Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter messages

on the humanist sociology listserv:

RE: Ahs-talk Digest, Vol 14, Issue 4
Pepinsky, Harold E.

Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 2:53 PM

Hey Shalom. I wear being fired as a badge of honor; I trust you do too. Thanks for writing on religion. I think you just helped me to explain my stance on religion--that we are all religious, and that accounting for our religious beliefs is the ultimate in accounting for one's social positions. In the concluding chapter I wrote in the book Richard Quinney and I put together on criminology as peacemaking, I explained that I had chosen Richard's chapter on the Buddhis roots of his criminology because I thought it essential to peacemaking to transform the Enlightenment between reason and religion back to recognizing and accounting for our actions and beliefs by reference to our beliefs on the ultimate purpose in life, personally and for those who live after we die. I define religion as the beliefs that drive our passion to learn, declare and do what we do.
When people assure me that i am not religious, they imply that my beliefs about teleology and eschatology matter less to my life. Goldarn it, I claim to be as religious as anyone else. A fundamental religious belief of mine is that no other, let alone higher authority has a right to challenge my religion. Rather, I seek a world in which ultimately, humans recognize that everyone ie entitled to a fully recognized, freely evolving, individual religious belief system. I reject the premise that in order to be religious, one has to belong to A so-called "religion." While there are religions in the world, I have one and it is my very own. Where's the problem in making such a claim? Happy Easter, happy rebirth--love and peace--hal
From: [] On Behalf Of []
Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 1:09 AM
Subject: Ahs-talk Digest, Vol 14, Issue 4

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Today's Topics:

1. Re: Changing the subject. How one Humanist
celebratesEaster/Passover (Shalom Endleman)
2. Re: To disagree with mother (QUACK WRAPAQUACK)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 2010 23:45:16 -0400
From: "Shalom Endleman"
To: "Discussion group for the Association for Humanist Sociology"

Subject: Re: [Ahs-talk] Changing the subject. How one Humanist
Message-ID: <0CEB83F986DF4731BEE2A357DC2EC2FC@D266M0G1>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Critical thinking, skepticism and intellectual development are certainly worthwhile tools we should encourage and foster. Sadly, the materials that sometimes land in my mailbox from the Humanist Association read like religious tracts coming from a missionary organization. I am not religious at all and would welcome a discussion of non-religious belief systems, but I hate to be missionized. I had once been asked by a Humanistic Judaism group to teach Bible studies to a little kids Sunday school class. I expected that I would teach the Bible as literature and myth. But these people insisted that I would have to emphasize the non-existence of God. I couldn't quite see how I would accomplish that with little kids using the Bible and various Jewish holidays as my text. Incidentally, and to change the focus, we all know that there are valued members of AHS who are deeply religious. They too consider critical and intellectual thinking and skepticism worthwhile tools. Could it be t!
hat they, like the rest of us choose to apply these tools to specific and different areas of their lives than others of us do?. In the spirit of whatever we think humanism means to us we should nourish these members and respect their feelings and religious commitments.

As for the uses of sociology: At one time, some lives ago, I was "Director of Training and Curriculum" at the Anti Defamation League. My job was considerably less prestigious than my title. (that's why I mentioned the title). I was to write statements that would express the point of view of the agency in response to many current issues, and to write the first draft of statements made by agency personel to government agencies. This was at the time of the riots in Harlem, and other urban centers and the struggle over the control of the New York City school system. So there was much to write about. Shortly after I started the job my boss called me in to explain the facts of life. First off I was to understand that both he and I knew that sociology was bull shit. My job was to translate what he already knew to be social fact into presentable sociologically sophisticated and acceptable language. The second was that psychological research was absolutely unacceptable source mater!
ial. This was his personal quirk. So I quickly learned to identify psychologists as sociologists when I found them useful as resources . He never caught on and liked the materials I presented to him. His level of sophistication as to the understanding of social facts was impressive. He, for instance marveled at the fact that blacks shopped for drugs store items in their own neighborhoods when they could get them at a better price in discount drug stores around the center of town. He traveled to Israel (this was before the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza) to study allegations of social/ economic discrimination against Israeli Arabs, and to no ones surprise found that there was no shred of truth to those allegations. The Arabs, like the Blacks in Harlem just didn't shop in the right discount drug stores. Whose fault is that? I had some trouble developing the proper straight face needed to keep my job and also some trouble (as did the agency whose job it was to foster both!
civil rights for all and the specific interests of the Jewish community) developing a consistent position on the community control of the schools issue, so I got fired. I really wanted the job because it paid well and I thought I could actually do some good. I told my boss that I truly wished I could lie but that I hadn't reached the level of statistical or sociological sophistication I needed to keep my job. He agreed and out I bounced. My mother always said I would be a failure.

Shalom, Shalom--hal

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