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MisterSwig
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Listen in to Rush Limbaugh and his callers and you'll see that God is rarely mentioned. 

One of the few things that Limbaugh mentions nearly every day at the top of the hour is that he has "talent on loan from God."

If you want to know what Limbaugh really believes, you can read his two books, The Way Things Ought To Be and See, I Told You So. To get a little taste right now, you can begin by reading his first list of "undeniable truths" on his website:

Limbaugh's First 35 Undeniable Truths of Life (1988)

Notice how #20 is: "There is a God." #12 is: "Freedom is God given." And #35 is: "You should thank God for making you an American; and instead of feeling guilty about it, help spread our ideas worldwide."

So, is God the source of "freedom" and "Americanism"? In what rung of hell does that put atheists and secularists?

I can't access Limbaugh's second set of "undeniable truths," because I'm not a dittohead willing to dish out the money to buy a membership on his website. But, if you trust the following source, you can read them here:

Limbaugh's Second 35 Undeniable Truths of Life (1994)

Notice this one: "There is something wrong when critics say the problem with America is too much religion."

Now, I realize Limbaugh hardly talks about his religious ideas on air, but that is because he is still trying to drain the life out of secular liberals, while keeping secular conservatives at bay. If he ranted about his religious views all the time, then he would probably have less than half the audience he has now and would be stuck on some backwoods, hick religious station. Read his books to understand the real, religious Limbaugh.

Limbaugh is the tank making way for the infantry. He is the plow preparing the soil for sowing. He is the conservative destroyer of secular liberalism, flattening the landscape in preparation for the rise of religious conservatism.

His economic views may sound decent, but he is merely using the aroma of freedom and capitalism in order to cover up the stench of religion and democracy. He is not the "harmless little fuzzball" that he insists he is. That is a smokescreen. He, and others, have managed to convince half this nation that liberalism is the bane of civilization, while simultaneously keeping the spotlight off of his millions of God-fearing followers, who are either bent on or indifferent to the religionizing of America.

Liberalism is a dead philosophy. Even Limbaugh knows that and has conveyed that repeatedly in his books and on air. We have very little to fear from liberalism. Among other things, they simply stink at forming any kind of "big-tent" social-environmental religion. Christianity and other religions are co-opting all the liberal ideals, including socialism and environmentalism. The greatest threat to our way of life right now is the faith-based religious conservative axis powers.

If there are popular secular conservatives, then I believe we need to align with them fast. Otherwise, we should look for secular liberal causes that we can support, such as stem cell research and abortion.

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Notice this one: "There is something wrong when critics say the problem with America is too much religion."

This isn't an entirely new idea:

And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

While Limbaugh makes questioning it an absolute wrong, and Washington only advises caution, I think that for the general population of real people, it is true that the presence of religion in day-to-day life does more to protect individual rights than does it's absence.

Among philosophers, however, it's usually the other way around.

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While Limbaugh makes questioning it an absolute wrong, and Washington only advises caution, I think that for the general population of real people, it is true that the presence of religion in day-to-day life does more to protect individual rights than does it's absence.

The absence of religion would have no affect on the protection of individual rights. It is an absence! How does nothing affect anything?

It was the rational elements of the Founders which gave us individual rights, not the religious ones. They did not understand the proper philosophical justification for the right to life (they ascribed it to God), but they observed that which was necessary to put together a successful civilization and they went with it.

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One of the few things that Limbaugh mentions nearly every day at the top of the hour is that he has "talent on loan from God."

Most religionists I know, if they took that literally, would find such an "I am god-like" pronouncement sacrilegious, but it's just one one of Rush's delightfully bombastic, self-aggrandizing metaphors like "half-my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair."

If you want to know what Limbaugh really believes, you can read his two books, The Way Things Ought To Be and See, I Told You So. To get a little taste right now, you can begin by reading his first list of "undeniable truths" on his website:

Limbaugh's First 35 Undeniable Truths of Life (1988)

Notice how #20 is: "There is a God." #12 is: "Freedom is God given." And #35 is: "You should thank God for making you an American; and instead of feeling guilty about it, help spread our ideas worldwide."

I know Rush is religious, but he strikes me as a deist and not all that pious. I think you are more likely to find him watching a football game on Sunday than listening to a sermon.

So, is God the source of "freedom" and "Americanism"? In what rung of hell does that put atheists and secularists?
Maybe in the same category as Ayn Rand whom he quotes approvingly -- several times reading long passages from Galt's Speech -- and features prominently on his recommended book list.

Now, I realize Limbaugh hardly talks about his religious ideas on air, but that is because he is still trying to drain the life out of secular liberals, while keeping secular conservatives at bay. If he ranted about his religious views all the time, then he would probably have less than half the audience he has now and would be stuck on some backwoods, hick religious station. Read his books to understand the real, religious Limbaugh.

Limbaugh is the tank making way for the infantry. He is the plow preparing the soil for sowing. He is the conservative destroyer of secular liberalism, flattening the landscape in preparation for the rise of religious conservatism.

His economic views may sound decent, but he is merely using the aroma of freedom and capitalism in order to cover up the stench of religion and democracy. He is not the "harmless little fuzzball" that he insists he is. That is a smokescreen. He, and others, have managed to convince half this nation that liberalism is the bane of civilization, while simultaneously keeping the spotlight off of his millions of God-fearing followers, who are either bent on or indifferent to the religionizing of America.

So you see a conspiracy on Rush's part to hide his true religiosity in order to pull off the "religionizing of America?"

Hmm. I wonder how his frequent and favorable mentions of Ayn Rand -- and the subsequent increase in sales of her books on Amazon.com every time he mentions her -- fits in with his devious plot. :huh:

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So you see a conspiracy on Rush's part to hide his true religiosity in order to pull off the "religionizing of America?"

Oh, he doesn't hide it. It's in his books. But the point is that on the radio he sees bashing liberals as more important and profitable for the cause, and he probably knows that if he talks about religion too much he will also lose listeners and put off people like us. There's no great conspiracy here. It is all laid out in his books. He tells you that "liberalism poisons the soul" and that "America needs to embrace religion once again" and that his mission is to "destroy liberals." I'll have more to say on this later.

I wonder how his frequent and favorable mentions of Ayn Rand  -- and the subsequent increase in sales of her books on Amazon.com every time he mentions her -- fits in with his devious plot.

Well, you'll have to tell me which ideas he takes from Ayn Rand. I imagine they aren't the ones where she bashes religion.

Anyway, I don't see how Limbaugh successfully co-opting Ayn Rand is evidence for liking the man. Limbaugh is a man of God, faith, and religion. There is not a whole hell of a lot fundamentally to like about him--unless you like to hear liberal-bashing all day, which I admit can be entertaining. But, you know, Libertarians quote Ayn Rand all over the place. Do we like them?

There are more important things to consider than whether somebody quotes Ayn Rand and claims to like her books.

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Well, here is something I like about Rush. He said it last week, and he says it frequently when fed up with some politician's shifting (last week it was in response to CBS's scuttlebutting about their responsibility in the fraudulent documents). He gets huffed up, sighs, and says: "Listen, reality is." He means it in exactly the right way, and it is delightful to hear. His deism (and I think that's the correct term for him) not withstanding.

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I think the essence of Rush is that he is a promoter of achievement. He believes in achieving and pursuing happiness. He is not at all afraid of making money, and in fact boasts, before commercials, that "It's time for an EIB profit center time out."

He thinks all people should be that way. At times he's absolutely brilliant at conveying the greatness of America.

He is a real and genuine lover of capitalism. As conservatives go, he is definitely one of the better kind. Even though he's friends with people like Buckley and Bennett, his sense of life appears to be diametricially opposite to theirs, and I don't think he knows it.

He also is a thinker. He is interested in ideas. He explores them, and discusses them on his show regularly.

Having said that, there is much with which to strongly disagree with him. His stance on issues like abortion, and religion. I'm also disappointed in his overly enthusiastic endorsement of Bush.

P.S.

Actually, the best part of his show is that he frequently has Walter Williams as a guest host! :huh:

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Most religionists I know, if they took that literally, would find such an "I am god-like" pronouncement sacrilegious, but it's just one one of Rush's delightfully bombastic, self-aggrandizing metaphors like "half-my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair."

That's nice, but Limbaugh really means it: "Talent On Loan From God: Often misunderstood by hypercritical and sensitive types to mean (I think) I am God. On the contrary, I believe I am what I am because of the grace of God and that my time on earth, as is everyone's, is temporary. We are all on loan from God, you see." (from "The Limbaugh Lexicon" in The Way Things Ought To Be, p. 304)

I know Rush is religious, but he strikes me as a deist and not all that pious. I think you are more likely to find him watching a football game on Sunday than listening to a sermon.

That's nice, but Limbaugh is a Christian: "I can tell you that throughout my whole life, as a Christian, I never once imagined the crucifixion [as depicted in The Passion] to be this way."

Gibson Movie Will Stun You (Limbaugh monologue)

And he doesn't believe you can be a Christian and a Deist: "Deists ... do not subscribe to the view that Christ is Deity." (The Way Things Ought To Be, p. 284)

So much for Limbaugh being a Deist. He is actually a Christian who thought highly of The Passion.

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Well, you'll have to tell me which ideas he takes from Ayn Rand. I imagine they aren't the ones where she bashes religion.

Where does Ayn Rand "bash religion?" As she often said, she was not a militant atheist. She was primarily pro-reason, not anti-religion, she had several religious friends, and she said "God bless you" when someone sneezed, "God bless America," etc.

In the past, Rush has quoted Galt's speech on the evil of altruism and Ayn Rand on the evil of compromise and appeasement. He has quoted an anti-volunteerism ARI op-ed, almost entirely.

Anyway, I don't see how Limbaugh successfully co-opting Ayn Rand is evidence for liking the man. Limbaugh is a man of God, faith, and religion.
I see Rush as primarily a VALUER. He values himself and others. He sees evil as impotent and stupid. Yes, he's wrong about religion, but he is learning that it isn't the only way to protect the things he values -- human achievement, America, and more -- from their enemies.

There is not a whole hell of a lot fundamentally to like about him--unless you like to hear liberal-bashing all day, which I admit can be entertaining. But, you know, Libertarians quote Ayn Rand all over the place. Do we like them?

I don't like libs because they are fundamentally nihilists. I don't like people who define and distinguish themselves by what they aren't, what they are against, and what they don't do. Virtue requires a lot more of a person than simply opposing evil.

I like Rush because he is an intelligent, entertaining, mostly reality-centered valuer.

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Virtue requires a lot more of a person than simply opposing evil.

I like Rush because he is an intelligent, entertaining, mostly reality-centered valuer.

Limbaugh's values are based in religion. He believes that morality comes from the Ten Commandments and that abortion should be banned. 90% of his show is devoted to "opposing evil"--liberals.

I'll grant you--he is intelligent and entertaining. But, so are a lot of liberals.

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The absence of religion would have no affect on the protection of individual rights. It is an absence! How does nothing affect anything?

I meant absence following or in the context of it's presence. Maybe "rejection" would be a better word.

When the typical, non-philosophical person rejects religion, he does so not for something better like Objectivism, but for something worse, like hedonism or pseudo-individualism. With religion, such a person had a crude concept of other's rights. Without it, others become fair game for his predation. Unless people have the interest and capacity to explicitly address moral issues - minds of peculiar structure - we're better off when they function within the confines of religious morals than not. What I'd like to see is a general uplifting and improvement of religious morals, not their elimination.

It was the rational elements of the Founders which gave us individual rights, not the religious ones. They did not understand the proper philosophical justification for the right to life (they ascribed it to God), but they observed that which was necessary to put together a successful civilization and they went with it.

I think the God (actually "Creator") to whom the founders ascribed the source of rights was a politically expedient allegorical device referring to nature or existence.

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I really don't understand the cavalier attitude some Objectivists are taking towards religion. Religion is not just a placeholder for people trying to reject nihilism and seek values. Regardless of why people hold it, it is a false and vicious doctrine. Even if someone lives an otherwise rational life and only invokes religion to avoid skepticism and relativism, to this extent they split their lives in two--and propagate religion through the culture.

We are in position today of the best people acting as helpless transmission belts for a destructive ideology, despite their best intent and motives. Good intentions--and even good psycho-epistemologies--do not change the nature of a principle. This applies even to the founding fathers invoking God as a "politically expedient" rhetorical device, if this is in fact what they did (I'm not sure).

One must be for reason--but part of being for reason is actively and avidly being an aethist and showing that reason is incompatible with faith and belief the supernatural.

Coincidentally, I found this passage last night while rereading Ayn Rand's Journals. It's the first entry in chapter 3, from her first philosophic journal, written from when she was relatively young. Arguably it does not present her final views on the matter (again, I'm not sure), but I agree entirely with the sentiment expressed there-in. I've excerpted most of it below.

...I want to fight religion as the root of all human lying and the only excuse for suffering.

I believe--and I want to gather all the facts to illustrate this--that the worst curse on mankind is the ability to consider ideals as something quite abstract and detached from one's everyday life. The ability to _live_ and _think_ quite differently, thus eliminating thinking from your actual life. This applied not to deliberate and conscious hypocrites, but to those more dangerous and hopeless ones who, alone with themselves and to themselves, tolerate a complete break between their convictions and their lives, and still believe that they have convictions. To them, either their ideals or their lives are worthless--and usually both.

I hold religion mainly responsible for this. I want to prove that religion breaks a character before it's formed, in childhood, by teaching a child lies before he knows what a lie is, by breaking him of the habit of thinking before he has begun to think, by making him a hypocrite before he knows any other possible attitude toward life. If a child is taught ideals that he knows are contrary to his own deepest instincts, [ideals]such as unselfishness, meekness, and self-sacrifice, if he is told he is a miserable sinner for not living up to ideals he can never reach and doesn't want to reach, then his natural reaction is to consider all ideals as out of his reach forever, as something theoretical and quite apart from his own actual life. Thus the beginning of self-hypocrisy, the killing of all desire for a living ideal.

Religion is also the first enemy of the ability to think. ...

Are instincts and emotions necessarily beyond the control of plain thinking? Or were they trained to be? Why is a complete harmony between mind and emotions impossible? Isn't it merely a matter of strict mental honesty? And who stands at the very bottom of denying such honesty? Isn't it the church?

I want to be known as the greatest champion of reason and the greatest enemy of religion. (Journals of Ayn Rand 66-68)

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I really don't understand the cavalier attitude some Objectivists are taking towards religion...

I have complete confidence in the power of true ideas to overcome false ideas in rational minds. I don't fear a return to superstition and ignorance, especially on an Objectivist bulletin board.

That's an excellent Rand quote that really gets to the heart of this issue. Thank you for taking the time not only to find it, but to type it up.

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Limbaugh's values are based in religion. He believes that morality comes from the Ten Commandments and that abortion should be banned.

I think Rush's values are based on his typically American sense of life, respect for individuals and their achievements, common sense, and pride. I see it as more the case that he sometimes uses religion to defend those values, than that he uses good values to promote religion.

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Oh, I don't know. Galt's speech? C'mon, Betsy, open up your Lexicon. There's a whole section there for you with references.

I took out my Lexicon and found ONE PARAGRAPH in Galt's Speech -- and that was about the "mystics of spirit" AND the "mystics of muscle." Considering how much Ayn Rand wrote, she didn't spend much time, in her public writing and speaking, attacking religion.

Instead, she used those opportunities to promote TRUE ideas and POSITIVE values

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I took out my Lexicon and found ONE PARAGRAPH in Galt's Speech -- and that was about the "mystics of spirit" AND the "mystics of muscle." Considering how much Ayn Rand wrote, she didn't spend much time, in her public writing and speaking,  attacking religion.

Instead, she used those opportunities to promote TRUE ideas and POSITIVE values

Nobody's saying we should just attack religion and provide no positive alternative! Why does Betsy keep pretending otherwise?

The only reason this issue came up was because Mr. Swig noted that Limbaugh sure as hell isn't quoting the anti-religion stuff AR wrote. Betsy changed the subject by turning it into a question of how much and with what emphasis she attacked religion.

But how did we get to evaluating Limbaugh? Because someone challenged Betsy's idea that there was some vast new movement of non-religious conservatives. Betsy listed a bunch of conservatives she thought were like this. Noumenalself posted links demonstrating the religiousity of most of them. Betsy ignored this and focused just on Limbaugh.

And how did we get to the question of whether there is some big new non-religious right wing movement, in the first place? Because way back in post #93, Betsy responded to the allegation that we should look at the principle driving each movement, not isolated concretes from each movement. Interesting how we've come back to isolated concretes again (Limbaugh and Betsy's speculations about what really drives him).

This is not the way to have a debate. Somebody should pay attention to the *point at issue*.

I submit that even if Limbaugh is an Objectivist-in-hiding, it means *nothing* about the larger question you guys have been debating about. He may be the most popular right wing talk show host, and he may even exercise influence. But if he's not combatting the rise of the religious right, what does it matter? For all that's been said about these allegedly non- or sub-religious conservatives, *no one* has been able to refute the quite obvious fact that there is a major movement among the conservatives to bring religion *back*. If secular conservatives don't oppose this, or offer secular alternatives, who do you think's gonna win?

And besides, Mr. Swig has given plenty of interesting evidence that someone like Limbaugh has no intention of opposing religion, because he actually is religious himself. And no amount of Betsy's ARBITRARY speculation about what she thinks *really* drives Mr. Limbaugh can uncover the EVIDENCE that Mr. Swig has provided. No amount of speculation, no matter how much CAPITALIZATION she uses.

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And besides, Mr. Swig has given plenty of interesting evidence that someone like Limbaugh has no intention of opposing religion, because he actually is religious himself ...

I have written an 8-page paper called Rush Limbaugh: Voice of the Religious Threat in America. In this paper I take an even closer look at Limbaugh's philosophy of religious conservatism, drawing upon a close reading of his first book The Way Things Ought To Be. You can read the paper here.

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For all that's been said about these allegedly non- or sub-religious conservatives, *no one* has been able to refute the quite obvious fact that there is a major movement among the conservatives to bring religion *back*.

I hate to break this to you, but religion cannot be "brought back" because it's still around!

Like it or not, the overwhelming majority of Americans are at least nominally religious. One must be thoroughly out of touch with reality to pretend that America is an atheistic nation to which religion can be "brought back" !

And besides, Mr. Swig has given plenty of interesting evidence that someone like Limbaugh has no intention of opposing religion, because he actually is religious himself.

Who has ever claimed that Mr. Limbaugh intends to oppose religion or that he isn't religious?

And no amount of Betsy's ARBITRARY speculation about what she thinks *really* drives Mr. Limbaugh

I don't know about what you see, but I see that all of Betsy's arguments are not only backed up by but solidly based on facts. You might claim that she is mistaken about the facts or draws the wrong conclusions, but to accuse her of making arbitrary statements is simply preposterous.

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In the USA, has religion always been around? Of course.

If religion has always been around, can it be "brought back"? The answer must begin with a question: Brought back where?

If a speaker means brought back into existence, when religion has always been around, then the speaker makes no sense. However, if the speaker means brought back into center stage, that is, into a major causal role in politics, then the speaker has a credible case.

The issue here, in this thread, is not bringing religion back into existence, but the issue of whether it is once again being brought to the forefront as a cause of political change.

When I was in governmental high school, 45 years ago, religion was at center stage in many aspects of political life. As a student, I was required to say a morning prayer. I refused. I was ordered to sit at the back of the room (as blacks -- who were banned from the segregated highschool -- were forced by law to sit at the back of city buses, a practice justified by conservatives as based, in part, on interpretation of the New Testament.

Other examples come easily from looking at a multitude of laws popular then: blue laws (banning the sale of all products but food and medicine on Sundays -- a holy day for Christians, laws against profanity, prohibitions in some local areas against alcohol, and -- murderously -- a ban on abortion.

The issue, today, is this: Is the rightist religious sector of this society gaining power in sufficient quantity to re-impose their beliefs in such areas?

I do see a trend toward greater theocracy, though I believe a dictatorial theocracy is far off. As with all human activities, theocracies vary widely in degree of application of the principles -- often conflicting -- which guide them.

What is most disturbing to me is not that the theocratic movement coming from the right-wing is growing, but that the move back toward theocracy is a consensus movement. Both rightist and leftist theocrats may continue to join forces in some areas, no matter how much they fight in other areas, to slowly crush indivdual rights.

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If a speaker means brought back into existence, when religion has always been around, then the speaker makes no sense. However, if the speaker means brought back into center stage, that is, into a major causal role in politics, then the speaker has a credible case.

The issue here, in this thread, is not bringing religion back into existence, but the issue of whether it is once again being brought to the forefront as a cause of political change.

Thank you, Burgess. Of course that is what I meant. Thank you for paying attention to the wider point of the debate, which is precisely what I've been accusing other people of failing to do.

Likewise, Capitalism Forever responds to me by saying:

Who has ever claimed that Mr. Limbaugh intends to oppose religion or that he isn't religious?

Again, people need to pay attention to the wider context! I claimed Limbaugh had no intention of opposing religion, because I was making the wider point that even if he were secretly Objectivist (a best case scenario for Betsy's case), it wouldn't matter because what is needed today is for secular conservatives to oppose religion. Because the religious ones are trying to bring religion back *into politics* and that trend will continue unless the better conservatives speak out. Yet Rush and the allegedly better conservatives don't do this.

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I have complete confidence in the power of true ideas to overcome false ideas in rational minds. I don't fear a return to superstition and ignorance, especially on an Objectivist bulletin board.

The issue isn't whether or not the people on this board will return to superstition and ignorance, but whether or not the culture will.

I'm really not sure what to make of your first sentence. The vast majority of people, including Americans, are a mixture of rationality and irrationality. It's not the case that there are just "rational minds" out there and that "true ideas" have some ineffable power over them, and that evil falsehoods are no danger to us and can be ignored. The culture is a battleground of ideas, and the right ones must be advocated and the wrong ones must be fought.

Religious and altruistic arguments turn most Americans' minds to mush, even if they are rational in other areas of life. Thus the spectacle of Limbaugh, of Reagan, of every single conservative that I can think of. It is not trivial that they use religion to justify their positions, even if they don't do it publicly. In fact, a huge part of the argument that America is headed towards a theocracy is based on observations of people like Limbaugh. They are helpless to fight or to stop the more vocally and consistently religious people from gaining influence. Are these the rational minds that we're supposed to be counting on?

Who is going to fight religion besides Objectivists? The number of otherwise rational people who accept religion is so high as to be almost total. Combine this with a fundamentalist movement that is growing in numbers and influence. It is of course the irrationality of people that religion appeals to, but that does not make it less of a danger.

(You're very welcome for the AR quote--I'm fond of it too--but I can't claim credit for typing it up; I copied/pasted from the Objectivism Research CD.)

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It's an explanation for my, and possibly some other, Objectivists' cavalier attitude toward religion.

In a rational mind, true ideas will take the place of false ones. But most of the world in not rational. Rationality and integrity, both require effort which most do not want to make. They can't even accept the fact that once you die, that is it. You do not exist anymore. How can one hope that they will understand more complex things? That is why the takeover of religion is dangerous and it is dangerous to treat trends towards theocracy with cavalier behavior.

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