Cory Booker quote
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24-09-2014, 07:38 AM
Cory Booker quote
I found this image posted a few times on facebook:
[Image: BxffoTsCAAAK7P7.jpg:large]
https://twitter.com/CoryBooker/status/51...7741624320

Here is the response I posted:
I find the use of the word "religion" here troubling. Religion does not have to conform to a principal of compassion. That's a humanist principle rather than a religious one, and I think what he is really getting at here is a humanist principle that he dresses up as and falsely equates to religion. Many flavours of religion are not compassionate and do not posit the existence of an omnibenevolent god. For example, Calvinism assumes predestination and a god that cares not for those consigned to eternal hellfire not of their choice by by the design of their god.

So I'm trying to figure out whether this quote is an attempt to use humanist principles to classify religion into "acceptable" and "unacceptable" categories, or is an attempt to falsely equivocate between religion and humanism. The former places humanism above religion and allows it to dictate what a religion must be, while the latter sneaks religion into the place of humanism. I'm not sure which of these alternatives is more unsettling.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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24-09-2014, 07:45 AM
RE: Cory Booker quote
Who is Cory Booker?

It came across to me as the former: humanist principles as the yardstick by which to measure the behaviour(s) of the self-proclaimed religious.

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24-09-2014, 07:48 AM
RE: Cory Booker quote
(24-09-2014 07:45 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Who is Cory Booker?

It came across to me as the former: humanist principles as the yardstick by which to measure the behaviour(s) of the self-proclaimed religious.

My thoughts exactly.

Cory Booker is a Democratic senator.


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24-09-2014, 08:01 AM
RE: Cory Booker quote
Cory is a US Senator for New Jersey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Booker

I suspect there is a little of both going on. The people I see posting it are those who would advocate a softer line on social issues within their religious groups. I think the implicit reasoning is as follows:
* I am a true follower of Jesus Christ
* I/He value(s) compassion above religious dogma (I can't necessarily distinguish between his and my values)
* Therefore, valuing compassion above religious dogma is a core tenant of Christianity
* Therefore, those that do not value compassion are not true christians™
I think there is a lack of realisation going on here as to how humanism has shaped modern left-leaning Christian thought, and a false equivocation between religion and the values of humanism that have been absorbed by this branch of the church. But it feels like doublespeak to me. The advocates of this proposition don't have any firmer a basis for claiming the proposition is the true form of the Christian religion than a hellfire preacher has in his view. Less so, very likely. It seems like a group who has adopted a value system independent of the religion itself is standing up and proclaiming that that value system is the true version of the religion despite all evidence to the contrary. I think that if they were honest and said what they meant - That religion must conform to secular social norms to be acceptable - that they would have no theological leg to stand on. But I don't think they themselves understand that is what they are saying.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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24-09-2014, 10:08 AM
RE: Cory Booker quote
(24-09-2014 08:01 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Cory is a US Senator for New Jersey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Booker

I suspect there is a little of both going on. The people I see posting it are those who would advocate a softer line on social issues within their religious groups. I think the implicit reasoning is as follows:
* I am a true follower of Jesus Christ
* I/He value(s) compassion above religious dogma (I can't necessarily distinguish between his and my values)
* Therefore, valuing compassion above religious dogma is a core tenant of Christianity
* Therefore, those that do not value compassion are not true christians™
I think there is a lack of realisation going on here as to how humanism has shaped modern left-leaning Christian thought, and a false equivocation between religion and the values of humanism that have been absorbed by this branch of the church. But it feels like doublespeak to me. The advocates of this proposition don't have any firmer a basis for claiming the proposition is the true form of the Christian religion than a hellfire preacher has in his view. Less so, very likely. It seems like a group who has adopted a value system independent of the religion itself is standing up and proclaiming that that value system is the true version of the religion despite all evidence to the contrary. I think that if they were honest and said what they meant - That religion must conform to secular social norms to be acceptable - that they would have no theological leg to stand on. But I don't think they themselves understand that is what they are saying.

At the risk of oversimplification, might he simply be considering James 1:27?

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24-09-2014, 01:03 PM
RE: Cory Booker quote
I'll take Booker's version rather than jesus freak bullshittery.

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24-09-2014, 01:30 PM
RE: Cory Booker quote
(24-09-2014 07:38 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  So I'm trying to figure out whether this quote is an attempt to use humanist principles to classify religion into "acceptable" and "unacceptable" categories, or is an attempt to falsely equivocate between religion and humanism. The former places humanism above religion and allows it to dictate what a religion must be

I think you are reading more into it than is there. I doubt he was thinking much beyond Christianity but even if he was including other religions I don't see anything in the quote that attempts to classify religions at all. He is essentially setting the question of what religion claims aside and saying that what matters is the effect.

Quote:... while the latter sneaks religion into the place of humanism. I'm not sure which of these alternatives is more unsettling.

Again, I don't read it as promoting humanism as a religion or claiming that humanism is superior to any religion. All I get from the quote is that he values people who act decently regardless of what their rationale may be.

For me the quote boils down to "I don't care why you think you are being decent as long as you are".

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25-09-2014, 12:06 PM
RE: Cory Booker quote
(24-09-2014 01:30 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(24-09-2014 07:38 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  So I'm trying to figure out whether this quote is an attempt to use humanist principles to classify religion into "acceptable" and "unacceptable" categories, or is an attempt to falsely equivocate between religion and humanism. The former places humanism above religion and allows it to dictate what a religion must be

I think you are reading more into it than is there. I doubt he was thinking much beyond Christianity but even if he was including other religions I don't see anything in the quote that attempts to classify religions at all. He is essentially setting the question of what religion claims aside and saying that what matters is the effect.

Quote:... while the latter sneaks religion into the place of humanism. I'm not sure which of these alternatives is more unsettling.

Again, I don't read it as promoting humanism as a religion or claiming that humanism is superior to any religion. All I get from the quote is that he values people who act decently regardless of what their rationale may be.

For me the quote boils down to "I don't care why you think you are being decent as long as you are".

In my humanist/rationalist mind, I'm totally down with that concept, that I love decency no matter the motivation, but you understand why with my spiritual mind I want to know decency's motivation, and whether there are transcendent, absolute moral standards, you know what I mean?

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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25-09-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Cory Booker quote
(25-09-2014 12:06 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I want to know decency's motivation, and whether there are transcendent, absolute moral standards, you know what I mean?

I wasn't saying that I agree that it is unimportant to look at motivations, only that I didn't read anything in the Booker quote beyond valuing being decent. Given the choice, I'd rather people be decent for good reasons than for bad reasons but I'll take decent for bad reasons if that's the best I can get!

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25-09-2014, 05:17 PM
RE: Cory Booker quote
I mostly agree with the message. I think what it is basically saying is that it does not matter what your book says or what your religion has to offer, what matters is how you act and treat others that is more important than the religion you hold so dear to you and try to push on others.

At least I am fairly certain that is what he is trying to say.


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