Funny thing is, a lot of students that I teach here talk about how they feel like they will have more freedoms in twenty years than they do now.
I’m doubtful. People are happy where they’re at right now. As long as that continues, China will do what China does.
I’m actually more surprised nothing has happened back in the States yet
Are they though?
The US is past that point so now it needs more than wealth.
Losing 'friends' around the world - 30 years ago, americans were heroes, WW2 saviors of the europe and the world, America was land of endless opportunities and most importantly - freedom. Now its the opposite - unlawful killing of somebody with tons of civilians with drones wherever they want, and in the same time being very friendly with horrible regimes like the one in Saudi Arabia because oil and money. Freedom and US ain't the same thing after 9/11.
Plus on top of that workaholic US mindset, that weird attitude that your job defines who you are and whats your position in society. None of this can make masses happy, in contrary.
Americans don't even know what real poverty looks like.
America has so much discontent because of certain policies that have made our country worse over time. Health care, world view, etc.
GDP doesn't tell you where the money is going, and who benefits from it.
GDP may as well be a measure of how well the rich are doing because it tells you next to nothing about how the most disadvantaged in society are doing.
I figure that is intentional though.
I have visited countries where personal freedoms are curtailed but the general population had food, water, shelter and luxuries so they were content. It is only the moment they realize that those things are in danger or they covet what other nations have that problems arise.
You can't miss what you never lost.
The point of this is that since we live in a society that values freedom above all, it makes sense that we allow these sort of organizations and associations. At the same time, I think it's increasingly difficult to argue that things from religion to facebook to twitter are having a net positive impact on society. In times when we were more homogeneous, this was different. When most of everybody holds a common and shared identity, there is no real out-group, and the identity can help create unity and unitedness. But as we become more diverse, the lack of a shared identity means we end up splintering off into a variety of large ideological cliques which view themselves as mutually incompatible (even if that's not necessarily entirely true). And that causes a lot of problems.
And so if we had a governmental system that was based more about utilitarianism, rather than ours which is based more on the fundamental value of freedom, it seems to be logical to work to prohibit these sort of things - even with 0 consideration given to the fate of the state itself.
This has led to the degradation of real community; you could equally argue that transport is the issue. The point is that if you enable people to maintain cultural identies across geographical boundaries, you will cause the breakdown of local solidarity.
To argue that we must therefore develop some sort of bland global monoculture is as terrifying as it is depressing.
> USSR became the first state to have as one objective of its official ideology the elimination of existing religion, and the prevention of future implanting of religious belief, with the goal of establishing state atheism (gosateizm).
They are quite satisfied with religion that supports the Communist Party; like earlier Communists they see religion subservient to the elite as the opiate of the masses in capitalist society, and have very much included that among the elements of capitalism that they have reintroduced.
OTOH, they are extremely concerned that the churches remain subservient to the existing elite, reinforcing its rule, since otherwise they would simply by existing challenge it.
It's worrisome to see though that China has decided to go that extremely rigorous way, like burning crosses publicly and the like. Wow.
perhaps another 45 million would have done it.
It's a way of asserting government control over the Church in China, which is antithetical to freedom of religion.
For the Vatican to agree is a watershed moment in the history of the Church, and not in a good way.
The Communist party definitely doesn't want any parallel hierarchies outside their own ranks. Where religious imagery could benefit them, it has already been incorporated into party worship/Chinese nationalism. Propping up minority religions would not be an efficient way to exert control they already have.
It's a different sort of religion than Western religions, so westerners don't get it and spout off the leninist silliness you see in this thread.
The later seems to indicate that this symbol is "hated" by the people who are removing it (government in this case).
I can "kinda" understand that they don't want religious symbols in public.
But the fact that they shame and uses fear against the people is what shock me the most about this.
Being critiqued without much rigour by the otherwise logical community here.
It's like reading a netmums forum debating p2p file sharing architecture based on a story about pornography they heard.
The forum you moderate has been teetering towards nationalist "othering" of China ever since the Google thing was floated. 90% of the people hurling invective clearly know nothing about the country.
It's not "boo China" vs "yay China", it's "boo China" vs "try to understand China".
Even if you don't care, we need you to follow the site guidelines if you want to keep commenting here. They say: "Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive." (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html) This comment and others haven't been meeting that bar, so please do better.
I would not call this article shallow. It's full of details. Better questions to raise would be whether it has been corroborated (as pftburger did: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18227679), and what relevant information it may omit. It also seems legit to wonder why so many such articles have been appearing lately, though because there isn't much evidence one can point to, there probably isn't a non-flamey discussion to be had there.
Even when an article is shallow, a shallow dismissal still breaks the guidelines. Commenters owe better not to the article, but to the community they're participating in.
p.s. You've mischaracterized my line about boo vs. yay by misquoting it (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18214633). Those phrases are not objective descriptions—they're how each side feels to the opposite side (hence the 'fuck you' bit), which explains why they react so badly to each other.
If I misremembered your exact quote, please consider it a charitable misquote.
Property taxes - along with local council rates - are an area that religions obtain significant financial benefit from the state (definitely in AU, and I believe UK and US also).
It seems to be one of those things that fits the category 'this is how it's always been done', so it's tremendously difficult to initiate any policy change.
Before converting to it, they standardized it and shaped it to their convenience in the First Council of Nicaea. They also decided which books made it into the bible, and which ones were "apocryphal".
The Bishop of Rome became the Pope, and after the fall of the Roman empire, the Vatican still exerted a tremendous control: the pope could excommunicate anyone, including kings.
The Council of Nicaea actually didn't have anything to do with the Bible, despite what a lot of people say. By that point the Church had more or less reached a consensus on the canon after a couple hundred years of debate.
That's a bit far fetched claim. Apocryphal books are apocryphal for a reason, they didn't make into the canon as they couldn't have been written by witnesses of what happened at the beginning of our era - mentioned geographical places are wrong, mentioned historical events and people are messed up, language is wrong, etc.
It remains true that they decided which parts of existing and accepted Christian doctrine were true and which parts were no longer true.
It's not subversion but difference they fear / hate / fight against.
Attitudes like that come from strong nationalism and not enough education.
Yes. Religion has been used to control populations, but for me and many others they've been a tool for empowering individuals and for many it has also been a uniting force to stand up to oppressive regimes.
It has also been a powerful tool to unite and bring peace.
I'd be happy if we as a community of what I think of as mostly reasonable people could manage to be a little bit nuanced.
The comment was also lazy, since a glance at the history of the account refutes it. Not that they've been great comments, but someone who has been posting about Python, web apps, organic batteries, web assembly, and carbonated soda for over a year is obviously a regular Hacker News user.
Edit: it looks like you've been using primarily for ideological battle. That's also a bannable abuse of the site, stated in the guidelines as explained by https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20primarily%20line&sor.... So please stop doing that.
I am not opposed to spirituality. I think organized religion subverts people from their own quest.
It's possible that others did that too, and I missed them. People are welcome to email us at email@example.com in such cases, especially when a flamewar starts to spread.
In any way there is always some emotional manipulation, and people who depend on that are also vulnerable to rational manipulation. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes it's dangerous. How you respond to that depends on you. You saying words like "shocked, disgusted, suspicion, subverts" concerning faith and church reveals more about you than it says about your opinion.
This is far from a quick assumption and my response here is what I am doing about steering people away from dangerous delusions. Religion is superstition, not at all unlike believing you can get rid of AIDS by raping someone.
There is no society without religion. That is, every society needs tenets that all members share.
Now we should ask ourselves what religion is adequate for today's world.
Redefining religion to encompass any kind of shared values is a cheap trick to legitimize the destructive nature of dogma and of teaching people that accepting nonsense as fact is a virtue by pretending that a secular state is a religion--which is just absurd.
All secular states have a flag used for ceremonial purposes for example. It's supposed to create a feeling of unity. Just like religious symbols do. Sure we can talk about matters of degree. Not all societies have an all-seeing god, for example.
First of all, you are confusing two very distinct concepts here under the label "belief", just as religions usually do. One is "stuff you think you know about how the world works", the other is "how you think certain things should be done".
Your "beliefs" as to how certain things should be done are arbitrary to a degree.
If your "beliefs" about how the world works are arbitrary, then your epistemology is heavily broken, in particular it is probably lacking falsifiability. Things you let go close to the surface of the earth either fall down or they don't. If you believe the latter, you are just wrong. This is the concept of "belief" that I was talking about above: Religions make unsubstantiated claims about how the world works and indoctrinate people into accepting that nonsense as factual knowledge about the world, claiming that doing so (what they then call "faith", another such misleading equivocation) is a virtue.
Now, you need common beliefs about how the world works for the simple reason that if two people have contradicting beliefs about how the world works, at least one of them is wrong, and being wrong about how the world works is not conducive to controlling your environment. In that sense, it is much less confusing to simply say that a society needs accurate beliefs about how the world works--which necessarily will be common.
As for common beliefs about how certain things should be done: Well, yes, you need that, too, and while those can be arbitrary to a degree, it isn't all that much of a degree, because most of how things should be done is a consequence of how the world works, and if it isn't, you are, again, wrong.
> All secular states have a flag used for ceremonial purposes for example. It's supposed to create a feeling of unity. Just like religious symbols do.
So? Are there any unsubstantiated claims in the existence of a national flag? Why do you mention this?!
Religions do lots of stuff that non-religions do, which is exactly why those things are not defining characteristics of religions.
> Not all societies have an all-seeing god, for example.
Which is indeed an example of an unsubstantiated claim that religions sell as factual. And a claim that secular states do very well without. Which is precisely why it is absurd to pretend that secular states are religions.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Does that sentence define how the world works? Or does it define how we want to live? Or does it kinda both? The point I'm trying to make here is that religion should be understood as a system of government. And that we would do well to understand even secular governments under the same terms. Not as a guide, but for clarity.
I don't pretend secular governments to be religions. I simply define them as such and then see what fits and what doesn't. It's very illuminating to me. The superstitions are not very interesting in that regard. I think they get too much credit.
Insisting that religions are defined by their superstitions misses a large part of what they are and why they exist.
> Does that sentence define how the world works? Or does it define how we want to live? Or does it kinda both?
Well, the part about being created by a creator is an unsubstantiated claim about how the world works--and also completely unnecessary. That is, unless you want to appeal to people who have already been indoctrinated into thinking bad of you if you don't accept such unsubstantiated claims.
The function of that sentence otherwise is simply to declare how the signatories think their state(s) should be governed.
> The point I'm trying to make here is that religion should be understood as a system of government.
Well, but if you understand religion as a system of government, that doesn't make all systems of government religions, does it? Otherwise, you are just using "religion" as a synonym for "system of government", which is at best pointless (because we already have the term "system of government") and at worst extremely confusing (because most people will understand "religion" to mean something very different than "system of government").
> And that we would do well to understand even secular governments under the same terms. Not as a guide, but for clarity.
Aren't you just saying that it is insightful to compare religions to other systems of government? Well, yeah, sure. But in order to make an insightful comparison between trains and planes you don't have to define trains to be a "kind of plane, just without flight".
> I don't pretend secular governments to be religions. I simply define them as such and then see what fits and what doesn't.
But that is how you do pretend they are religions. While you are free to define terms however you want, if you just implicitly use definitions that deviate from common understanding, you are misleading your audience.
> The superstitions are not very interesting in that regard. I think they get too much credit.
Are you saying that superstitions (and the epistemology that supports them) have no significant influence on how religious people behave as compared to non-religous people?
> Insisting that religions are defined by their superstitions misses a large part of what they are and why they exist.
So, what would be an example of what religions are and why they exist that is not superstition and also doesn't apply to non-religions (because, if it applies to non-religions, it's not a defining characteristic specific to religions)?
In the end I think our main disagreement here is how broadly we define religion. To me, if you take take the narrow view of religion, you're leaving huge human catastrophies to be explained outside religion. What do you think of the Stalinists' belief system, for example? Their terror wasn't justified by a god but still by rules they demanded blind acceptance of. And they had ceremonies and rituals.
To me, it is easier to understand the Stars and Stripes behind every politician's head in the U.S. as a religious symbol than to invent a whole new category over it. But I see how people could be irritated by that.
I think what you're trying to say is that we've got better tools than religion now. My approach here is to broaden the meaning of religion. As I said before every society needs common beliefs to function. I refer to those beliefs as religion. But I can accept if this is too broad for some people.