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“eco-nomics: cultivating the material conditions for the continuation of life”

November 15, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

the very purpose of eco-nomics in the biblical world carries new force on this side of modern economics; namely, to cultivate the material conditions for the continuation of life.
Rasmussen, Larry L. (2012-10-02). Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (p. 150). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Amen! It seems obvious, but not when you look at our present economy and the forces determined to maintain it. There is a humongous task ahead. And it will obviously take a mass movement the likes of which the world has yet  to see   (unless you consider it another in a long line of movements taken up by Christians and people of faith on behalf of the upholding of life over the history of faith movements.).

a political economy that operates with a different metabolism from that of the rest of nature

November 15, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

From Earth -Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (which would make a great textbook for a class in EcoTheology 101)

The chief obstacles will be the political-economic and sociocultural dimensions of ways of life that remain addicted to fossil fuels, that have not yet come to terms with the limits of planetary systems, that assume happiness and fulfillment are based on unending material consumption of goods and services, and that think and invest for short-term rather than long-term ends in a political economy that operates with a different metabolism from that of the rest of nature. All of these, too, belong to a moral vision, that of the industrial-technological era.
–Rasmussen, Larry L. (2012-10-02). Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (p. 149). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The addiction characteristics  can be seen in our present system in the way that the key substance , fossil-fuels,  is not seen as the toxin to be sharply curbed.  The constant refrain is “energy independence”  which means finding our own oil, drilling everywhere,  Keystone,  etc.  An old high school friend who works in geology told me that the Tar Sands oil “is for export and trade”,  in reply to my question about how dirty and pollutant this oil is.  The answer reveals another problem:  that we can simply “ship it elsewhere”,  ignoring a) the role the extraction itself plays in the “dirty” category,  Tar Sands being a pollutant of much higher toxicity ,  and b) the “shipping it off” for sale elsewhere merely relocates it,  but it is still going to be burned somewhere else.  No problem solved (only in the minds of the ones who want to justify this regardless of its effects).

This “different metabolism” from the rest of nature is the age-old problem, present from the very beginnings of techno-extraction and emissions.  Not only has the technology become increasingly overloading to the ecology of the planet,  the assumptions of the resulting economies have become increasingly ingrained and ideologies surrounding them, “ordained” and “natural” to that way of thinking.  It’s a truly intimidating challenge we face,  especially given the level of “entrenchment” we are seeing with this Republican Party being conduits for money/oil interests’ “education” efforts via think tanks who devise “arguments” against the scientific findings.

Given this,  Rasmussen communicates the sense of urgency we need:

Ours is an industrial and postindustrial planet that is human-dominated, resource-stressed, environmentally degraded, and on the move. That said, the oikos conception of Earth , with creation’s integrity at its core, is perhaps more timely than ever. Certainly a spirituality and ethic for the long haul is needed, one that receives life as a gift and knows our place in creation.
Rasmussen, Larry L. (2012-10-02). Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (p. 150). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

 

Sanders: U.S. is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy via @DemocracyNow

November 14, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: Uncategorized

I think Bernie is being extremely diplomatic,  since it seems to me it (oligarchy) has long been achieved.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: The United States is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy

via Sen. Bernie Sanders: The United States is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy | Democracy Now!.

 

Obama has some catching up to do on ACTIONS and POLICIES re: Climate Change

November 13, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Bill McKibben published his thoughts on what the deal with China means and doesn’t mean. One stood out forme.

It is not remotely enough to keep us out of climate trouble

via The Big Climate Deal: What It Is, and What It Isn’t | Bill McKibben

We need to rid ourselves and our leaders from the notion that “finally” we’re actually doing something significant.  Indeed,  SOMETHING is very obviously better than nothing,  but the question we now have to heed is “What is enough?” and the answer is NOTHING.  All we can do is do EVERYTHING possible to avoid the worst.  The real “heresy” to our system is that we have to “leave trillions of fossil fuels IN THE GROUND”,  and that means forfeiting dollars.  But fortunately (hopefully “fortunately”)  those aren’t the ONLY dollars.  There are dollars in alternatives,  meaning JOBS, and REAL measures to produce and develop RETOOLING to turn this around.  We won’t be able to avoid what has already been done to the ecosphere.  And some of what we have done over the years is still pending as to its more visible consequences (visible at least to the public pysche,  unlike to that of the people who study this and see far more than we have been passed by the majority of the media.)

Hopefully,  this is another sign that more and more of the facts we need will be allowed through to be pondered and thus “allowed to sink in”,  so that this will become a larger and larger movement.

McKibben puts it most appropriately:

It isn’t, in other words, a reason to slack off a bit in the ongoing fight for a livable climate, a fight our civilizations are in great danger of losing.If we want this to be a start, and not a finish, we’ve got to build even bigger and more powerful movements that push the successors of these gentlemen to meet what science demands. Today’s an achievement for everyone who’s held a banner, signed a petition, and gone to jail — and a call for many more to join us going forward!

Sam Harris vs Karen Armstrong

November 12, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: Islam, Occupy Theology, Theoblogical

Karen Armstong wrote this:   to which Harris has posted a rather rude, incomplete,  shallow retort in the style of his usual blanket assertions about the inanities of religion and the superiority of his New Atheism.

I am hopeful that Armstrong’s winsome depiction of Islam will shame and enlighten them, as it has me. They will discover that Hassan al-Banna and Tariq Ramadan are paragons of meliorism and wisdom, while we are ignorant bigots who know nothing of theology (of course), politics (Christopher, are you listening?), human nature (what’s to know?), or the proper limits of science (um … narrower?).

via The God Fraud : : Sam Harris.

Nice, Sam.  You say : “They will discover that Hassan al-Banna and Tariq Ramadan are paragons of meliorism and wisdom”   ,  also something Armstrong doesn’t come anywhere close to saying.  So who’s being hyperbolic , here?

And then ,  it’s right back into the straw man arguments Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens are and were fond of:

I can’t quite remember how we got it into our heads that jihad was linked to violence. – Harris

And since Armstrong also spends a great deal of time and text exploring the ACTUAL history of “jihad” ,  INCLUDING the occurrences AND THE HISTORY OF THE VIOLENT STRANDS,  that is a particularly OBTUSE way of scrapping her entire argument in favor of the ones you intend to perpetrate in the first place.

Then Harris launches in to his usual diatribe,  cataloguing the instances of human sacrifice.

I hope that Armstrong will soon apply her capacious understanding of human nature to these phenomena.

But she did and has, Sam.  But you stay with your winning narrative; ‘Winning” in it’s capacity to draw the applause of gleeful New Atheists worldwide.  You seem adverse to ACTUAL socio-historical analysis.

Basically,  Harris is here,  as he often is,  a sarcastic jerk.  He detracts from any balanced philosophical, socratic approach he may well be capable of employing.

Armstrong need only reply with one answer,  as she does:

Like many religious people, I do not believe in demons. I abhor violence of any kind, be it verbal or physical, religious or secular.

But Harris proceeds on as if he’s never been confronted with such obviously challenging and confronting claims.  He sticks with the same , tired, applause lines.

More from Armstrong:

To identify religion with its worst manifestations, claim that they represent the whole, and then demolish the straw dog thus set up does not seem a rational or useful way of conducting this important debate.

In the past, theologians such as Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Rahner, and Paul Tillich enjoyed fruitful conversations with atheists and found their theology enriched by the encounters. We desperately need such interchange today. A truly Socratic dialogue with atheists could help to counter many of the abuses of faith that Harris so rightly deplores.

Harris is also seemingly oblivious (or conveniently obtuse) about Armstrong’s main point (yea, even in the subtitle does she point it out):

why secularism is almost as much of a threat to the world as fundamentalism

Harris simply ignores this.  I also suspect that his obtuseness here is not necessarily intentional.  It is a matter of simply not getting it (because he seems not to have read her at all….except that his habit of returning right back to his straw man arguments about religion could well be the culprit….but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he DID read her at length,  in which case he simply reduced her to the same narrow confines that he has set out in the first place.