NYTimes: email from Israel

Stephen D. Williams sdw@lig.net
Tue, 02 Oct 2001 21:26:19 -0400

Grlygrl201@aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 10/2/01 12:08:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
> jbone@jump.net writes:
>     any of several dimensions.  (E)  Infectious memes that organize
>     individuals
>     into superorganisms endowed with a belief in their own moral
>     superiority, i.e.,
>     "we are the chosen people of God / we are genetically superior and
>     intellectually more gifted / etc."
>     All of these things are problems, and humans can choose to let go of
>     such
>     primitive, outdated beliefs or cling to them and suffer the
>     consequences.
>     jb
> GLARINGINLY RIDIC:  so you haven't just endowed yourself with moral and 
> intellectual superiority by calling someone else's belief system 
> primitive and outdated?  can't you manage to invoke the first without 
> casting down all those "others" around you?  aren't your preaching here, 
> jeff, or don't you recognize your own religion?
> you should have thought of this years ago and claimed tax-free status.

Is this 'relativism' that I keep hearing about?  (If not, please educate 
me on the difference.)

We can decide, with at least some degree of self-critical neutrality, 
that a certain practice or belief is 'superior'.  Of course superiority 
has to be measured on various axis, but this isn't too hard when 
comparing cultures, beliefs, and practices.  It's also not too hard in 
many cases to sort those ideas into more and less primitive.  Do I 
really need to point out examples?

Now, if you are comparing a raw religion with another without refering 
to a specific cultural expression, then things are much more foggy. 
Even socialism/Marxism/communism was once a possible rational experiment 
area, now disproved by a hundred years of failed attempts and deeper 
psycho-social understanding.

sdw@lig.net  http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams
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