Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Of Bism and other -ism's

Bism is a fictional world of the unfathomable depths, where fantastical creatures lead lives barely imaginable to us surface dwellers.  So it is with almost all the other “–ism’s” which I’ve come across.  Agnosticism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, &  Egoism might make a certain degree of sense to me, but only insofar as they comport with everyday (as opposed to philosophical) pragmatism.  Admittedly, there are a few –ism’s which I don’t mind having around for the sake of recreational reading and the occasional flash of insight.

That said, I find most –ism’s abominable, execrable, irrational, onerous, & unnecessary to boot.  Slip-shod, ad-hoc, jury-rigged, super-glued agglomerations of disparate, ragged-edged ideas hanging together solely on account of the strong force of human credulity.  Sometimes, though, you just have to tack the “ism” onto a religious/political ideology just to make sense of the situation.  Hence “Islamism” to denote (radical) politicized Muslim nationalism, and “Zionism” to denote politicized Jewish nationalism.  Their goals are something like Muslim and Jewish nation-states, respectively, with some degree of argument over the extent to which the ultra-orthodox will dictate policy and personal morality.  Why, then, do we not have a widely-known term for the Christian nationalist equivalent to these ideas – Christianism!

Andrew Sullivan is leading the charge in defining and spreading this meme, and thank all the gods for him.  No doubt this term will prove much more useful than the ill-begotten “Bright” in framing the issues in important debates.


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