[ExI] Is this really the case?

Joseph Bloch joseph at josephbloch.com
Fri Jun 29 02:03:19 UTC 2007

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Anna Taylor
> Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 11:18 PM
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Subject: [ExI] Is this really the case?
> Eliezer posted a video on Overcoming Bias regarding
> "Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?".  (I'm sorry, I'm
> sure how to post a link:)
> Is this really what it's like in the United States
> regarding religion?  I am rather curious as I read a
> lot but I haven't had much opportunity to travel.  I
> understand the Extropy List consists of many Atheists
> and wonder if this would be a reason why many of you
> have such a distaste for religion? If so, then my
> apology.
> Where I grew up religion was not the least bit like
> this. When I watched that video it made my skin crawl
> and my blood boil.  I remember thinking "that's not
> religion, that's boot camp for a Christian army".
> And what is this?  "There is only two kind of people
> in the world, people that love Jesus and people that
> don't"? That's not teaching children morals and values
> that's teaching children how anybody that's not like
> me is bad/evil or wrong. As it's a clip, I'm not sure
> what direction it's heading in but one thing is sure,
> if this is clip represents the truth of the mentality
> of the religious in the United States, I wouldn't give
> it any awards.
> I feel rather naive that I took so much time defending
> religion unaware that this type of evangelism was so
> widespread within the United States.
> If anybody has a moment and watches the clip, I would
> love some of your insight, offlist if preferable.

I actually had the opportunity to watch the entire documentary, twice. It is
indeed indicative of the practices of a segment of the religious community
in the United States. It is, of course, an extreme example, but not one that
is completely outside the mainstream. There is a significant segment of the
Pentecostal/Evangelical Christian movement that sees nothing wrong
whatsoever in ensuring that their children believe precisely what they
believe, by any means necessary. Google the term "Dominionism" and you will
learn much. 

And, in fact, there are those who compound that belief with the idea that
they should have as many children as possible, in order to produce as many
kids for Christ as possible:


They also feel no qualms about directly manipulating the levers of power
within the United States to subtly (or, perhaps, not-so-subtly) bring their
own unique vision of American life to dominance within the culture. One
well-documented effort is the one to install their sympathizers into the
United States Air Force Academy, and thereby use all manner of coercion to
bring the Air Force Cadets around to their way of thinking:


And also the terrific and terrifying (especially to a USAF veteran such as
myself) book:


This is not to say that the Dominionists and their ilk are representative of
a majority of the religious practitioners in the United States. They are,
however, very well organized, highly motivated, and enjoy a level of
influence which is disproportionate to their numbers.

This is, of course, something that should be alarming to Transhumanists and
Extropians on several different levels. Not only do such people, as a rule,
actively oppose many biotechnological advances that we would endorse as part
of our goal of overcoming human limitations through technology, but the
entire idea of the type of ideological indoctrination, the hostility to free
inquiry, that so alarmed you in that clip is and should be anathema to us. 

Bottom line; it is indeed the case that some American religious folks are
like this, but they are only a minority. A vocal, influential minority bent
on gaining more influence, but a minority nonetheless. 

One that we should be aware of as a potential threat to our own objectives. 


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