When political privilege is founded on notions that cannot be challenged by reason, or whi

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When political privilege is founded on notions that cannot be challenged by reason, or which pit group against group, or which allow one group to seek domination over another group, then violence is more likely to happen, as witness Bosnia. The value of the secular state is that is tends to minimize the differences between people which divide them into warring classes or groups, provided groups are not denied access due to birth or origin. The sciences tend to emphesize the common heritage of the human species and to minimize differences due to race and nationality. And differences due to culture or reliigon do not even figure in its assessment of the human situation. Its findings can be challenged and tested in a way that the arbritary divisions due to ethnicity cannot, and the latter lead inevitably to violence. The total economic collapse of the U.S. could lead to a break up of the forces which unify us. The Dark Ages in Europe, a heyday for the spread of Christianity, were a time when the infrestructure of the Classical Era was destroyed and politics was reduced to gang warefare. It wasn't until the rise of the Monarchies and nobility that the Dark Ages ended. Someone may wish to comment whether the European Dark Ages were due to economic collapes attended by ecological diaster. If there is a parallel in the present it is the rise of the drug gangs in America's inner cities aided by the tribalizing influience of electronic media such as beepers and the thechnology we are using at this moment. With these it is possible to maintain power on a small scale while national power diminishes. Due to the effects of economic determinism, and possible ecologic disaster, and decay of the nation, we could indeed see a resurgance of religion as a source of power. Maybe religious wars would ensue. People's psyches would fall inward, but the cause is hardly due to spirituality, although the flight of fancy would look that way to them. Bruce Salem ------------------------------------------------------------------ Bruce, you really should introduce your prejudices to some facts sometime; I'm sure it would be an interesting meeting. The Dark Ages were, on average, a time of marked decline for Christianity both geographically and numerically: the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and much of southeastern Europe all came to be dominated by non-Christian populations (although Christianity did recover modestly by the end of the period). It was in fact through the infrastructure of the Roman Empire that Christianity had spread widely. -- Steve Schaffner sschaff@unixhub.slac.stanford.edu

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