Poverty and Religion

Jan. 23, 2017

A puzzle. Why do people like to read books and see movies about the rich and powerful but don’t care that much that poverty is decreasing in the country and in the world?

Example: my blog last week hit a new low in readership. It could have been that it came on a holiday. But then it was a holiday for a preacher who dedicated his life to improving the state of the poor and downtrodden. I suspect this effort will fare even worse since Bill’s Law #3 (see Bill’s Blogs, page 08) points out that bad ideas in religion have a half-life of a least a millennium.

And religion does have some relevance to poverty–and to wealth.

I think that one of the worst religious ideas is the conviction that one’s own faith is the best and further, the only right one. This is often accompanied by the idea that salvation (life-after-death) is dependent on faith in the right God. Muslims, insofar as they pray to and support Allah, believe they will be saved. Thus the pilots of the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3000 men, women, and children thought Allah would reward them in an all-Muslim heaven. Christians believe (or used to at least, and some still do) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for their sins and gain for them a rich after-death life experience in an all-Christian heaven (or hell). (I do realize not all Muslims and not all Christians, including the present Pope, share that exclusive belief.)

It is sobering to think how many people have lost their earthly lives to honor these usually intensely sincere convictions.

Other memes, bad and good, logically follow this exclusive one today. All religions (including modern secular ones like Green-Progressive) preach compassion, virtue, good works, and charity. All religions think they have a monopoly on truth (including modern secular ones).

Compassion is nearly always good; charity not always. Violence, courage, and honor in sports, fiction, and war is the stuff heroes are made of; violence in civic life is usually deplored. Theft is never good; except when it comes to increasing taxes on the rich. Selfishness is evil; self-confidence is good.

If wealth is fixed, like a big pie, and if one country (or person) gets a bigger piece, there is a nearly irresistible temptation to envy them (and make war on them if you are a country or use some form of violence or political coercion to steal from them if you are poor).

This fixed nature of wealth as land, gold, and slaves (unquestionably a meme from earlier Ages) is probably why Pope Francis, in common with the Green-Progressives (see Bill’s Blogs, page 315), advises us all to “significantly limit our consumption” in order to help the poor and save the environment (after all if wealth and resources for wealth are severely limited on earth–though not presumably in heaven or hell–it makes sense to “limit our consumption” if you are are morally self-sacrificing and it also makes sense to fight for a fair share if you are prideful and self-confident).

Our Founding Fathers were acutely aware of all these contradictions. Which is why they included a strong Freedom of Religion clause in our Constitution. This includes freedom from religion and the unaffiliated in the U.S. and Europe is currently the fastest growing group.

Christianity has on the whole been good for the world. Monasteries in Medieval Ages led the way with early versions of both science/technology and capitalism. Which later blossomed into Modern Age versions that are fast making poverty extinct and freedom more common. Christianity also fostered compassion, respect for women, honor, humility, tolerance, courage, self-confidence, honesty, and a host of other virtues.

Christianity has nevertheless also been guilty of serious crimes. It has in the past fostered the exclusive monotheistic meme, often claiming that it alone had the ear of an Almighty God. As such it has unfortunately played a major role in imperialism, war, racism, and sexism. In the Renaissance the Church literally sold indulgences to intercede with God on the buyer’s behalf in the hypothetical after-life of purgatory. Which in turn led to the Reformation and the splintering into the many faiths of Protestant Christianity (including the modern secular faith in Green-Progress).

What can be done?

Patience. Remember Bill’s Laws. Rome and the Modern Age were not built in a day.
Poverty and exclusive monotheistic religions like Islam today and Christianity yesterday (and the memes both these exclusive religions encourage) take a long time to exit from the world stage–remember,religious bad ideas have a millennium half-life. Christianity has already gone through its Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. Islam, Isis variety, is a laggard today. Any thing we can do now to speed up this process of extinction in all exclusive monotheistic religions would be helpful.

Like this blog.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. My new book, Bill’s Blogs, is good example of work that might help. In other words I do think Bill’s Blogs does have the potential to be revolutionary and powerful in that it explains how we evolved to be where we are. It also offers hints on ways to speed up the abolishment of poverty and the advance of freedom in this country and in the world.Jan. 23, 2017

A puzzle. Why do people like to read books and see movies about the rich and powerful but don’t care that much that poverty is decreasing in the country and in the world?

Example: my blog last week hit a new low in readership. It could have been that it came on a holiday. But then it was a holiday for a preacher who dedicated his life to improving the state of the poor and downtrodden. I suspect this effort will fare even worse since Bill’s Law #3 (see Bill’s Blogs, page 8) points out that bad religious ideas have a half-life of a millennium.

And religion does have some relevance to poverty–and to wealth.

I think that one of the worst religious ideas is the conviction that one’s own faith is the best and further, the only right one. This is often accompanied by the idea that salvation (life-after-death) is dependent on faith in the right God. Muslims, insofar as they pray to and support Allah, believe they will be saved. Thus the pilots of the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3000 men, women, and children thought Allah would reward them in an all-Muslim heaven. Christians believe (or used to at least, and some still do) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for their sins and gain for them a rich after-death life experience in an all-Christian heaven (or hell). (I do realize not all Muslims and not all Christians, including the present Pope, share that exclusive belief.)

It is sobering to think how many people have lost their earthly lives to honor these usually intensely sincere convictions.

Other memes, bad and good, logically follow this exclusive one today. All religions (including modern secular ones like Green-Progressive) preach compassion, virtue, good works, and charity. All religions think they have a monopoly on truth (including modern secular ones).

Compassion is nearly always good; charity not always. Violence, courage, and honor in sports, fiction, and war is the stuff heroes are made of; violence in civic life is usually deplored. Theft is never good; except when it comes to increasing taxes on the rich. Selfishness is evil; self-confidence is good.

If wealth is fixed, like a big pie, and if one country (or person) gets a bigger piece, there is a nearly irresistible temptation to envy them (and make war on them if you are a country or use some form of violence or political coercion to steal from them if you are poor).

This fixed nature of wealth as land, gold, and slaves (unquestionably a meme from earlier Ages) is probably why Pope Francis, in common with the Green-Progressives (see Bill’s Blogs, page 315), advises us all to “significantly limit our consumption” in order to help the poor and save the environment (after all if wealth and resources for wealth are severely limited on earth–though not presumably in heaven or hell–it makes sense to “limit our consumption” if you are are morally self-sacrificing and it also makes sense to fight for a fair share if you are prideful and self-confident).

Our Founding Fathers were acutely aware of all these contradictions. Which is why they included a strong Freedom of Religion clause in our Constitution. This includes freedom from religion and the unaffiliated in the U.S. and Europe is currently the fastest growing group.

Christianity has on the whole been good for the world. Monasteries in Medieval Ages led the way with early versions of both science/technology and capitalism. Which later blossomed into Modern Age versions that are fast making poverty extinct and freedom more common. Christianity also fostered compassion, respect for women, honor, humility, tolerance, courage, self-confidence, honesty, and a host of other virtues.

Christianity has nevertheless also been guilty of serious crimes. It has in the past fostered the exclusive monotheistic meme, often claiming that it alone had the ear of an Almighty God. As such it has unfortunately played a major role in imperialism, war, racism, and sexism. In the Renaissance the Church literally sold indulgences to intercede with God on the buyer’s behalf in the hypothetical after-life of purgatory. Which in turn led to the Reformation and the splintering into the many faiths of Protestant Christianity (including the modern secular faith in Green-Progress).

What can be done?

Patience. Remember Bill’s Laws. Rome and the Modern Age were not built in a day.
Poverty and exclusive monotheistic religions like Islam today and Christianity yesterday (and the memes both these exclusive religions encourage) take a long time to exit from the world stage–remember,religious bad ideas have a millennium half-life. Christianity has already gone through its Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. Islam, Isis variety, is a laggard today. Any thing we can do now to speed up this process of extinction in all exclusive monotheistic religions would be helpful.

Like this blog.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. My new book, Bill’s Blogs, is good example of work that might help. In other words I do think Bill’s Blogs does have the potential to be revolutionary and powerful in that it explains how we evolved to be where we are. It also offers hints on ways to speed up the abolishment of poverty and the advance of freedom in this country and in the world.Bill’s Blogs, page 08) points out that bad religious ideas have a half-life of a millennium.

And religion does have some relevance to poverty–and to wealth.

I think that one of the worst religious ideas is the conviction that one’s own faith is the best and further, the only right one. This is often accompanied by the idea that salvation (life-after-death) is dependent on faith in the right God. Muslims, insofar as they pray to and support Allah, believe they will be saved. Thus the pilots of the planes that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3000 men, women, and children thought Allah would reward them in an all-Muslim heaven. Christians believe (or used to at least, and some still do) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for their sins and gain for them a rich after-death life experience in an all-Christian heaven (or hell). (I do realize not all Muslims and not all Christians, including the present Pope, share that exclusive belief.)

It is sobering to think how many people have lost their earthly lives to honor these usually intensely sincere convictions.

Other memes, bad and good, logically follow this exclusive one today. All religions (including modern secular ones like Green-Progressive) preach compassion, virtue, good works, and charity. All religions think they have a monopoly on truth (including modern secular ones).

Compassion is nearly always good; charity not always. Violence, courage, and honor in sports, fiction, and war is the stuff heroes are made of; violence in civic life is usually deplored. Theft is never good; except when it comes to increasing taxes on the rich. Selfishness is evil; self-confidence is good.

If wealth is fixed, like a big pie, and if one country (or person) gets a bigger piece, there is a nearly irresistible temptation to envy them (and make war on them if you are a country or use some form of violence or political coercion to steal from them if you are poor).

This fixed nature of wealth as land, gold, and slaves (unquestionably a meme from earlier Ages) is probably why Pope Francis, in common with the Green-Progressives (see Bill’s Blogs, page 315), advises us all to “significantly limit our consumption” in order to help the poor and save the environment (after all if wealth and resources for wealth are severely limited on earth–though not presumably in heaven or hell–it makes sense to “limit our consumption” if you are are morally self-sacrificing and it also makes sense to fight for a fair share if you are prideful and self-confident).

Our Founding Fathers were acutely aware of all these contradictions. Which is why they included a strong Freedom of Religion clause in our Constitution. This includes freedom from religion and the unaffiliated in the U.S. and Europe is currently the fastest growing group.

Christianity has on the whole been good for the world. Monasteries in Medieval Ages led the way with early versions of both science/technology and capitalism. Which later blossomed into Modern Age versions that are fast making poverty extinct and freedom more common. Christianity also fostered compassion, respect for women, honor, humility, tolerance, courage, self-confidence, honesty, and a host of other virtues.

Christianity has nevertheless also been guilty of serious crimes. It has in the past fostered the exclusive monotheistic meme, often claiming that it alone had the ear of an Almighty God. As such it has unfortunately played a major role in imperialism, war, racism, and sexism. In the Renaissance the Church literally sold indulgences to intercede with God on the buyer’s behalf in the hypothetical after-life of purgatory. Which in turn led to the Reformation and the splintering into the many faiths of Protestant Christianity (including the modern secular faith in Green-Progress).

What can be done?

Patience. Remember Bill’s Laws. Rome and the Modern Age were not built in a day.

Poverty and exclusive monotheistic religions like Islam today and Christianity yesterday (and the memes both these exclusive religions encourage) take a long time to exit from the world stage–remember,religious bad ideas have a millennium half-life. Christianity has already gone through its Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. Islam, Isis variety, is a laggard today. Any thing we can do now to speed up this process of extinction in all exclusive monotheistic religions would be helpful.

Like this blog.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. My new book, Bill’s Blogs, is good example of work that might help. In other words I do think Bill’s Blogs does have the potential to be revolutionary and powerful in that it explains how we evolved to be where we are. It also offers hints on ways to speed up the abolishment of poverty and the advance of freedom in this country and in the world.

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