[KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed Oct 29 18:07:43 EDT 2014

Though all rabbits are mammals not all mammals are rabbits. Fascism was a quite peculiar inter-war political development mostly in central or eastern European nations.  We must be careful not to focus so much on the dead python at the front door while quite ferocious & very much alive tigers are clawing at the back door.

How many on this list would free comfortable parading in front of your campus building with a placard denouncing Israel as guilty of genocide?

Makes you crunch your shoulders at the thought -- No?

Serious free speech is pretty much dead in the U.S. at this time. It is NOT fascism; it may be something far more efficient than fascism in depriving us of political rights.


-----Original Message-----
From: kb-bounces at kbjournal.org [mailto:kb-bounces at kbjournal.org] On Behalf Of Stan Lindsay
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 3:49 PM
To: Edward C Appel
Cc: kb at kbjournal.org
Subject: Re: [KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever

I will resume my thoughts now. Given that Greg is suggesting that religions are fascist, I define fascism as extreme authoritarian rule. In bin Laden's Islam there is clearly authoritarian rule. His jihadist interpretation is the final authority. Never mind that there may be other sects of Islam that may try to impose their own specific authoritarian rule,, disagreeing with bin Laden"s interpretation -- for bin Laden's followers there is only one true interpretation of the Quran. 

Christianity does have parallels but even such an authoritarian denomination as Catholicism does not currently impose dangerous expectations for its followers. Certainly, the Catholic Church does not execute its members who choose to convert to another religion. Much of Islam does.

When I argue in my book that David Koresh or Jim Jones or Gene Applewhite use authoritarian rule over their flocks, resulting in psychotic entelechy, they do so not because the Bible as an authoritarian book commands them to do these things, but because their interpretations of that book demand the dangerous behavior.

Here I agree with Ed. As a good Burkean, I find the multiple perspectives of evangelicals, main line Christians, Jews, and even atheists (which one finds in the Society of Biblical Literature) as they interpret the Christian scriptures to be very useful. When Bible interpreters are given multiple perspectives and multiple explanations of various scripture passages and are offered the argumentation to support the varying interpretations, they have a greater likelihood of reaching a reasonable conclusion concerning the meaning of the text.

There is no reason to conclude, as Greg appears to, that the simple fact that someone considers a text to be divinely inspired means that it is not open to interpretation or debate.  When a church imposes its creed upon the followers, however, that church moves in the direction of authoritarianism-though I am not willing to call such churches fascist.

The U.S. uses a text as a final rule (the Constitution).  Even so, it relies on the Supreme Court to interpret the text.  Texts need interpreters.  Even so, I will hazard a guess that virtually all of us have disagreed with one or more of their interpretations.  In the U.S., we can amend the Constitution-an option generally unavailable to religious adherents of a sacred text, although several denominations do believe that option exists for them.

I argue that the jihadists are misinterpreting the Qur'an, but I can easily see how their interpretations are reached. If I expect my interpretation of the Qur'an to be considered, I am open to hearing the perspectives of how the Christian scriptures might be interpreted by other sources. I do not leave it up to a vote however.  And just because someone shows that it is possible to interpret a text in a certain way does not automatically mean that that is the way the text should be interpreted.  This is far from an authoritarian view of religion.  It is a view that empowers the individual to accept or reject various interpretations.  It is not quite pure philosophy.  It is still religion but it leaves much in the hands of the individual.  Therefore it is by no means fascist.

Sent from my MOTOROLA ATRIX™ HD on AT&T

Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com> wrote:

Greg, Stan, and All,

Most centrally, Greg and I are defining "religion" and "religious" differently.  Greg is making the "authoritative" (that's the term that harkens back to the "fascism" of the early- and mid-20th century), Divinely-inspired text, essentiallly non-negotiable, with little room for "interpretation," the distinguishing attribute.  My definition is different.  Although the word "religious" can migrate (see OHN, pp. 143-44 on the looseness of even "proper names") in myriad directions, I regard its primary reference as characteristic of one who believes in an Originary Power we can rightfully call "God."  For me, as a Burkean, I would reductively define that Power as the "Great Potential,"  In other words, a "religious" person  is one who believes that human personality, or the verbal, is "Potential" in the Ground of Being, Creative Source, or Generative Force, maybe not necessary, but at least "Potential."  After all, here we are (See RM, pp. 290-91).  As such, a "religious" person would believe that human personality, or the verbal, is rooted in, and in some way reflective of, maybe only in a very, very small way relective of, the Ground of Being, Creative Source, or Generative Force, not just inanimate matter and blind physical forces.

Called to lunch by higher authority.  Will get back.


On Wed, 10/29/14, Stan Lindsay <slindsa at yahoo.com> wrote:

Subject: Re: [KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever
To: "Gregory Desilet" <info at gregorydesilet.com>, "Ed Appel" <edwardcappel at frontier.com>
Cc: "kb at kbjournal.org" <kb at kbjournal.org>
Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 12:12 PM

I think we are, to use
Burke's terminology, arriving at closer and closer approximations.  I don't mind the religion vs.
philosophy distinction Greg makes.  But I would apply some sort of Toulminian qualifier to much of this.  Clearly, Evangelical Christians (those who believe in an entirely inspired and 100% infallible Old and New Testament, including those "evangelical Presbyterian groups"
Ed mentions) could be categorized as those who make the following claim:  "The Bible is DEFINITELY
inerrant/inspired."   There are other groups--perhaps
what Ed calls "mainline" who might claim:
 "The Bible is SUBSTANTIALLY inspired."  There are those who claim that the Bible is PARTIALLY inspired--wishing to back off of certain texts.  Even Luther did not
  accept the Book of James.  Some biblical scholars debate what is Pauline (written by the apostle) and pseudoPauline (only claims to be written by the apostle.  And, there are some outright unbelievers who still like to study the Bible.
 More on this later.  I have to teach a class, now. Dr. Stan A.
Lindsay, Ph.D.

Teaching Professor

Professional Communication

College of Applied Studies

Florida State University

slindsay at pc.fsu.edu



     On Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:32 PM, Gregory Desilet <info at gregorydesilet.com> wrote:


I find myself in agreement with much
of what Ed
and Stan say, but I also sense that it only obliquely addresses the issue I’ve raised. When Ed says, “You can’t paint everybody with a broad brush,” I assume by “everybody” he means every “religious” person.
But the issue I’m addressing
concerns instead the notion that the term “religion” may be getting painted with too broad a brush. The use of any given term, when expanded too widely, becomes too thin to convey useful meaning.
Accordingly, I’m arguing
that for all practical purposes the distinction between philosophy and religion largely collapses when religious texts are no longer treated as “sacred” in the sense I’ve indicated—namely, when the source of a text is not viewed as divinely dictated or inspired. When a religious text becomes a text composed and written by a “mere” human, it shifts into a very different category than when it is considered “sacred.” Groups who approach religious texts in this fashion cannot be significantly distinguished from groups who gather to interpret, study, discuss, and learn from philosophical texts (such as the Great Books discussion groups popular in the 50s and 60s).
Indeed, I would
challenge anyone following this discussion to propose a significant distinction between these “religious” and “philosophical” groups aside from the circumstance that one may meet in a church and the other may meet in a library or conference room.I understand that a great variety exists among those who happen to call themselves “religious” or who claim to belong to a “religious tradition.” But if such persons who claim religious alignment AND also claim their relevant religious texts are NOT divinely inspired cannot significantly distinguish their activity from what philosophers do with their particular texts of interest, then I do not find the label “religious” compellingly useful in such cases. More likely the label in these cases could be rightly understood as misleading. In these cases, what would someone who says “this is my religion” mean that could set it apart from the one who says, “this is my philosophy”?So I acknowledge there are many folks who approach what have traditionally been called “religious”
texts in the
interpretive rather than received manner, but I see nothing thereby that necessitates the label “religious” be applied to such folks other than that their texts have been previously called “religious.”
Applying the label in such
cases would perhaps be analogous to continuing to call a bright light in the morning sky the Morning Star after it has been discovered to be the planet Venus.  In sum, if the term “religion”
retains primary
connection to views and practices oriented toward the approach to texts as divine inspiration, then the metaphysical connection between religion and fascism retains a measure of accuracy whereby fascism becomes a distortion of religion by way of a shift into the political realm with more implications for the here and now than an afterlife.Greg


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