Author Topic: How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?  (Read 184 times)

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Offline The Shrub Dragon

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How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?
« on: October 18, 2017, 17:02 »
I don't think it's in any way a secret that social change needs to happen.  The reason I've put a religious spin on this is because of a TED talk from Kwame Anthony Appiah called Is Religion Good or Bad? (This is a Trick Question).  Appiah claims that 'no important form of social change can be brought about except through organised religion'.  So, what do you think?  How would you use religion to incite social change?


Before I start, I am aware that this is a divisive topic.  I may insert my own opinions and research into the mix later on, but there are a few things I'd like to request first.  I don't care if your argument reads more like an assertion than an argument, but I'd appreciate it if it was something people could reasonably pick into.  If you think 'religion poisons everything' (Christopher Hitchens), you need to explain why.  Christopher Hitchens wrote a book on it - you can write a paragraph.  The same goes for religious people.


This could be a really, really interesting debate but only if we don't dismiss people's views right off the bat.  If someone seems to have a controversial view (that isn't obviously provocative), probe it!  Find out more!  Then argue it a bit more! 






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Offline SirBlaziken

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Re: How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 19:39 »
I'll start us off. First, I am a religious person. Saying that now so that I can also say that his claim is garbage in my opinion. His claim is false because many other important social changes occur without the help of religion. Take LGBT marriage in America for example: Religion didn't just come out and say "Yeah it's cool", the white house legalized it. Even if it's still seen as something a little odd and not excepted by everyone, it's part of culture. I don't see religion telling people it's ok to be gay (sorry if that's a little crude).

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Offline The Hooded Trainer

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Re: How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 19:45 »
Hmm, thats a difficult one, because most religions these days have a tendency to get stuck in old, traditional ways, rather than  inciting any kind of change. But im not one of these "religions poison all" people, i think like everything else, organised religion is a tool that can be and has been used for both good and bad. The problem is that people seem to focus more on the specifics of it all, rather than the bigger picture, which is where the idea of change gets murky.

Take christianity, for example, because its what i was raised with and i dont know enough about any other religions to be able to properly comment on them. People are so bogged down with things like, does the bible allow for gay marriage, or abortions, or divorces, or yadayadayada. Instead, imho, the most important thing to take away from the bible (and, im sure, many other religious texts) is the messages of love, kindness and respect towards your neighbours. And its those teachings that can bring real social change, because religious or not, we can all agree that those are good messages to hold.

The way i see it, the problem with our society is that the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and nothings happening to change that. So we need to teach that this idea of success and richness isnt the most important thing, and that being a good and decent person is what really matters. I dont know if religion is specifically the way to do this, mostly they try and enforce this whole thing with the idea of an afterlife, but thats not going to work for everybody, and less and less people are actually willing to believe in a god or a higher power (not all that surprising, really, looking at the world). But then, many religious figures, like Jesus for the most obvious example, actually provide very good teachings. Personally, i think christianity needs to focus more on those teachings, rather than the whole "son of god, performed miracles, came back from the dead" deal, because thats what turns non-religious people away from his actual message.

Anyway, wow, that ended up as one long ass ramble, and im not even sure if any of it made sense, but oh well. Dont even know where half of that came from lol. Whatever though, feel free to tear it apart and point out why everything i said was total nonsense if you like.

Sniped, so I just want to say I largely agree with SirBlaziken too. Social change can totally come without the help of religion. Religion is just one of many factors that can help move society forward, as long as its utilised correctly.

Offline The Shrub Dragon

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Re: How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 23:40 »
This is a short response because it's very late, but I want to get this argument in.  Heads up I'm on mobile and not able to quote.


Blaze, you mention LGBT issues as having passed through the White House - which is true.  However, something else that's true is that the Mormon Church were some of the biggest fundraisers in the campaign against gay marriage.  It's been speculated that without the influence of the Mormon Church, Prop 8 would have had a vastly different outcome.  I also think you're being too quick to judge the government as secular.  As recently as 1987, George Bush is quoted as saying he did not believe Atheists could be American citizens or patriots.  Regardless of what's down officially, a separation between church and state has not been achieved.  For a bit more on how the church can impact politics, see section 28 and the UKIP claim that "gay marriage will lead to a lesbian queen"


I also feel that this is an appropriate time to make a distinction between marriage in different religions and marriage in a secular context.  Christian marriage will always have a religious element to it because in Christianity, marriage is a sacrament meant to strengthen the couple's relationship with God.  I don't know enough about other religions to comment on them.


More points to be put in a better order and explained more clearly when I have my notes in front of me tomorrow.  Might get more into unpicking the particulars rather than just presenting information.  Will also be able to edit in the proper Bush quote.


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Offline SirBlaziken

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Re: How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 00:41 »
Appiah claims that 'no important form of social change can be brought about except through organised religion'.

This was the part that I was saying is a load of crap. Of course religion is going to be involved and many situations of social change, but there are other avenues besides for religion to bring about change.
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Offline Lord Raven

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Re: How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 20:21 »
Quote
Blaze, you mention LGBT issues as having passed through the White House - which is true.
Passed through and ignored.

Gay marriage was legalized by the SCOTUS in Obergefell vs Hodges with a 5-4 majority. Meaning it took a lawsuit to do it, and the federal government cannot make it illegal short of a constitutional amendment which they will not have the supermajority to do. Currently there are pro-discrimination laws in the books because the federal government has been deferring this to a states rights issue (thanks, Congress).

Before that, gay marriage was deferred to states rights. My home state being one of the half dozen that legalized it before the SCOTUS legalized it nationwide.

Quote
The way i see it, the problem with our society is that the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and nothings happening to change that. So we need to teach that this idea of success and richness isnt the most important thing, and that being a good and decent person is what really matters.

This is far too naive. People are taught this and preach it, but it's not congruent with how they act (or how they vote).

At any rate, I'm not sure what "social change" you're talking about. You can view religion as a movement, and movements do inspire social change. You could argue also that religion created social norms and anything against religion is social change, or you can also argue that going to church on Sunday puts you at the whim of a pastor who can bring up a sermon to invoke some degree of change. Like any movement, it can change people's views over time, for better or for worse.
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Offline lets all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes

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Re: How Can Religion be Used Best to Incite Social Change?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 22:33 »
//wades in with my nike sports bra and buzz cut and says very butchly// no bible got the woman no dang vote all those years ago //small voice in the audience// "beth you were never a suffragete ur just a fat lazy idiot" THATS NOT IMPORTANT!!! anyway who cares about that.

locally for the most part a lot of the religious stuff in our area (i live in an area with a bunch of stuck up middle class people AND a mosque so you can imagine. lots of snooty WASPs and also first and second generation immigrants. i sold a depressing amount of Daily Mails at my old workplace to both, surprisingly) is mostly community based and a lot of it is all about Community (christianity is about this too i guess, i have kind of second hand experience of knowing some Good Christians so to speak who do some good work)


i am not traditionally a religious person (agnostic half arsed wiccan but my deeper religious ideas are dumb because then i have to tell you about the ΩM and my mental illness coping skills and this entire world thing i invented around my early teens) so its hard to say as far as organised religion goes but i think another trouble is breaking away from Traditionalist values in a progressive social setting and this literally just breaks some of these peoples brains which is why you have people railing so hard against this stuff like orange baby trump.

what you see with a lot of right wing nutjobs is Fear of the unknown tbh. a lot of religious right wing scared people is this thing where they have terribly overactive Fear Complexes neurologically . i dunno enough to critically acclaim it past just linking to it so ill just point at it and drool for now. 

Spoiler: big side-ramble about Social Justice issues and religion cos i have lots of words about this lmao • show
quite a few religions have some Problematic ideas baked in there or if they dont someone just.....edits...them in a little later on. like the king james? i wanna say either king james or the NVT, i forget which, one of those bibles. they do this thing with corinthians 6:9

Malakoi in corinthians 6:9 turns from "dont be a weak willed wuss" into "homosexuals" and arsenokoites turns from "shrine prostitute/dont do incest or do kids" to "no bumming at all!!!" so...........it sounds like someone. with a vested interest may have edited the ancient wiki entry for "bible" all those years ago. someone with a gay repressal. you know the sort! how many of these "against gay marriage" senators have to resign in shame when they're found in their office with a hot twink, theyre all repressing it i reckon

anyway so depressingly some societal "limitaitons" have been edited in and because This Is The Holy Word!!!!!!!!!! dont go against it!!!!!!!!! or god will punish you, for fear of death!!! everyones like "ooer i better go along with this" in a jerry jackson voice but thankfully with certain strides that is slowly being hashed out and hateful people are losing their grip on the world, triple goddess willing //beth pentagrams herself. like crossing myself but not a cross??? idk. itd be awkward being a cross in this context//

HOWEVER we are still on the Larger Scale waiting to see the civil rights, womens rights, lgbtqia+ etc movement stuff roll out on a larger bigger scale societally let alone clashing with Religion so regarding societal change in that way.....eehhhnn....you have to kind of put a pin in that one. moderate dogma is the key but theyre still whining about having women bishops cos people are still stuck up about Tradition and ohhh noo we cant let some old dead guy be wrong!!




so i guess to answer the question in a short way the best kind of social change it can do if any is developmental community work, a la businesses, shops "take it or leave it" religion stuff etc. that kind of boring background social change. investment and development of social communities, yadda yadda. youth clubs where they DONT bait n switch you into praying at the end like my old youth club did, we'd have fun but then all have to do dumb prayers and itd be like. can't we just. leave.

there is also the problem of marketing this it cos a lot of the time its a bit of a Jazz Club: Members Only affair cos theres this one christian book shop and it'd be great if it was like. a community outreach project? to replace the dyin bookshops with like some v small amount of christian books? if you were interested. and like "we just do this for like the church or whatever, you can take it or leave the religion stuff" but its still trying to do the missionary thing and its basically like a stoner who can't shut the hell up about weed except instead of weed its jesus. every book looks like a bestseller but its like The Gold Word and Seeing His Praise and its like. how many books about deadass jesus do you need????

edit: p.s. sorry if i missed the point and it was more about how i personally would incite social change via religion cos in that case i would allude to diy punk feminism and its way of microscenes and the whole "make up your own religion that allows you to have your spirituality that makes you comfortable and do good in the world based on that". failing that i become queen of the world and force everyone to become wiccan cos wiccans have the rule of threefold to keep them from hexing everyone they want to and also they have been persecuted by christians (who hasn't) and had all their major festivals stolen (oestre, yule) so itd be a rightful return to order.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 22:48 by lets all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes »