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10/24/2018 2:54 pm  #11


Re: How Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price prove convertibility

FZM wrote:

​To make Stalinism religious religion has to be defined in some general sociological or psychological terms of whatever beliefs/personalities etc. a group of people hold sacred or treat with reverence (regardless of their views on the supernatural, value or otherwise of religion). In this light the New Atheist movement , as well as many strong secularist groups, can also be seen as religious and, in promoting their ideas, as engaging in religious activity.  

In general sociological terms - if it functions like religion, then it is. Stalin's personality cult directly aimed to replace religion. New Atheism also aimed to replace religion.

If religious sentiments and practices are a necessity for human beings (and it seems that this is so), then whatever takes the place of the former religion would necessarily acquire religious overtones itself, and this indeed happened with Stalin's personality cult. It earlier happened during French Revolution too, when Robespierre went on to formally institute the Cult of Supreme Being.

Stalin's personality cult may not be some widely acknowledged religion, but when it has a bunch of attributes of religion, like singing of hymns and preaching of praises in regularly meeting congregations, reverence and devotion when speaking the name and other key terms, private unquestioning faith in the dogmas, etc. then it is religion as far as it goes.

 

10/25/2018 6:08 am  #12


Re: How Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price prove convertibility

FZM wrote:

The success of some spin campaign that the Soviets weren't really left wingers at all but were in fact 'religious' types?

I don't see the issue as one can be both leftist and religious. Hell there are even Marxists who are willing to ditch the traditional materialism (one is tempted to say they are showing their original Hegelian roots).  Whether or not oneshould be is a completely different question.

seigneur wrote:

FZM wrote:

The success of some spin campaign that the Soviets weren't really left wingers at all but were in fact 'religious' types?

Let's look at some objective criteria:

Soviet ideology promoted nationalism. Check.
Soviet ideology promoted family values. Check.
Stalin's personality cult with singing hymns and praises to his name, and referring back to him with reverence and devotion on every little local party meeting. Check.

These are conservative and religious values, are they not?

I disagree, they are values associated with some religious movements. They might be correct values but they do not directly follow from the truth of theistic claims. Conservative is a just a political term though as there is a lot of overlap between conservative and more traditional Christian values.

A better criteria for 'Religious values' would be:

Belief in a transcendent absolute good:
Belief that by certain forms of devotional praxis one can bring oneself closer to this good:
Belief in a soul and a transcendent afterlife:
 

 

10/25/2018 9:02 am  #13


Re: How Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price prove convertibility

Hypatia wrote:

I actually kind of like Lovecraft. His mythos is basically the horrific personification of a nihilistic reality that ultimately just doesn't care.

I wouldn't consider it "hauntingly beautiful" by any stretch of the imagination, but metaphysical horror does have a certain allure to it.

I like Lovecraft very much - he was one of my first great literary loves after Conan Doyle and Tolkien. I’d even be willing to say his work does contain instances of unique heightened beauty e.g. in ‘The Colour from Space’ or The Whisperer in Darkness’, the only issue being that it is a one note Rococo beauty.

Lovecraft was no great philosopher though as his disciples like to make out (amusingly few of them are able to even point out even one of the New Englander’s supposedly devastating argument for atheism). His philosophy really is a natural evolution of Oswald Spengler’s civilisational theory to species coupled with a heavy dose of Nietzschean aestheticism.

In terms of ‘haunting beauty’ or spiritual depth he is nothing compared to Arthur Machen though ;)

Last edited by DanielCC (10/25/2018 9:03 am)

 

10/25/2018 3:15 pm  #14


Re: How Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price prove convertibility

DanielCC wrote:

I don't see the issue as one can be both leftist and religious. Hell there are even Marxists who are willing to ditch the traditional materialism (one is tempted to say they are showing their original Hegelian roots).  Whether or not oneshould be is a completely different question. 

​I was careless when I was writing, the sentence should have read: '...the Soviets weren't really secular atheists at all but were in fact 'religious' types.' I shouldn't write more than one message at a time.

​As you say there are a lot of religious people on the left in different ways.

​I think the Lovecraft story 'The Shadow Out of Time' is another classic. I wouldn't be surprised if one way or another Lovecraft has turned out to be one of the most influential English language writers of the 20th C.  

 

10/25/2018 6:42 pm  #15


Re: How Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price prove convertibility

FZM wrote:

Hypatia wrote:

I actually kind of like Lovecraft. His mythos is basically the horrific personification of a nihilistic reality that ultimately just doesn't care.

I wouldn't consider it "hauntingly beautiful" by any stretch of the imagination, but metaphysical horror does have a certain allure to it.

​I like Lovecraft, at his best, as well. I think one of the traits of his writing is the description of a reality that goes beyond not caring,  it is actually evil and hostile to human life. There is a study of Lovecraft's work I really liked by Michel Houellebecq: H.P. Lovecraft: Contre le Monde, Contre la Vie. (against the world, against life).  

I wonder. I haven't read a ton of Lovecraft, but I get the impression that the most of those entities are hostile towards humanity in the same way that we're hostile towards insects. Some like toying with us in the same way that some people like tearing wings off flies, but by and large, we just get stepped on because we're beneath notice.

If that's right, then it'd be hostile to life, but really just in the way that materialism is ultimately hostile to life. As for evil, that would probably collapse into nihilism. I may take a look at that book, though. Thanks for the rec.

DanielCC wrote:

Hypatia wrote:

I actually kind of like Lovecraft. His mythos is basically the horrific personification of a nihilistic reality that ultimately just doesn't care.

I wouldn't consider it "hauntingly beautiful" by any stretch of the imagination, but metaphysical horror does have a certain allure to it.

I like Lovecraft very much - he was one of my first great literary loves after Conan Doyle and Tolkien. I’d even be willing to say his work does contain instances of unique heightened beauty e.g. in ‘The Colour from Space’ or The Whisperer in Darkness’, the only issue being that it is a one note Rococo beauty.

Lovecraft was no great philosopher though as his disciples like to make out (amusingly few of them are able to even point out even one of the New Englander’s supposedly devastating argument for atheism). His philosophy really is a natural evolution of Oswald Spengler’s civilisational theory to species coupled with a heavy dose of Nietzschean aestheticism.

In terms of ‘haunting beauty’ or spiritual depth he is nothing compared to Arthur Machen though ;)

Ahh, I've got Whisperer in Darkness in the anthology I picked up years ago. Not sure if I've read it, but probably not. If I end up reading Lovecraft now instead of everything I ought to be reading, it will be your fault.

 

10/26/2018 2:16 am  #16


Re: How Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price prove convertibility

DanielCC wrote:

seigneur wrote:

Let's look at some objective criteria:

Soviet ideology promoted nationalism. Check.
Soviet ideology promoted family values. Check.
Stalin's personality cult with singing hymns and praises to his name, and referring back to him with reverence and devotion on every little local party meeting. Check.

These are conservative and religious values, are they not?

I disagree, they are values associated with some religious movements. They might be correct values but they do not directly follow from the truth of theistic claims.

The issue in this case is not whether the values are correct or whether theism is true. The issue is whether people could see religious quality or features in Soviet ideology. They easily could, if they are superficial enough.

In this case, sociologists indeed associate religion and ideology as flimsily as I laid out; most of them would categorize religions as ideologies with particularly tall claims, while the practical purpose of both religion and ideology is just power-grab and mind-control.

As a theologizing philosopher I would of course agree with you that there are essential features to religion that no political ideology can copy or emulate, but unfortunately sociologists call the shots here.

 

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