[lit-ideas] Re: Why am I not surprised?

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 10:04:56 -0400

I'm inclined to think that religion substitutes for control.  When the
society is functioning better, the need for religion goes down.  That's the
big draw for Muslims, that the governments are corrupt, leaving the society
without a sense of stability or even basic services.  It's what drew the
Taliban into war torn Afghanistan the first time, what's bringing them back
now, what got al Qaeda into Somalia, the need for order.  The lure of
structure is contributing to its growth in the Sunni areas of Iraq, it
gives all those unemployed kids something to do, and of course its
importance in just ordinary countries like Egypt.  Hezbollah, the Party of
God, is out and out political.  Here in the U.S. we have the rule of
secular law so religion isn't going to be as necessary a force.  

Regarding masturbation, Christians are obsessed with it too.  The word
onanism comes out of the Bible.  Onan was masturbating and was caught by
his sons.  It was so traumatizing that they named "the deed" after him in
the Bible no less.  For years masturbation in the West was associated with
blindness, etc. etc.  Having sex with someone is a source of pride (check
out the magazines at the supermarket), but how many westerners admit to
masturbating (ever see it in the magazines)?  It's downright a source of
secrecy and quite intense shame.  I didn't read the thing Eric posted, and
it probably is silly, but attitudes in general everywhere toward sex are
silly.  It's so grossly overrated as the end all and be all of all joy. 
Where would advertising and MTV be without it?  It's even ascribed all
sorts of magical powers.  Athletes aren't allowed to have sex before a big
game, priests aren't allowed to marry, and on and on.   I imagine that if
the Ayatollah is talking about it, however unscientifically, then at least
it's out of the closet.  I think of far more consequence is their
acceptance of child sex abuse, the way in many countries it's accepted;
child brides, etc.  That makes for very unhappy people and leads to all
sorts of societal problems.

Regarding North Korea, I agree.  Iran seems much more stable than North
Korea.  We should be partnering with Iran to get rid of drugs, deal with
North Korea.  Instead, we're again attacking the wrong target.  

> [Original Message]
> From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: Anthro-L <ANTHRO-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 10/6/2006 12:45:36 AM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Why am I not surprised?
> This URL points to a story in the New York Times headlined
> "Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers." Having grown up in a
> pious family then drifted away I find myself sayin, "Of course." Any
> thoughts out there?
> -- 
> John McCreery
> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
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