Throughout history, as has been pointed out by many observers of society who have taken a moment to record their perspective and that such a perspective was repeated often enough to become part of someone's collated history that became available to the public for reiteration; the distinction between rich and poor and all the accompanying attributed differences— have existed in some form in every culture. This includes religious, and otherwise what are referred to as secular (non-religious) activities such as science, politics, etc... though this is not to say that people within such institutions do not have some religious belief.
Some religions have more wealth than others, and do not actively redistribute that wealth equally amongst all believers. Wealth in money, property and social deferments such as tax subsidies, not only allow for religions to prosper... but reflect their own formula of governance that do not typically become scrutinized for the type of functionality the practice. Most often, religious systems of government are not based on a Democracy (where all believers choose their leaders and vote on what is to be believed as well as how collected tithings are to be used). There usually is some central authority made up of one or a few individuals who set the policies of a religion's activities. The collective views of the overall populace of believers does not matter and must either abide by what the central authority advocates or else become ostracized.
In some fashion, religions are dictatorships, oligarchies, Communisms and Socialisms... with some straddling the boundary of being a corporatacracy as well, such as in the case of the Mormon religion which is looked upon by some as more of a business venture masquerading as a religion. The Mormon leadership, consists of:
The numerical designations (3, 12, seven-ties) is steeped deeply into the past of many religions where earlier influences came from the numerical arrangements of stars... based on very ancient star-gazing beliefs upon which religions can trace beliefs into an ancestry that become lost to modern day consciousnesses that do not delve deeply into the history of religious thought whose ideas become transferred through time and culture... with adaptations so as to fit within the currency of thought in vogue in a given era. In other words, you may find only a very few in the Mormon religion who have researched their own religion as a cognitive sequence of ideas stemming from a much longer and wider history of symbology. Joseph Smith had retrieved many of his ideas, inter-mixed with impressions and experiences of his own era, into creating an amalgamation of stories which were helped into a solidification by having been confronted by opposition to practices which were clearly reminiscent of beliefs from the three different Desert religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism), and whatever other ideas became impressed upon the psyche of Joseph Smith and his followers. Two stark examples of Islamic belief was the inculcation of polygamy as a type of harem, and the figures with a horn (moroni in Mormonism/israfil in Islam), though other similarities (as well as differences) exist:
As a symbol, one might make a case for the inclusion of any sound-projecting instrument such as a flute being used by the Pied Piper of Hamlin as a means of signaling either an omen or rescue such as when the cavalry blows its "charge" report that was once a regular scene in many television westerns. However, not many researchers seek to explore such an avenue if for nothing other than some historical interest.
Yet, the intent of the information thus far laid out is in the context of providing some indication regarding one instance of the type of mindset which can accompany a religion involved in enterprises that to the casual observer, appear to be more inclined towards the business of religion and its commercial affiliations than religious business... if any such distinction can be made by those thus involved. In other words, if you've ever been to Salt Lake City, Utah and travel to 17th South off of Redwood road; you can encounter several operations of the Mormon religion that are business oriented... as well as a Humanitarian Center operation. But Mormons, as well as many other devout believers in other religions throughout the world, are quite wealthy and do not practice an incentive for establishing any form of government which would remove their authoritative ability. The usage of religion is a tool to acquire a greater share of resource wealth just as is Capitalism and any other economic orientation. Such orientations do not stress the need for establishing any form of government which would interfere in their ability to remain wealthy... or in a position which entitles them to receive goods and services which can be bought for those who are wealthy. In other words, there is not need to horde large amounts of cash if you are in a position which affords you the same goods and services without having to accumulate a large stash of money.
You do not see religious leaders calling for the adoption of any single type of government because they could care less, so long as they are able to operate and make a profit. While they don't want to be perceived as advocating the practice of any government which is against their beliefs, you do not see many religious leaders calling for believers to push for social change in terms of establishing a Communism, Democracy or Socialism. Instead, they act as a type of Wall Street social analyst biding their time and awaiting those moments upon which they can pounce like so many opportunists do... like so many predators do.
Instead of politics or law, there are those who choose religion as their preferential tool of predation to enhance their survival. By subsidizing religious fervor, governments help themselves to being accordingly supported by staving off potential attacks. And like governments, religions too have their own mercenaries who will transgress any and all boundaries for a given price. And the costs of keeping a religion solvent as an enterprise can be very costly... including the usage of tactics that are diametric to any professed belief... such as when we note that the ministry of Jesus was not one in which he strove to be wealthy... and yet the so-called leadership of those advocating Christianity is one in which great wealth is being sought after. Religion is used as a tool to advance personal wealth that may be counted in terms of social prestige, number of followers, how many temples are built, etc..., and not necessarily how much money is being collected.
If you ask a religious leader what sort of government system should we have and they claim that it should be a democracy... and then ask them to define democracy, you may come to find that they have a superficial understanding thereof. Typically, they are inclined to adopt a central authority type of governing system where "contributions" (taxes, tithing) are collected from the general population and are never uniformally redistributed equally. Religious leaders do not believe in equality. They believe in established hierarchies favoring a few over the many, with a subsidiary pecking order. In the above Mormon example, though other religions can be looked at as well, we find collected monies going to the main headquarters that is then redistributed back to the places of origin in an unequalized fashion. Though the Bishops of each church ward are supposed to be respected because of their position, the church leadership decides how much respect is to be accepted in terms of trusting the monetary judgment of individual ward leaderships. Though Bishops may be able to balance a large budget better than any central church officer, the upper echelon leadership presume they are better endowed to know what is right because of a position that is an of itself an expression of desired greed. People do not strive for a "higher" position without having a drive to increase personal wealth, though that wealth is not always used to benefit others.
While most people interpret the phrase "God and Prophet" as being anything but a religious description, it is more advantageous in the current context to describe it as "god and profit". It is an expression used in the article The Whitherspoon Institute: God and the Profits: Religious Liberty for Money-Makers. In short, religions are in the business of making money in order to keep themselves solvent. While the making of money or other means of trade or barter may take many a winding road, like pick-pockets working as a team that hand-off a picked item so as to conceal the deed by a multiple-changing-of-hands tactic... and like businesses using multiple shell companies to conceal ownership of an illegal operation or an operation exercising a questionable practice at the very least; religious practitioners will convolute any belief to coincide with a fiscal interest for sustaining solvency. You do not see religions deliberately trying to decrease their size of membership. Whereas they may encourage independent operations in order to permit the exercise of individual egos becoming established owners of a given small enterprise serving a means of centrally collecting tithings and dealing with a specific social niche', they do not encourage the establishment of separate belief systems of organization. In other words, individuals churches are not encouraged to develop into their own central authority answerable to god alone.
Religions generally practice centralized money making operations, despite how the money is used. They are given tax subsidies such as being exempt from paying property taxes, that a government must make up for by increasing the taxes of the general population, even if a large percentage of the general population does not believe in a given religion. Such laws add to the tax burdens of the people and does not constitute fairness. In some cases, the amount of property owned by a religion may be exceptionally high, thus the loss of State revenue must somehow be made up for through the taxes imposed on others... though the land holdings of the government are not themselves taxed to benefit the people because the people would then have to pay the taxes, and not those who defined how much tax is to be collected. The usage of taxes constitutes a situation in which ownership actually is a long-term leasing program... so long as taxes are paid. All of which must be taken into consideration when developing a new form of government.
While we may want to think that a society whose inhabitants are mostly employed constitutes a viable form of governance and life-style, it is of value to look upon moments of wide-spread employment as a state of collectively practiced refuge. When only small or negligible hope is being embraced, people often resort to hiding away in some form of employment. When we find that many instances of crime are the result of people who are made desperate by the lack of basic necessities, the tax burden of keeping someone incarcerated because they lacked basic necessities but are now provided with such by being in jail or prison, is a rather self-defeating system of governance. And though there are those who are stressing the need for establishing a basic income guarantee which would no doubt keep many from committing crimes for getting a means to acquire basic necessities, the system which allows the irrationality to continue is a system which functions in terms with such a situation as an established social program. Whereas the U.S. Veterans administration has adopted a policy of providing some veterans with a pension that is, in effect, a basic income guarantee to stave off the many instances of veterans causing crimes because they lack basic necessities due to a number of personal social issues; this same rationale could be, but isn't applied to the whole of society. The present functioning of society is based on situations in which the lack of a basic income guarantee is part of the social functionality.
When a social system is based upon the recurrence of social problems, the absence of such social problems causes disruptive consequences in the system, like the absence of a resource which may create a domino social effect rippling through unrealized channels of disbursement. A system set up to accommodate the belief in charity will become disarrayed if the system's organization thereof is disrupted. In other words, if all charitable contributions in any and every form was to become centralized into a government activity, all those now involved with charitable activities involving businesses and religions might well be out of a job or lose some measure of self-identity. Similarly, for example... the lives of all plumbers, electricians, teachers, etc., would be distorted if their occupations were somehow replaced by robotic systems. Charity, like religion, are occupations. Though we may not see a person's adopted participation in a given activity, the amount of personal time and resources allocated to such activities would become of less or little value if their (often self-defined) occupation is made obsolete. Religious leaders can thus not participate in any active social protest that might cause their own situation to be lost... and they would find themselves unemployed... seeking some other means of survival that may not incorporate a given religious belief.
Protesting Religious leaders, like so many other types of protest leaderships, typically argue against a particular government function or person(s) within a given government, and do not actually protest for the establishment of a whole New Government. When the design of a New Government is proposed, it very often resembles some past or present practice and is not a protest for the adoption of an original design; perhaps because the human circumstances in a decaying Earthly environment are not amiable to the usage of an original idea... nor perhaps the usage of an "Actual" Communism, Democracy, or Socialism. In fact, if an established idea wants to keep functioning without being confronted by any viable opposition, it must take steps to quiet or eliminate a perceived threat. If a direct confrontation creates numerous unforgiving problems, then some alternative approach must be tried. One would be the usage of instigating a counter-conflict between two groups or creating a situation in which a scenario develops that distracts the opposition or the larger population from paying any regard to the opposition, such as in the case for perpetrating a social event like 911, a supposed biological threat, creating joblessness, promoting various health or financial fears, etc..., by using media as an unwitting partner in performing a charade.
Many instances of history show us that religious offices assist political offices if there is a tit-for-tat reciprocation. They will and do conspire against the public's means of acquiring more power to direct the course of their lives. Very often, protest groups sabotage themselves by having a protest based on faulty beliefs in the first place due to a misreading of history or a misinterpretation of accurate information. No less, most protestors have a limit as to how much they will invest in a given belief of protest. They would rather live and accommodate personal sufferings than strike out at that which is not clearly targeted as the key objective keeping them from a desired goal. All too often, protest arguments are too general and take on specificity aligned to some semantic-relevant proposition amounting to little more than belief about a given context that has no real application in a larger setting. For example, calling for the improvement in the presumed practice of a democracy when democracy exists only in the social production of an illusion, is rather silly. (Are you listening members of the "Black Lives Matter" orientation?) The assumption that democracy is being practiced in the first place, when it actually isn't, is shadow boxing. One needs to establish a functioning democracy first before improvements can be made... then again, how are we to define democracy and how valid is it?
As can be seen by reading some of the above small sampling of comments about Democracy, it frequently becomes defined in context with voting. One might then get the impression that Democracy primarily revolves around voting which is to be somehow equated with the quintessential notion of equality. And the comments by Lawrence Lessig in the above 4th listed example about making changes in the voting process to practice a greater sense of democracy by lessening the amount of campaign contributions made some and increasing the ability of others so as to establish a presumed fairness in the overall electoral process... can alter the political landscape in the type of displayed shrubbery; but not that which is rooted in a soil of practiced social philosophy that is out of touch with the reality of an established planetary, solar system, galactic and Universe-erosion which no current form of living system has the necessary rootedness to prevent the eventuality of social disintegration involving the larger environmental context. In other words, humanity's social governing practices are taking place in an eroding environment that no amount of alteration in the voting system can fix... they can only adapt to and be further overlooked. The larger issue is not individual issues nor the fixing of the present governing system, but that humanity must escape the clutches of an environmental system which will make all species that much quicker, in a head-long fashion towards extinction, the longer they remain chained to the present environment and its various mechanisms of survival.
When most speak of how environmental events effect life, they don't think in terms of cognitive changes in terms of ideological effects expressed in the patterns of concepts. And when the effect of long term environmental changes are taken into consideration, those occurring in non-personal very distant ages are spoken of as something we do not need to think of with respect to their effects on sociological considerations today. While we do see how the effect of an environmental event might cause someone to record its appearance, long term effects occurring transitionally over long periods of time are difficult for most people to grasp like those who argue against long stretches of environmental change having any affect on physiology producing adaptation. While ideas can be seen to change over periods of time due to cultural events, the influence of environment on the underlying structure of ideas, like the underlying structure of genetics and anatomy, are not easily deciphered by most.
Present, past and future environmental events of large magnitude typically become something exterior to those forms of environmental occurrence which we are most often concerned with such as sunburn, sand storms, blizzards, monsoons, winter, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc... While we can see short-term effects on overt structures, we do not readily think of how such events can have long-term consequences. Here's some information that typifies how humans presently look at long-term changes associated with environmental events set at large distances from current considerations: Wikipedia: Future of Earth
While it may seem logical for us to reform the government by introducing the idea of altering the practiced structure of campaign contributions, this context is thus not applied to the context of its application occurring in an environment whose incremental decay forces incremental changes in cognitive behavior that is adapting to an ongoing change in environmental patterns which influence social behavior, so as to maintain some semblance of equilibrium. The presumed reform in campaign contribution behavior will not readily alter the underlying behavior of those who will then find some other means of undermining the political system so as to rig it for themselves and their ilk. If they can't when by a rigged voting system, they will win at some other political juncture so as to, at the very least, maintain the current level of political entitlement. It is foolish to think that this one change in the political process is going to have an enormous effect on the behavior of those whose desire for exploitation is a long-established way of life. It might make the public feel good, and make a few think that those who had participated in a rigged system are now going to play nice and walk the straight and narrow; but this is little more than an illusion. It simply changes the system so that some other form of rigging can take effect.
Those in today's leadership positions are not there because they like to play nice, they simply use all the resources they can bring to bear on a given task and give the impression of being lawful. Just because a person goes to church every sunday and doesn't drink, cuss, smoke or indulge in promiscuous sex doesn't mean they aren't a ruthless S-or D.O.B.. Some people are very good at lying, cheating, theft, manipulation, intimidation, ambush, etc... Just because you remove the fangs of a wildcat doesn't mean they won't try to claw you to death. Many a criminal would rather sacrifice a single limb to escape incarceration, then simply giving up because they are in custody. The old story about the Scorpion and the Turtle of which the following is one version, is relevant in many contexts today:
A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on his back across a river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "You'll sting me while I'm swimming and I'll drown."
"My dear turtle," laughed the scorpion, "if I were to sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?"
"You're right?" cried the turtle. "Hop on!" The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly said:
"Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there'd be no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?"
"It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion sadly replied. "It's just in my nature."
In the last trembling moments of the turtle's existence, its life starts to play back like a movie in fast-forward. As the movie reaches its last frame, it freezes on the old adage "to try is to fail - not to try is to surrender" as the river swallows both of them in an inevitable act of nature and the soul of the turtle rejoins its creator.
Comments: - This story reflects the destructive behaviour of living beings and illustrates how certain qualities can be very hard to change, if not impossible. Thus, if we are to succeed in life, we firstly must get to know ourselves - and be honest about our inclinations, preferences, and limitations. And, secondly, in working towards our goals should be considerate not hinder others in theirs.
Posted by Shahid Riaz
Wisdom Pearls: The Scorpion and the Turtle
The Scorpion and Turtle represent one of many dichotomies taking place today. It also reveals that even though the turtle felt good about trusting the Scorpion, as might the public thinking it can trust a presumably to-be-reformed political system as mentioned above; the fact of the matter remains that once a bad politician gets into a system and is allowed to corrupt it, the corruption takes its own shape like a symbiotic organism adopting its character to whatever host comes available. And though the system may seem to running smoothly, like a mellow stream, it is heading towards an end in itself as part of a larger cycle. Yet, humanity can remove itself from such a narrow stream if it adopts a governing system whose goal is to pursue life elsewhere... where scorpions can not be found... yet even though sharks or other creatures may be. In short, we need a new system of philosophy that will only be possible if our striving for a New Government (a Cenocracy) is well beyond the shores of Earth, this solar system, and this galaxy.