Re: What are *your* religious beliefs?

!Maureen Fitzpatrick (mfitzpat@JCCCNET.JOHNCO.CC.KS.US)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 13:41:47 -0500

I wouldn't dismiss the influence of religion as simply silly or political--often
what we make think of as an "irreligous" view is just one that emphasizes free
will (one of the oldest religious debates around). Whole political theories (as
well as pedagogical ones) are based on questions founded in religion like:

Do people have free will? Does a "good" person exercise free will (creativity?
failure to follow the assignment)? Does exercising free choice automatically
condemn one to failure? Do we only become worthy people by exercising free
choice and doing it responsibly and for the betterment of ourselves our group
(maybe a reach, but it sounds like one of the assumptions of the portfolio

Is a person's, community's, or society's abilities predetermined (Bell curve?)?

Is the surest way to a favorable outcome to follow a well-worn and documented
path (like many text books present "THE writing process" in five
easy-to-follow, unchanging steps)? And to avoid everything on a list of "sins"
(sins could be political incorrectness, modes or comma splices, I suppose)?

Are all actions open to judgment as either right or wrong (or grades?)?

Are we in a perpetual state of decline? Can our actions lead ourselves or
others to redemption?

Basically, I'm not sure it's possible to talk about politics without talking
seriously about religion. In either case, we're talking about the kind of
creature humans are and to what degree we need help, to what degree we should
fend for ourselves, and what the advantages and disadvantages of individualism
versus acting with and for others.

Maureen Fitzpatrick

From: sophist@UTARLG.UTA.EDU
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 1996 12:58 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list RHETNT-L <>
Subject: What are *your* religious beliefs?

On Mon, 14 Oct 1996, Nick Carbone wrote:

> The discussion of what language a theory dresses in has come to the
> observation that any theory carries a political point of view. Which
> makes me wonder. We all have political points of view, we all ascribe to
> some theory of composition, whether for pedagogy or as a way of reading
> or as, well, a matter of theoretical interest.
> So I wonder...
> Do you study a theoretical tradition because it confirms your politics?

Nick's questions are excellent! And at last get articulated. I would add
to the questions concerning politics, however, the questions concerning
religion. At times posts about language (logos) ... sound like people
ranting about religion, the one true, universal religion. Why, there is
the missionary use of language and then the perverted misuse of language.

Tom, Tom, Tom, Mad-x ... Hi, we have not chatted in a while! ... your
posts about pomo writers sounds like it comes from missionary zeal. Can
you not imagine how many--perhaps you do not have to imagine!--respond to
your cyberpunk style. I love it. But there are people who don't. And when
they articulate their dislikes they string out a caricature of how you and
other cyberpunkers rite, just as you have caricatured in your post how
so-called po-mos rite. Yes, it is obvious that there are those who
immitate the so-called pomo style(s). And not very successfully. And let
me say that there are those who follow the Masters of the so-called Plain
Style, and when they do it well, they are still bad writers. And there are
those who immitate the Masters of the modernist style, and when they do
it, they are bad writers. There are ... problematically and simply put ...
lots of bad w/riters. Writing is, as you know well, difficult. No matter
what style of writing the would-be author is in transference with, s/he,
more times than not, is a bad writer, but nontheless keeps trying to write
at least *one good sentence*! Just one good sentence! That writers keep on
writing in the midst of the religious fanaticism about What constitutes
acceptable writing on paper or monitors is ... from where I am sitting ...
an act in search of courage. Writing demands more courage than most people
are willing to give to the attempt. Thinking about what gets written when
we w/rite also requires much courge. Far too much than what I personally
have, at times. But no matter what style (mannerist, baroque, rococo,
so-called endemic academic plain, or whatsoever) that WE (on and off this
list) attempt, we fail miserably. Inevitably. In some religious nut's
eyes. And then there is always the worst, most cutting critic of all. And
that is usually ourselves.

End of sermonizing!

So here are my questions (being added to Nick's questions concerning

__When we write do we serve the devil or the one true God?

__When we write to we serve theism or polytheism?


__Do we believe that if we are *not clear* that the god of Clarity will
get us? in Hell, which of course is a place of a total Lack of Clarity?
(__Do we believe that Heaven is a place of Total Clarity?)

__Do we believe that if we wander around in sentences ... the way the
Master Montaigne did ... that we will never be as good as the Master and
therefore at best we are postlapsarian pieces of dried shit and should
stop all attempts at writing?

__Do we believe that when we hear our peers' dislike of what we do and we
disregard it, we are only sinking deeper into hell-ah?

__Should we feel guilty every time we pick up a pencil to write or tap on
a keyboard to write? When we write and write are we violating our mothers
or mudders?

__Should we feel guilty because we are the scribal (scribble) class, the
literate ones, while the down-trodden are illiterate?

And there are a lot more of these silly, silly questions?

irreligiously religious, Victor