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Us Against Them?

I’ve been solicited for my opinion on a video that has recently gone viral. Here it is:

I liked it, and I agree with its sentiments. I like the emphasis of spirituality over systemic rules. I also think the video was well done and I appreciate the artistic presentation. I very much enjoyed this video.

I do, however, hold against it that it’s tearing down a straw man. I’ve noticed this a lot lately: a lot of people attacking religion…but nothing from religion in return. I’ve never known someone to argue the other side of this argument! Where are all of the “pro-religiosity” folks that we are rallying against? I appreciate and support people wanting to revive and contribute to the systems they live in. I suppose, if we must, we can create a straw man to rally against, but I think this is just setting people up for disappointment: we’ll never triumph over our imaginary foe. In my experience, it is better to simply affirm what is good. It’s usually not necessary to point out what is wrong in order to point out what is right.

This brings up another issue: if creating an enemy is usually not helpful for the development for one’s argument, then what is it helpful for? I propose that any action, including manufacturing an enemy, is an attempt to meet a personal need. I wonder where these videographers would claim their affirmation or self-worth normally comes from?


  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree that there isn't a clear opposition to the video's statement. At a time long ago in history there may have been a voice from the officials of the bureaucracy of the churches that may have fought against such a statement, but not so much anymore. I think that the "enemy" being argued is the feeling of judgment that many feel from institutionalized anything. Schools, governments, churches, anything with rules that are blindly accepted and applied. Many begin with what is accepted as general truth. But maturity of thought takes strides away from what the masses accept. Through academic inquiry the previous assumption is personally confirmed…or not. Is it possible that expressing freedom from such a foe is an attempt to right some wrong thinking? If so "Yay" for the person doing the arguing, because to challenge our own assumptions is a step towards personal progress.

  2. Adam Cluchey says:

    Thanks for your comments. I see your point that to speak out against something can be an effort to right some wrong thinking. My concern is the emotional quality of such an effort. It seems to me that the desire to contribute to society would present quite a different emotional quality than the desire to be affirmed, but perhaps not.I especially appreciate your statement: "the 'enemy' being argued is the feeling of judgment that many feel from institutionalized anything."The experience of being judged is a powerful one, and it often strikes at the core of our emotional selves. How I respond to judgment is often an important window into my deeper self – into how I receive that judgment.I also resonate with what I take to be your implicit value of the examined life. This is why I do what I do. I am convinced that an examined life makes for a deeply meaningful and fulfilling one.Thanks again for your comments. I feel like you have helped to balance and moderate my stance.

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