the whole — traditions, in addition to being billion-headed rabbis (not letting that analogy go, folks), are like starfish:…

The End of Christianity in America

Michael Spencer predicts an evangelical collapse in the United States and Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today reports that virtually all Christian sects have lost followers since 1990.  The only group to gain in numbers, according to the American Religious Identification Survey, has been non-believers, or as Amy Wellborn terms them, “Non-Joiners.”  Wellborn breaks down…

Redefining Prosperity

The modern conservative movement is built upon a paradox.  Indeed, both Parties in the United States system – and there are functionally only two – have long preached basically the same message.  Means are almost the only thing separating Democrats from Republicans; certainly their ends remain nearly indistinguishable from one another; that is, to build…

Happy Lundi Gras!

So today is Lundi Gras, better known as the day before Mardi Gras and the second to last day of Carnival.  Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a day we are supposed to spend fasting and reflecting, in prayer or meditation.  After at least two days of eating and drinking, it should come as a welcome respite. …

Self-Identification, pluralism, and all that…

Okay.  So, after writing this and unintentionally sparking a number of reactions including a pretty good number of dissenting comments (good natured cries of “ignorance” and “ignoramous!”), a follow-up post, a few other responses including some that agree and some that don’t, I sat down and talked the whole thing over with my wife. Basically…

Tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury…

Much has been made recently of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, variations on the teapot analogy, and the Best-selling Atheist Bookseller’s Club.  I’m not sure exactly why so much has been made of this topic, but then again, the question “Does God exist?” has been a fairly important question since time immemorial, permeating just about every…

Capitulation and Retreat

Alright, so apparently I have capitulated too much (as opposed to, say,”the blogger doth protest too much, methinks”) to Larison’s recent critique of my use of the term “dogmatic.” In sum, I used this term in distinguishing religious fundamentalists from Cultural (or Civilization) conservatives.  And I would like to say, for the record, that my…

Authority, Empathy, and Power

A while ago I attempted to wade through some of the differences I noticed between Cultural or Civilization Conservatives, and Fundamentalist Social Conservatives, perhaps because I was worried that too often members of both groups were being labeled erroneously as part of the political Religious Right and wanted to better show how not all religious…

atheism and monsters

Reading over the various responses to Ross Douthat’s piece on celestial teapots and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it occurs to me once again that there is a very obvious difference between a Flying Spaghetti Monster and god (of whatever denomination): the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a construct designed specifically to ridicule, and god is not.…

Western Civilization and Same Sex Marriage

An important thing to note when discussing various forms of conservatism is the difference, often-overlooked, between social and cultural conservatism; or perhaps better phrased, religious or fundamentalist conservatism, vs Civilization Conservativism (and in this context, Western Civilization).  This is especially important a distinction when examining social changes, as well as legal changes that have cultural…