Weekend Open Thread—Religion………yikes

I’m very interested in religion and religious views, although I’d prefer to read what others have to say than share my own thoughts……….hah.  Seriously, religion has always been a highly personal thing for me and I don’t generally discuss my views.  In some ways it’s because they’re always evolving so what I say today I may not actually agree with tomorrow and I don’t like to be held to a standard of consistency.  Consistency isn’t something I’m well known for anyway, just ask Scott (that’s a joke btw).

I guess if I were to describe myself religiously it would be as an agnostic who enjoys attending church, but only very specific types of churches and each one for very different selfish reasons.  I also consider agnosticism as a true cop out but there I sit nonetheless.  I’m neither an atheist nor a Christian but I found this article on atheists, and agnostics to a lesser extent, enlightening if you will.

What kind of atheist are you anyway?  I think everyone will recognize me right away but I’m curious about the rest of you atheists.  Number six was my favorite but it’s not me.

6. Ritual Atheist/Agnostic. While you might think the anti-theist is the non-believer type that scares Christians the most, it turns out that it may very well be the Ritual Atheist/Agnostic. This group, making up 12.5 percent of atheists, doesn’t really believe in the supernatural, but they do believe in the community aspects of their religious tradition enough to continue participating. We’re not just talking about atheists who happen to have a Christmas tree, but who tend to align themselves with a religious tradition even while professing no belief. “Such participation may be related to an ethnic identity (e.g. Jewish),” explain researchers, “or the perceived utility of such practices in making the individual a better person.” The  Christian Post clearly found this group most alarming, titling their coverage of this study “Researchers: ‘Ritual’ Atheists and Agnostics Could Be Sitting Next to You in Church,” and giving the first few paragraphs over to concern that people in your very own congregation may not actually believe in your god. The atheism, it seems, might be coming from inside the house (of God).

Another subject that interests me, and one I’ve been reading an awful lot about lately especially in the context of politics, is ageism.  I don’t agree with everything in this piece but I did find it thought provoking.  As a ‘B Word’ boomer it’s always in the back of my mind of course that a lot of us are much worse off financially that we imagined we’d be (not me necessarily) and that we’ve become so reviled (hopefully that’s too strong of a word) by younger generations.  Republicans, and even some Democrats, are certainly using Hillary as an example of someone who is too old to run for President and it’s becoming pretty pervasive so I’m wondering who agrees.  I’m not a Hillary fan, and I’ve stated publicly that I hope she doesn’t run, but it’s only partially because I’d prefer to see someone younger run.

Anyway, I thought this showed a unique perspective on us boomers and you millennials as well.  For the rest of you……meh.  And true to form for my posts, there’s obviously something for everyone to hate in this piece.

It’s corruption, stupid. Like the majority of ’60s radicals, who came from liberal families, millennials feel betrayed by their parents’ generation. Instead of placing the blame on the doorsteps of K Street lobbyists, many see government as the problem.

“Government has obviously become a place where opportunistic people go to get rich,” said a 32-year-old Internet entrepreneur. “Most millennials know only Bill Clinton, who seemed kind of cool until it turned out he was a shill for corporations and the banking lobby, and Bush, who was unabashedly awful as we all know. Then there’s Obama, who seemed great until he turned out to be a lying, spying, bailer-out who gets all his advice from the same lobbyists he promised over and over ‘will not work in my White House.’ ”

That disenchantment is emerging in voting numbers. In 2008, Barack Obama won the 18-29 vote by 34 points. But in 2012, as disappointment with his performance rose, Obama’s edge among these voters dropped to 23 percent. The erosion of support wasn’t lost on Republicans. Like Latinos, the millennials are considered up for grabs in 2016.

Although the feeling of betrayal is understandable, there is something regressive and childlike about ascribing so much power to your parents. Viewing history through the lens of a generation has its limits. Idealists are always flawed, and every generation has its complement of hustlers, toadies and arrivistes. Historical forces larger than the individual determine winners and losers: in this case, globalization, technology, and America’s rise and fall as an imperial power.

And just for fun:



The Generation Game-Sunday Open Thread

I’ve been looking around all afternoon for something to begin a new thread with and found this piece from Crooked Timber fairly interesting.  We keep hearing a lot about Baby Boomers and Gen X and Y or whatnot and so I thought this might be a conversation starter.  While I was reading the comments I came across one guy who was insistent that the boomers were the worst generation ever and a bunch of narcissistic destructive dolts or something along those lines.

One of the standard ploys in journalism, marketing and political commentary is the generation game. The basic idea is to label a generation ‘X’ or ‘Y’, then dissect its attitudes, culture, and relationship with other generations. The most famous generation, of course, is that of the Baby Boomers, born between the end of World War II and the early 1960s, and their most enduring contribution to the generation gap is the ‘Generation Gap’ between children and their parents.

The generation game is played with particular vigour in cultural commentary, but its reach seems to be extending all the time. No US Presidential election would now be complete without voluminous commentary on the generational backgrounds of the contenders. There is even a branch of economics called generational accounting, which is supposed to show whether one generation is subsidising another through the tax and welfare system.

Once we strip out the more-or-less constant social distinctions associated with membership of a given age-group, the idea that we can say much about any particular cohort becomes far more dubious. In fact, cohort effects are only of much importance between the ages of 16 and about 25. The experience of childhood is dominated by family and school, and, while both families and schools have changed since the 1950s, the rate of change from one decade to the next has been quite slow.

On the other hand, by the time the members of a given cohort reach their late twenties, their live courses have diverged so much that they cease to form a well-defined group with common experiences. The differences between men and women, rich and poor, workers and bosses, married and single, parents and nonparents count for much more than the commonality that comes from sharing a date on a birth certificate.

For the crucial decade from 16 to 25, however, common experiences related to growing up at a particular time can be very important. Whether the labour market is in a boom or a slump when you finish school can make a big difference to your subsequent career. For males, an even more important question is whether the years of military age coincide with a major war. Peacetime and wartime generations, or boom and slump generations, can be very different.

This is a re-publication of a piece written prior to this recession but I thought this was interesting and I think we all know how both the 16-25 and the over 50 crowds are suffering this time.

It was not until the recession we had to have, from 1989 to 1992, and the waves of downsizing in the 1990s, that the end of postwar prosperity really hit the Vietnam generation and the baby bust cohort. Although the focus of policy attention remained firmly on youth unemployment, the real story of the 1990s was the disappearance of jobs for workers over 50, and particularly for men over 50. The employment rate for this group has fallen from nearly 100 per cent during the postwar boom to around 50 per cent today.

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